Archive for September, 2012

‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Michael Skupin

September 17, 2012

Michael Skupin (CBS) 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: Michael Skupin
Age: 50
Home: White Lake, MI
Occupation: Professional Speaker, Author, and Coach
Tribe: Tandang
Previous Season: “Survivor: The Australian Outback”

Reason for Evacuation: Michael inhaled too much smoke while trying to keep the Kucha tribe’s fire going and passed out face first into the coals.

Gordon Holmes: I met Jeff Probst for the first time in Gabon a few years ago, and the very first thing I said to him was, “When are you bringing back Michael Skupin?” What took you guys so long?
Michael Skupin: I’m not really sure. There was a series of times when I was supposed to be back and for one reason or another they decided to go in another direction. But, here I am.

Holmes: You’re best known for the accident where you passed out into the fire. What affect did that injury have on you?
Skupin: It was a pretty dramatic part of my adventure, and I think the world saw it as my biggest failure. I never saw it that way. I saw it as going out in a blaze…
Holmes: Literally.
Skupin: (Laughs) Yes…a blaze of intensity. The whole experience was so amazing. All eighteen days I was out there was amazing. Now, I’m not necessarily out here to avenge that or to prove anything to anybody. I’m out here for the love of the game.

Holmes: Before you were evacuated, you had a reputation for being a provider, a leader. You killed the pig and fed it to the Kucha tribe. Coming into this new game, do you think your reputation will help you or hurt you?
Skupin: The game’s evolved tremendously. I have the instinct to feed and to lead, but I have to be sure I keep that in check. I have to be constantly aware of how people are perceiving that.
Holmes: The game has evolved quite a bit since Australia. How are you going to deal with immunities idols, Exile Islands, Redemption Islands, or whatever else they throw your way?
Skupin: I think the core of “Survivor” is still the same. The basics will always be the same. I think I’m more aware today. I went 100mph last time without noticing what was going on on the sidelines. I think now I’ll be ultra aware of how everything I do affects everyone on the tribe. I’m a lot smarter than I was last time. But if I see something I can kill for food, I’m all over it.
Holmes: What do you think your first day will be like?
Skupin: Back in our day, it was disingenuous to start an alliance on the first day because you didn’t know that person. Today, alliances will form right away. You have to make sure you align with the right people. You have to make quick decisions. There’s no take a day to build a shelter, than figure things out.

Holmes: You haven’t seen a single other player since you’ve been out here. Care guess what’s going on?
Skupin: I think we’ll see more twists and bigger challenges. I think this is going to be one of the best games ever. I think there’s going to be a lot of warriors. They didn’t bring me out on a season that was just going to be an ordinary season…in my mind.

Holmes: You played a very straightforward game in Australia. It didn’t seem like there was a lot of (expletive deleted) in you. Do you think you’ll be able to continue to play a clean game this time around or are you going to have to lie some?
Skupin: I’m a straightforward kind of guy. And, I’ve often wondered if you can go all the way through this game to the victory stand without ever telling a single lie. I’m challenged to do that, but I’m here to win. So, I’m going to take each day as it comes. I think people can see through fake every time.
Holmes: Any early blueprints on how you’re going to play?
Skupin: I am genuinely a big huge fan of this game. And I really want to play it. I think that will be evident to everyone out there. I want to align with people who want to play this game, but that’s dangerous because those tend to be the smartest people.

Holmes: You had the most memorable moment of the highest rated season in “Survivor” history. Everybody knows who you are, but nobody knows how you’ll play. Is that an advantage?
Skupin: (Laughs) Are you talking about killing the pig or falling in the fire?
Holmes: (Laughs) Both, actually. The blood under the eyes, all of it.
Skupin: I think I can work it to my advantage because I didn’t get far enough into the game. My tribe was winning. We didn’t have to play a strategic game. So, the strategic part of my game is still a mystery. Everybody knows I can kill an animal or perform in challenges. They don’t know about my strategy.

Holmes: When you rise from the ashes, phoenix-style and return home with the million-dollar check, what are your plans?
Skupin: (Laughs) I’ve got seven kids. I’ve got two in college, cars when they turn sixteen, weddings… It’s not hard to spend a million dollars when you’ve got seven kids.

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

‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Peter “Pete” Yurkowski

September 14, 2012

Peter “Pete” Yurkowski (CBS) 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: Peter “Pete” Yurkowski
Home: Holmdel, NJ
Occupation: Engineering Graduate
Tribe: Tandang

Gordon Holmes: I’m confused, what do you do?
Peter “Pete” Yurkowski: I’m a model by occupation and an engineer by education.
Holmes: Oh, another one of those model/engineers they’re always casting.
Yurkowski: (Laughs) Yeah, I know. Someone came up to me and said “Do you want to model?”
Holmes: I get that all the time.
Yurkowski: Here’s a contract, let’s go.
Holmes: What do you model?
Yurkowski: Different stuff. Sports and fitness mostly.

Holmes: It says here in your pet peeves that you don’t like “ditzy girls.”
Yurkowski: Yeah, I’m pretty intelligent, so I don’t like girls that are always “like, like, like.”
Holmes: Do you know which show you’re about to appear on?
Yurkowski: I know! But this is a situation where they’re going to be my friends. It’s going to be a Russell (Hantz) situation where I’ll get into a big power couple and then see what you can do with that.
Holmes: Being part of a couple didn’t work out to well for Ozzy (Lusth) and Elyse (Umemoto) in “Survivor: South Pacific.” Is that a concern for you?
Yurkowski: No, because I’m making more than one power couple. They’re expendable.
Holmes: It’s like “Survivor” polygamy.

Holmes: You’re a handsome dude, you’re in good shape. Do people ever underestimate your intelligence?
Yurkowski: Yeah, and I think in this game it’ll work for me. They’ll just see somebody they don’t have to worry about. I’m going to let someone else be in charge. They’re going to think they’re this shepherd leading all these sheep, but I’m going to be the black sheep. I’m going to make chaos.
Holmes: So you’re not afraid to make some big moves?
Yurkowski: It’s the big moves train. I’m the conductor. I’m definitely playing a Russell game. The second I get out there I’m going to be super aggressive. I’m going to go to as many people as possible and say, “Hey, me and you, let’s go to the end.” Obviously this is all going to be tentative because I’m doing it with multiple people. Russell was just way too cocky. You have to be under-the-radar aggressive.

