By John Powell – GlobalTV.com
On last night’s Survivor 44 premiere Maddy Pomilla swung for fences by targeting tribemate Brandon Cottom. Unfortunately, she struck out, was voted out but if you ask her she would tell you she’d rather go down swinging than watch pitch after pitch go by even though she has the distinction of being the first person voted out this season.
“It feels almost better to go out the way I did because it was my own doing in a way. I knew the risk I was taking. I was fully aware of the consequences. I can sleep at night with the way it went down. Never in Survivor history has anyone been forced to play their idol at the first tribal and never in Survivor history has the first person voted out been the mastermind behind the vote, who actually had the numbers for the vote and was then idoled out. It’s never happened,” she told GlobalTV.com.
Usually on a Survivor season featuring three smaller tribes some players find it difficult to hide in plain sight but that isn’t how the charity projects manager wanted to play the game.
“If I had kept my mouth shut then I could have played my game orbiting around them and they get to do what they want and I adapt to them but that is antithetical to my philosophy of Survivor and how I want to play Survivor and how I want women to be able to play Survivor, right? So, I wasn’t going to do that. I was going to find a way to get people to pivot around me, are ordered around me. I was working towards that. I mean, I was ‘in’ with everyone,” she said.
So what sparked Maddy’s mistrust of Brandon in the first place? It was the tribe’s Savvy versus Sweat challenge debate. Maddy suggests there wasn’t much conversation and picking the Sweat challenge was a “very machismo” move.
“There was a lot of telling me what we’re going to do. They were talking to the wrong girl because I was not going to do that,” she said.
Brandon’s decision to reveal his hidden immunity idol to the tribe after conferring with her also didn’t sit well with her.
“I know Brandon is an alpha. I’m an alpha. I’m a competitor. That dude is a former professional athlete. I’m as competitive as a former professional athlete who is the biggest guy on our season and in a tribe of six. Probably one of the most powerful people on the season. That’s why I wanted him gone,” she explained.
Maddy’s scheme was to actually be all of the things she accused Brandon of being in order to raise Brandon’s threat level and pave the way for his exit.
“When I go to Lauren and I say he’s the kingpin, he’s the godfather, he’s playing everyone, that’s projection, baby! I was the kingpin! I was the godfather! I was playing everyone and I wasn’t scared of Brandon for a second. He just wouldn’t work with me and that’s why I needed him out. I needed other people to be scared of him. So, it’s one of those things that if it doesn’t work then you’re crazy and if it does work then you’re a genius. I went home with one vote. It almost worked,” she said proudly.
The other Ratu tribe member who was on her radar immediately was Matthew. She thought they were very much the same person and player. She saw him as a wild card like her but because he warned Brandon to use his idol at tribal council he would have been the next on her hit list had she not been voted out. Like Matt though, Maddy sees herself as that thrill seeking rebel.
“Going into that tribal I was running with my sword out and no shield! I liken it to free solo rock climbing. Why free solo rock climb when you could just do it with a rope and not die? It’s like, because it’s cooler not to. If you get up the wall with no rope it’s more thrilling and I’m a thrill seeker!” she exclaimed.
When it comes to her edit she wishes fans could have seen more of her gameplay.
“I think you get a sense of that I was running the show from the edit but I don’t think you get a sense of how long I was running the show. I was doing it. I knew about Lauren’s advantage. I was one of the only people that knew that. Meanwhile, she was looking at me all tribal asking me what to do. You have Kane willing to flip on the guys to work with me. You have Jaime who though she got paranoid was also onboard with the Brandon plan. She just wanted to add some protection for herself. I wish everyone could have seen how much I stood up for the girls because their names were on the block not mine,” she said.
Maddy is proud of how she played Survivor by not riding the pine and taking a big, risky swing.
“I have a weird philosophy of Survivor. I don’t know if I thought I could win but I knew I was going to do some crazy stuff. I knew that however I went if I went, it would be iconic. So, I’m good even though I’m sad,” she said.