Million Dollar Island’s Payton on why she “went in with zero game plan”

million dollar island payton

“My whole idea was to go in and have fun, and just push myself”

Drama, intrigue, rivalry: Seven’s Million Dollar Island sees 100 everyday Australians stay on a remote island, vying for a chance to win $1 million. But braving the harsh conditions with limited means isn’t the only challenge on the island, with contestants also having to face off against each other.

Some contestants will become richer by winning challenges and inheriting wristbands, while those who lose and fail to collect new wristbands must go home.

Mediaweek caught up with Million Dollar Island contestant Payton Ellicott ahead of the show’s premiere at 7pm Monday, 12 June.

“On one particularly stormy night, I had a bit too much to drink and was scrolling through Instagram,” Ellicott says, recalling how she got involved with the show. “An ad came up, and in all honesty, Million Dollar Island after about four wines sounds like it’s going to be on a pretty bougie island – I thought ‘this is my time to shine’. I imagined wandering around a fancy Island, I had no idea what it entailed!

“They gave us a warning, saying ‘It’s going to be a bit intense,’ and I thought ‘oh, I can do that’. I said to my mum, ‘come on, they’re not going to put me on a scary island’ – no, they 100% did!”

Other shows that see castaways sent off to an island may have around 20 people playing, a fraction of the 100 that are competing on Million Dollar Island. Whilst Ellicott called the environment “absolute madness,” she also points out that it was an opportunity to bring people together who otherwise wouldn’t have met. 

“It was some of the most fun, because you looked around at everyone, and thought, ‘wow’ – there were people from all over Australia. It really showed what Australia has to offer in a way, it really broke down a lot of stereotypes and put all these people in one room, which was pretty unreal.”

The aim of the game on Million Dollar Island is to collect wristbands, worth $10,000 each. With each person starting their time on the island with one wristband, collecting them is achieved by taking them from others.

“I went in with zero game plan,” laughs Ellicott. “My whole idea was to go in and have fun, and just push myself. Every aspect of it for me was mind over matter and just trying to get it done. I know that there were a lot of people that came in with so many different tactics, and I just didn’t have it in me to have a tactic other than just trying and make friends and have a good time.”

Ultimately, Ellicott says that she hopes the audience gets to see her true self shine through on the screen.

“I’m hoping maybe I get more than five seconds on the screen! If I could get my grandma to watch it and make sure she sees me, that’d be fabulous. It’s just exciting for Australia to hopefully see the real me – to see what I’ve got to offer and how hard I could fight, and everything that I put out on the table.”

Million Dollar Island: 7pm Monday, 12 June on Channel Seven and 7Plus

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