While George’s chaotic approach to the game put him in practically everybody’s line of fire, Cara was one of the few to embrace the King, even going so far as to play a Hidden Immunity Idol for him early in the game. The move ultimately backfired and ended Cara’s time in the game, or so she thought at the time.
“I was fully prepared to exit the competition,” Cara told 10 play, “I frankly never thought I was going to win. I hoped I’d win, but I never thought I was going to win... I just wanted to go as far as I could.
“I’m such a believer in the journey, there’s no point getting to the end and being miserable,” she continued. “George wanted that so badly and I did too, but I would rather have given that gift to allow him to have his journey.”
Describing it as a “positive blindside”, Cara said even George had no idea she had decided to play the Idol on his behalf.
“I just wanted to give him something frankly, because I understood that no one had ever done anything like that before, probably in his life,” Cara explained. “I just picked him from day one. He’s a good person, a bit rough around the edges in terms of how he deals with relationships, but in my business, I build people up and send them off on their merry way and hope that good things come back.”
Cara’s good deed was immediately rewarded as she was given the opportunity to continue her journey, joining the Brawn tribe. There, making a new alliance within the OG Brawn, Cara lay the foundations that would protect herself and George throughout the game, making them a powerful duo when they reunited.
“Everyone underestimated us. George was my shield, he’s so bombastic I’d just send him off like a little wind-up doll to go and march out and I would lead from behind,” Cara explained. “I was all about relationship building, building alliances.”
Where George may have burned bridges, Cara was right behind him building them back up again.
“I felt like the guiding force behind George in terms of subtlety, nuance... my goal was to make it as far as I possibly could, and I wholeheartedly believe that we were both essential to each other in different ways.
“We were playing our own game, but we both knew what each other was doing pretty much all of the time.”
With such a tight pairing, as they got to the pointy end of the competition together, Cara said she and George knew that their honeymoon would eventually have to come to an end.
“We both knew we were going to have to turn on each other, but we wanted to take each other as far as we could,” she admitted.
“We had a little gentleman’s agreement in terms of, you know, it’s just going to happen at some point. There is going to come a point in that gameplay where it is no longer beneficial. We knew that.”
That “point” just happened to be Flick winning the Immunity Necklace, throwing the three remaining Brains into a spin wondering who among them would be the next to see their torch snuffed.
With Hayley scrambling to stay in the game, she pitched to both George and Cara that she was the only one who could potentially beat Flick at the final Immunity Challenge. The pitch seemed to work with George writing Cara’s name, and Cara writing George’s. Unfortunately, Hayley sided with George, sending Cara home just before the final three.
“I still think they’re silly for not taking me to Final 2,” Cara added, “all of those three would have won against me.”
Despite thinking that each of the final three could have beaten her if they had taken her to the Final Tribal, Cara’s pitch was simple.
“I’m a subtle player. I have been playing the long game since day one. What you don’t see behind the scenes is me mentoring pretty much everyone, not just for their game but for their life,” Cara explained. “Within the Jury they knew who I was and what I had done and what I was doing, and that’s what I would have relied on.”
Knowing that there was a one in three chance that she would be the next to be sent to the Jury, it was still difficult seeing her name pulled from the urn.
“The saddest thing I thought was my family won’t get to come visit, that was the biggest thing... but I knew it was going to have to be one of us, and it just really gets to a point where you turn on each other,” she said.
“Turn on each other sounds so dire, we really did have a gentleman’s agreement that one of us would have to go and there would be no hard feelings at all.
“There’s a time for strategy of brain and there’s a time for heart, and when both of them collide you feel a whole gamut of emotions. You’re a bit sad, but happy, proud of yourself you got that far, wish you had gone further.
“Overall I’m supremely proud of where I got to and supremely proud that George and I absolutely annihilated everyone through to the point where we couldn’t. Don’t underestimate people!”