Although Ellie Gonsalves just missed out on the win during Tuesday night’s epic finale, she tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she had “the most amazing time” competing on the reality show.
“I just really wanted to go in there and be myself and play a really solid game,” she says.
“I was blindsided, it was a landslide eviction to get me out and then I had to fight my way back and I'm really proud of my game because I did it for my charity, Wildlife Warriors. I didn't do it for any recognition, I didn't do it for the spotlight.”
While the 30-year-old model admits that she didn’t know what to expect heading onto the show - “I never grew up watching it because my parents never let me” - she ended up becoming one of the most strategic players in the game and made several bold moves.
“I wasn't about blindsiding people, if they didn't deserve it,” she adds with a laugh. “There was a certain someone who deserved a bit of a blindside in there.
“It's all good gameplay though, even though a few personal things were said behind the scenes that never made to air.”
Speaking about her relationship with alliance-member-turned-opponent Jessika Power, Ellie reveals that they haven’t really stayed in contact post-show.
“You’re not always going to get on with everybody, that’s just life,” she reflects.
“But I don’t have any ill will towards anybody. I don't have any bad feelings. I mean, she's a lovely girl and I think that she can do a lot of good in the world if she keeps aligned with her charity and tells more of her story.
“It was lovely to meet her and she has her own path in life that she's pursuing, I've got mine and we'll just leave it at that.”
Ellie and Jessika’s on-screen rivalry reached its peak during Monday night’s dramatic semi-final episode, where Ellie put both the ex-MAFS star and her former ally, Imogen Anthony, up for elimination.
“Watching that back, there was a lot of that eviction ceremony that never made it to air. Lots of stuff went down, it was very heated,” she details.
“There were some things said and some contradictions. But I was actually really grateful for Josh having my back with that because I don't like confrontation so much, but if it calls for it, I will definitely stand up for myself.”
As the show was filmed a few months before airing, Ellie says that there was “so much stuff” the contestants were surprised to see edited out.
“Omarosa and I had a bit of a disagreement, shall we say, before she got evicted,” she reveals, adding that she found Trump’s former political advisor to be “quite rude”.
“We really just did not vibe for some reason. She was just an interesting character and I feel like she tried to intimidate a few people. She said Caitlyn was a Karen on the show and she made all the girls hate her, and that just wasn’t true.
“I said, ‘Hey mate, don't speak to us like that, we’re not your puppets in the house. Everyone's got a mind of their own so just relax, we’re all here for our charities’. So I was very surprised that they didn’t put that in, but it would have been great TV - a showdown between Ellie and Omarosa.”
One person that Ellie did become close with during the reality show was US star Caitlyn Jenner, who recently said she wants to walk Ellie down the aisle now that she’s engaged to her long-time partner, Ross Scutts.
“Honestly, I love her so much,” she says. “She’s gotten so behind me on Big Brother VIP for Wildlife Warriors. I just cannot thank her enough and I just have so much gratitude for being able to be in a position to get to know her.
“The show was an amazing experience and I'm so so proud of just even being able to make it to the top three and just give Wildlife Warriors this recognition. It's just amazing.”
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