For long-time Survivor fans, the fact that Jonathan LaPaglia up and decided to read the votes from last night’s Final Tribal Council out on the spot, and not at a live cross from a studio back in Australia, ranks as one of the strangest decisions Channel Ten has made ever since they rebooted Australian Survivor. But as it turns out, all of us here at home weren’t the only ones caught unawares, even winner Pia Miranda had no idea she’d be burdened with having to keep a $500,000 secret under wraps.

Speaking to PEDESTRIAN.TV a short time ago, Pia – who won the series in a whitewash 9-0 vote over PhD student Baden Gilbert – revealed that the production didn’t tell them in advance the winner would be announced right then and there at the taping.

The reading of the votes came as a complete surprise to Pia, who told us “I thought we were gonna do what we always do. You know, Jonathan gets in a fancy helicopter and flies off and we all hear the votes in the studio live; we all look a little bit whiter and a little less skinny,” adding that the surprise vote reading was “a big shock.”

The double-edged curse of that was that Pia, and the rest of the show’s cast and crew, had to keep the result of the series tightly under wraps for months after shooting wrapped. For Pia, that wasn’t a difficult task – “I’m really good at keeping secrets,” she told us – but it was a much more difficult task for a couple of other crucial people:

“My poor kids. They had a hard time with it. They were getting hounded at school about it constantly [laughs].”

Pia also told us that there was a lot about Baden’s Final Tribal Council pitch – which copped a pasting on social media – that didn’t make the final cut of the show.

“They didn’t show how hard he fought. He was fighting really, really hard throughout the whole thing… he made some incredibly good points.”

“His speech actually went for 25 minutes. He was fighting so hard. And at the end of it we actually all said to each other it was a really good fight.”

As for whether or not she’d be keen to jump back in to Ten’s upcoming All Stars season of Survivor, announced last night after the finale concluded, Pia stated “never say never,” but that she also “needs time to recover” and would be “happy to just watch the next season on the couch with a wine.”

Fair enough, tbh.