Sunday night’s vote seemed simple enough, the OG Brains majority would finally oust the last standing OG Brawn member, Flick. But with the last Hidden Immunity Idol safely in her possession, Flick knew things would go a very different way.
George’s suspicions turned out to be correct and his decision to sway Cara to vote for Wai ‘just in case’ Flick had an idol worked in his favour, saving his skin but sending the author to join the jury.
“I’m really proud of where I ended up,” Wai told 10 play following her elimination, “I definitely faced a lot of fears, went through a really, really tough physical journey just to be out there… you have ups and downs all the way but I’m ultimately really happy with where I ended up.”
Heading into what would be her final tribal Wai was presented with an opportunity from Flick to move away from the Brains alliance and to make a move against George along with Hayley.
“I reflect on that last day a little bit and there were definitely moments that I felt Hayley and I could have bonded with Flick,” Wai said. “And I was thinking about whether it would make sense for the three of us to be a final three and go into that final tribal with the intention of working with her.”
But the appeal of having a final four completely made up of OG Brains members was too appealing and Hayley and Wai went into Tribal without any idea there was an Idol in play.
“She kept that very, very well hidden from us,” Wai said, laughing. “We were all looking for Idols and thinking maybe there isn’t an idol, maybe we can’t find it!
“When Flick revealed she had the idol I suspected that I was going home,” she continued.
“When they pulled my name out of the urn I was ready for it in some way because I had already processed the fact that yep, she has the idol - I’m the backup.”
“I had heard George and Cara whispering behind me a little bit and it all sort of fell into place and, emotionally it was a heart-wrenching moment but I accepted it. I think I was ready for it to be there and I was just happy that I had gone through this entire journey. It was definitely an emotional moment but I knew it was coming and I had accepted it and wanted to experience it to its fullest.”
In the moment, Wai had an explosion of cathartic emotions, though sad her journey had come to an end, she said her pride in reaching the final five and the amazing experiences she had during her time all washed over her as Jonathan snuffed her torch.
From the very first Tribal, Wai was the number one target of the Brains tribe. Thanks to George’s advantage, she was among the handful of castaways he chose to save from the first vote.
“I knew I was so close to going home on day two that I felt I was on borrowed time the entire time and I think that really affected how I played the game,” she explained.
“I was really trying to just survive day by day, vote by vote and I did always feel like I could be the next to go.”
Despite the target on her back, Wai managed to persevere and in one of the most stunning moments of the season won herself individual immunity with a miraculous comeback.
“I never expected to win that,” she admitted. “All of the challenges… I’ve mostly been focused on staying upright and I’m very transparent about that.
“Some of the challenges I found too overwhelming,” she added. Dealing with her fear of water Wai said that while she was proud to have conquered it at times, occasionally there were moments where she had to recognise her limits, but this challenge saw her defy even her own expectations.
“I didn’t think I would be able to do it. The entire time I was quite far behind it was like, I just need to get to the puzzle. And then to get there, you know, it definitely wasn’t an easy puzzle in any way, shape or form but just to finally have it click together, it was such an amazing experience.
“I was so overwhelmed and just really, really stunned and grateful and excited. All of the emotions because I never, ever thought that winning Immunity was within my reach. You have challenge beasts like Emmett, Andrew and Hayley winning so many necklaces and I couldn’t compete.
“I was just absolutely thrilled to be there and to have won that challenge,” Wai said.
Describing herself as “not the typical Survivor player” Wai applied for the show to push herself out of her comfort zone and embrace a challenge wholeheartedly. Now the next chapter of her Survivor experience begins as she takes her seat on the Jury, making the final decision who will be crowned Sole Survivor at the Final Tribal.
“For me, going on Survivor was such a journey of personal growth,” she said. “I had setbacks and highs but I definitely was looking for my own personal growth and was really proud of how I had grown.
“I was looking for that in a Sole Survivor as well, someone who adapted to the situation and played a really smart game. That’s the criteria I would be thinking about as I go forward.”