Holmes: It also says you want to be an alpha male. “One World” taught us that that doesn’t always work out so well.
Yurkowski: The last one I saw was when they did that stupid move and they voted out the guy with the roosters.
Holmes: Matt (Quinlan).
Yurkowski: He couldn’t count. He thought he had the majority and he clearly didn’t.
Holmes: Well, I think he thought Colton (Cumbie) was on his side.
Yurkowski: Colton was the dangerous one. He’s the one I would’ve partnered with right off the bat.

Holmes: What are your first impressions of the cast?
Yurkowski: I like the cast so far. I’ve already picked out who I want to make alliances with, but that’s all temporary until I get to talk to them.
Holmes: Who are your early alliance picks?
Yurkowski: Well, the blonde girl because she doesn’t seem all the intelligent. She doesn’t seem all too there and I think she’ll be looking for someone to follow. I’ll approach her and say, “Me and you, do you want to do some damage?” And I think she’ll be on board.
Holmes: So it’s safe to say you have no problem flirting in this game.
Yurkowski: No problem. Single and ready to mingle.
Holmes: Any moral problems lying?
Yurkowski: I’ll be lying all game. I won’t be ashamed of it. It’s necessary. People who don’t lie get screwed. We’re not going out camping and drawing straws to go home.
Holmes: OK, you get to the end and the jury calls you out for lying. What’s your counter?
Yurkowski: Do something about it. (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs) Why don’t you step out of that jury box and try me?
Yurkowski: They’re always so upset, and the reason they’re upset is because they’re not next to you.

Holmes: If you could align with any former “Survivor” player, who would it be and why?
Yurkowski: Russell would be a mistake because he’d kill me.
Holmes: He wouldn’t like someone young and good looking around his harem.
Yurkowski: Parvati (Shallow) would be a good one. Her big moves with the two idols, that was amazing. Nobody saw that coming. She’s intelligent, she’s dangerous. And she won that one right?
Holmes: No, she won Micronesia.
Yurkowski: Plus she’s hot.

Holmes: What are your plans for the million bucks?
Yurkowski: I really want to go on a little Euro trip. I have friends who live out there. I have a friend from Turkey who’s going to be on the Turkish Olympic sailing team. Apparently he has a palace in Turkey. His dad is a doctor there. Probably the only doctor with fire there.
Holmes: Great, now you’ve offended an entire country.
Yurkowski: (Laughs) We give him a lot of (expletive deleted). I have a friend in Italy. Pay off my engineering bills. Buy a lot of lottery tickets.

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

‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Angie Layton

September 13, 2012

Angie Layton (CBS) 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: Angie Layton
Home: Provo, UT
Occupation: Student
Tribe: Matsing

Gordon Holmes: Says here you’re a model. What kinds of attire do you model?
Angie Layton: A lot of bridal stuff. A lot of prom, I’ve done billboards. I’ve done mod bod stuff, it’s more modest stuff.
Holmes: Mod bod?
Layton: It’s for girls who want more modest clothes.

Holmes: Tell me about your pageant career.
Layton: I was Miss Utah Teen USA, then I went on to Miss Teen USA and was third runner up.
Holmes: I remember that, I was sixth that year.
Layton: Sixth? I think if I remember right you were eighth.
Holmes: So mean.
Layton: (Laughs)  I started off pageants through modeling when I was fourteen.
Holmes: Do the skills you learned in the pageant world apply at all to “Survivor”?
Layton: I think that it will apply to it because pageants have helped shape me into who I am today. It’s helped me become really confident in myself and believe in myself. You can achieve whatever you want. And, dealing with cutthroat people.
Holmes: What?!
Layton: A lot of the pageant girls are cutthroat.
Holmes: I thought it was all sisterhood and BFFS and pillow fights…
Layton: Oh yeah…that’s (expletive deleted).
Holmes: Way to shatter my illusions, Angie.
Layton: I think some of the people here are cutthroat. I think they’re all strategizing behind my back.
Holmes: Who do you think is cutthroat?
Layton: I think that black guy with all the earrings. I feel like the guy with all the tattoos doesn’t give a (expletive deleted) if he’s here or not. He just wants to kill people. (Laughs) Just kidding.
Holmes: I’m pretty sure that’s against the rules.
Layton: (Laughs) No, he’s really nice. He’s been smiling at me.
Holmes: In 24 seasons, there’s yet to be a murder. Are you going to tell people about your pageant career?
Layton: Sure. I don’t think it will affect me. It’s who I am.

Holmes: Have you watched a lot of “Survivor”?
Layton: Yeah. I’ve watched a lot of seasons. More from 19 (Samoa) on. I’ve seen all of them…and 16 (Micronesia).
Holmes: You said something in your bio that I’ve never seen before; you’re looking to meet some hotties?
Layton: (Laughs) I did write that didn’t I?
Holmes: Is that part of your gameplan, to be in a couple?
Layton: I just like eye candy! I like hot guys. I have a boyfriend though. But, I still like hot guys.
Holmes: Have you two had a discussion as to what happens if he turns on CBS and sees you putting the moves on some hunk?
Layton: I told him that I’m going to do what it takes, and if I have to flirt, I’m going to flirt.
Holmes: Is he cool with that?
Layton: He’s cool with it one minute and the next he’s like, “Ehhh…” But, I’m like, “This is what I’ve got to do right now.”

Holmes:  You also claim to be a daredevil.
Layton: Yes, I’ll try anything once. Not drugs though. I’m not afraid of anything. I don’t get intimidated by anyone, especially girls. I know who I am and I know what I’m capable of. Nothing stops me. I’m just kick ass like that.
Holmes: So challenge-wise…
Layton: Challenge-wise I’m going to go balls out. Except for puzzles, I hate puzzles.
Holmes: There are puzzles on this show. How do you handle that?
Layton: I’m going to get a really smart person.
Holmes: So you intend to align with smart folk?
Layton: Just like one so we can have someone to do the puzzles.

Holmes: Do you have any problems lying to get ahead?
Layton: No.
Holmes: Scandal.
Layton: (Laughs) I know! It’s “Survivor.” I’ll lie in a cute way.
Holmes: Adorable lying is tough to stay angry at.
Layton: I know.

