Dubbed a puppet master early in the game of Survivor: Nicaragua, 27-year-old Brenda Lowe seemed to be able to do no wrong. Her alliances were working and her tribe mates were eating out her hand. But that changed last night when her alliances imploded and Brenda became the 11th person voted out and third member of the jury. “I didn’t see it coming and was blindsided on the beach,” Brenda tells In Touch.

All seemed well for Brenda until her tribe mates realized she was a major threat, controlled the game and needed to go. Despite one of her allies, Chase, informing her of the tribe’s decision to eliminate her, Brenda chose not to scramble and hoped Sash might give up his immunity idol to save her. Given that she had already confided a plan to vote out Sash to NaOnka (who’d informed Sash), her plan would not come to fruition.

While Brenda is not happy with last night’s turn of events, leaving the tribe now may have been the best. Last night viewers witnessed one of the craziest Survivor moments in history when, in a desperate attempt to keep their fire alight by covering it in wooden chests, the tribe accidentally decimated half of their camp and destroyed their food supply. With half of the Libertad tribe off enjoying a reward challenge (which included a helicopter ride), the remainder returned to camp to find what was left of it. “That whole period was the beginning of the end for me,” reveals Brenda. “The only thing I wanted on Survivor was a reward with a helicopter. I dated a guy who flew them and never went on one. I missed out on the reward, come back to camp to find it burned down… are you kidding me? God what’s next? I have to clean this up? It was just too much. People wanted me gone; I had to clean up a fire I didn’t start. It was a lot that day, I had to laugh it off.”

Brenda also admits one mistake she made was not keeping her eyes open during the individual immunity challenge that involved balancing on a rope. “That challenge was so, so hard. I closed my eyes and if I hadn’t I would have seen you could have used your hips to balance. I got all Zen, closed my eyes and after watching it last night I was like, crap! You can use your hips?”

Overall, Brenda is happy with the game she played and has no regrets. “I was a competitor and I enjoyed the game,” she laughs. “I gave it my all and didn’t hold back. I think my parents would be proud of me in that I didn’t just sit there. I wasn’t a little princess and I worked for it in every way.”

For more with Brenda, click here.

Name: Brenda Lowe
Age: 27
Eliminated: November 17

How are you feeling after last night’s elimination?
I’m hanging in there. I crashed and burned. It’s Survivor 101, when you get way too comfortable – BAM – someone knocks you off, it happens. It’s the biggest lesson I learned. I didn’t see it coming and was blindsided on the beach. And I was like, “What? Come again?” It doesn’t make sense and I was in denial. I had everything planned and this was not part of the plan. My circuits couldn’t handle this information.

Chase told you were being targeted; yet you didn’t scramble to secure your place.
One: I was in huge denial. Two: I think before I act. So when I got the news I thought about it for a long time and thought about what to do. The only people who could save me were Sash and Chase. Forget the others. I didn’t know NaOnka had turned on me and I didn’t want to scramble, as they would have seen they couldn’t trust me. I stressed that they were taking out their main alliance – ME – and if they were targeting a main alliance then they are targeting you. That was my plea. I was loyal to my alliance. I’d hoped Sash would have saved me by giving me his immunity idol.

Do you regret trusting NaOnka, as she really turned on you?
I don’t regret it, that’s me, I trusted her. People didn’t see that NaOnka was a sweet person. Yes, it’s a shocker, but she was funny and sweet. I knew she was a crazy roller-coaster ride, and didn’t know how mean she had been in her confessionals, but in the beginning people wanted me gone. But NaOnka took all the attention off me. People targeted her and wanted her gone as she was mean, stole food and pushed down a girl with one leg. So it took the attention off me.

Do you regret not playing a quieter game as you were dubbed a puppet master early on, too?
No, never. That is the way I live life and the way I was going to do it. I watch the show and get giddy watching the challenges. To get my shot on that show I went all out. This was MY opportunity, so I went for it from the beginning, I hope it showed. With the strategizing, you don’t know what you are going to do, as you don’t know what you have to work with. I didn’t know I’d have crazy NaOnka, intelligent Sash or wishy-washy Chase. So the puppet-master thing happened and you just have to be yourself. That’s the beauty of Survivor.

What was the absolute worst part of Survivor for you?
Come on (laughs), getting eliminated! There was no other low! There was a time I had an infection on my shin. I had run around in the middle of the night and gotten a thorn in it. I thought nothing of it till pus started pouring out of it the next day. I thought I might have to be Medivaced out of there. I went to a corner and started crying, thinking the doctor would send me home. So apart from having your torch snuffed, that was a low point.

You managed to look great all the way through the show, what are your Survivor beauty tips?
Oh my gosh, if you’d asked me how I looked I would have said despicable. On TV we looked pretty good. It was the tan and detoxifying by not eating anything. You are in a bathing suit the whole time; your hair is wet so you have that whole beach thing going on. I tried to give myself salt-water facials, as that was all I had. Looking good was the last thing on my mind but I thought I did pretty well.

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