How Nigel’s Hostage Experience Helped Him Navigate The Traitors

nigel the traitors 2022 interview
Network Ten

It’s been a wild season of The Traitors so far, and last night, we saw our final OG Traitor, Nigel Brennan, eliminated from the game in an emotional Banishment Ceremony. His banishment came just one episode after he refused to vote for his fellow OG Traitor Marielle, which ended up being the tip off that the Faithful needed to sniff him out and banish him. Of course, the Faithful did have a little help in Faithful-turned-Traitor Alex, who — in back-to-back Banishment Ceremonies — has managed to take out both the Traitors who invited her into Traitor Towers in the first place.

Chatting to POPSUGAR Australia over the phone, Nigel said he was “not too bad” but was also feeling “a little bit gutted” to have not been able to go all the way in the game.

While the ‘what ifs’ have been plaguing him, Nigel said he has no regrets about how he played the game at the end of the day, even if it did mean adding thousands of dollars to a prize pool he won’t be able to claim.

“I’m a competitive little bugger, that’s what my family will say, and I couldn’t have gone into the challenges half-cocked, either,” he said. “I was backing myself 100% to be the last one standing, and hindsight’s a wonderful thing, to be able to look back and think ‘where could we have done things differently?'”

Some of the alternate paths he’s been considering include one in which he and Marielle stay Traitor-strong, and get rid of Teresa instead of Angus, or recruit Kate to become a Traitor instead of Alex after Claire’s banishment, “because everyone was suspicious of Kate”.

“But it’s such a tricky game to play, because you don’t have time to think about the consequences of your actions,” he explained. “You’ve gotta make a decision in a very short period of time and there are ramifications.”

Nigel recalled the moment he was selected as a Traitor as being one of “pure joy”, but it’s one that he said came with a lot of responsibility that wasn’t always easy to navigate.

Acknowledging that “yes, it was a huge advantage to be a Traitor”, he said it was also “an incredibly heavy burden to carry, as well”, because it’s a position that forces you to go “against your values of honesty and integrity”.

Going into the game, Nigel said that he called on his experience of being held hostage in Somalia for 460 days to help him navigate the dynamics.

“I was being thrown into a group of 23 people I didn’t know, and in both circumstances it was about getting people on board and getting them to like you, because I think if you like someone, it’s much harder to banish them,” he explained.

While as a Traitor, Nigel didn’t need to worry about being murdered in the night, he did think that it was “imperative” to try to meet and connect with everyone at the cocktail party early on, and to “get them on side as quickly as possible”.

“I think that’s a skill set that I was able to bring from my hostage ordeal, but also from my hostage negotiation experience, being able to use powers of persuasion and negotiation, and listening quite intently to what people were saying.”

This information, Nigel explained, helped him to throw the Faithful off the scent of the Traitors, but as the game went on, it got harder to continue lying to them.

“I think that burden sort of weighed down as time went on and as the group got smaller,” he reflected. “Even last night, watching Craig before he turned over his slate, I could see how harrowing that was for him, because we had such a beautiful friendship and bond.”

Noting that Craig was “almost in tears” having to reveal that he was voting to banish his friend from the game, Nigel recalling “turning to him and saying ‘mate, it’s just a game, you know’”.

Moments later, Nigel was banished from the game, but there’s certainly no bad blood between the pair, as Nigel is rooting for Craig to take out the win in the end.

Of course, whether Craig will be able to do it or not remains to be seen, and there’s only one way to find out whether he’ll be able to pull it off…

The Traitors airs at 7.30pm, Sundays and Mondays, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.

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