Holmes: If you could align with any former “Survivor,” who would it be and why?
Layton: I would want to align with Parvati (Shallow). Not because she’s flirtatious, just because she is so fun. She’s always happy, she’s always smiling just like me. I don’t want it to always be so serious. And she strategized and played the game well.

Holmes: OK future millionaire, what’re you going to do with your winnings?
I am going to save the money…go shopping first.
That won’t help you save the money.
Well…I’ll save it after.

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

‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Artis Silvester

September 13, 2012

Artis Silvester (CBS) 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: Artis Silvester
Home: Terry Town, LA
Occupation: Computer Engineer
Tribe: Tandang
Awesome Fact: Artis overcame stage-four cancer.

Gordon Holmes: Now, I understand that you kicked stage-four cancer’s butt? Is that accurate?
Artis Silverster: (Laughs) Yes, it is. The way they found it was totally ironic. I used to look like an NFL linebacker. I was huge. Then I got a pain in my shoulder and I thought it just wasn’t healing right. And, I had a little bump on my chin that just wasn’t healing right. One day at the gym I get under this weight that I can normal put up. Blind, deaf, and dumb I can put this weight up. I take it off the bar and it comes crashing down on my chest. I decide I need to get this bump looked at. They couldn’t figure out what it was. They figured it was a cyst. They go to remove it, the doctor says they saw the bump protruding through my neck muscles. So they peeled back the muscles and a mass plopped out the size of a Roman tomato. They sent it for testing, it came back cancerous. They say do you smoke? No. Do you drink? No. Do you lay out in the sun? No. Are you white? No. We don’t understand how you got it.
Holmes: Whoa…hold the phone. You’re not white?
Silvester. I know! It was like, we don’t understand how you got it, but you got it. You should play the lottery. Only an act of God could’ve given me this thing.
Holmes: How did it affect you physically?
Silvester: I went from being able to bench almost 400 pounds to not being able to lift the bar off of the rack.
Holmes: The bar’s what…45 pounds?
Silvester: Yeah.
Holmes: That must’ve been devastating. I’ve heard stories of bodybuilders who are forced to quit steroids. They can literally see themselves getting smaller and it’s too much for them to deal with.
Silverster: Yeah. I literally laid there and cried in the middle of the gym for about an hour. It sent me into a deep depressive state.
Holmes: And now?
Silvester: I’m not as strong as I was, but I beat my doctor’s expectations.

Holmes: What are your plans for the next thirty nine days?
Silvester: The thing is, I have an ability to create a comfort zone around myself. When you look at me, if I’m not smiling or talking, it looks like I’m about ready to take your head off.
Holmes: Let’s test this out; stop smiling.
(Artis stops smiling.)
Holmes: OK, knock it off, you’re freaking me out.
Silvester: (Laughs) With this group, when I walked in I thought, “Oh man, I’m the biggest thing here. That is not going to fare well.” We can’t talk, so I’m sitting there not saying anything. They probably think I’m the biggest (expletive deleted) going. Or, they think I’m going to run over anybody. I can’t do anything until I’m with my tribe, but I need to create a comfort zone to ensure my survival for the first few rounds. After that, I’ve got them. Once we get to the merge I know that I can win every single immunity challenge. But, I’ll have a couple of girls on my side, so I won’t need to win every challenge.
Holmes: What are your first impressions of the cast?
Silvester: They’re incredible. I’ve enjoyed every single aspect. I’ve been playing the game since we got here. I’ve been figuring out who I want on my tribe, who I don’t want on my tribe. Who I can work with. I’ve got all of this worked out. The only thing that’s missing is the twist that evens up the men and the women.

Holmes: Are you a “Survivor” fan?
Silvester: I’ve probably applied to be on this show more than any person in “Survivor” history.
Holmes: How many times.
Silvester: At least 15 or 17.
Holmes: I know Gillian (Larson) from Gabon applied a lot. But you might have her beat.
Silvester: The only seasons I missed applying were because of being sick.

Holmes: I’m going to read directly from your bio, “Pet Peeves: Know-it-all people, bullies, people who prey on weaker people.” I’m betting you’re going to run into some of that in the next thirty nine days.
Silvester: Yes.
Holmes: Can you internalize and keep your cool around these people?
Silvester: No. (Laughs) I will confront a bully. I will confront them head on because they’re just weak. They pick on people they know are scared of them. I’ll show you you can be dominated just as well. If it costs me, it costs me.

Holmes: Will you lie to get ahead?
Silvester: Yes. People lie to get themselves out of situations. It may not be part of their demeanor in everyday life. But we’ll do something out of character to help ourselves.
Holmes: Are you prepared to flirt to get ahead?
Silvester: I don’t think I’m going to have to. I really don’t. This is something that I will not tell anybody out there; I’m probably twice the age of those people. But there are at least two women who are going to try to get ahead by flirting.
Holmes: Who are those two?
Silvester: One will be the girl with the hooker pumps and the dress. She’s changed swimsuits three or four times since we’ve been here today. Barbie may have to flirt, but she’s so young and naïve that she might fall for someone who’ll bring her along.

Holmes: If you could align with any former “Survivor” player, who would it be and why?
Silvester: “Boston” Rob, because he’s not a survivalist, but he’s an expert manipulator of people. His people skills are what got him the win. The ability to make people believe that he cares for them. Nobody can take them deeper than him.
Holmes: You’re not worried about him playing you?
Silvester: He’s got to play me. I know that. It has to happen at some point in time. If you believe that you can align with someone who will never play you, you are foolish.

Holmes: OK, when you conquer “Survivor: Philippines” in much the same way you conquered cancer, what are your plans for the money?
Silvester: There are so many people that have supported me. I have not been able to repay them. So a portion of that money would go back to repaying those people. Naturally, you’re going to take care of your family. Believe it or not, my ex-wife, who I’m still emphatically in love with and trying to hopefully some how get back together. And my little stepdaughter who is the apple of my eye. As far as she is concerned, I am her daddy. I told her I’ll always be her daddy, I’ll never, ever leave her.
Holmes: Why aren’t you and your ex-wife still together?
Silvester: We ended…and it was my fault. It had zero to do with infidelity, but it had to do with me not allowing her to trust me. It was a trust issue. That’s my fault. I don’t think I understood what it took to be a husband. I love her. I’m always going to be there, if she ever opens that door.

