Survivor New Zealand's underdog contestant Barbara Raos has slammed her fellow contestants, who brutally roasted her in the last tribal council during Wednesday's season finale.
The Survivor jury, made up of eliminated contestants, grilled Raos for her gameplay, with some alleging she had a "selfish" attitude and a condescending demeanour.
It was revealed in the live finale that contestant Sala described her as a "turd in a toilet that wouldn't flush," and Shannon told her to "go back to her knitting".
Speaking exclusively to the Herald, Raos said she felt "scorned and ridiculed", saying the comments were never about how she played the game but rather "a personal six-pack attack".
But at no point was Raos surprised. She knew the jury would always be biased because she - an older woman - had beaten them.
"I knew I was never going to have an unbiased jury who would acknowledge that an older woman outwitted, outplayed and outlasted them, and it was obvious to me that no one actually could attack my gameplay - so they took me down by aiming below the belt.
"I was scorned and ridiculed and they gave me no basis for an honest reply."
Although Avi Max Duckor-Jones won the title of Sole Survivor on Wednesday, fans took to social media saying Raos was robbed, and that sexism and ageism were clouding the jury's judgment.
Raos says she was excluded by the younger members of her tribe Hermosa from the beginning; while she paired up with Palmerston North policeman Nathan Davis, their five tribemates formed an alliance that Raos says was "veering towards Lord of the Flies".
She says Shannon's comment that she should "go back to her knitting" summed up the "air of ageism" she felt throughout the game.
"Their pervasive air of entitlement, with their continual ageist derogatory references, meant I knew I was chasing smoke for any votes ... I outlasted them all with no preconception that I'd ever get their vote," says Raos.
While Raos' ruthless gameplay did not go down well with her tribemates, many have noted that it probably would have won her the US version of Survivor. Still, Raos isn't holding any grudges, and remains "immensely proud" of making it to the final three.
"I have not found Survivor life-changing, I found it life-affirming. I got to test my mettle against myself; I had to rely on myself and my inner strength and resilience with none of my usual backup from my supportive husband, family or friends.
"I hope I showed that age doesn't come with an expiry date, and that by utilising my intelligence, being patient and observant, I neutralised people before I was a target.
"Sometimes achievements are subtle and overlooked, but [if you] play to your strengths and back yourself, you can reach your goals with your integrity intact."