Melinda Bam second celebrity to leave Tropika Island of Treasure

Cape Town - The new season of Tropika Island Of Treasure is in full swing and after Tumi Voster and Mark-Anthony Bingham were the first to be eliminated, front-runners Melinda Bam and Kelly Gunnell (#TeamCoral) exited the show in what has become a shocking elimination. 

Melinda and Kelly have been dominating the challenges throughout the season but after the leaderboard was cleared, their luck turned. 

Last week, the two received three points in a general knowledge challenge and the team couldn’t seem to pick themselves up. After being on the losing team of the human foosball challenge in Monday nights’ episode, Melinda and Kelly were the first team to complete and ultimately win the next puzzle challenge. But, after a tie-breaker challenge between competitors and #TeamBlue contestants Sbahle Mpisane and Nondu Mabizela, the two found themselves in the elimination challenge. 

The elimination challenge saw bottom three teams Team Coral (Melinda Bam and Kelly Gunnell), Team White (Khanya Mkangisa and Mpande Buthelezi) and Team Yellow (Nay Maps and Rudi Witkowsky) test their puzzle-solving skills yet again and, shockingly, Team Coral came in last. 

Melinda and Kelly sat down for a Q&A after being eliminated:

What surprised you most about yourself being on TIOT and the island? 

Melinda: I was surprised to learn that I am really adaptable and that I can throw myself into different challenges and situations and think strategically in a way that guaranteed an edge in whatever came our way. I have also learnt that although I am an exceptionally competitive person, motivation doesn’t come from beating other people. Rather, it comes from giving 120% all the time - and that allowed me to be at peace with every outcome because I knew I gave it my best, and that is all I can ever do in life, and the rest must just happen according to God’s plan.

Kelly: TIOT8 was definitely an experience that taught me so much! An individual win is always satisfactory, but when you're part of a team it means so much more. The competitive environments I have previously been exposed to were challenging, but there wasn't a million rand on the line so I never had to worry about having the thickest skin. TIOT8 was a totally different ball game - it was extremely intense and emotional. I didn't think it would affect me as much as it did. But it was so much fun.

Where do you think you could have improved?

Melinda: I honestly think Kelly and I made the best of teams, and that we worked so well together. We left each other feeling empowered in our strengths and secure in our weaknesses in every challenge. I could feel how every single challenge gave us a greater determination to show people that two girls can kick some butt and work brutally hard at everything, and still do that with integrity and without becoming catty. We just wanted everyone to do their best, so that the winners could be proud to say “may the best team win” and truly mean it. Beyond that, and knowing that our character wasn’t at fault even in defeat – makes me proud to say that there was nothing more that we could do.

Kelly: Not being so awkward in front of the camera! Haha! Prior to being teamed up with Melinda I think I was very nervous (and uncomfortable in front of the camera). For me this was a completely different experience, I've never done anything remotely close to this so I maybe doubted my capabilities. But once Team Coral came together Melinda helped me find my confidence and feel more comfortable! 

What was the best thing about being teamed up with your partner?

Melinda: The best thing about being teamed up with Kelly was that we had this instant camaraderie that encouraged each other’s strengths and never nit-picked at our weaknesses! People often think girls need to throw a bit of shade, and walk over others for them to get to the top, but we showed how we can dominate, and still encourage other teams when they were low spirited – and I know all of them can vouch and say that we were the greatest cheerleaders for all the other teams. We now have a bond that will last us a lifetime, because finding someone who can work as hard all while having the same source of motivation is a rare find! I think that my reason for entering #TIOT8 had a greater goal than winning the million. It was being able to show women empowerment in action and girls working together as a team in unison. We both left winners. Who Run the World? GIRLS!!!!

Kelly: Melinda is always positive, no matter the circumstances. She has a very happy aura and just being in her presence lifts your spirits.

Who did you think your biggest competitor was?

Melinda: I think our greatest competitors were Team Red (Brendan Peyper & Lisanne Lazarus) and Team Yellow (Rudi Witkowsky and Nay Maps). They competed with the same spirit that we did. They were always encouraging, never talked down to anyone, picked themselves up when they were defeated and never shied away from encouraging those around them as well. I love both of these teams to bits!

Kelly: I think our biggest competitors were without a doubt Team Red (FIYAH) Brendan and Lisanne!

What advice do you wish someone gave you before the show?

Melinda: I wish I knew that the game is not all about brute strength, intellect, speed, mental agility and teamwork. There is quite a bit of luck and Slenda Twists that favour some over others, and often the greatest of teams need to pair up with teams who don’t necessarily compete in the same manner - and in those challenges we ended up having a shortfall of success. But in the end, I still believe what’s meant to be was meant to be and that’s good enough for me. 

Kelly: I wish someone had told me how real reality TV is. The emotions and ups and downs.  I don't know if I could have been more prepared for such but it definitely caught me off guard how real things were. And maybe to have practiced untying knots - those were definitely the bane of existence!

Catch all the action Mondays at 19:30 on SABC 3 (DStv 193).

(Photo: Supplied by Platinum Club)