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

‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Abi-Maria Gomes

September 11, 2012

Abi-Maria Gomes (CBS) 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: Abi-Maria Gomes
Home: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Business Student
Tribe: Tandang

Fun Fact: Abi-Maria owns a beverage company named GRC Beverages.

Gordon Holmes: Your personal claim to fame is becoming an American citizen. What did that mean to you?
Abi-Maria Gomes: That means a lot. That means opportunity. That means freedom.
Holmes: It also says here that you’re manipulative.
Gomes: I am. I have a great ability to read people, so I can use that to my advantage. I make things happen. Look at me now, I’m an American citizen. I manipulated situations to get where I am.

Holmes: You still have a very strong Brazilian accent.
Gomes: I do!
Holmes: You’re entering a game where people are looking for any little reason to send you packing. Are you worried that might cause you some trouble or can you get it to work to your advantage?
Gomes: I think it could work to my advantage. I plan on getting in the final three, and hopefully they’ll think, “She can’t speak English very well.”

Holmes: Complaining is one of your pet peeves.
Gomes: I can’t stand complaining.
Holmes: I’d bet you’re going to run into some complaining during your time on this show.
Gomes: (Laughs) That’s good, they’re going to be on the top of my list to get them off of the island.
Holmes: Are you confident in your ability to deal with complainers?
Gomes: I’m going to have to use a balanced approach. I’m going to have to hold back, go under the radar at first.

Holmes: Is there anything in your entrepreneurial background that lends itself to “Survivor”?
Gomes: Real-estate sales, business management, that’s my major.
Holmes: So knowing how to sell people?
Gomes: I’ve lived in different countries, so I’m very adaptive. I adapt easily. And reading people, it’s a social game at the end of the day.

Holmes: Are you a “Survivor” fan?
Gomes: Yeah. I was originally supposed to be in Tocantins, “Survivor” 18 in Brazil.
Holmes: You’re from Brazil, they wouldn’t let me compete in “Survivor: Gordon’s Office.”
Gomes: (Laughs) I know! That’s why they didn’t cast me.

Holmes: What is your read on this cast?
Gomes: I think there are some really interesting people. I can see there are going to be some real hardcore players, people who are playing really hard. I see some villains out there. Overall everyone is very good looking. I’ve been studying their behaviors. I see people smiling at each other and making alliances.
Holmes: Have you been smiling at anybody?
Gomes: Of course! You should see who you have a good feel for. But the game shifts so much, you have to stay cool and collected and not talk too much at the beginning. And hopefully you’re not jinxing me with the accent thing. (Laughs)
Holmes: No, I’m giving you things to think about. If that comes up in the game, think about this moment. In fact, that’s your assignment between now and the start of the game, figure out how will to defend yourself in case that becomes an issue.
Gomes: And what I’m going to do is, “Guys, I have an accent. My English is not powerful. So, if you take me to the final three I’m not going to talk in front of the jury…”
Holmes: And then you tear them up.
Gomes: Exactly.

Holmes: OK, I know the answer to this; are you ready to lie?
Gomes:  Yes!
Holmes: She’s prepared to manipulate.
Gomes: Yes.
Holmes: Are you prepared to flirt?
Gomes: Look at me! I’m a charmer. I’m a Brazilian charmer. People usually like us.

Holmes: They asked you which contestant you think you’re like, you think you’re like Parvati (Shallow). That’s a very popular answer. What I’m interested in is; if you could align with any past “Survivor” player, who would it be and why?
Gomes: JT (Thomas), because we did casting together for “Survivor: Tocantins” and we had a little connection going on. We were sitting at the bus together and we looked at each other. Hopefully if he’s on this season he remembers me, and I’ll have him align with me. I’ll tell him I’ve been watching these people for the last three days and have a lot of information.

Holmes: What’s the plan for later this year when you’re a millionaire?
Gomes: I want to double the money. I want to invest it into my beverages company. This is a huge platform and I’ll be able to use it to my advantage. Doubling up the money and saving the children in the world.

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

‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Roxanne ‘Roxy’ Morris

September 11, 2012

Roxanne 'Roxy' Morris (Gordon Holmes) 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: Roxanne “Roxy” Morris
Home: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: Seminary Student

Tribe: Matsing

Gordon Holmes: Religion has played a major role in “Survivor” the past couple of seasons. How will that influence your approach to the game?
Roxanne Morris: People like Coach (Wade), Matt (Elrod), Brandon (Hantz), they’ve had many times that made me laugh watching them as a Christian. At the same time, I’m really excited that people who haven’t found God are finding God in the game. Or if they have a relationship with God, that it’s grown in the game. How does that affect me? My whole life, my whole identity is being Christian. It’s not something I do on Sunday or something I reach for when I have a tough situation. It’s who I am all the time. So, I’m very excited to see how this game will play a role in my effectiveness as a Christian leader. Whether it’s in the military or doing missions in other countries. This will challenge a lot of human aspects of who I am. There are certain luxuries I’m used to, and those are going to be stripped away. How will that affect my character? And how does that mesh with my spiritual connection with God?
Holmes: Religion has gotten a bit of a bad rap the last couple of seasons. Some would argue that religion was used to sway people’s allegiances. Is it important for you to show that a woman of Christian faith can go out there and not compromise her beliefs?
Morris: You know, God is sovereign. I believe He’s controlling everything all the time everywhere. And God already knows if I’m going to win. I can’t bribe God to do something differently if He has plans for who’s going to win the million. So, accepting that has given me peace. I’m not sure everyone else is coming in with that. But, the Bible says “Faith without works is dead.” So my work and gameplay is what it is. I’m going to work to the best of my ability.
Holmes: Sounds like you have a fantastic attitude.
Morris: Thank you.

Holmes: You describe yourself as a “warrior.” What does that term mean to you?
Morris: A warrior is someone who’s ready to fight. The Bible talks about us living in spiritual warfare between good and evil. And when I think of a warrior, I always think of King David. His entire life was spent in the Holy Wars. He shed so much blood that he couldn’t build a temple, his son had to build the Temple of Solomon. So, when I think of war I think of David and I always feel connected to him.

