Losing multiple challenges in a row destroyed the moral inside the Jalapao tribe. "As much as we tried to hype each other up, we knew we were down in numbers. It didn't help to know that the other tribe was thriving," Sydney Wheeler tells In Touch. After more than a dozen days of struggling in the Brazilian highlands, the model feared her tribe was turning on her. "I knew going to Tribal Council that I was going to be the next to go," admits Sydney. She was right. On the 18th day, she became the latest contestant to have her torch extinguished on Survivor: Tocantins.
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What was your first impression of Brazil?
Sydney: I loved it. Granted, Tocantins was a little harsh, but it was just so magically to be somewhere new. It was a big adventure for me and it was really amazing. Brazil was gorgeous.
I know that you were worried about going home, but did you end up blindsided by the vote?
Sydney: I knew going into Tribal Council that I was going to be the next to go. I could just feel it. And every time I went to Tribal Council it was scary. But this time was different.
Do you think Taj deserved to go home instead?
Sydney: No. I don't. As much as I hate that I went home, I think Taj is playing a brilliant game. She deserves to be there.
Before you watched the episode, did you have any idea that Taj had the immunity idol and also made a fake one?
Sydney: I had no idea. I feel stupid just watching it! She is just so smart. She came back from Exile Island and she's just talking about how harsh the climate and conditions were. And all we cared about were all the bug bites on her, when in actuality she's living it up because she knows she's safe for a long time. She did a pretty good job of covering it up.
What was the hardest part about surviving for 18 days?
Sydney: Don't get me wrong — the conditions and the extreme environment was just trying to adapt and survive around people you've never met before. They're judging you and plotting against you. It was a really weird dynamic and is very, very strange.
That was even harder than not eating?
Sydney: Oh, yeah. I mean honestly, physically the hardest part was the lack of water. The thirst and dehydration were rough. Hunger pains never really set in for me, I don't know why. But it was really the feeling of needing water, ugh. I never want to feel that again.
Who would you like to see make it to the end?
Sydney: Again, I love Taj. Her and I bonded, which they didn't show on the show, but we bonded on a female level. She's a great woman and I really appreciate her and I like her. I think she's playing a smart game. She's not just sitting back; she's doing what I wanted to do and taking the initiative.
And also, I really like Tyson because he's super-sarcastic and even though he comes across kind of rude and mean, I don't think he means to be. I think it might be the edit, so it should be interesting to meet him and see what he's really like.
Would you do it all over again?
Sydney: In a heartbeat.
What are you doing now?
Sydney: Now, I'm just modeling. There's no market for interior design right now, so I'm about to move out to LA and continue my career as a model. Hopefully, Survivor takes me places.