Exclusive: Francesca Hogi talks about 'Survivor: Redemption Island'
By Reality TV World staff, 03/04/2011
Francesca Hogi's Survivor: Redemption Island experience proved to be a short one when her tribemates voted her out of the Ometepe tribe at the game's first Tribal Council session.
But thanks to this season's new game-changing Redemption Island twist, she got a chance to earn the right to eventually return to the game by competing in duel challenges against the game's subsequent voted-off castaways. However Francesca's first duel didn't go much better than her first Tribal Council visit -- resulting in her permanent ouster from the game during Wednesday night's broadcast of Survivor: Redemption Island's third episode.
On Thursday, Francesca talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: Redemption Island experience -- including if she and ally Kristina Kell really were planning to target returning Survivor castaway Rob Mariano at the season's first Tribal Council, whether she has any idea why Phillip Sheppard why seemed to have such an issue with her Tribal Council comment that Rob wouldn't be going home first, and exactly how bad living on Redemption Island really was.
Reality TV World: So based on the comments you made before the duel took place, you seemed pretty confident you were going to beat Matt Elrod. Was that just false bravado in attempt to intimidate him or had you really been that confident?
Francesca Hogi: Oh, you know, I wasn't trying to intimidate Matt. I think I just -- you have to be confident in these situations -- there would have been no point for me to have been like, 'I don't know.' What's the point of losing before it even started, so it wasn't false bravado, I mean I had no idea. I'd never made a pole out of sticks and string before. I was like, 'I could do this, but I don't know.' (laughs)
I wanted to win so I went in it positive and obviously it didn't turn out as I planned, but at least I lost to Matt. Matt is an amazing person. I'm totally rooting for him. We totally bonded out there with him and so I was really happy. Even though I felt bad for myself, I was really happy for Matt.
Reality TV World: After he won the duel, Matt made it clear to [Survivor host Jeff Probst] that he still kind of felt like he'd lost because he had to go back to Redemption Island. Exactly what were the conditions like there and how bad were they -- because based on last night's episode, it looked like just a small amount of time on the island was enough to make Matt miserable.
Francesca Hogi: Yeah, well he -- we were actually there for two nights together -- so, we had a little bit of time there. It was, I mean, it's not fun. It's not cush. Matt actually had it easier than I did, because I was already there and I already made a bed and I'd already cleared that shelter that was there or that structure that was already there.
It didn't have any walls, it had a bunch of debris in it, rocks, and broken wood and everything, and I cleared a bunch of that out. I made a bed, I made a little roof to protect from the wind and the rain, so by the time Matt got there, it was actually a lot better than when I got there. And then he and I worked on it and improved it even more. But it's not nice.
It's like all the things you have to do around camp -- just like getting firewood and keeping the fire going and cooking rice and all that stuff -- when you have a whole tribe of people where everybody can pitch in, that's a lot easier. Whereas if it's just you, and it's just one person, it's a lot more work.
So, it's not fun there. No, it's not fun and there were a lot of bugs. I had bug bites on top of bug bites on top of bug bites. I was like covered head to toe in bug bites.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised that Kristina Kell was obsessed with the idea of getting [Rob Mariano] out that she was willing to sacrifice her hidden Immunity Idol on Day 3 to do it? And do you think that you would have been willing to do the same thing if the situation had been reversed?
Francesca Hogi: I was very surprised and I tried to talk her out of it. Every time I thought I talked her out of it, she'd come back and say, 'I thought about it and we just gotta get Rob out. We gotta get Rob out.' So, I was surprised, but she was very very determined, and if I had found a hidden Immunity Idol, I think I would not have told a soul about it.
It's easy for me to say now obviously, because I wasn't the one who found it, but yeah, I didn't want Rob out. So, I eventually wanted Rob out, but certainly not the first person out.
We needed Rob and he was a huge asset around camp, obviously he's a huge asset in challenges, and I wanted to win challenges. That was my primary goal. I was like, 'Let's win challenges so we don't even have to worry about who we're voting out yet.' But yeah, it was too soon for Rob to go.
