Survivor castaway Matt Blankinship has revealed the current status of his relationship with Frannie Marin after the pair sparked a showmance on Season 44.

"We're still dating. We're still going strong," Matt, a 27-year-old security software engineer who currently resides in San Francisco, CA, told Entertainment Weekly after his elimination aired on last week's Survivor episode.


Matt and Frannie, a 23-year-old research coordinator from Minnesota who currently resides in Cambridge, MA, fell for each other on the Soka beach in Fiji within the first few days of the game.

But Frannie inadvertently sealed Matt's fate in the game. At the Immunity Challenge on Day 14, the merged tribe was divided into two teams of five, with Matt and Frannie on opposing teams. The winner on each team would win immunity, while the person to outlast everyone would win immunity for his or her entire team.

Once Frannie secured safety for herself, she could've thrown the challenge and allowed Brandon Cottom on the other side to win it all. Had Brandon also won safety, Matt and the rest of Brandon's teammates would've received immunity as well.

However, Frannie fought hard and was the last person standing in the challenge, which left Matt vulnerable and without allies on the losing team. Matt was then voted out on Night 14 at Tribal Council.

But Matt gushed of Frannie, "Obviously, there is so much chemistry there. We're two dorky magnets."

"We couldn't stay away from each other, and we knew the whole time," he admitted. "I think of myself as a very logical, smart guy. The one thing you come into Survivor and not do is get into a showmance because it's a terrible strategy, but we literally couldn't help it."

Matt continued of his showmance, which is now a real-world relationship, "So, yeah, we're still going strong."

In fact, Frannie and Matt were together while Matt was FaceTiming with EW for his interview.

Matt shared how making a powerful and "incredible" connection during the game was "the last thing I expected."

"You prepare for this game, but you could never prepare for that, right? One of the things I told myself going out there was to just sort of embrace whatever the experience had for me," Matt explained.
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"[I told myself], 'Go out there with an open mind and just let myself feel the things I was feeling and express them and let myself be whatever, whoever I am in that moment.' I think I really did that."


Matt described his immediate connection with Frannie as "so strong," and it's apparently led to a "beautiful" romance that is "so pure" in his mind.

"It would be a disservice to me and a disservice to her to not allow that to flourish, regardless of game, you know? I'm the real winner of Survivor 44," Matt said.

Matt also apparently doesn't think his showmance with Frannie did him in on Survivor.

"Me and Fran were not that subtle on Soka beach. It was very clear. But we did actually kind of turn it down and come to our senses, right? Our heads were in the clouds for a bit. We tightened it up," Matt recalled.

"I don't think that the bond between me and Fran was so obvious to everyone else. [Jaime Lynn Ruiz] came to our beach, she's like, 'I don't know what Matt's doing, he seems off in space.' She didn't really pick up on it, as deep as it was."

Matt went on to reiterate how he ultimately doesn't believe he received votes just so he and Frannie would be split up.

"I do think people thought we were an alliance and close, and that may have played a factor. I also think that the idol thing was a big factor as well," Matt noted.

"Honestly, with all the connections that I had made, I was actually feeling really, really good about my social game at the merge. With those 11 people, I felt like I had made good bonds with seven of them. And it just so happened that they were all on the other tribe for the way that the rocks came out."

Matt said he was "genuinely feeling really good" and people "probably picked up on that."

Matt reasoned how his fellow castaways probably saw that he was "playing a good social game" and had an "opportunity" to take him out when he was "powerless."


Matt was especially powerless because he had left his bag at camp when he went to the Immunity Challenge. Following his team's loss, they were sent to a different camp, and so he attended Tribal Council without his fake idol or his "Shot in the Dark" that he could have played.

Matt therefore concluded, "I'm pretty sure that was how it went down... It is what it is."

But watching last week's Survivor episode back with Frannie was apparently tough for them both. Matt admitted they "were both in tears" reliving the Immunity Challenge and his eventual ouster.

"She was weeping. I was weeping. It was a really intense experience reliving that," Matt shared.

"I think you can see it at Tribal. I'm a smiley dude, I'm smiling all the time, but I knew I was going home and that was the darkest place for me the whole time. I felt like I was processing my elimination sitting at Tribal before it had happened. That was a rough place. I think you can see it in my face as well. We were weeping."

Luckily, Matt is happy with his edit and thought it was actually "very kind" overall.

"Honestly, having seen the episode, it was like a Matt swan song and a beautiful episode," he said.

"I think I came out as good as I possibly could have. Like, I was freaking out on Soka beach, I was unhinged going to Tribal. I was losing my mind... So I'm happy with the whole thing."

Matt and Frannie clicked right away on their Soka tribe at the start of the game because of their quirky personalities, and they struggled to keep their feelings for each other a secret from their tribemates. The pair, for example, would hold hands in the middle of the night while the others were sleeping.

"She is really cute. She's got a really funny laugh. The snorts, it makes my heart gush. I would 100 percent ask Frannie out, and I think she likes me too! And we trust each other completely," Matt said in a confessional on the CBS reality show.

Frannie didn't want to spend time away from Matt, but she also thought it would be a good idea for them to distance themselves from one another in order to not come across like a potential power couple in the game.

"It's so hard because Matt and I can't stop talking. I think we just gravitate towards each other. We're just two big, dorky magnets that can't be pulled apart," Frannie explained to the cameras.

Frannie later admitted in a subsequent episode that she had a crush on Matt.

"When this game is over, Matt and I are going to go out for Ethiopian food together, and whatever happens, happens!" she said. "Matt is somebody I would date in real life, and if it comes to that after this game is over, I would be pleased as punch."


Matt told EW that he and Frannie did in fact "get Ethiopian food" once they were able to reunite in the real world.

"We're planning that road trip," he said, "We're making it happen."

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.