Maddy Pomilla Survivor Season 44 Contestant Started Her Journey In Huntingtown
Maddy Pomilla

HUNTINGTOWN, Md – Maddy Pomilla is a Huntingtown, Maryland native who recently competed on the reality show Survivor. Maddy was a contestant on Season 44 of Survivor which was based in Fiji. interviewed Maddy about her experiences and what led up to her becoming a contestant on the show.  

What was it like growing up in Huntingtown MD?

Growing up in Huntingtown was so dreamy. I have a ton of Huntingtown and Southern Maryland (SoMD) pride. It’s beautiful and the community is fun-loving and down to earth; I think a lot of my character was formed by growing up in Huntingtown – it’s a place where people are kind, honest, loyal friends and neighbors. And it was also just a heck of a lot of fun. My sisters and friends and I seemed to always be on an adventure – playing in the woods, catching crabs on the bay, climbing cliffs on the river, having bonfires in fields or on the beach, running around barefoot. When I think of Huntingtown, I think of running around outside enjoying nature with friends. I felt like I could run wild and free in Huntingtown, which I loved because I was a wild child! I still try to carry that spirit with me wherever I am – including when I was in Fiji.

What made you want to apply for Survivor and how did the process go? How did you feel when you found out you were going to be on the show?

As much as I loved growing up in a small town, I think it made me a dreamer and probably enhanced why I found these places I was seeing through Survivor on TV so enticing. Survivor felt like an experience bigger than myself – I couldn’t imagine going somewhere I’d never been, on the other side of the world, with people I didn’t know! That seemed so exciting to me, because in Huntingtown, I felt like I knew every street and every person! On top of that, Survivor felt like the big leagues of what I was already doing in my own backyard – running around in nature, playing games. I vividly remember going in the backyard as a 7-year-old kid and foraging for food, pretending I was on the island. So to play Survivor as an adult, to have Jeff Probst calling my name in challenges – it was so cool. I also grew up watching Survivor with my mom, who passed away in 2011, so her passing also motivated me to actualize this dream. Getting on Survivor is a huge process and accomplishment in and of itself. It did not happen overnight. But after years of trying, in Fall 2021 when I got the first phone call from casting I thought to myself “I think I’m gonna get on this time.” 6 months later I got the final call that I was going to Fiji – that call was a true dream come true. I don’t think you get many of those moments in life, so I really cherish that memory of hearing I made the cast. I thought I would be screaming of excitement, but instead I just felt a sense of calm wash over me. I was like *sigh of relief * “finally”.

What was your experience on the show? How did you feel after your time on Survivor ended?

“Survivor is exactly what you see on TV. Nothing is fake or embellished. It is “realer than real”. Sure, there are cameras there, but it’s not distracting; I was totally present with the new society within which I was living. And of course there were also those moments when I was hyper-aware of how crazy the situation was- when the sun was beating down, and I’d feel a little dizzy, and then I’d look down at my toes covered in mud and go “holy crap, I’m here”. When my time ended so quickly, I first felt excited that I’d tried to pull off a history-making move, but after the adrenaline wore off, honestly, I felt like “what do I do now?” This was YEARS in the making for me. I’d bent over backward for the opportunity. And frankly, I felt like I blew it. To go home on a non-majority vote in a game that used to vote people out exclusively by majority vote was tough. While it was historic and was an anomaly, it was– and still is– heartbreaking! I had so much gas left in me to go the distance! This is a game for a MILLION DOLLARS and I wanted it! But I played a risky hand and it just didn’t work out – it’s a game after all! I have to be grateful and I sincerely am. I got to play the best game ever, live my childhood dream, and represent my hometown on National TV. I’d do it all over again (with some tweaks, ha!) “

Maddie also spoke about moving out of Huntingtown Maryland and starting over in New York:

“I grew up in Huntingtown, but lost my mom my senior year of highschool, and thought it would be good to go somewhere totally new after that loss to sort of “start over”. I moved to New York from Huntingtown when I was 18 to go to college. New York is so different from Huntingtown and it took a while to adjust. Maddie said. “There was a time when I thought I might move back to Maryland, but I’ve now been in NYC for about 10 years and it’s my (second) home now. Funnily enough – more proof that Huntingtown is such an amazing place to call home – when I moved to New York, my friends from NYC would look at my social media and be like “what magical place are you from? It looks SO fun!” My college roommate used to call me “Maddy from Magical Maryland” ha! So I’m still repping Southern Maryland even after all this time in New York – you can take the girl out of Southern Maryland but you can’t take Southern Maryland outta the girl!”

Maddie says some of her hobbies include hiking, running, yoga, reading, making movies with her sisters, and even surfing “Yes, there’s surfing in NYC”, said Maddie.

Any family or friends who inspired you to take on this adventure of being on Survivor?

“You know, sometimes in life it’s nice to do things for other people, or in honor of other people, to pay homage, etc. I think deep down, I started running marathons to honor my mom (who was also a runner). But Survivor? I think this was for me honestly. I think I took on this adventure for a younger starry-eyed version of myself who was watching in her living room and thought “I can do that. I can do anything.” I wanted to honor that version of myself. I think my mom echoed that feeling too of “you can do that!” so it’s cool to have really been there and done it, even if my time was short.” Maddie said.

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