03/04/2011 at 10:00 AM EST
Francesca Hogi, an attorney from Washington, D.C., was the first Survivor
contestant ever to have her buff snuffed on Redemption Island.
The self-described "opinionated and stubborn" Hogi, 36, spoke with PEOPLE about how she survived alone, why she was eliminated, and what it was really like living with "crazy" Phillip.
What was going through your head when Rob and Russell got off that helicopter?
I didn't think it was exactly fair for us to have to play with really experienced players. But at the same time, Boston Rob was one of my favorite players, so I felt, "I want him on my tribe." Don't get me wrong, Rob is a great asset, but he's also a very dangerous player so I certainly was never going to lose sight of that. But I actually wanted to align with Rob.
Then why didn't an alliance with him pan out?
I approached Rob on day one and he gave me the political, 'yeah that sounds good' response. Once that happens, and it happened organically, there's nothing you can do about it. I can't just say, 'me too! Me too!' That's just not how it works.
So you turned to Phillip for an ally. What was he really like?
Living with Phillip was not a pleasant experience for anyone. I certainly was not alone in my dislike of him but for whatever reason he really reacted to me, so I got a lot more of his focus than some other people did. He was would just follow me; he was relentless. I'm not entirely sure living with Phillip 24/7 for 39 days is worth a million dollars.
So if everyone disliked Phillip, why not vote him out first?
Once Phillip and I were arguing [at tribal council] I did. I was like, "look, you're a crazy person, you're the one who wanted to vote out Rob." I figured my only hope was voting for Phillip since he was someone who was so irritating at camp that after that whole fiasco at least one or two people would say, "I can't live with this guy," and vote for him.
So you were the first to be sent to Redemption Island.
I was glad for the isolation, I really was, but it totally sucked. It was really late, I was thirsty, dehydrated, and I didn't have any water. There was a structure, but it was filled with rocks and broken wooden planks so there was nowhere to sleep. It really sucked but I made a fire and got to work.
Speaking of fire, why were you searching for flint when you had a lantern?
When I first got there, I wasn't even thinking about the fact that I had a lantern. I just wanted to make sure I had flint. Starting a fire with a flint is really easy. And even though I did end up eventually using the lantern for subsequent fires, I still would always use the magnesium from the flint because it would help the fire to burn more.
Surprised to see Matt arrive next?
When Matt showed up, I realized that Rob was so in control of this game and no one out there was safe, even people who were huge assets to the tribe while they were losing and people who are totally loyal to Rob. I understand why Rob did it, I think it may have been a little soon, but I guess that remains to be seen.
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