Reality TV World: So the part of Kristina's plan that made little sense -- and you were shown trying to point this out to her -- was that even if she herself successfully managed to vote Rob out with just three votes, you guys would still probably be on the short end of a three-person alliance in a tribe with eight people and the other five people likely looking to come after you next time.
Francesca Hogi: Yeah, that was my point to her. I told her, I said, 'I'm not going to write Rob's name down. If you and [Phillip Sheppard] succeed in voting him out, that's your Idol and that's your choice, but I don't want to be a part of it.' Because I said, 'All that's going to happen, is that everyone is going to hate you. The tribe would be weaker and you would be the next person out. You won't have an Idol, so, what's the point of it?'
She would agree with me and then she'd come back and say, 'I told Phillip about the Idol, and he wants to vote for Rob too.' I'm like, 'What?!'
I was just kind of in an impossible position. But, you know, that's life! That's Survivor! That's what makes it interesting, right?
Reality TV World: So, you're saying that when you were at Tribal Council and you were saying that your plan wasn't to vote Rob out, you were being honest there?
Francesca Hogi: I was being 100% honest.
Reality TV World: So, going into Tribal Council, what were you expecting to happen before Phillip exploded?
Francesca Hogi: Well going into Tribal Council, since I knew that Kristina had told Phillip about the Idol against my protest, I didn't have a chance to tell Rob because I knew that he was a loose cannon, and that he really liked to let everybody know -- he wants someone to know how much he knows -- so he's not the person to tell a secret to.
I did not know that Rob had already hinted to Phillip that he'd seen Kristina looking for the clues and he'd seen Kristina looking for the Idol and confronted her.
I had no idea about any of that. So, I actually thought her Idol was secret -- a secret between me and Phillip and Kristina -- and I thought that Kristina was going to get the most votes, if not all the votes from Rob's alliance.
So the plan was that I was going to vote for [Natalie Tenerelli], Phillip was going to vote for Rob, and Kristina was going to be the tie-breaking vote, and she was going to decide at Tribal Council because she had kept going back and forth between Natalie and Rob.
She was going to decide at Tribal Council whether she was going to vote for Natalie or for Rob, and that was supposed to be the person who went home -- the person who Kristina voted for -- so, that was the plan going into Tribal Council. Phillip's outburst actually didn't have anything to do with my going home exactly, because they already knew about the Idol.
They were already going to split the votes between us, and I don't even know what Phillip -- he told me he was voting for Rob, but I don't know what his plan was going into Tribal Council -- I don't know if he really had a plan. I don't know what he was thinking (she laughs), but anyway, things did not go according to plan. I was absolutely telling the truth when I said that I wasn't planning on voting for Rob.
Reality TV World: The episode made it look like what sparked Phillip's issue with you at Tribal Council was when you made that offhand comment that Rob wasn't going to be going home that night -- which even if you were lying and really planning to vote for him, it's pretty much what any smart player would say at Tribal Council.
Francesca Hogi: Right, right, yes. Even if I was lying, the fact that that set him off was of course absurd, but I happened not to be lying.
Reality TV World: So do you have any explanation of why he seemed to take so much offense to it?
Francesca Hogi: No, I think Phillip and I clashed and Phillip is -- in my interactions with him -- he was someone who needed a lot of constant validations. He liked to tell a lot of stories. He liked to say, 'I've done this. I've done that.'
He's an expert on everything, and that kind of personality just makes me crazy, (laughs) and although I knew that I should really just give him the validation that he needed and I should have just really tried to play along, I did try but it just got to the point of where he and I just butt heads about a number of things and so he just didn't like me.
Once I was really kind of like -- I wished it was clear I was not onboard with Phillip's personality -- he kind of just really had it in for me. So, I think that was just kind of an excuse. I just think he wanted to attack me, but who knows what goes on in his head. It's from a mysterious place. (laughs)
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor? How did you end up on the show?
Francesca Hogi: I applied to be on The Amazing Race and I was a finalist for The Amazing Race in 2009 and didn't make it, but then I got a call for Survivor about a year later.