Mia Metcalf made her mark on Temptation Island history when she turned down Gavin Rocker's offer for an overnight date on last week's episode, but the single has no regrets in sticking up for herself "despite all the pressures" from all sides. Ahead of Thursday's all-new episode of the USA Network reality series, Mia opened up to PopCulture.com about the reason she decided to send herself home and the lesson she hopes other women take away from the unexpected moment.
Mia admitted that while she and Gavin always had a "fun, flirty" relationship from the start, she quickly could tell just how invested he still was with girlfriend Esonica Veira, who was making connections with Kareem Thomas across the island in the women's villa.
"I'm going to put myself out there — if you like what you see and you want to be with me, a man pursues that," she explained. "And Gavin wasn't pursuing me like that. ... I felt like he wanted to string me along the entire time just in case."
And when Gavin did try to tell Mia he had more intense romantic feelings than he had initially let on, she wasn't buying it, telling PopCulture.com she felt he only turned to her as a real option when he felt things with Esonica were "so far gone" and he "didn't want to leave the island alone."
"I'm not an option," she said of his sudden pivot towards her. "I'm not a second choice."
When Gavin asked her to spend the overnight date with him, Mia opted instead to send herself home, despite the "pressure to go with the flow and be the same" as the other singles who accepted their dates.
"I didn't want to hurt him or make him feel embarrassed … you just got to do what's best for you," she recalled. "You have to stick up for yourself and not give in, despite all the pressures coming at you from all sides."
Mia also didn't want to accept the date and go along platonically if there was still hope for Gavin and Esonica to work things out at the final bonfire.
"It was nothing against him, we're friends," she continued. "We could have gone just as friends, but I knew Esomica would see it too [in the bonfire clips], and she was already feeling some sort of way about the clips of us. I feel like she was getting our relationship misconstrued."
Temptation Island airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on USA.
Photo credit: USA