Australian Survivor’s Sam Gash: “I Don’t Have Regrets”
“It was quite the ride,” she said, “but the biggest thing is that I’m just so proud I played hard”.
Explaining that “there’s nothing worse” than leaving the game with regrets, Sam said that she hopes her elimination will put her husband Mark Wales in the best position to make it to the final Tribal Council.
“I don’t have regrets,” she said, adding that she stands by her move to take Jesse Hansen‘s idol.
“I think it’s excellent gameplay,” she said.
Sam explained that she was playing a “moment by moment” game and that by the time the opportunity arose to blindside Jesse, they “were no longer really working together”, a fact that is “lost on people”.
“They think I betrayed Jesse because we played the first half of the game together, and the same people who are angry with me are the ones who think I should’ve voted off my husband, and I’m like ‘that makes absolutely no sense,” she said.
“Why would I vote off my husband who I share a bank account with, who I went into this game with, who is my only alliance member?!” she said.
Sam’s game has set social media on fire this season, which Sam said has been “heavy” to deal with over the past few weeks.
“Pre-merge, I feel like I played a really good game, it was reflected in the edit, but even then I had commentary from people saying ‘I just can’t warm to Sam, I don’t like Sam’,” she recalled, “and I was going ‘gosh, I couldn’t have gotten a better reflection of my game in a positive way up to the merge, and if they don’t like me now, they are going to rip into me hard in a couple of votes’ time’.”
And rip into her they did. After flipping on her Day Two alliance with Jesse Hansen to blindside him (and nicking his Hidden Immunity Idol in the process), Sam found herself on the receiving end of death threats, as well as criticism of her appearance and parenting skills.
“Yeah, I’m copping heat,” Sam said, adding: “I do think it’s related to my gender”.
Sam said that because we don’t often see female villains in the game of Australian Survivor, audiences “are not yet comfortable” seeing women “lean into villainy” like she did.
“We’ve certainly seen male players do this time and time again,” she said. “They might get some criticism, but they certainly don’t get personal criticism. “They don’t get references to them being a bad parent… they definitely don’t get criticism about their physical aesthetics, but I did.”
To these people, Sam said that they “don’t have to like [her] gameplay”, but to send death threats over a Hidden Immunity Idol is “pretty disproportionate”.
“I made decisions based on the information I had, and leaning into any other commentary is just small-mindedness,” she said.
Sam hopes that her gameplay will help pave the way for “more women to go in and play hard and lean into it, because every time now that we see it, people will become more comfortable with it”.
Until then, Sam’s hoping that her decision with husband Mark to not save her with one of their two idols sets him up for success as we enter the final run of the season.
“One person with two idols is stronger than two people with one idol,” she explained.
“If we had played an idol for me last night, we still would’ve been the biggest threat in the game and we still would’ve been the only couple in the game,” she said.
“We still would’ve been Public Enemy #1. So that means next time we go to Tribal Council, if Mark or I hadn’t won the immunity necklace, the question would be ‘who do we play that idol for?’, and what could’ve happened then is that we play the idol on the wrong person, the other person goes home, so then you have one person left in the game with no idol.”
With two idols up his sleeve, Sam’s hoping that Mark plays a smart game and doesn’t get too emotional about her blindside.
“It’s going to be really interesting to see how he navigates it,” she said, explaining that “leaning into revenge isn’t smart play”.
“It can be an undercurrent but if it’s your primary motivation I feel like revenge only lasts for a couple of plays, versus the end game,” she said. “I feel like he needs to kind of simmer, control that, maybe express it in confessionals, but try to keep it to a minimum in front of all the other contestants.”
Will Mark be able to pull it off? Only time will tell!
Australian Survivor airs at 7.30pm, Sundays and Mondays, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.
Want more Australian Survivor? Read all of our stories here.