Survivor: South Pacific champ Sophie Clarke proved she’s not a “bottom tier-winner” in Season 40, Winners at War. In an interview, she explained how she would perform better if she returned for the third time.
[SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information revealed in Survivor 40: Winners at War Episode 11.]
Sophie Clarke on ‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’
Nearly 10 years after her surprising yet deserving victory in South Pacific, 30-year-old New York-based health consultant Sophie Clarke returned to compete against 19 former champs in Season 40, Winners at War.
Initially placed on the dominating tribe, Yul Kwon quickly approached her to join his “free agents alliance,” to which she eagerly joined. The two were separated in a tribe swap, and she landed in the minority alongside Sarah Lacina on the expansion tribe, Yara.
She found an immunity idol but didn’t need it as Ben Driebergen and Adam Klein eagerly joined them in voting out Boston Rob Mariano. Mainly thanks to Sophie’s physical prowess in challenges, the tribe went to the merge without seeing any more Tribal Councils.
The 30-year-old then orchestrated the merge boot and eliminated Wendell Holland to weaken Jeremy Collins, as she perceived the furniture maker as the Cambodia champ’s “right-hand man.”
At the following Tribal Council, she bluntly drew the lines between alliances when she ordered her majority five to huddle up and decide who they wanted to eliminate after their main target used his Safety Without Power advantage.
Even though Sophie seemingly quietly controlled the game, her alliance member Tony Vlachos blindsided the healthcare consultant the following week.
Sophie Clarke voted out on ‘Survivor 40’ Episode 11
After only focusing on his social game for the first half of the game, the New Jersey-based police officer decided it was finally time to come in with the “sucker punch.”
He successfully found an idol, received three fire tokens from two different alliances, and won his second immunity challenge. Feeling untouchable, Tony wanted to do some “damage” and take out a “hyena,” Sophie, as he believed she and his number one ally were getting too close.
Knowing his alliance planned on casting two votes for Michele Fitzgerald and three for Jeremy, he formed his own group of four to take out his intended target.
Though it took some convincing, it worked, and they sent a devastated Sophie to the Edge of Extinction with an idol in her “crotch.”
Why Sophie Clarke believes she’ll perform better if she returns
In a CBS exit interview, the South Pacific champ explained that leaving with the advantage in her pocket was “one of the saddest experiences” because she had the “power.”
Additionally, Sophie admitted she “still beats herself up” over the decision not to play the idol as she repeatedly told several allies that something “felt off” that day.
While at the time she didn’t know why she “didn’t trust my instinct” and go the “sure route” of not splitting votes, she now believes it had something to do with never getting eliminated before.
Sophie noted that if she had the chance to compete again, she would recognize the uncomfortable feeling and immediately play the idol or attempt to save herself.
Additionally, the healthcare consultant never found an idol before and believes it gave her a sense of “false confidence” that ended up hurting her game. While locating the coveted idol “felt like such a victory” at the time, it now “has such a negative connotation” in her mind as leaving with the “guarantee” in her pocket almost caused her to “break down weeping” in front of Jeff Probst.
She also admittedly “never felt so sad and broken down over a game before.” Therefore, if Sophie returned, she would trust her instinct and not fall into the “false confidence” the idol gives her. Survivor 40: Winners at War airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.
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