"In my real life, I'm not as abrasive," says the ousted contestant of her villain status on the show

By Steve Helling
Updated December 14, 2012 11:55 AM
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Abi-Maria Gomes began Survivor: Philippines with good intentions, but soon became one of the show’s most memorable villains. Although her tribesmates considered bringing her to the end, they voted her off simply because she was so hard to handle. In a surprising interview, the 32-year-old business student owns up to all her misdeeds.

You have become one of Survivor‘s most notorious villains!
Ugh! Don’t remind me!

You didn’t know that people would react to you like this?
I came into the game with the greatest of intentions. I wanted to play a beautiful, strategic game. In my real life, I’m not as abrasive, but something about Survivor brought out the worst in me.

What do you think it was?
I got a serious injury the first day; I tore my ACL in my knee. So I was in pain the whole time. I was hungry and tired, not sleeping, not eating, lonely, and the Demon Abi came out.

So it wasn’t editing?
I don’t want to blame the editing; I was abrasive and passive-aggressive. I didn’t think I was being a bully, but then you watch it and you’re like [makes cringing noise]. I really didn’t think I was all that bad.

But did you know that the tribe didn’t like you?
I knew. They told me that to my face. I knew that people weren’t happy with me.

A turning point was early in the game, when you accused RC Saint Amour of hiding an immunity idol clue. Come to find out, it was Pete.
I think if we had met each other in different circumstances, that RC and I could have been great friends. She’s beautiful and intelligent, and she challenges me on an intellectual level. But she was a huge threat, which created a huge amount of fear. So we would have gotten into it regardless; she was abrasive in her own way.

Can you make up and become friends?
I have already apologized and I have no problem with RC. She is still bitter about what happened in the game, but I would still like to be her friend.

You were known for performing poorly in challenges.
But I got immunity once! And I had the torn ACL, so that limited my ability.

Let’s talk about the final four players.Malcolm is a very charming guy. He’s very smart. He held back in challenges, and is now shining towards the end. He’s like the one guy who stabs you in the back, and you thank him for doing it. I tried working with him, but he was loyal to his alliance.

Denise and I didn’t get along inside the game. She’s entitled. She’s elite, miss perfect. But at the end of the day, she’s trying to win. Everyone is so tired, hungry and delusional. She could have done better as a therapist, but I was so difficult to handle that she didn’t want to deal with me. She would never want to have me as a patient, and I would never want her as a therapist.

What about Lisa Whelchel?
I had no idea that she was a celebrity. I just thought she was a sweetheart. She was fighting her own demons; she had good intentions and it was hard for her to make up her mind. She became extremely emotional. But she’s playing a good game. She was aligned with Mike Skupin from the beginning and I had no clue they were a pair.

And Mike?
Mike Skupin is such an injury freak, I was like, ‘What the hell?’ How many injuries can he get? Again, he and Lisa had us all fooled. I didn’t know they were so tight. That’s really great strategy.

So, you’re now a villain. Learn anything?
After Survivor, I realize how passive aggressive I can be. That’s not a good thing. I’m abrasive in my approach. I am going to work on it, and become a stronger person because of it.