‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Zane Knight

Zane Knight (Gordon Holmes)

XfinityTV.com sent me deep into the wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of “Survivor” stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.

Name: Zane Knight
Age: 28
Home: Danville, VA
Occupation: Tire Repair
Tribe: Matsing

Gordon Holmes: Laziness is one of your pet peeves. What’re you going to do on Day 28 when someone’s lounging on the beach while you’re getting firewood?
Zane Knight: I told them before, I hope I don’t vote myself out.
Holmes: That’s very rare.
Knight: (Laughs) Yeah. I’m already looking around and seeing a bunch of supermodels. You’ve got people that spend ten and twelve hours a day in a gym. That’s the time I’m working. If you’re going to sweat, get paid for it. And we’re going to be on a show called “Survivor.” If you’ve got six-pack abs and you’re starving to death, what good is it? Put yourself some extra pounds on, have something to lose. Go about this game in a survivor mentality.
Holmes: But if you see somebody being lazy, are you someone who can weigh the social implications of going after them?
Knight: Oh, I’m on your ass. I’m not scared. Where I come from, you don’t live off the government. You go to work every day. If you can’t find a job you go to a staffing agency or you work under your means. People say that all the time, they say, “Oh, I’m a manager, I can’t go to work at McDonald’s.” If it comes to paying your light bill you can, you know what I mean? And I’m the kind of person, I’m going to sweep up around camp, I’m going to stack firewood. I’m going to do what I gotta do to make sure we’re a success. And if you’re laying around acting like you’re on a vacation, then you need to go home.

Holmes: You hate laziness and sprinkles. We share those pet peeves. I know why I dislike sprinkles, why don’t you?
Knight: Cause I’m a man. (Laughs) Sprinkles can be taken in any light. Sprinkles are life. You’ve got guys that can’t grip a tackle box. Don’t nobody color my hair. If I got a zit, I’m going to walk around with it for a couple of days until it goes.
Holmes: Oh, I was just going to say I don’t like sprinkles because they make such a mess.
Knight: Not only that, they’re hard and crunch and break your teeth. I hate ‘em.
Holmes: Like only 40% of them end up in your mouth.
Knight: They get everywhere. You find them in your pocket when you wash your clothes.
Holmes: My girlfriend gets these cookies that are awesome. They’re always soft and they’ve got frosting on them, but they’ve got these sprinkles on them.
Knight: Are you talking about the cookies they do in the seasons? The Walmart cookies?
Holmes: Yes!
Knight: Those are awesome.

Holmes: You’re wearing a Yankees hat. You have a Yankees tattoo.
Knight: I love the Yankees.
Holmes: You are from Virigina. How does that happen?
Knight: I don’t want to say that me and my daddy don’t get along. We have different paths. We didn’t go fishing and stuff like that. So, when I started my first real job the boss man kinda took me under his wing. And my daddy was working. He didn’t have time to spend goofing off because he was making money for the house. I respect that. I’m not saying he’s a bad dad. But this guy was paid. He had time to go to baseball games and stuff like that. My whole life I’d been a Baltimore Orioles fan. But he took me to a Yankees game and when I walked out on that field, man. It was right behind first base. The hot dogs and the vendors…it was just baseball.
Holmes: This is old Yankee Stadium?
Knight: This is old Yankee Stadium. It stuck with me man. And ever since then I’ve been a die-hard Yankees fan. I couldn’t let go of it.
Holmes: Non New Yorkers who root for the Yankees are often accused of being frontrunners.
Knight: No, no, no, I rooted for the Yankees even when we sucked. When (George) Steinbrenner died, I felt like he was my grandpop. I love the Yankees.

Holmes: Are you a “Survivor” fan?
Knight: Yes. I mean, I’m not a die-hard fan by any means. When I first met Jeff (Probst) I told him he was a (expletive deleted). The celebrity thing doesn’t do much for me. “Boston” Rob (Mariano) is what made me like this show. He showed me that there’s a callous way to do things and a repented way to do things. He came in here and he was cutthroat and then, the third time around (Editor’s Note: Technically his fourth) he was like “I need to win this money, this is my last shot.” He kind of made it his own.
Holmes: He had a real character arc, going from this brash kid to this seasoned adult.
Knight: Yeah! He learned the way of the game. From watching him, my hatred of Boston makes me want to throw that in his face. I want to win this money my first time with a Yankees hat on.
Holmes: They’re going to let you wear the Yankees hat?
Knight: I don’t know. That’s still up in the air.
Holmes: How do you feel about playing against people who do consider themselves to be die-hard “Survivor” fans?
Knight: You would not stay in my tribe knowing as much as you know about the game. You’re too much of a liability to me.

Holmes: You’ve been out here with the cast a few days. What are your first impressions?
Knight: No competition at all. It’s one guy, he’s a little bit taller than me. He’s got a shaved head and a mustache. He seems to be a good ol’ boy. He had on cowboy boots. He seems like he’s going to be my confidant. Me and him are going to run this game. But he’s the only challenge I see. Everyone else has six-pack abs and bleach-blonde hair. Not that I’m talking down on them. What we’re going out there for is not to be on TV, but to be the sole survivor.

Holmes: Are you prepared to lie?
Knight: No. I don’t need to. Just like Brandon (Hantz). Brandon taught me a lot about this game. When they went to Tribal Council that night he said, “You know what, send me home. If this is how you want to play and how you want to do each other, I don’t need this.” And you see how long he stayed. You don’t have to lie to get ahead. You put your head down, you work hard, and people respect you for it.
Holmes: There are some lovely ladies here. Will you be flirting?
Knight: No, I’m married. My wife would kill me and all the chicks on this island.
Holmes: (Laughs) You’re setting up a lot of rules for yourself. That’s tough to stick to in this game.
Knight: Yeah, you gotta be in the moment in a game like this. But at the same time, you know what you’d do in the moment in front of your old lady.
Holmes: I guess you have to appreciate that anything you say could be broadcast on CBS.
Knight: Oh, you know it’s coming on TV.  Let’s put it like this. I’m not making any rules, but I’m not doing anything my wife would be ashamed to see.

Holmes: I’ve been asking everyone this question, if you could align with any former “Survivor” player, who would it be and why?
Knight: I would probably pick Phil (Sheppard) because “Boston” Rob was a genius. He kept Phil around, he kept making excuses for him. He took him to the end and when the jury voted Rob got the money. And that’s what we’re here for. You’re not going to get a lunchbox out of this. “Survivor” is about the money. We’re here to get that check.

Holmes: Ok, what’re  you going to do in December when you’re a millionaire?
Knight: That’s right, I am going to be a millionaire. My wife is probably the best southern cook you’ll ever meet in your life. It oughta be against the law that she doesn’t have her own restaurant. Girl can cook anything.
Holmes: What’s her specialty?
Knight: Anything! We had some leftovers from a Mexican restaurant, long story short, she threw in some rice and some cheese and whatever else and made a casserole dish that was better than the stuff we had at the restaurant.
Holmes: Why aren’t you fatter?
Knight: (Laughs) I gotta try real hard. It’s the job I work.

Don’t miss the premiere of “Survivor: Philippines” – Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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