Sunday, September 26, 2021

INTERVIEW. Marisha du Plessis on her Survivor SA: Immunity Island exit: 'It's a great blindside.'

by Thinus Ferreira

The guest house owner Marsha du Plessis (35) from Tulbagh was sent home after she got blindsided in Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island on M-Net (DStv 101) after Chappies got the most votes - but none of them counted.

With the second most votes, the farmer's wife from Tulbagh saw her torch getting snuffed as she had to leave - but she won't be gone for long: Marisha becomes the first member of the jury for this season after the episode saw the two tribes merged and Survivor turned into an individual game.

Why did you decide to enter and how did you feel when you got told you made it as a castaway?
Marisha du Plessis: It was amazing it was just such a nice feeling and I think I did it to prove to myself that I'm capable of doing anything - that you can push your body to the limit.

In what way did it live up to your expectations and in what way was it not what you expected it to be?
Marisha du Plessis: I went in open-minded not expecting anything. I wanted to enjoy the ride to its fullest, and it gave me so much more than I expected. Obviously, I came out a different person. I'm definitely more content with life. So, I would tell anyone to go do this game. Play it. And See what it throws at you.

You guys got such adverse weather. Where do you have to go to mentally to say to yourself you won't quit and leave?
Marisha du Plessis: Quitting is not in my vocabulary, but I do think being out there and being in that terrible circumstances - it's really terrible, you can't describe it to anyone - but knowing that there's a person on each side struggling with it as well makes it easier. 

Talking about it, moaning about it - and we didn't cry - but we definitely complained a lot, and I think that just helps you verbalize things, to work through it. But I'm enjoying the cold now because I can wear warm attire.

We saw you discover that hidden message and hidden immunity idol in the last episode. Then you ran to Renier and called him and I think you did it too blatantly as if you couldn't want and he came to help you and he then kept it. Do you think that maybe it was a mistake?
Marisha du Plessis: Yes, I was too excited and overwhelmed when I saw it. 

You've been searching for this idol and you never find anything and I just looked up and there it is. If I could redo it, I think I would have kept silent, kept it to myself because I could get it out of the tree and things might have played out differently. 

I would have shared the information eventually because I always knew that having an idol could put a target on your back.

Why did you guys not blame Anesu for the chickens escaping? It seemed as if it didn't really bother anybody?
Marisha du Plessis: It wasn't a big thing, we weren't upset about the chickens! 

I mean, hearing her saying that I threw her under the bus, it was not my intention at all. I would never blatantly throw someone under the bus. You'll know if I want to throw you under the bus. I think it was more a joke than anything else. 

I would have liked to eat the chickens at that point, actually. I was hungry.

You went home because Chappies got the most votes but none of those counted and you got the second most votes. Do you see that as a blindside or did you expect it?
Marisha du Plessis: I think something in myself knew this was too easy. That's it's too easy to be true. And It's a great blindside because I thought they were on my side - I thought we had formed bonds that were stronger than them voting me out. 

I really thought that when we merged and we got together with the previous tribe swop that these were relationships that I could build on. But it's a game and everyone is out there to win and to make their mark on the game so I take my hat off. 

I'm just sorry I'm the first one to be voted out of the merged tribe.

Santoni and some of the others said you came across to them as dismissive like "Oh enjoy it you have five days left". Looking back, do you feel that you could maybe have rephrased your wording?
Marisha du Plessis: Yes, I struggle to phrase wording I would say. 

Santoni came to me and I had a discussion about how far she thinks she can go in the game and I was just honest. That was my opinion. I thought that was how it was going to play out but this is just how wonderful Survivor is because nothing works like how you think it's going to play out. 

I love Santoni. If she comes to my house I will greet her with open arms, kiss her and give her a drink and we'll be friends, I can promise you that! There are no hard feelings. 

What makes this season so great is the degree to which the castaways are speaking up at tribal council. South Africans are so polite and won't say something in someone's face. How hectic is it to sit there and speak out while the other people are sitting there and it seems to have built over the past few episodes?
Marisha du Plessis: It s as you say as South Africans we are very polite and Afrikaans speaking people even worse, you're so scared to step on someone's toes. 