Holmes: You said that the “Survivor” player you think you’re most like is Brandon Hantz. I met Brandon before he went out for “South Pacific.” My first instinct was that he was a good guy. However, when I watched the show, I saw this man who was really conflicted. Are you prepared for situations where you might be conflicted?
Morris: The big way I relate to Brandon is that he takes his Christianity very seriously. You can see that on day one. He identifies who and what will be his biggest weakness. Where I differ is that I don’t see myself as quite a baby. When I look at Brandon I think he’s a little baby who’s learning how to walk in Christ. I feel I have a little more experience than Brandon. The thing that makes me relate to him the most is really his seriousness in his faith, and willingness to die with that if that’s his choice. There are moves I would have done differently, but I respect him staying true to his faith.

Holmes: Deception is a popular way to get ahead in this game. Is that something you’re comfortable with?
Morris: Deception is something that I’m comfortable doing. At the same time, I think wisdom is a huge part or being the backbone of the person. Especially if you’re a Christian. I don’t think Christ has called us to just be nice or be people you can walk over. I pray not to find myself in those situations, but we’re all here for the million dollars, and we all have a purpose for that.
Holmes: My thing has always been; God’s got bigger issues right now than who wins “Survivor.”
Morris: Exactly. (Laughs) I know what I’m here for and I know what plans I have for that money that are greater than this game.
Holmes: What are your plans?
Morris: Well, first thing I have to do is 10% has to go to the church. I’m a tither. Sorry! The church I attend right now doesn’t have a church building, but we’re working toward saving for a building. And then I’d also give to Brooklyn Tabernacle which is the church where I was baptized. The rest of it, I really want to do world evangelism.

Holmes: We haven’t touched on this yet, but you have a military background.
Morris: Yes.
Holmes: How does that work to your advantage?
Morris: There are two major parts of the military. There’s Missions and there’s Morale. The chaplains are the Morale. We have to keep people feeling good about the war. That’s really hard. For the first half of the game, I think that’s a huge tactic of mine. Building the morale of the group, and not in a corny way, because I hate cheesy, just as a person. And honestly, winning as many challenges as we can so we don’t have to eliminate. And if we do, it’s going to be the weakest person. I know that’s not going to be me.
Holmes: And as far as military training, it’s safe to say you’re pretty bad ass?
Morris: Yes, I’m just naturally athletic. I’m not really worried about that. I hate to say it, but looking at everyone so far, I’m not super intimidated.
Holmes: Speaking of, you’ve been around the cast for a few days. What are your first impressions?
Morris: I hate to jump to conclusions. I can’t tell who I would ally with by looking at them. But, I do see some danger zones. There’s this one guy who is so cute and I feel like he would be a distraction. With someone being so attractive you can fall for everything they have to say.
Holmes: I’ve had to deal with that prejudice my whole life.
Morris: (Laughs)
Holmes: That wasn’t meant to be funny, Roxanne.

Holmes: You’re a lovely young lady, are you comfortable flirting in the game?
Morris: Flirting? I’m not going to lie, I think that’s naturally how I’d be. I wouldn’t overdo it. When you’re living amongst each other, something Christians don’t do before marriage, there’s a natural sense of comfort-ability that’s there. I don’t think that’s something I can avoid. But there are boundaries that have to be set up.

Holmes: If you could align with any past “Survivor” player, who would it be and why?
Morris: I would align with Sophie (Clarke) because I say I’m going to lay low, but I know I won’t. Sophie played a good game. She wasn’t always the person in front of the camera, telling great stories. She laid low. If you looked at the casting you’d never guess her to win. When the arguments started, she’d just lay back. She was all about business.

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

‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Sarah Dawson

September 10, 2012

Sarah Dawson (CBS) 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: Sarah Dawson
Age: 28
Home: Silver Springs, MD
Occupation: Insurance Sales
Tribe: Kalabaw

Gordon Holmes: You say that the contestant you’re most like is Jessica “Sugar” Kiper. What is it about Sugar that you’re drawing a parallel with?
Sarah Dawson: I don’t know if I’m most like Sugar, I find Sugar to be very entertaining. She was great TV. I know, you know, she did cry a lot. That probably wasn’t fun for the other contestants. But, (expletive deleted) the other contestants. I’m the one watching. I thought she was hilarious.
Holmes: So her pain brought you joy?
Dawson: Not so much her pain…
Holmes: That’s terrible.

Note: At this point in the interview, a framed certificate fell off of the wall of the gazebo we were sitting in and smashed over Dawson’s head.

Holmes: (Laughs) Are you OK?
Dawson: That sound…was my lawyer.
Holmes: Nobody had sat on that part of the gazebo before.
Dawson: (Laughs) I get injured during our interview? This is the first “Survivor” injury of the season!
Holmes: (Laughs) They’re not going to have me back if I keep injuring all of the contestants.
Dawson: (Laughs) You’re not good for TV.
Holmes: You know what that was? That was karma. You were just saying how much you like to watch Sugar cry.
Dawson: Hmm…
Holmes: Are you OK? Seriously? Do we need to get ice or anything?
Dawson: Oh no, I’m fine. My head is super used to hitting things.

Holmes: You’re taking a Bible with you?
Dawson: I’m a Seventh-Day Adventist. I went to a Seventh-Day Adventist high school. It’s kind of like a lifestyle, it’s really nice. Every day of the week there’s something at the church. We’re all vegetarians. So, I’m extremely familiar with the Bible. But, one thing I haven’t mastered is the Bible in Spanish. I just love Spanish culture and their history. I travel to as many Spanish-speaking countries as I can. So, I wanted to bring a Spanish Bible so I could sit down and apply different things and see it in a language I appreciate.
Holmes: It seems like religion has gotten a bad rap on “Survivor” lately. Are you worried that might count against you?
Dawson: Oh my, God. I don’t think Coach (Wade) even knows what show he’s on. OK, so this is what Coach was trying to do. You know how “Survivor” is outwit, outplay, outlast?
Holmes: I’ve heard that somewhere before.
Dawson: Right, you’ve been there. Coach knowing he couldn’t outwit, outplay, outlast, he tried to change people’s mantras of the show by constantly saying, “Honor, integrity, loyalty.” So, if people are always thinking that way, instead of outwit, outplay, outlast, then he’ll have a better shot because people will feel like they need to be loyal instead of getting rid of him. Which, I would’ve noticed right off the bat and put him on a boat out somewhere on his own a longtime before the final three.

