‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Denise Stapley


Denise Stapley (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: Denise Stapley
Home: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Occupation: Sex Therapist
Tribe: Matsing

Gordon Holmes: I live next to a sex therapist.
Denise Stapley: Seriously?
Holmes: Yup. He has the best stories. Do you intend to use awesome sex therapy stories as a way to get people to keep you around? Cause I know it gets boring around camp.
Stapley: No, surprisingly. I love what I do. I feel passionate about it. And in my public life, I’ll tell anyone. And certainly, no names because of confidentiality.
Holmes: Of course.
Stapley: But, this is a game. This is totally different. I’ll tell people I’m a therapist and the generic things I deal with. But the sex therapy part? I’ve got saved for a select few…that I’ve already picked out. I think that’s going to be my in with them to say, “Hey, safe space, ally, work with me.” But that’s for a select few. Cause I can already tell there are some that are either going to be offended by it. Because we all make those knee-jerk assumptions. I’ve been making assumptions since we got here, and I could be wrong.
Holmes: When you originally said “assumptions,” I was wondering if you were going to say you could tell what they were into.
Stapley: (Laughs) No…no.
Holmes: That would be a unique gift.
Stapley: That would be a gift, because you can never tell what people are into.
Holmes: Hey, as long as it’s between consenting adults.
Stapley: “Safe, sane, and consensual” is my motto. So, do what you want to do.

Holmes: You’ve already been checking out the cast.
Stapley: Oh yeah.
Holmes: What’ve you got?
Stapley: I think some of the women are going to just die. They’re down there painting their nails. Messing with their (expletive deleted) cuticles. That is going to do you no good. But, maybe that’s part of their strategy, but their looks aren’t going to get them to the end. So, some of the women, I don’t know why they’re here. Some of the men, there are a couple that are really guarded. They aren’t giving away anything. I’ve been trying to see what they read. There’s one, I think everyone’s going to judge him instantly. But, if you look, he’s got all the tattoos. My first instinct was (expletive deleted), do I even want to mess with this guy? But, as you look, some of the tattoos…maybe he’s been through some transitions. He’s got a Serenity Prayer tattoo. Maybe he’s found something and he’s not what he appears to be.

Holmes: Says here that you have a kiddo.
Stapley: I do, I have an eight-year-old little girl.
Holmes: How does she feel about mom’s big adventure?
Stapley: She has been one of my biggest supporters, she and my husband. They’ve been very supportive of me applying. And it wasn’t until the day before I left that it all sunk in for her and she just fell apart. And that was just like “Oh (expletive deleted).” And she’s been a part of this secret the whole time. For an eight-year-old, she’s doing extremely well.
Holmes: What’s the story? Where’s mom supposed to be?
Stapley: Oh, I’m currently in Florida doing sex therapy, training with some colleagues. I’m staying on the University of Southern Florida campus, so there will be plenty of sunshine.
Holmes: There’s no food there…
Stapley: There’s no food because my husband is the chef. They’ll know that I ate like crap for six weeks.
Holmes: And somehow you stumbled upon a million bucks.
Stapley: Absolutely a million bucks.
Holmes: Does your daughter have dibs on your buff?
Stapley: Hell no, that’s my buff.

Holmes: Says in your pet peeves that you hate laziness. Fortunately, nobody ever encounters laziness on “Survivor.”
Stapley: (Laughs) I know. It gets me because you see it every (expletive deleted) season. They sit on their (expletive deleted) asses. Truly, Gordon, that’s going to have to be something I rein in. I can’t be too type-A, because then someone’s going to see me as a threat. But that’s going to drive me nuts.

Holmes: Gameplay-wise, are you prepared to lie?
Stapley: That’s going to be the hardest part for me. It’s just not in my nature to lie. But, it is in my nature to keep things secret and confidential. I hope I can do more of that than having to lie. It’s a million bucks, and this is a game. And people get wounded all the time because they bring their own stuff in.
Holmes: How about flirting?
Stapley: I’ve never been a flirt, as far as I know. So, probably not.

Holmes: If you could partner with any past “Survivor” player, who would it be?
Stapley: Does it have to be just one?
Holmes: Go crazy, I have plenty of tape and it’s a beautiful day.
Stapley: I like Tina (Wesson), I like Stephenie (LaGrossa), I like Tom (Westman). Actually, I really love (John) Cochran. Because, you get this mix of people. I suck at puzzles, so I want to have an alignment with people who have different strengths. So, Cochran, he has the brains, he knows the game. Stephenie, she’s very physical. Socially, she’s OK. Tina, very social. And Tom was like this whole package of it. I remember this one challenge where it was the final one and they’re on this pole and he’s not moving. You might as well go take a nap cause he’s not moving. I think you really need a mixed group. We have a lot of buff guys, you can’t have just that. I definitely don’t want all women.

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

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