Tribal council is a place where you are supposed to be open and vent and find out what's going on. So it does get heated and Nico is great because he will ask the right questions and then something pops up: "Oh, I forgot about that! But this or that happened." 

I wasn't at tribal council so many times but you have to realise: Get yourself together, I'm still in the game, I can't burn a bridge now although you might be upset and want to explode. 

You have to stay calm even though it's such a struggle sometimes. I struggle with keeping in my emotions, so this was a great learning curve for me as well as a person.

You seemed initially to me like you could be captain of the netball team but then that you didn't play to your fullest physical strength because more castaways might have mentioned your name earlier as a threat. Do you feel that you've kept more under the radar?
Marisha du Plessis: I went in and my husband said, "please don't be yourself". Ha ha ha. 

I struggled to do that because I love a challenge. I love just going in for these games. I'm glad that I stayed under the radar most of the time at the beginning because that definitely saved me. 

Looking back - well, I'm voted out - I should have gone harder! I should have thrown girls heavier! But you don't know because you are scared to put your neck out. You don't want to be the first guy to say how to build a shelter because that poor guy always gets voted. 

You don't want to be the head of the netball team because no one likes you! I think as well that when you form alliances, the focus is not always on yourself because now you're three or four people who are jointly plotting something and it's not just Marisha alone.

When you become the first member of the jury you go to a hotel room and can shower and clean up and it's almost like a holiday as you wait for the end. What did you do first?
Marisha du Plessis: Well, first I looked at a mirror to see how I looked. I can remember that day on the beach, I actually thought: My swimming costume is really loose and it's such a bad quality I bought.

Meanwhile, I just lost so much weight. To shower was amazing. To have the food was delicious. But not being able to share it with your tribemates was sad because you miss them. You immediately feel lost. 

It's part of the game and I'm lucky enough to be on the jury. Going into the game I told myself that if I can make it past day one, if I can make it past the first vote,  past day seven, 14, and make it at least to merge, that would be the cherry on the top. 

So I got what I dreamed of.

When Nico snuffs out your torch I think you must be so overwhelmed as a castaway that it's difficult to focus and to be in the moment. Instead of walking off you took off your jacket and gave it to Nicole. Can you talk about being in the moment, what you thought and that gesture?
Marisha du Plessis: You're correct, when he tells you that you're the person voted out there are like 200 thoughts going through your mind. 

The only thing I could think of was that I must give my jacket to someone, I'm not going to need it anymore. I wouldn't have been able to leave without giving it to someone. It wasn't to buy favour.

Nicole, shame, she only had a windbreaker, it's not even warm. I would have given it to anyone. We used to cuddle and I used to open my jacket for up to three people just to keep warm. 

I don't know why I did it and looking back, I would have done it again.

I can't ask you what you might still want to ask because we are going to see you interrogate the castaways at the end before you decide who to vote for. 'm sure there will be another season of Survivor SA, what would be your advice to people who want to enter?
Marisha du Plessis: I think, when they asked me as well when I entered, what persona will I be playing, and I said I will be myself. I felt that I had to be true to the person I am. And that's the way I played it. 

It might not have been the best decision but you have to think clearly what would you like people to see you do and would you be able to live with that. When people look back at this season of Survivor SA in five years' time, would they be able to think "Marisha played a nice, fair game" or "Marisha, you were sneaky"? 

I've got children and I have to think: Will they be proud of their mother? I would say, go in guns blazing, but be the person you want other people to see.

What surprised you that you didn't know the other tribemates said or did?
Marisha du Plessis: I was definitely surprised seeing that little conversation between Anesu and Kiran on the poles. I mean, I was down there on the ground. I didn't hear it. 

So that was an eye-opener because I thought that we were quite tight. Well, obviously it's a game so you can't be tight with everyone. 

And Chappies! Having all those moves. Hiding in the bushes. I mean, I would not sit there. Do you know how many mosquitos there are? Jislaaik. It's interesting and fun to see.

Survivor SA: Immunity Island is on M-Net (DStv 101) on Thursdays at 19:30