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Ekin-Su Reviews the 'Traitors' Season Finale and Reunion (and Weighs in on Those Peter Weber Rumors)

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Ekin-Su Reviews: 'The Traitors' Finale and ReunionPeacock

The '92 U.S.A. Olympic basketball team. Disney Channel's "Send It On"crew. The Traitors season 2 cast. Just a few all-star dream teams that have captured audiences everywhere. Within the latter group we got Survivor winners, Real Housewives icons, and Big Brother masterminds. But rounding them all out was a Love Island U.K. winner who once crawled across the terrace of the show's villa and right into the hearts of fans worldwide: Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu.

Although her time on The Traitors reached an early (but arguably, the most memorable) end—via one "poisoned" Parvati chalice–Ekin definitely made her mark during her castle stay.

So who better to review the season’s up and downs? Last weekend, Cosmopolitan sat down with Ekin herself, fresh after filming the reunion and right before she entered the Celebrity Big Brother U.K. house on Monday, because there's truly no rest for reality TV superstars. (That's where she's been interviewing Kate Middleton's uncle about the princess' whereabouts, ICYMI.)

Read on for Ekin's take on her fellow contestants' game strategies, her own Traitors regrets, and the latest on the relationship speculation about her and Peter Weber.


How was filming the reunion?

It was really good. The vibes felt like they did the first day in the castle. There was some drama obviously with certain people, but not me! Everyone got everything off of their chest that had been kept in after filming. Everyone looked really beautiful as well!

What reunion revelations did you find especially surprising?

People just like drama. I guess that's the whole point of the reunion. If there was nothing to talk about, there wouldn't be one. I think the more people speak up, the better. So in a way, it was good that CT, Trishelle, and MJ had that discussion on air because that's what the whole show's about. Drama.

Who were your original Traitor suspects when you first walked into the castle? The ones you may not have even voiced on camera.

I thought Janelle was a traitor. At first I thought Sandra and maybe John, because he's a politician. There were stages in the show that I thought Peter could be one, but then I thought, nah, he's too nice. He thought I was a Traitor as well.

Janelle was pretty vocal about her suspicions about you. Was reuniting with her awkward?

Nahhh, we're friends. We're friends. We're good.

Did you have any personal gameplay regrets watching the season back? Is there anything you wish you'd done differently while in the castle?

I wish I had been more clever and more strategic. When I went they asked me, ‘Do you have a game plan?’ I said, ‘No, I know how people lie.’ I should have had a proper strategic plan and looked at patterns from the past seasons’ winners. But I guess I was there enjoying the fact that I was living in a castle with Americans and a murder mystery. It's like everything I love, quirky, so I was really in the moment. I think you need to be more awake in these sorts of games and have your strategic plan ready before you can step into the castle.

I feel like you lasted quite a while for someone who went in with no plan.

This is the thing we said filming the reunion. I would've lasted maybe 'til the end if I didn't drink the chalice because I wasn't a target. I know that I would've played the game well if I continued just being myself, unfortunately, silly me. I've learned in reality shows to never to get too drunk or take any drink from strangers. But there had been quite an intense roundtable beforehand, so we all needed a drink. Usually, they don't give out more than one glass of wine in the castle so it was an exclusive night. Who would've known the rusty cup was poisoned?

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Did you and Pavarti have any words about that murder?

Yeah, she said she's got no bad vibes for me and she had to poison someone. So that person was me. I don't have any hard feelings. I just think 'For fuck's sake, why do I drink?' It's me. It's not her fault, it's mine.

On the strategy front, who do you think went in with a really good plan?

I think Trishelle played well, and I think Peter really played well. Peter's a good gamer, and he's actually in denial of how good he is. He doesn't realize how likable he is and he's charming to everyone. Everyone finds him charming in the show. He's likable, he's relatable, and he's smart at the same time. I feel like he was good with the strategic stuff— rejecting the Traitors' letter and all this stuff. So yeah, I think he played the game really well.

Peter had an alliance form in the castle!

