'Survivor: Philippines': Abi on Being 'Demon Evil,' Flirting With the Jury and Making Amends
The polarizing Brazilian, who became the seventh member of the jury in Wednesday's episode, talks to THR about her role as the "villain" and whether there was a chance she could have won.
And then there were four.
Abi-Maria Gomes, a 32-year-old Brazilian business student who lives in Los Angeles, was voted out of Survivor: Philippines in Wednesday night's episode, the last one until Sunday's finale.
Abi was deemed the "villain" this season by most of her tribemates, and she used that in an attempt to get them to take her to the final three -- arguing that no one would vote for her, so it would be smart to bring her to the end. But she was unsuccessful in her efforts, becoming the seventh member of the jury.
On Thursday, Abi talked to The Hollywood Reporter about being seen as "demon evil," whether she was portrayed accurately and if she's made amends with her fellow Survivors.
The Hollywood Reporter: Were you surprised they didn't decide to take you to the end?
Abi Maria-Gomes: I was always trying to hang on to a chance. At that point, I tried working my magic. It would have been really smart for them to bring me to the final three because I was unliked by everyone. I was trying my amazing argument to win it, but you know, I tried working my magic and it didn't work out. When they voted me out, I was pretty sure it was my turn. If I would have played my cards right ... I guess I really got on their nerves that badly that they didn't want me around.
THR: Why would they choose to keep Denise over you, given that she's probably going to be hard to beat in the end?
Abi: They are idiots and morons. You can write that. I called them worse [on the island].
THR: Has it been hard watching the show?
Abi: I have good days and bad days. It's never fun knowing you're going to die. It was hard, but I did the best I could. I had a huge injury; I pulled my ACL the first day I was there, so I was fighting the whole time. So for 40 days, I was injured and I had to have ACL reconstruction surgery when I got back. That really was a huge part of the way I was playing the game. It's the reason why I was so weak in the challenges. I was trying to play it off. I didn't want the try to think that I was weak, and that's why I had to be so abrasive and aggressive.
THR: Did you think they believed you when you told them you had found a hidden immunity idol?
Abi: I didn't think anyone believed my life, but I was relying on that 1 percent chance. I was just trying to fabricate that fantasy idol, and if there was 1 percent of a doubt -- I mean that got me to the final five.
THR: There was a lot of tension between you and the final four. Going into the final vote as a jury member, were you able to keep an open mind?
Abi: [I was thinking] I'm going to vote based on strategy for sure. I kept an open mind. When I left the island, the game was over for me. Clearly I wasn't able to pull it off, so after it was my turn to go, I did the best to just look at the game as a critic, and I took my vote as a jury member extremely serious. It's a huge chunk of money. Strategy [definitely played a role in] choosing the winner for me.
THR: Do you think you were portrayed unfairly or inaccurately?
Abi: That's not who I am in real life. They did not portray me unfairly. I'm not going to blame it on editing. I take it and I own it. I did act poorly. I was passive-aggressive and abrasive -- and the circumstances helped, the injury helped, the hunger and sleep deprivation helped. There are different layers to my personality, and unfortunately the demon evil Abi came out.
VIDEO: 'Survivor: Philippines' Host Jeff Probst Spills Secrets on Final Episodes
THR: Have you made amends with anyone?
Abi: I apologized to Lisa. I was pretty tough on her. And Skupin, I think I apologized to him too for throwing the coconut on his head. Denise and I amended and we're on good terms.
THR: Do you have any regrets?
Abi: Of course I have regrets about how I spoke to people. It's not nice to be that mean. I regret being too loyal to my "evil three" alliance. I was so emotionally attached to them in such a way that I was ready to take a bullet for them and was getting defensive. That's another factor in why I was acting the way I was. I should have been open-minded and listened to the others for sure.
THR: What was the hardest thing about Survivor?
Abi: The emotional toll it took on me -- being disliked. I understand now while I'm watching it why I was disliked, but while I was on the island, I didn't understand why they were hating me so much. Also being hungry and in pain. It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.
THR: What was the best thing?
Abi: Coming to the realization that I have to work on myself as far as being so abrasive and passive-aggressive and my approach to situations sometimes. It was a wakeup call to work on myself. I met some wonderful, great people Even though I wasn't there looking to make friends, I got really close to some of them.
VIDEO: 'Survivor: Philippines' Finalists Discuss Strategy, Hidden Immunity Idols and Jury Votes
THR: Once you realized you were the "villain," did you start playing that up?
Abi: One hundred percent. And I was really playing on the fact that I was that awful person and they would take me to the end because they would have a better chance of winning -- who would vote for me?
THR: But did you think there was any chance you could win?
Abi: Oh yeah, in my mind I thought I had a huge chance. I was totally winning that bitch. I was that confident.
THR: You were smiling and waving and it even seemed like you were flirting with some people on the jury. Was that part of your strategy?
Abi: I was flirting with Peter. Come on, he's a hottie! I was trying to work the jury too. I had my eyes on the prize.
THR: Do you keep in touch with Peter?
Abi: Yeah, we're very close.
THR: Would you play Survivor again if asked?
Abi: It would be an honor to go back if they want to deal with me all over again.
THR: What are you doing now? Are you still in school?
Abi: I am starting a beverage company, my own alcoholic beverage line, which is coming out in the market. It's a project I've been working on the last year and a half. Check it out at xicocktails.com.