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Stephanie Mitchell ‘Never’ Imagined Feuding with Boston Rob Mariano on ‘Deal or No Deal Island’ (Exclusive)

Dr. Stephanie Mitchell “never” imagined her Deal or No Deal Island adventure would include a feud with Survivor legend Boston Rob Mariano.

“I have an idea of how Rob plays. I know who he is and it’s really hard to separate that because this is competitive reality [TV.] He wins by doing what he does,” Mitchell, 41, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, May 14, following the Deal or No Deal Island season finale. “So when I saw him, I was like, there’s no way that’s Rob. I’m like, this is real.”

Mitchell, who is a competitive reality superfan, shared that she recognized Mariano, 48, right away as his Survivor season, Redemption Island, is one of her favorites to watch. The midwife joked that once she saw Mariano step foot on the island she knew that the competition was the real deal.

“I was like the Godfather, the Rob Father’s here, I am safe,” she teased. “And so I knew all was going to be well, but I also knew that I had to be on high alert.”

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And in the premiere episode, Mitchell was immediately wary of Mariano in the first challenge. The group was tasked with retrieving the iconic Deal or No Deal cases that featured various amounts. While wading through the water, Mariano approached Martin to strategize.

Stephanie Mitchell ‘Never’ Imagined Feuding with Boston Rob Mariano on ‘Deal or No Deal Island’
Rob Mariano and Stephanie Mitchell on ‘Deal or No Deal Island.’ Monty Brinton/NBC

“Immediately Rob starts with the Rob shenanigans, ‘How much is in your case?’ And all my [alarm] bells are going off because I understand [this] strategic sort of gameplay and how he surrounds himself with a team of vulnerable people to move about,” she recalled to Us. “I was shook that I was now in a position of having to be at odds with what I consider to be one of the biggest competitive reality gamers of our time.”

Since their first interaction, Mitchell wasn’t afraid to push back against Mariano in the game. The twosome butted heads throughout the season. Mitchell attempted to get Mariano’s No. 1 ally Aron Barbell to turn against him which led to a heated exchange between Mitchell and Mariano at the Banker’s temple.

Stephanie Mitchell ‘Never’ Imagined Feuding with Boston Rob Mariano on ‘Deal or No Deal Island’
Amy McCoy, Stephanie Mitchell, Rob Mariano, and Nicholas Grasso on ‘Deal or No Deal Island.’ Monty Brinton/NBC

While Mitchell was a fan of watching Mariano on screen, she admitted that she knew she and Mariano would never get on the same page and align due to their different personalities in the game.

“I knew that because of how I am my personality, it’s not weak, it’s not malleable, it’s not open for manipulation that it would never work between us,” she told Us. “It would never work.”

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Since leaving the banker’s island, Mitchell shared that she left her tension with Mariano in the game.

“We have to definitely separate our game from real life, the people, how you are when you are competing to change the life of yourself and your family for millions and millions of dollars,” she said. “These sorts of prizes are unparalleled and unprecedented in any modern program. You’re going to play to your strengths and the best way that you can. My strengths are knowing competitive reality, strategy and gaming. And that’s what I leaned into. I’m not sad about it, it’s just what I happen to know about.”

Season 1 of Deal or No Deal Island is available to stream on Peacock.

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