‘Really Quite Hurtful’: Abbey Wants You To Know The Truth About Her All Stars Strategy
Abbey Holmes has become the sixth player to leave Australian Survivor: All Stars following a brutal blindside from her newly formed Vakama tribe.
It was a tribal council that was eerily similar to her Season 4 elimination, with Abbey completely taken by surprise when Jonathan La Paglia lifted the first piece of parchment with her name on it.
"It was a shock to go on day 16 because I certainly didn’t see that coming," Abbey told 10 daily after her elimination. "Survivor is a game and so much luck comes into this game."
Abbey's departure from Fiji came right after a tribe swap that saw her placed with her trusted alliance members Lydia and John but also with a majority of Vakamans, the unpredictable Dirty Harry, and the person she'd just sent to Exile Beach, Shonee.
"Shonee had already been voted out, she’s come in kind of unfairly because nothing even happened at the Exile," Abbey explained.
She pointed out that usually the pair sent into isolation has to fight to earn their place back in the game -- just as Simon and Daisy did in Season 4.
"But rather than anything happening, they were sent to Exile for one night, rocked up at the tribe swap, got let back into the game without any battle or anything and Shonee just landed on my tribe," said Abbey.
"So that was a bit nerve-wracking knowing that someone who you voted off to Exile was coming back in with a vengeance," she added.
But while Abbey was rightly worried that Shonee would be back for revenge after her trip to Exile, she lamented the fact that she's been portrayed as a fervent 'tribe strong' adherent who wanted to target the weak.
"They show what they want to show in terms of a storyline," Abbey told 10 daily. "They’ve been pitting me up against Shonee and showing me being the big dictator but that wasn’t the case at all, so it’s been really frustrating to watch that."
It makes sense if you consider Abbey's social gameplay back in Season 4: Champions vs. Contenders where she quickly ditched the athlete's alliance in favour of social players Pia and Janine.
Abbey explained that her strategy in getting rid of Shonee was less to do with the Season 3's physical weakness and more to do with her social strength.
"They’ve pinned it as me saying that Shonee’s weak and that we’ve got to stay ‘tribe strong’ but they didn’t outline my actual gameplan.
"I’ve had people messaging me calling me a woman-hater and I thought, ‘oh my god, you have no idea, I’m the biggest advocate for women’ so that was really quite hurtful."
The past four winners of Australian Survivor have won the half a million dollars because of their social cunning -- something Abbey was extremely aware of when thinking about the long game.
"We [her Vakama alliance] worked together to come up with the decisions but my strategy, personally, was to surround myself with the biggest physical and strategic players in the game and try and eliminate the social threats early. "
History shows that those social threats are the ones who are there at the end.
Abbey was thrown back into All Stars after just a month and a half out of the game and explained that it was probably too soon to be re-entering the physically, emotionally and mentally taxing game.
"It was really a blessing in disguise for me to come out on day 16 when I did because, mentally, it was way too soon to be going back into that game after six weeks in-between seasons," she said, adding that her "body is a mess" as well from her massive Survivor 2019.
But returning to Australia to see her partner, her family and her Season 4 and 5 Survivor besties has been helping Abbey to heal and ease back into her daily life.
"Last week, we went on a big girls' trip to Janine’s place in Noosa so it was myself, Sharn, Lydia, Pia, and Janine," she said.
Abbey's friendship with these women is a bond that she'll carry forever and having a group of friends who understand the unique Survivor experience is invaluable.
"They’ve been really supportive, messaging me after every episode," she said of Pia and Janine.
"I know that I can ring them at any time and they’ll pick up the phone and I can have a bit of a vent to them because we’ve all been through it together and you certainly do carry that bond forever. "