He had Pete's boys, didn't he?

Yeah, the Peter Pals.

He really didn't let everyone in there. I remember MJ walking in and walked out backwards. That was trending!

That was so funny. Do you think that alliance would've been something you’d be involved in had you stayed longer?

I definitely would've been involved in that group because me and Pete were good friends, so he would've involved in my voice.

Speaking of Peter, his mom posted that picture of you and his sister-in-law now that's sparked buzz. Seriously, is anything happening?

Me and Pete are really good friends. There's nothing going on there. We're not dating, we get along really well. And his mom loves me. She's a huge fan of me actually, and she's just a really nice, welcoming, warm American mom. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's all just speculation really.

How did you feel about people’s response to the post? It got so many people talking.

I mean, obviously people want me to find love, so when they see something like that, they want me to be happy. There's a huge Pilot Pete fanbase, and my fanbase as well. So people do have high hopes. Like, 'Oh they'd make a cute couple.' They're not negative comments, they're not bad comments. And it's nice to see, but we are really good friends and it's bizarre to start a relationship so soon after a breakup. [Editor's note: Ekin-Su split from her 'Love Island' beau Davide Sanclimenti in January]. That's not realistic. Sometimes you never know. Friendships are the best way forward.

You've obviously now had your fair share of experience with viral reactions. Phaedra’s ‘Lord, not Ekin-Su’ bit really took off. Do you have any favorite memes that you're featured in?

I mean, they use my meme for everything. Someone goes to a Chinese takeaway shop, they go, ‘oh Lord, not Ekin-Su, my sweet chicken hasn't arrived.’ Or ‘Lord, not Ekin-Su my car park tickets here.’ People use my name for everything!

Have you and Phaedra discussed how that blew up?

Yeah, she’s my queen. We love each other. We are very good friends and she never wanted me to leave. She's religious and she prays a lot in the program. So it was nice that she prayed for me. Lord, not me.

As a duo, you guys are the reality TV fan’s dream. Now that you've seen the final edit and the show in its entirety, are there any major discrepancies between how a certain situation played out in real life vs. how it appeared?

I mean, they don't edit too much, but they don't show everything that's gone on in the actual show. We live in there 24/7, they only air an hour max each night. It's like every reality TV show, you won't see everything, every detail. They will only show things that are storyline-based.

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I've heard the Love Island fire pit scenes also take hours to film. If you were to compare the experiences, which show was more stressful?

It's not finding love, so they're very different. They're both quite hard. But I would say The Traitors is the hardest. I wouldn't say Love Island was easy, but it was more of a connection thing. You have to use different parts of your emotions for that show. But this show is not about falling in love. You have to actually close your emotions for this show and be a robot and think, 'Okay, how am I going to win this game? How am I going to manipulate these people who have got game strategies in their minds?'

That's a good point to raise. Are there any people you would want to see next season as a viewer?

I want to be on there again!

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Yeah, I think that you deserve a return!

Mate. If I go back on there, I'm going to be brutal this time. I won't be just this nice girl. I would be a bitch on that program.

Your villain era?

Yes, my villain era–like when Spider-Man turns from red to the black side. That's what I'd be.

Were you a fan of any shows that the other contestants had been on beforehand?

I love Big Brother and I loved Survivor. I love that sort of program. I love the Housewives as well. Anything American I'm obsessed with. I may be moving to America one day, who knows? Maybe to L.A., maybe to Wonderland! Who knows?

If you were to pursue another reality show, how have you become a better reality show contestant post-Traitors? How has it shaped you?

Oh my God. When I died in that coffin, I was reborn. That program has made me a hardcore bitch. I swear to God. I'm fearless, I have boundaries like hell now, I say no to people now, and I realize life's too short. You've got to do what the hell you want to make you happy, obviously in a classy way.

And I've realized that things that are important in my life are definitely not nights spent out partying and all that stuff. For me, the best thing to do is focus on your career, spend time with your family, have long-term life goals, and eventually start my own business. Things that are quality over quantity. That's what I've realized.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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