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'Survivor 46': Canadian Venus Vafa on the 'cruel' isolation she felt on the island, being proud for speaking her mind

"I don't think anyone really deserves that level of hate," Vafa said

MANA ISLAND - JUNE 2: Venus Vafa from the CBS Original Series SURVIVOR 46, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. -- (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)
MANA ISLAND - JUNE 2: Venus Vafa from the CBS Original Series SURVIVOR 46, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. -- (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)

Before we got to see Venus Vafa on Survivor 46, the Canadian reality star highlighted that she wanted to represent the "strength and intelligence" of Iranian women on the show. Now that we've seen Vafa get voted off the island, she's particularly grateful for the final words she left with: "Woman, life, freedom."

"I burst into tears when I saw that on the screen," Vafa told Yahoo Canada. "So I'm very grateful for my journey."

"I feel like, for better or for worse, I made sure to be that voice and I went on there to let all women know it's OK to speak your mind and to stay true to who you are, ... and not let yourself get censored. Whether or not that was good for my game is another conversation, but I am just proud I stayed authentic to who I am. ... I'm proud of myself and the game I played."

This week's Survivor exit happened, once again, to someone who had an idol in their pocket. Vafa joked that the idols are cursed on this season of Survivor, and we think she might be right.

"I think for my situation specifically, it wasn't really a blindside, it was a risk that I took," Vafa explained. "I took it willingly. I knew it could backfire horribly, or it could have an amazing payoff, and it very much was like a 50/50."

"I don't regret it. I see now watching back that conversation with Charlie really was what sunk my game. I saw it as me extending an olive branch, but I see his perspective, which was, 'This is a new uncertainty. ... I need to remove the uncertainty altogether.' So I definitely see and understand that, and hindsight is 20/20."

Where to watch Survivor 46: Global TV in Canada, CBS in the U.S., Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT Where to stream Survivor 46: Stream with STACKTV channel through Prime Video in Canada, or through Paramount+ in the U.S.

Watch Survivor Season 46 by adding the STACKTV channel to your Prime Video subscription. 14-day free trial then $12.99/month

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As we saw on the show, after Vafa found the idol, she went to Charlie Davis and said she didn't have the idol, but teased to him that she had "some thing up [her] sleeve" and they'll both be fine after the tribal. That got Davis suspicious about what Vafa was concealing from him.

"Literally 10 seconds into my conversation with Charlie, when I saw his reaction, I'm like, 'Oh sh-t, abort, abort, abort. I've made a terrible mistake. I should have said nothing,'" Vafa said. "I was expecting him to be more excited, but he got really freaked out."

"So it was definitely a misfire on my part, something I can own up to. I should have just shut my mouth and not said anything."


In terms of making alliances on the island, Vafa said she didn't expect the person she connected with from the beginning, Randen Montalvo, to have to leave with a medical evacuation.

"Being left with a group of people who don't like me and having to rebuild from there, I feel like I started off far behind the rest after he was evacuated," Vafa said. "So that really did change the trajectory of my game, but I'm proud of the fact that I never gave up and I still kept ... trying to have conversations, even though I was shut out a lot of the time."

"You can't really see it in the show, but it was really almost cruel the amount of silence and isolation that they put me through. Say what you want about your game, it doesn't help your game to just ignore someone's existence. That's very hurtful. Especially when I had no one else to speak to. You're already so isolated and already have no one to trust, but to have no one to even speak to casually, it really psychologically takes the toll on you, and you can see that in the game that I'm in a very negative headspace."

That "cruel" feeling even continued after Vafa's elimination, sharing that she had a "cold" welcome to Ponderosa.

"You would think, off the island, hard feelings would be put aside, but it was very upsetting that the few people who ignored me on the island continued to ignore me in real life, on Ponderosa," she revealed. "It was unfortunate. It really put me in a dark place to be met with a lot of hostility and comments that attacked my character, that were very uncalled for."

"So it was a hard time. Honestly, I don't think anyone really deserves that level of hate and I think for me, specifically, whether you like me or not, it was very disproportionate to what I had done to anyone."

For much of the game, Vafa had been labelled as a messy and chaotic player, while some may interpret her approach as someone who's just trying to be an active player in the game, but the Survivor star stressed that "shaking off a bad reputation" is difficult.

"First impressions and grudges for this season, specifically, really held on to the end and it was very unfortunate for me that the two most vocal, charismatic and influencing players, Tevin [Davis] and Q [Burdette], did not take a liking to me and really took every opportunity to poison the well against me, and to paint me as this chaotic, untrustworthy person. To the point where they were lying to people about my actions," Vafa said. "Whether you like it or not, I was never malicious."