‘Emmett Threw That Challenge’: Rachel Downie Opens Up About Her Australian Survivor Experience

On Monday night, Rachel was voted off Australian Survivor during an intense Tribal Council brought about by Emmett throwing the immunity challenge.

Rachel’s game started out strong - she was in a safe majority within the original Brains tribe. But, after Tribe Swap, both Rachel and Laura plummeted to the bottom of the pecking order. Emmett, the “boss who ruled everything” had a simple plan: pick off the remaining Brains members.

“I honestly think that Emmett threw that challenge,” Rachel told 10 play.

“Emmett was always highly competitive, but with this one he was like, ‘don’t worry about it, take your time guys.’ We see him standing around a lot, not doing anything, and I was thinking, what is going on? I feel like he just wanted to accelerate the process of getting rid of us because it was easy.”

According to Rachel, Emmett had asked to have a chat about how Tribal was going to unfold, and when she refused because she didn’t “see the point” -- he’d already told her innumerable times that she was out next -- it seemed her fate was locked in anyway.

“Emmett was basically like, ‘sucked in, I told you this is what's going to happen’. He was very motivated to get rid of me and I couldn’t stop him, so yeah, it wasn’t a nice feeling.”

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Despite the bad hand she was delt, Rachel didn’t let anything stop her from putting up a fierce fight. Prior to Tribal Council, she and Laura tried to convince fellow Brains members George and Cara to work with them.

“I went into that conversation with George knowing that they wouldn’t swap. I thought I might have a chance by saying we’d be four brains if they flipped, and he said he could see the sense in that, but there was no way we’d get Cara on board. So, it took a bit of courage for me to have that conversation because I knew it was going to be a difficult one, but I did it anyway and I gave it a crack.”

Rachel admitted that she struggled a bit with fitting in with her new tribe, and the situation felt quite “confronting”.

“I think it’s really hard when you've been through so much, to flip a coin and be like okay, we need to work in this team now. It kind of takes your head a little while to get around it… Being on the bottom straight away reminded me of a terrible couple of months as a student in year nine.

“Just that feeling of wanting to be friends with people and not being let in, wanting to talk to people about stuff, but them not really being interested because it wasn’t for their mutual benefit,” she shared.

“You really need to work hard to get over those sorts of triggers because I know it’s a game, but you still have feelings, and all of those feelings are amplified and accelerated because you don’t have anything else to distract you besides the relationships that you try to make and the game that you try to play. So, it's hard. Being on the bottom is a horrible feeling.”

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Despite her journey ending, Rachel shared that she still had an incredible experience on Australian Survivor.

“I loved it! It was a privilege, I mean who gets to do that, right? Who gets to take however many months out of their life and I guess step out of the world. I think one of my favourite parts was resetting my heart and mind right back to nature, like sleeping outside and being in an environment that was risky and scary sometimes. I think my favourite part was challenging myself mentally and physically.

“Obviously I’ve made some pretty great friendships and also just the privilege of being in the Survivor family now and being given the opportunity to compete was just awesome.”

However, out of the entire experience, Rachel said that watching her friend Wai blossom was one of her favourite things.

“I just knew she had this little woman beast inside of her and I just wanted to try and encourage her to bring that out and get her from the place where she’s like ‘I don’t know if I can do this’ to ‘yeah let's smash this’, and it was a real privilege getting to know her and seeing her grow like that.”

During her time on the show, Rachel gifted Wai a bracelet to remind her that she is “brave and free”.

“It was really cool, we actually sell those bracelets through our website; we’ve got ‘brave and free’, ‘kindness always’ and ‘I’ve got this’. They’re just personal affirmations for you to look down at and she actually messaged me and said she looked at that hundreds of times a day, every day, just going ‘yep, I’m going to be brave and if I’m brave, I can be free’. It was really nice of her to say that.”

Related Article: Georgia Ray Voted Out Of Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn

One thing which Rachel learnt about herself on the journey was that she “doesn’t like being bossed around”. As well as that, she learnt what it means to truly be yourself and to push yourself beyond limits.

“I learnt that I can do more than I think I can. I learnt we put limits on ourselves according to what we think other people think of us and being in a new environment, we think, screw it, I'm going to do it anyways and I don’t care what I look like, I don’t care what people think, I'm just going to put 100% of myself into that.

“In my business, working with suicide, self-harm... I feel like I throw myself into the work and I forget to do that for myself and my own personal goals. So, I think what I learnt is as a 50-year-old woman, I am fierce, and I still have so much to give.”

Watch Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn on Sunday – Tuesday nights at 7:30pm on 10 and 10 play on demand. Plus, see what Luke Toki and Nathan Morris have to say about the strategy on 10 play’s web series, Talking Tribal