Quick Note: We’ve got a lot of “Survivor” stuff going on as we hit the home stretch. We inducted two members into the “Survivor” Hall of Fame this week; Amanda Kimmel and Rob Cesternino. We’ll be inducting a third this Friday at 2 p.m. ET. This Sunday we’ll have a full recap of the finale immediately after the episode. And, next Monday we’ll have an interview with the winner of “Survivor: Philippines.” Follow @gordonholmes on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.
There are two kinds of villains on “Survivor.” The ones like Russell Hantz who show up ready to set the world on fire, and others like NaOnka Mixon who become overwhelmed by the game and the environment.
Abi-Maria Gomes definitely belongs in the latter group.
I spoke with Abi-Maria the morning after her elimination to find out what happened to the sweet girl I met before the game, how she tried to convince everyone that’s she was the perfect person to take to the end, and which player she still has issues with…
Gordon Holmes: Alright, we need to set some ground rules here.
Abi-Maria Gomes: Oh gosh.
Holmes: I don’t want you calling me an idiot…or a moron…
Gomes: (Laughs) C’mon, I’m a rebel!
Holmes: If I deserve it, then feel free to call me that.
Gomes: Idiot! (Laughs) Just joking.
Holmes: One of the best parts of the exit interview process is it gives the player a chance to immediately defend themselves if need be. You were obviously this season’s villain. Was that portrayal accurate?
Gomes: It was definitely accurate. I’m not going to try to blame it on editing. I said all of those things that I said, I acted the way I acted. I was not very fun to be around. But, to defend myself a little bit, I had a major injury on day one and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because I didn’t want to be seen as weak. I was scared and defensive at all times. I actually had to have surgery when I got back. I was in pain.
Holmes: What was the injury?
Gomes: I really hurt my right knee badly.
Holmes: People always say, “You should go on ‘Survivor.’” And while, I’d love to have that opportunity, I think I’d be a nightmare to be around if I wasn’t eating properly. Did that have an affect on you?
Gomes: Oh yeah. I was so hungry. I was in so much pain. And, you don’t really sleep, so you’re tired.
Holmes: Last night you tried to tell Skupin and Lisa that they wouldn’t be able to beat Malcolm and Denise at the final Tribal. I agree with this 100%. Why couldn’t they see that?
Gomes: That was a dumb move on their part. I still don’t think they have a chance in the world of winning with Malcolm or Denise. So, I was just being honest with them. Do you want to win the game or do you just want to go to the final three?
Holmes: It seems like every week Lisa points out a move she should make, then she doesn’t make it. Why is she afraid to move to the front of this game?
Gomes: I think she answered that question herself. She’s trying to be good. She’s a good lady, playing the game really took a toll on her. You have to be a villain to make it far. She has her own demons in her head. She wanted to make the move, but it didn’t work out. And I’m really surprised with how wishy-washy she was and how badly she was talking about me in the confessionals. I really did think she was a nice Christian lady.
Holmes: What is it like to be sitting in your living room and then to see a side of someone that you hadn’t seen before?
Gomes: Surprising. But, I have a lot of respect for her. She was playing the game.
Holmes: I love me some Malcolm.
Gomes: Oh, I love him.
Holmes: I met him first. But, you guys had a nice moment where he comforted you after you had a rough Tribal Council. Did you think that was genuine or did you think it was gameplay?
Gomes: We were playing the game. We were all trying to get to the end. I tried working with him but he was really tied to Denise. I couldn’t get through to him. And he called me the…Harry Potter thing?
Holmes: A dementor.
Gomes: Dementor, yes. I didn’t know he thought I was a dementor. But it was pretty funny when he did his Abi impersonation. It was great.
Holmes: Was there any chance to try to get to Denise when you were alone during last night’s reward?
Gomes: I tried working with her. But, you saw it, she was just trying to brush me off. That’s what happened with all of them, I was trying to work with them. They hated me.
Holmes: The earliest indicator that you were going to be this season’s villain was your relationship with RC. What was the inciting incident that split you two up?
Gomes: RC approached me so quickly on the beach for an alliance. And the more I got to live with her, I realized that she was such a smart girl. She was highly intelligent. So, it was like a cat-and-mouse kind of thing. If I didn’t get rid of her she would’ve gotten rid of me first. And, she’s super competitive. Peter and I formed an alliance and we had more numbers. It was a strategy. I have nothing against her. I think she’s beautiful and a super smart girl.
Holmes: CBS.com posts videos from Ponderosa, and there was one where you were trying to apologize and she wasn’t interested in it. Have you two had a chance to make peace since then?
Gomes: No, and I don’t think it will happen. After reading her exit interviews I don’t want to have anything to do with her.
Holmes: One of the things that sparked issues between you two was when Pete moved the immunity clue. When did you find out the truth about that?
Gomes: I found out at Ponderosa! At that point I was so exhausted that I didn’t want to deal with it. Peter and I talked about it, and I actually thought it was funny. (Laughs) We were playing the game.
Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with your buddy Pete.
Gomes: My buddy Pete, I love him.
Gomes: Idiot. (Laughs) Just joking. Um…injury.
Gomes: Sweet lady.
Gomes: I used to joke with Malcolm and Peter that she was a BBB…a bitter bitch that got blindsided.
Holmes: A B-cubed.
Gomes: You have to put a fourth B in there, a beautiful, bitter bitch that got blindsided.
Holmes: Every season of “Survivor” has a villain. Was there a point where you knew it was going to be you?
Gomes: Clearly. Yesterday was pretty obvious. I was like, “Take me to the end, I’m the bottom feeder here. No one likes me.” I knew that. I was a bitch. I was aggressive. I was using all I had. In real life I’m not like that. My ex-boyfriend just emailed me and said, “You are so not what they’re showing on TV.” I actually feel honored that CBS is spending that much time on me. I was playing the game. I didn’t play a brilliant game. I made a lot of mistakes, clearly.
Holmes: What has the fan reaction been like?
Gomes: It’s really interesting to watch. They fight for me, I love it. I have haters and I have lovers. It’s awesome.
Holmes: Every Thursday morning I get an email from my mother, and she is not an Abi fan…to put it lightly.
Gomes: (Laughs) Awww…
Holmes: I’ve gone to great lengths to defend you. I tell her you’re a very sweet girl and it’s a stressful game and a challenging environment. So, it’s good that you’ve come out of this with such a good attitude. It can’t be easy to be the villain.
Gomes: I’m trying! Hopefully nobody tries to kill me on Sunday.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes