By Dalton Ross
May 16, 2019 at 10:54 AM EDT
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The last thing Victoria Baamonde said while playing Survivor is that she was going to vote for Gavin to win. And then she didn’t. What gives? Especially since it seemed like the two were so close in the game and she played with Chris for only one full day? We spoke the sixth-place finisher of Survivor: Edge of Extinction to get come clarity on that and other things we never saw on the show.

Robert Voets/CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:  Congratulations on making it to finale night, but tell me about the disappointment of making it so far, just not quite far enough.
VICTORIA BAAMONDE: It’s definitely hard because everyone’s goal is to win the game, and once you’re three days out, you just feel like you’re right there. But I always told myself going into it that if I went out, putting all my cards on the table, and as long as I did what I could to save myself, I wouldn’t be upset. And that’s exactly what happened. I tried to put a plan in place, I knew I was in danger, and then two idols are played, so it’s like, man, what can you do at that point? So I’m still very proud of myself, and I don’t hold any regrets. Nothing keeps me up at night.

What were you thinking when Lauren used that idol on Chris? Were you just like, “What the hell is happening right now?”
I think my face kind of said it all. They cut away to my face, which was great. I just truly did not understand. I didn’t know she had an idol, so for her to say that she had this idol since day 2, to play it on this guy that just got back in the game when there’s only one more day that you can use an idol, to rather not keep herself immune in that position is mind-boggling. I thought maybe I’d get some clarity watching it back, and I truly did not. I do not understand what she was doing.

Okay, well, here’s the move you made that I need some answers on, Victoria, because we see when you get voted out telling Gavin, “You got my vote.” Gavin did not get your vote, even though he at least appeared to be your biggest ally in the game. You voted for Chris to win and I need to know why.
I did. Okay, so based on the people left in the game, Devens had my whole support. I thought he was doing a great job, and I would’ve voted for him had he made it, but my saying that I wanted Gavin to win was my last-ditch attempt to get him voted out of the game, because he was supposed to be my ally. He would always tell me ride or die, we’re making it to the end.

I wasn’t fully aware of what happened, like, I don’t know exactly what the plan was, but it was clear that Gavin had slipped on me in that moment, or else there would have been at least a second vote for Chris. So that was my last ditch attempt to have the people still in the game believe that Gavin had a secure jury vote, so maybe they would see him as a bigger threat and take him out.

So why vote for Chris over Julie?
I didn’t believe Julie’s played a very prominent game, at least. She was a very emotional player, and sure, for Julie, it probably wouldn’t have happened if she didn’t have her meltdown. But for me, she didn’t play a game that I personally respected, and with no animosity towards her, she did well enough to make it to final 3, and kudos on that, but there are games that I respect. Some do take charge of things and make power moves, and I just felt like even though Chris didn’t play 39 days, which was tough for me to vote for him because of that aspect, but I felt like in the time he did have, he made a series of impressive moves, and he just deserved it more.

It’s hard to do this because so much changes in those last few days after you go out, but you generally seem to have been seen as the second biggest threat to win after Rick. I think we can all agree from everything you guys were saying and the way the jury was lapping up everything he was doing that if Rick makes it to the end, Rick wins. But outside of that, how do you think you’d do against anyone else? Do you win this game? Do you beat Chris? Do you beat Gavin?
It’s a tough scenario because I don’t think there’s any scenario in which me and Chris make it to the end together, but I do think I would beat Gavin. I think I’m a bit more eloquent than he is, and he’ll admit it to. He shuffles over his words in public speaking more than I do, and we did vote together almost every time, not every time. Most of the moves, maybe we made them together, but I could say that I took charge on a lot more of them. So I think I definitely beat Gavin. I would like to think I would beat Chris. I know I had a lot of supporters on the jury, I know Wardog was my biggest fan. so I’d like to think that I would’ve beaten him, but I’m truly not sure, ’cause there’s people out there that I never met. I never met Reem. Why would Reem vote for me? She never met me, so I’m not sure on that one.

