Francesca, Fransesca, Francesqua. Former federal agent Phillip Sheppard may not have been able to remember her name, but Survivor: Redemption Island's Francesca Hogi will now go down in history as the first person to be sent to Redemption Island. Despite her early ouster from the game and her narrow loss to Matt in the duel, she says she feels redeemed by the experience. The 36-year-old attorney talked with TVGuide.com about what Redemption Island was really like, what got Phillip so worked up, and what viewers didn't see from his Tribal Council tirade.
TVGuide.com: How does it feel to be the first person eliminated from the game, but also the first person to go to Redemption Island?
Francesca Hogi: If you're going to be the first person voted off of Survivor, this is the season to do it. Now I'm some footnote in the Survivor history books. I actually am glad that I had the chance to go to Redemption Island even though I did not succeed. I actually feel redeemed just by the fact that I went and I was there by myself for a few days and I was fine and I managed on my own. I'm pretty proud of myself for that.
TVGuide.com: How did Redemption Island measure up to your expectations and compare to your original camp?
Francesca: I had no idea what to expect going there. I didn't expect that there was going to be any type of structure, so when I got there and I saw that there was a structure, I thought, 'Oh, great.' When I got closer and I looked at it, I thought, 'Oh, crap. This is not actually really habitable.' When I first got there, I actually had to do a lot of work to find a place to sleep and provide myself shelter from the wind and rain. ... At least there was no Phillip. I didn't mind being alone.
TVGuide.com: What went through your mind when you saw Matt [Elrod] come to Redemption Island?
Francesca: I was completely shocked. I just knew when I saw Matt that Rob [Mariano] was still in control of this game and that he still had his alliance wrapped around his finger. I realized no one is safe. I knew that Rob had some rhyme or reason for why he voted out Matt, but I have no idea what it was. Matt didn't know what it was, so we spent two days speculating why he got voted out.
TVGuide.com: What do you think it was that made the difference between you and Matt in the duel?
Francesca: I think Matt really, really wanted it. I wanted it too, but he definitely had something to prove beyond what I thought I had to prove. So maybe that was what made the difference. He's the best person to lose to. I'm happy for him.
TVGuide.com: One mistake in your game play was bringing Phillip into your alliance. Why did you trust him in the beginning?
Francesca: I never trusted Phillip and I actually didn't want to align with Phillip, but it's just the way these things happen. I didn't really have a choice since I wasn't in Rob's alliance. Phillip and Kristina [Kell] had both approached me on the first day to be in an alliance with them, and I was kind of like, "Oh, sure" because I didn't want to say no to anyone. ... It was Kristina's decision to tell Phillip about the idol. She and I talked, and I specifically said, "Do not tell Phillip." She said, "No, no. Of course I won't," and then she did. Really, part of my downfall was — because I didn't trust Phillip and I didn't like Phillip — I did not share a lot about what I was really thinking and that made him distrust me. I think that's what backfired and what made him freak out and try to throw me under the bus at Tribal Council.
TVGuide.com: Did you have an indication that Phillip was going to have that outburst at Tribal Council?
Francesca: I was as surprised as anyone. I knew that Phillip wasn't the most stable person. I think that Phillip talks too much and he has that personality where he always wants people to know how much he knows. So, he couldn't keep a secret, which is why I didn't want him to know about the idol and why I didn't want him to know I wanted to vote for Natalie.
TVGuide.com: Did he show problems pronouncing your name before Tribal Council?
Francesca: As many times as he said it, I was going to keep correcting him. If he said "Francesqua" 1,000 times, I would have corrected him 1,000 times. He did call me that many more times than was shown on television.