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Sharn Coombes Survivor 2018 Runner-Up Interview

“I Did Have the Stronger Game” Sharn Has Some Feelings About the Survivor Finale

Throughout a large portion of the game on Australian Survivor, Sharn was a target due to her status as an A-grade threat. Thus, she had to use a combination of her strategic, social and physical prowess in order to progress through many tribal councils where her name was on the chopping block. Against tough odds, she managed to get herself all the way to the final two. Despite a rousing final tribal speech that drew on her experience with appealing to a jury, she was pipped at the post at the last hurdle when her close ally Shane beat her by one vote. Below, her thoughts on how her job influenced her game, whether she made the right choice in taking Shane to the final two, and her proudest moments.

POPSUGAR Australia: Sharn! I'm pretty devastated for you. But how are you feeling?

Sharn: I'm okay, I'm disappointed like anyone would be. I felt I played an amazing game and I was hoping the jury would honour that and award me the title, but it didn't go my way, so yeah, I am disappointed.

PS: The reason you were on the Champions tribe was because of your role as a criminal barrister, what part of your job do you think had the greatest influence over your game play?

Sharn: I think it's probably my ability to read people and interpret where they're coming from, whether they're being genuine with me with me or not, and certainly the ability to be able to persuade. During the game I was able to persuade people to vote the way I was voting, or to make the moves I wanted to make, I think that was probably my biggest attribute in terms of my skill set from work.

PS: You mentioned last night that a Survivor jury is different to the juries you face in court, because the contestants don't have to be objective. What other differences between a Survivor jury and a courtroom jury did you have to consider when giving your final tribal council speech?

Sharn: [Laughs] Look, that's a great question! It was different in many ways, sure I feel comfortable addressing a jury [in court] because that is what I do and I love to do it, but I was certainly limited by time. I had five minutes to make my pitch to the Survivor jury, where as in court I've got as much time as I need. Also, we don't get any questions after from a courtroom jury like we did with the Survivor jury, so that was quite an unusual experience for me. And, with the subjective versus objective thing, that's clearly a huge thing in Survivor. You can see how prejudice and emotion can influence people. We need juries to be objective in order to make the right decision, and as soon as those emotions come in, maybe the right decisions aren't being made, I don't know. . . [laughs]. Not to take anything away from Shane at all, she's a very deserving winner and I love her to bits, but I just think I did have the stronger game out of the two of us, in terms of game play.

PS: You only lost by one vote. . . was there anyone on the jury whose vote you were surprised to not receive. . .Mat?

Sharn: Look, after those questions Mat fired at me, I kind of thought, "okay, I'm going to lose Mat's vote." I don't think there's anything I could have said that would have persuaded him otherwise. He wanted to give it to Shane because of what he thought was my disloyalty in not warning him he was being voted out, when in fact I think me planning on playing my idol for him was a sign of my loyalty. And he had his own idol he could have played, and we're out there to play for ourselves. But, actually, the one person I was really surprised about was Monika. She and I had a great relationship out there, I was genuine with her, and she even threw me under the bus a couple of times but I kept trying to trust her. I was kind of like a mother for her out there, I looked after her, made sure she wasn't concussed after she hurt herself in that diving challenge, all these things. So her vote I was definitely the most surprised by.

PS: Fair enough! And regarding Mat, wasn't your attempt to play an idol for him warning enough?

Sharn: I think that's just what it comes down to, when people can't let go of things. If I were him, I would have recognised and acknowledged that I did put my life on the line for him. He could have taken it as a hint, like "okay, something's happening here, maybe I need to do something." But he didn't do it, and he didn't save himself, and he's kind of put that back on me. Is that fair? Is that not? Who knows.

PS: Hindsight's 20/20, but how do you think you might have fared if you'd taken Brian instead of Shane?

Sharn: Going into that final tribal, I felt confident against both of them. I felt like I had a really good case to put to the jury in terms of my game play, I felt like I could beat Brian too. But for me, I wanted to go to the final two with someone I had played the game with, and who had trusted me, as a sign of respect. I thought the jury would recognise that too . . . but, I'm happy with my decision, I stand by it.

PS: I also thought it was a good decision to take Shane, someone who you had made similar moves to, and you could have argued that you played more actively than her. . .

Sharn: Yeah, I thought that was it. Going up against Shane was the tougher choice, and of course when you win you want to win against the best, but I thought the jury would know that too, that I was the one behind all the moves, I was the one doing all the work to get us to the end, and I thought that would be recognised.

PS: Well you made several key moves throughout the game, which move are you most proud of?

Sharn: Yeah I did make a few moves, and I am proud of many of them. I'm proud of using my idol to take Fenella out, I think that was a really clever move. And I'm proud of two final moves, actually: taking Brian out of the game and beating him in that last challenge, as well as the Shonee vote at the final four. The final four vote is a hard one, and I was ready to go to a fire making challenge, but I had both Shonee and Shane in my back pocket, and I got to choose which one went home. Shonee was believing me that I was voting for Shane, Shane was believing me that I was voting for Shonee. I stuck with Shane, as again, a sign of my loyalty! That was probably my best move, considering they should have voted me out. Brian wanted me out, they could have sided with Brian, but they didn't, because I had both of them in my pocket.

PS: I'm sure you know this by now, but you actually have won the equal most individual immunity challenges of any woman in Survivor history. Are you surprised by how well you did in those challenges?

Sharn: I am, I am! I'm so proud of that achievement, and being a Survivor fan, to now have those records. . . I'm just so happy with myself! Especially having been in a team of champions who were known for their physical prowess, it's amazing, and I am so proud of my physical game. I didn't know I could do those things and now I do. . . that's so cool! [Laughs]

PS: What would your advice to future contestants be?

Sharn: If you're lucky enough to get in there, obviously go in with a strategy, and. . . don't trust anyone! That's probably my greatest advice. [Laughs]

PS: Last night Jonathan asked a few people if they'd play again, but he didn't ask you, so I have to ask- would you be up for an all-star season?

Sharn: Yeah, of course! I've got unfinished business, I've got to take that win out! No doubt.

Image Source: Network Ten
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