Holmes: Quick aside, your nails are awesome.
Dawson: Dude, these are my team colors. So you just saw a little bit under the veil.
Holmes: They told you your colors?
Dawson: I’m pink and brown. Nobody’s ever gone on “Survivor” with really cool nail colors before.
Holmes: You know what else nobody has done? They always merge and then use a local word for “unity” or something for the tribe name. Why aren’t they ever the “Super Fire Thunder Alliance” or something cool like that?
Dawson: I totally agree with you. I’m with you. I want to name my tribe “Smoke a Doobie”, or something like that.
Holmes: They might have a problem with that one.

Holmes: Are you a big “Survivor” fan?
Dawson: I’m as big as you can be.
Holmes: Old school.
Dawson: Old school. And because I didn’t watch much TV growing up, I got into “Survivor” late in the game, so I got my hands on every (expletive deleted) episode and interview. I’ve been watching them for maybe five years. I’ve been really studying the game and how it’s evolved. And everything is so streamlined now, I think this cycle they’re going to switch things up. I think, what I anticipate is that they’ll change up the tribe at least three times. People are feeling too safe. On day one they make a final five alliance, then pick everyone off. And if they make it to the merge with a majority, they’ll pick off the strong people, then once it gets to the final five they pick off the likable people, then sit at the end next to a goat. People think that’s what “Survivor” is, so they’re going to switch it up.
Holmes: It’s funny, because this is the kind of rut “Survivor” fell into before Rob Cesternino shook things up in “Survivor: The Amazon.”
Dawson: They’re going to switch it up this season big time. The people in “One World” got a cakewalk compared to what I’m going to go through. I guarantee it.

Holmes: What are your first impressions of this cast?
Dawson: Some of them are intriguing.  I’m amused by a few.
Holmes: Who’s intriguing you?
Dawson: I’m most intrigued by the girl, she’s maybe 5’7”, she’s got short spiky hair and she’s got tattoos. And she’s a real kind of different badass girl. And as a non-conformist myself, I appreciate her.
Holmes: Who’s amusing you?
Dawson: There’s this other girl, she’s the cutest little thing. I call her “Pinky” because the only thing she wears is pink. She wears in constantly. She’s adorable. But, in my head I compare her to a Maltese.
Holmes: (Laughs) OK…
Dawson: Because she’s got this beautiful shiny hair and she just prances around. I just want to put her in a doggy bag and take her to the mall with me. She’s just so cute.
Holmes: Adorable.
Dawson: But the guys are pretty boring, honestly. One of them is cute, but I haven’t seen a single ounce of personality.
Holmes: We always joke that we leave here with a “Survivor” girlfriend. But I always contest that she can’t be just pretty, there has to be something.
Dawson: Something…yes.
Holmes: Anything else about these folks?
Dawson: I’ve already got (expletive deleted) on all these people.
Holmes: You do?
Dawson: I know some of their names. I know where some of them are from.
Holmes: So just by sitting in a room with them you’ve been able to figure this out?
Dawson: I’m super sneaky. Whenever someone’s not looking, I’m looking. That’s my thing.
Holmes: Evil.
Dawson: I’m not evil! I’m a mischief maker. I love to have fun and if I can just switch this game up and catch somebody off guard…do something different, blindside somebody with a prank and get them off their game, that’d be awesome.

Holmes: Are you prepared to lie to get ahead?
Dawson: (Expletive deleted) yeah!
Holmes: There ya go.
Dawson: (Laughs) Do some people say “No” to that? That’s the more appropriate question.
Holmes: I can’t discuss your cast, but other casts I’ve interviewed have had people who have said they wouldn’t lie.
Dawson: Are you serious? I want to play with them.
Holmes: I never lie, so yes, I’m serious. Are you prepared to flirt?
Dawson: I think it’s natural. If you have to make a conscious decision to flirt, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
Holmes: Well put. Are you prepared to use your head wound from a falling picture frame to get sympathy?
Dawson: Oh yeah.  I’m going to probably go to medical now and ask to be transported on a gurney to the location.

Holmes: If you could align with any former “Survivor” player, who would it be and why?
Dawson: Excellent question. I’ve been getting (expletive deleted) questions.
Holmes: I didn’t fly all this way to ask (expletive deleted) questions.
Dawson: You didn’t. I’d love to play with Chet (Welch). Do you remember Chet?
Holmes: From Micronesia? I remember him.
Dawson: Chet was awesome.
Holmes: What are the benefits to having him in your alliance?
Dawson: He can’t do anything! He doesn’t have a physical game, social game. He can’t even get his own water. Talk about someone I don’t have to worry about scheming behind my back.
Holmes: So you’re willing to sacrifice someone who does stuff around camp for someone you can lead around?
Dawson: (Expletive deleted) yeah. I don’t need (expletive deleted) done around camp. All those people go home.

Holmes: OK, what’re you going to do with the million bucks in December when Probst hands you that novelty check?
Dawson: I’m going to buy a helmet for me to wear when I’m around you.
Holmes: Wow, injure a girl once and you’re branded for life.
Dawson: I’m starting to get a headache, and I wasn’t even drinking last night.
Holmes: I’m going to make them take you to medical.

