For many on Survivor: Nicaragua, it was easy to overlook Fabio Birza. He was fit, but not nearly as strong as Ben Henry and Chase Rice, and he spent 39 days on the beach perfecting the role of clueless surfer dude. But forgetting about Fabio turned out to be Holly Hoffman's biggest mistake. After he won his third immunity challenge and guaranteed himself a spot in the final three, Sash Lenahan and Chase were able to make stronger cases for themselves and Holly was the last person voted out. The 44-year-old swimming coach from Eureka, S.D., spoke with TVGuide.com about her big mistake, why she changed her vote and which on-air moments her family gave her the most flak about.
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After watching the show, was there anything in particular your family teased you for?
Holly Hoffman: Well, of course the shoe incident. They were like, "Mom, what are you doing?" Then, of course I did say some naughty words. So as soon as I said that, I got a few text messages saying, "Mom, what did you say that for?!" Overall, I really believe that my family is very proud of me.
How did it feel to be the last standing woman in the game and the last remaining member of the Espada tribe?
Holly: I couldn't believe it. At the beginning of the game, I had a bad start and I thought there was no way. But I just kept going and going. I remember after Jane left the game, I was the last woman in this game. Who would have ever thought that I was going to be the last one? Then, when Dan left, I remember walking back to camp and thinking I'm the last Espada member left. So that's a huge accomplishment.
Survivor's Chase says he drove himself crazy with wishy-washy game play
On TV, it seemed like Fabio was going to take you to the final three. Were you surprised to get voted out?
Holly: I was, and I should have communicated a little bit more with Fabio. I was in a really tight alliance with Chase and Sash, but I just kind of left Fabio in the background. It was my mistake. People ask how I could have made top three, and that's what I tell them. I think I should have talked to Fabio a little bit more, and not waited until after he won the challenge and that's where I feel like I went wrong.
Do you hold anything against Chase and Sash for their vote against you?
Holly: Absolutely not. Somebody has to go out; it's a game. I was just proud to be the last lady and the last Espada member, and I told them that. I said, "There's no hard feelings."
Who did you vote for and why?
Holly: Going into Tribal Council before everything started, I was going to vote for Sash. I felt strategically, Sash played a great game. But then after the questioning, I was talking to Chase and I was very impressed with some of things he said, and how he said he would give $100,000 to help his dad. That just kind of connected with me and I thought, I played practically this whole game with Chase so that's who I need to vote for. That's why Chase got my vote.