Despite making it to the very last night in the camp, after counting snakes (or ‘danger noodles’ as Poh affectionately calls them), her time sadly came to an end as she was literally catapulted into a swamp.
For Poh, heading into the jungle was a journey eight years in the making, admitting that she had been asked almost every season to join the cast. Finally, after all this time, she agreed.
“There’s a lot of it I found unnerving, things that some people might not think about,” Poh told 10 play. From cameras watching you walk into the long and short drops to sitting around with no make-up, having to shower in a public setting, “Not to mention you’re allowing yourself to be cracked open, having conversations you don’t necessarily have control over.
“But also… because I’m on my own again, I felt free to do it. I think if I was still married I would have struggled because I’m away for work so much already, so I’m a bit footloose and fancy free at the moment. It hit me at the right time [and] I think the confidence level was a big one.”
One of the reasons Poh wanted to finally take the plunge was to see how she would react in the camp environment, surrounded by big personalities and extroverts. “You really have to start from scratch again in terms of finding a pecking order, it’s really interesting. If found all of it brilliant,” she added.
Having not lived with such a large group since her original season of MasterChef Australia in 2009 Poh said the experience “confirmed a lot of annoying things” for her.
“I didn’t realise how quickly I would return to ‘little Poh’ when I felt a bit out of sorts. I haven’t felt that for a long time and I think it was because I’m quite introverted in my personal time. As soon as I got my sketchbook it just completely calmed me down, I had a thing to go to when I needed time out.”
As one of the many celebrity chefs to head into the jungle, Poh joins a handful of MasterChef alums in the contraband hall of fame. While the other celebrities were busted sneaking in coffee, lollies and even a contour kit, Poh quietly watched as one-by-one they handed their smuggled items over to an amnesty bin.
Meanwhile, she had a massive bag of salt in her bag for her entire stay in the jungle, and the jungle gods never got a chance to punish her for it.
“I had it in my rucksack the whole time and it got wet form the rain one night and the salt was taking the dye out of my jacket,” she said, laughing.
In the middle of dinner, Poh had to surreptitiously grab a fistful of salt from her bag, wander back to the fire where dinner was cooking, and stir in the seasoning without anyone noticing. For weeks even her campmates were unaware of the stashed salt.
“It was in my top three fears of being in there,” she admitted, “not having seasoning on the food. It’s such a basic luxury!
“I pretty much had to get it right, I had to look at what was in the pot and estimate what I had to grab because there was no going back for seconds.”
On top of everything else in the jungle, each night Poh had her own individual challenge in the form of transforming the nightly ‘Skyfood’ into a culinary creation. Instead of it becoming a source of tension, Poh said she loved feeling useful every night. “They’re the best bunch of people I’ve ever fed,” she added.
“They were always so grateful and empty plates are always satisfying to a chef, and that was a guarantee every night.” The camp was so hungry even the bucket they used for food scraps would be picked apart by some of the celebs. “We were zero waste in there,” she laughed.
While some would be devastated to have missed the finale by an inch, Poh felt completely satisfied with her experience. The first celebrity to arrive in the jungle, and the last to be ejected she got to experience every single day in camp.
“It’s really just the live voting that I miss out, and I was feeling a little bit of trepidation about that,” she said. “Like, I kind of don’t want to know how unpopular I am!”
Watching the season as it aired, Poh was able to experience her time in the jungle all over again with a completely new lens.
“It’s been so joyous to watch and, just from the feedback I’ve gotten and I see everyone gets on their socials, it’s a show that just brings Australia so much joy.
“People talk about it all the time, how three generations watch it together,” Poh added. “My family and I have watched tele together like that since, I don’t know, since I was probably ya teenager. There was like my brother, his kids, my parents, my great aunt. It was just a real joy.”
During her time in the jungle, Poh was supporting Yalari, a not-for-profit organisation that provides school scholarships for Indigenous children from rural and remote communities.
“It’s such a beautiful charity. The founder and his wife, Waverley and Llew, are such amazing people and the organisation has such a personal story attached to it.
“Coming to Australia as a migrant and having benefited from such a privileged upbringing and education, it’s something that I really want to be a part of, to help create generational change. It’s something that’s been playing on my mind a lot, to contribute back to our First Nations people.”
If you’d like to learn more about Yalari, or any of the charities the celebrities are supporting, click here.
With just six celebs remaining voting for the next King or Queen of the jungle is now open! Head to 10play.com.au/vote to vote for your favourites now!
Tune in Sunday, January 30 at 7.30 for the Grand Finale of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! on Network 10 and on demand on 10 play