Any time you don’t win, you must think if I could go back and change one thing, maybe I would’ve had a different result. Have you thought about that? And if you could change one thing about the way you played, what would it be?
I think what really sealed my fate was Chris coming back in, and people seeing Chris as somebody to work with instead of take out. If somebody more threatening than him had come back in, like maybe Joe or Kelly, I think they would’ve been out like that. I think that’s truly what made me lose. But if I could change one thing, well, I really couldn’t change it, but it was voting out Aurora. I think when she was gone, I realized that that was a detriment to my game. And I realized it as it was happening. I knew this wasn’t something that was gonna benefit me, but my hands were kind of tied.

I was really the only one who wanted to get Julie out, because I knew everyone would sit next to Julie, so if everyone wants to sit next to Julie, that’s one less thought for me. Because they wanted to sit next to her, they wanted to keep her, so I couldn’t alienate the only people willing to work with me in the future, so I thought. Losing Aurora was the worst part for my game in terms of something that I kind of could’ve controlled, but in reality I did my best and I couldn’t have really flown that any other way.

What we see on air is just a tiny fraction of what actually happens out there. What is something that happened that you wish we, as viewers, had seen?
Oh, there are several things. Well, one, it looks like I never looked for idols, which I did, and often. Two, it made it look like we never followed Rick with his idol hunting, and we did, and often. Specifically me, there was one time he took off holding a machete, and I was just sure he had a clue or something. And this was at the very end of the game, I was incredibly depleted, but I took off after him, and he ran up over this big hill onto another side of the beach and I followed him the whole time, and I stuck with him, and it turns out he was just practicing making fire, but I thought he was trying to fool me, so I stayed with him for hours, but all he did was make fires, so eventually I ended up making a fire with him, and we talked and we bonded. It didn’t really show me, or anyone having a human relationship with Rick, so I wish that was something that was shown.

And then when we voted out Wardog, I was really proud of that one, because there was a lot that wasn’t shown. Again, also, when we voted out Ron. There’s always so many layers to plans that they just can’t possibly explain. I’ll try to explain the Wardog one the best I can. So when Wardog was going home, Wardog thought we were all voting out Aurora. But Wardog knew that I was very close with Aurora at that point, so he told me we were voting out Gavin. And then, I, truly, with Gavin and Aurora, knew that we were voting out Wardog. This is actually something that I did with Aubry, also. I expressed doubt in a plan that everyone had in place, and it revolves around another plan, and I made her extra comfortable by giving her more options or expressing doubt with something that was fake.

So I did that with Wardog, too, because I knew Wardog knew I was smart, and so I said to Wardog, “Hey, Gavin doesn’t seem nervous. Why is Gavin not scrambling if his name’s the one out there?” And so, he’s like, “Oh, s—.” And so he pulls Gavin to the side, and he was like, “Dude, you need to act more nervous around Victoria ’cause she’s gonna realize that we’re not voting you out,” because he thought that we’re voting out Aurora. He tells Gavin to pull me to the side and just say, “Vic, I’m nervous. We gotta figure something out.” And so Gavin does that, he pulls me aside, and I say to Gavin, “Is this where you’re supposed to tell me your nervous?” And Gavin goes, “Yep.”

And I love doing that, because by me expressing doubt in the plans that Gavin’s going home, it makes Wardog truly believe that I think Gavin’s going home, because why would I say that if I didn’t believe that’s what was happening? So I think that was my gameplay. It was being involved in every single layer of the plans and knowing what every single other person thought was happening, and making them so comfortable in the plan they thought was happening to never have to play an idol or an advantage if they had one, because Wardog had eyes on everyone the day he was voted out. He was worried, so I wanted him to be as calm as possible. I wish things like that were shown, but I understand that that’s incredibly complicated and probably not good television.

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