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

‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Former MLB Star Jeff Kent

September 10, 2012

Jeff Kent (AP/Gordon Holmes) 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: Jeff Kent
Home: Austin, TX
Occupation: Former MLB Player
Tribe: Kalabaw

Gordon Holmes: Are you going to let people know about your career in Major League Baseball?
Jeff Kent: I don’t plan on it. If people catch who I am I’m going to have to come clean. Hopefully they won’t know as much about me as you do and have me on their fantasy team.
Holmes: You made a few seasons and another time you broke my heart.
Kent: (Laughs) I’ll downplay it as best I can, if they know. But now I’m a motorcycle dealer, I have a family with four kids. I have a working ranch. That’s kind of how I’m playing this thing. Hopefully that will be enough.
Holmes: Something that I think may work in your favor is; baseball players always have a hat or a helmet on. I’d definitely recognize the name Jeff Kent, but as a baseball fan, I only really recognize players from my own team.
Kent: Well, there weren’t many white guys with mustaches walking around. I was known as one of the only guys in baseball to still have the porn-stache of the ‘80s who was still playing in the ‘90s. There is one kid here who’s wearing a whole lot of New York Yankees get-up, so hopefully he won’t catch on.
Holmes: Ever thought of losing the porn-stache?
Kent: I’ve only shaved it off one time, and that was in the World Series in 2002 and we ended up losing. I was so bitter I went home and shaved my mustache. The next day I looked in the mirror and thought, “What an ugly bastard you are.” So, I let it grow back. I haven’t shaved it since.
Holmes: What happens if you’re on the beach, you tell everyone about your ranch, and some Dodgers fan says, “You look a lot like Jeff Kent.”
Kent: I’m going to have to back into that. I’ll have to get a feeling from them of how serious they were. How much they know about me. They’ll get information on a need-to-know basis. If they know who I am, and they don’t know how long I played or how many teams I played for, I’ll have to fib my way through it in a way that makes it seem like on their level. And that’s my goal, my goal is to be on everyone’s level. If it looks like I’m bigger and better and richer, that won’t be such a good thing. I’m going to have to adapt. I don’t have a plan. I think that’ll be a good thing. I’ve been telling the media stories my whole life. I tell them what I think they need to know and what they’ve earned. I’ll be the same way with these contestants.

Holmes: It comes out that you’re former MLB star Jeff Kent, you had a long career. It’s no secret that baseball players bring in some big money. I say, “He shouldn’t be here, he doesn’t need the money. Let’s get rid of him.” How do you counter?
Kent: It’d be a throwback to Russell (Hantz) in a sense. Russell played a few years back, where he played the game and he earned the right to be the sole Survivor. He didn’t get it. He got the Sprint award. But he didn’t get the million dollars and I think he should have. That’s how the game is going to be played for me. If I get caught, then let’s play the game. Let’s see who the best player is. It’s not about who deserves the money because they’re rich or poor or in debt or starting a family. It’s not about taking care or grandma and grandpa. It’s about playing a game. The million dollars should go to the best player in this game.
Holmes: I 100% agree with you as we sit in this gazebo. But if we were in the game together, I’d absolutely use your wealth against you.
Kent: But I don’t know if there’s another play. Jimmy Johnson tried that where he said, “Oh, I don’t need the money, so use me.” That didn’t work for him.
Holmes: I spoke with Jimmy after “Survivor: Nicaragua” and he said that when he tried that strategy in the game that nobody bought it. Did you learn anything from watching him?
Kent: His heart wasn’t into it I believe. At least watching what they showed us. It just seemed like he was searching for another place to go. And as good a guy as Jimmy is from TV, I don’t know him personally, but I just don’t know if he had the same competitive nature as I have right now. There’s still a lot of competitive nature in me. Your heart’s got to be in it 100%.

Holmes: You know why I’m psyched that you’re here?
Kent: Why?
Holmes: Cause it’s always football players they bring on this show. I’m a baseball fan.
Kent: (Laughs) Cool.
Holmes: Let me get your opinion on this, my friends at asked me; which St. Louis Cardinal would you like to see on “Survivor”? I picked catcher Yadier Molina because I thought a catcher is perfectly suited for the game. Because he’s a catcher, he’s got to be tough, he’s used to being uncomfortable. He knows how to manage the egos of a pitching staff.
Kent: I would say a catcher would fare well because he’s in control of the game. He’s got to control his pitcher, but he’s got to control the defense and the hitter too. Yadier’s changed over the years. He’s a pretty good kid, he was soft spoken, but now he’s more of a leader and more of a strength for that pitching staff. He’s a guy that would fare well here, but he could snap. More than me, even. I think he’s still a little immature. That’s where I’ve got him. I’ve got skills with manipulating my teammates. Because there have been plenty of teammates that you play with that you don’t like. But you’ve still got to go out there and play the game.
Holmes: But you have something in common with a locker room of Major League Baseball players. You’re all professional athletes who’ve made it to the pinnacle of the sport. There’s no telling who’s going to be on your tribe.
Kent: I’m going to have to deal with different personalities, different age groups. At the end of my career, I was one of the older players. You’ve got 20-year-old players and I’ve got to communicate and deal with these guys. That’s going to be a big asset of mine to communicate with all these people with different personalities, make-ups, and egos. And with my reputation, I don’t step down, I might put my foot in my mouth.

Holmes: How do your kids feel about dad running off to live on an island for 39 days?
Kent: They’re laughing at me. (Laughs) This whole process has been, let’s apply and see how far it goes. And now here I am. The applications, the videos, all of these trials, it’s happened pretty quickly. We don’t talk about it a whole lot at home. But it was a trying time. My older kids get it more than the younger kids. They like laughing at dad. They like poking me in the stomach and calling me “Fatty” and all that stuff. They’ve always seen me compete though. And that’s what I’m here to do.
Holmes: I’m a professional athlete, and I brought you into this world; don’t call me, “Fatty.”
Kent: (Laughs)

Holmes: You’ve been here a couple of days with the cast. What are your first impressions?
Kent: With nobody able to run their mouth, it’s a very boring group. We’ve got the $100-tan model, there aren’t many older people. That could be a challenging thing. Everybody looks athletic. Not a lot of people are over the hill. Probably going to have some big challenges coming up.

Holmes: Are you comfortable lying in the game?
Kent: Absolutely. You can’t win if you don’t. I get so tired of watching the show and people say they’re going to play with honor and integrity. That’s a bunch of (expletive deleted). You’re lying in some way. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s a game.
Holmes: What about flirting?
Kent: Not necessarily flirt, it’s…I think I’m prepared to be respectful to people I don’t like. There’s going to be people here that I don’t like for some reason. Looking at them without stereotypes, I’m looking at people and I’m thinking you’re probably the bitch or you’re probably the dirtbag or you’re the stupid one. I’m going to have problems with that. People are probably going to have problems with me. I’m hoping people will give each other a chance first, and that’ll be my chance to give respect to people I probably wouldn’t go to lunch with. I guess you could call it being charming or being respectful.

