After meeting and getting close throughout season 2, the Survivor alum and Challenge champ continued to see each other after Noel was eliminated. "I waited in Croatia for her to leave the game [either by getting eliminated or through the end of filming]," Noel tells EW. "I wanted to see her, and I didn't want to go home without a final goodbye. We had some fun there. When she got done with the game, we got a sailboat with a couple other people and we cruised around Croatia. It was just the most amazing time, and we got to spend some quality time together."
And they've continued to spend time together after getting back home. "She's actually my neighbor in Miami," Noel says. "We've been hanging out for the last three months. We're not dating, we're not a relationship. We don't want to date. I just got out of a five-year relationship, so did she, so it was kind of like, we don't need this. We like each other, but we don't need to date. But we've been really good friends ever since and continued. We just hung out a couple of days ago, so it's been awesome. We'll be together for a while."
He also reveals that there was a lot more of their relationship that wasn't shown onscreen this season. "They could have showed a little bit more me and Tori, because we were all over the place," Noel says with a smile. "They've got cameras everywhere and they only show me completely drunk off my mind, saying whatever. But we were actually super cute."
Below, Noel breaks down his elimination loss against Survivor winner Chris Underwood, why he was targeted with so many votes in the hopper, and more.
Jonne Roriz/Paramount Sebastian Noel
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you feeling about your exit now that you've watched it on TV?
SEBASTIAN NOEL: I'm proud of myself. I enjoyed every single second out there. I love the game. I want more. Of course, I wanted to go to the end — I visually saw myself at the end, in the final, winning the game, so it was just deflating to go home then. I did not want to go home. I was having the most fun, me and Tori were getting a lot closer, I felt like my relationships in the house were blossoming, and I was ready to compete.
Were you expecting to get so many votes in the hopper, or was that a surprise in the moment?
They wanted Survivor out so bad. So when Chris got put in there, I had to throw names around like Cory. I didn't want to go in, obviously, and I expected a few votes, but having seven on my name? I didn't expect seven, but I definitely expected a few because I knew for a fact they wanted Survivor out. It was kind of depressing.
Do you know exactly where those seven votes came from?
[Laughs] Yeah, everyone besides Survivor. We voted as a whole. That's what was cool about being Survivor strong is that we were actually Survivor strong. Every single time we needed to vote together, we did.
Jonne Roriz/Paramount Sebastian Noel, Desi Williams, Wes Bergmann, Alyssa Snider, Michaela Bradshaw, Cory Wharton, Chanelle Howell, Faysal Shafaat, Tori Deal, TJ Lavin, Michele Fitzgerald, Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio, Tyler Crispen, Josh Martinez, Cassidy Clark, Chris Underwood
What was your reaction when your name came out of the hopper and you realized that you were competing against Chris, and it was Survivor vs. Survivor?
I said, "Let's go." Tori turned to me and goes, "Get your game face on, it's showtime." And I immediately switched from incredibly nervous to, all right, it's party time, let's go.
What was it like competing in that elimination?
I would 10 times out of 10 rather have a physical competition. I like being physical. I'm pretty smart, too. That was just a weird one. I thought I knew how to do it. I won a similar challenge on Survivor, so I thought I had it in the bag. But those barrels, you're on the sand, they're completely uneven, your footprints and the way you set up those things could entirely [impact] how you're going to make those baskets or not make those baskets. It's a lot of thinking, math, you have to have that perfect platform, helicopter landing pads, lined up and get that perfect bounce. It really is something off of TikTok where you're throwing pinging pong balls down the stairs into a red solo cup way down the hall. It's a little skill, but definitely not the one I wanted to compete in because that one's tough.
How long did it last?
The first round where we had to make the first barrel, I think that took probably 30 minutes. Overall, maybe 40-45 minutes. It took a lot of critical thinking. We rearranged our barrels multiple times and that first round took forever. Chris was getting close, he had a better straight line. I think his was more even. Mine were sideways. I think that was my downfall. I couldn't get a straight shot into the barrel.
Jonne Roriz/Paramount Desi Williams, Wes Bergmann, Alyssa Snider, Michaela Bradshaw, Cory Wharton, Chris Underwood, Faysal Shafaat, Tori Deal, Michele Fitzgerald, Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio, Tyler Crispen, Josh Martinez, Cassidy Clark, and Sebastian Noel
At what point did you realize you were going to lose?
I thought I was going to win the whole time, but when Chris started hitting the barrel, I think he hit the end barrel maybe four or five times. It's going to go in eventually. So I was just praying that mine would go in first and I hit the barrel like two or three times, but that's a hard shot.
What was it like having the entire house cheering for you?
I don't want to be selfish here, but they were. Nobody said a word to Chris. It was just me communicating with the entire cast, "Help me." It was hilarious. It's cool to see how much love was in the house for me.
What was your downfall that you attribute your exit to this season?
I think only having two Survivor males was my downfall. That just really sucked. You throw a Survivor in[to the elimination], they're going to want to put the other Survivor male in [against him]. Unfortunately, that was me. I played a pretty good game all the way until the end. Maybe name-dropping Cory wasn't a good idea, but I had to get somebody besides my name in the mix, so I was just trying my best. Hopefully, next season we'll have more than two Survivor guys.
Jonne Roriz/Paramount Sebastian Noel
Speaking of you pitching the idea of targeting Cory, did you regret throwing his name out, especially since you said it to Tori who was a vet and wasn't going to go along with targeting another vet?
Yeah, but I told Tori everything. I don't know if she told me everything, but we were just super close and I wanted to let her know the plan. She didn't relay that info to Cory. I think he caught wind of it [another way], so it was safe with her. I'm not mad that I threw his name out at all. Nobody was targeting him. Nobody wanted to make a big move. Nobody wanted to go after Fessy — he gets no votes at all and just makes it to the final every year. So it's like we've got to try while we have the power of Survivor, we could vote as a group, and unfortunately, we didn't go that route.
What did you learn from your experience this season that you're going to apply to future seasons if you come back?
I am coming back. I want this s--- so bad. I learned so much from these veterans that have played like Tori, Wes, Bananas — just watching the way that they do this game is amazing. And not only that, but all these guys are beasts. I'm pretty strong, but I need to get my weight up. I'm going to start running as much as possible. And just training to be ready for anything. Doing a lot of math, puzzles, just mentally and physically prepare for the next season because I know I'm going.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.