Survivor SA's Stacey-Lee clears the air on her mysterious illness

2018-05-18 12:54

Cape Town – The third episode of Survivor SA: Philippines had all the makings of a soap opera. 

After their winning streak Mindanao deliberately lost this week’s immunity challenge to have their first tribal council. 

But before they got there Stacey-Lee Valentyn threw a spanner in the works announcing that she was too ill to stay in the game. 

The 27-year-old business analyst from Cape Town became the third castaway to be voted off the island. 

We chatted to Stacey-Lee about her illness, her alliances and what she thinks is in store for the rest of Mindanoa. 

It came as quiet a surprise that you didn’t want to be on the island anymore. At what point did you decide to throw in the towel?

There was a bunch of things that happened leading up to that decision. I was really ill for a few days and plagued with a combination of vomiting and diarrhoea. I remember feeling so ill that I couldn’t even really lift my hand before the immunity challenge. It really gets to you and it is especially difficult when you are in that environment. I also realised that they were coming for either me or Jeanne so I made the call. I wasn’t sure if I could go through the next few days feeling so ill and if it was between me or her I knew she was stronger. 

How did you manage to hide being that ill from the rest of the tribe?

Tevin was all up in my grill all the time and I didn’t want to put a target on my back and come across as weak. I often took walks down the beach to get some privacy to do what I needed to do. I was always walking off on my own and I think they thought I was being conniving or looking for an immunity idol. 

On one day I must have thrown up 10 times. You go to the toilet a lot and you're digging a lot of holes – to the point where I felt like a mole. It was hard hiding it from them but Jeanne knew what was going on, I confided in her. In the end some of them thought it was just a mechanism to get out of the hot seat.

At tribal council, Nico said that you were medically cleared though?

In Survivor someone comes up to you looks you in the eye and says: “you’re not going to die so you’re fine.” When they cleared me my temperature wasn’t taken and no medical checks were done. When I got back home I had a very bad virus and glandular fever and was put on a course of strong antibiotics. It wasn’t a fun few weeks. I literally shat myself out of the game. 

Tribal council was a mess. How do you think this bodes for the alliances moving forward?

It is a hot mess! Some alliances that they wanted to keep a secret came out so, we’ll see. I think Jeanne is definitely on their radar. After last night’s episode there was an indication that there might be a tribal shuffle and we know that is going to stir things up and it is going to make things tough for some people.  

With you gone how long do you think Jeanne will last?

I am hundred percent behind Jeanne. She intimidates a lot of the men, she is good with strategy and the challenges. Hopefully the tribal shuffle will work in her favour.  

Before and after there was a lot of debate about throwing the immunity challenge. In hindsight what are your thoughts on it now?

There were quite a few alliances in the tribe. I promise the all-female alliance really did exist. Initially I was in another alliance with Tevin, PK, Jeanne and Toni, believe it or not. Because we weren’t going to tribal these primary alliances started falling apart. The longer you are there the more conversations you have and you start learning new things about the people. So, the initial alliances started crumbling and new ones were forming. 

Throwing the challenge was pretty much us trying to solidify our alliances. We wanted to know are you with me, against me on or on the fence. We needed to know because we were dancing around each other and things were changing. I think there must have been about six alliances by the time we went into tribal.

Is there anything that you’re seeing now behind-the-scenes that comes as a surprise to you? Like Werner eating the clue?

Werner eating that clue was hilarious!

People were playing the game from the get go meanwhile I was relaxed, I was off fishing, I think that I was completely oblivious that things were happening so quickly. When I opened my eyes it was too late and I was at the bottom of the alliance.

I was also surprised by the fact that Murishca was coming for Jeanne and myself when we had such open conversations and she was wearing my shirt at tribal council! You really don’t know how people are until you see it on TV.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I wish I didn’t feel that bad, maybe having a doctor check me out would have helped. I just regret that I left that early I think that I had a lot more to give if I was in a better health state. If it wasn’t me it was going to be Jeanne and that is my consolation, keeping one of the strongest players in the game. I really hope she gets far, if not I am going to be pissed at her. 

Catch Survivor SA: Philippines Thursdays at 19:00 on M-Net (DStv 101) 

(Photos supplied: M-Net)

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