Holmes: If you could align with any past “Survivor” player, who would it be and why?
Kent: It wouldn’t be someone who plays like me. I want someone who plays different. Somebody you could feed off of, or stand behind, or allow to do the dirty work. Going back to Russell’s first time he was on, (“Survivor: Samoa”) how much of a scheming conniver he was, and a liar and a cheat, and he didn’t even win. The girl (Natalie White) won. I’d go with Russell in a sense that he could be the bad guy and do the dirty work. He was there to play the game. But, I’m thinking I would go with someone I’d be opposite. And he would probably be one of the best players who’s ever played the game. People think he’s a pain in the ass, but it was Russell. You let him take the heat, work with him, then feed off of him at the end. I did the same things, but I did them with respect.
Holmes: I like Russell. You know how you have friends who are rough around the edges, but they know it, and they embrace it?
Kent: Absolutely.
Holmes: That’s Russell. He’s who he is. You either like it or you don’t. If you appreciate it? You can have a good time with him.
Kent: I had that kind of reputation in baseball sometimes, too. Of being an (expletive deleted). Especially the media. But there were people in the media who knew if they wanted the real story, they come to me. They knew me and they got me. I had teammates too who thought I was an (expletive deleted), thought I was a racist. But I had other teammates, you ask them, “Is Jeff Kent a racist?” They’ll say, “No, you just don’t get him.”
Holmes: Who thought you were a racist?
Kent: Milton Bradley called me a racist when I was with L.A. He’s a punk. But what I was getting at is, people get me. And if we’re going to war, I’m who you want by your side.

Holmes: We’ve been sitting here for a bit and you haven’t been an (expletive deleted) to me yet.
Kent: (Laughs)
Holmes: I’ve got one last question, maybe this is where I’ll earn it. It’s December, Jeff Probst pulls your name out of an urn five times. What’s next? I’m assuming you’re already well off, but are there special plans for the money?
Kent: That money goes right in the bank. If there’s a millionaire out there that says he doesn’t need another million…there ain’t one out there. But, that’s not why I’m playing. I’ve played baseball, the agent negotiates the contract. He gets as much money for you as he can get. But while you’re playing, when you’re hitting, you’re only thinking about being a champion. For me to be sole Survivor, that would be pretty neat. Would it be the ultimate for me? No. I was at the plate with 50,000 people chanting my name. Driving in the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning.  I’ve been there. That was the ultimate, with all due respect to Jeff and everyone. And the reason I’m here is because “Survivor” is such a respectful show. I’ve got a lot to lose here. If this show comes in and I burn my reputation out there, that could be damaging for what I’ve created. What I’m here to do is challenge myself and compete.

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

‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Dana Lambert

September 7, 2012

Dana Lambert (CBS) 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: Dana Lambert
Home: Winston-Salem, NC
Occupation: Cosmetologist
Tribe: Kalabaw

Gordon Holmes: I forgot to pack hair gel for this trip. I complained about it non-stop until we found a place that had some. How’re you going to survive 39 days without any hair-care products?
Dana Lambert: I need hair gel to make my hair stick up like this! I do not wake up like this.
Holmes: So, what’s the plan?
Lambert: Salt water.
Holmes: That works?
Lambert: Yeah. I use a lot of products with salt water in it for guys. So, maybe I can go with that taut, tasseled beach look.
Holmes: Are you a “Survivor” fan?
Lambert: Yeah, I’ve watched the show for eleven years.
Holmes: Worst case, you don’t want to go out there and have your hair freak out like Marty (Piombo) from “Survivor: Nicaragua.”
Lambert: Your hair would do that.
Holmes: Yeah, it’s thick, so if it’s too short it poofs out like a Q-tip.

Holmes: It says in your bio that you spent some time in rehab. What were you working out there?
Lambert: You know, I don’t do N.A. (Narcotics Anonymous) or any of that stuff now. I was 20, and I woke up one day and I think I’d had enough. I’d lost a couple of friends and a small town breeds bored children, I guess. I woke up one day and I told my mom I wanted to go to rehab. She said, “You’ve got a problem with drugs?” (Laughs) So, I went to rehab, I spent my 21st birthday there, and I’ve been 12 years clean.
Holmes: Congratulations.
Lambert: Just another chapter.
Holmes: When I was reading your bio last night, and I was wondering if going through that process of being without something that your bodies thinks it needs will serve you well in the game.
Lambert: Yeah, well I smoked cigarettes up to five months ago to prepare for the game. But I really don’t think I have an addictive personality. I think I did that because I needed to get out of town. It wasn’t that I was afraid that I couldn’t quit them. I was just bored and wanted to do something different. But, I definitely learned from that and I do think it will help me in the game. I think I do well under stress.
Holmes: You’re facing a potential 39 days without a lot of food, without a lot of water.
Lambert: Yeah, those coping skills are going to have to be pretty good out there.

Holmes: You’ve been around the new cast for a few days…
Lambert: Yeah, and whether or not I’ve talked to these people or not, I’ve definitely noticed some of their habits.
Holmes: Are you someone who has trouble around people who annoy you or can you stand back and be cool with it?
Lambert: I’m going to stand back. I’m going to let someone else bitch about it first. And I see who makes their beds, I see who cleans up after themselves after dinners. There are some older women here. I’ll let them take on that challenge directly. And if they don’t directly, I’ll take a different approach.
Holmes: What are your first impressions of these folks?
Lambert: I definitely stand out as a girl from Arkansas with punk hair and tatted up.
Holmes: That tattoo is very cool.
Lambert: Thanks. This is a cover-up actually. I have four or five tattoos.
Holmes: What’s it covering up?
Lambert: It’s actually two cover-ups. I got one when I was really young. It was like a naked woman. She looked like she had Down syndrome in the face. It looked like a prison tat. So, I got it covered up with a Celtic knot, and then I got that covered up again.
Holmes: Back to the original question, what do you think of the cast?
Lambert: I think they’re interesting enough. It’s hard to tell without talking to people, but you get some interesting eye contact from people. A couple of the women, they look soft. Like sweet, nice women. And some of the guys look like frat boys. Probably a tad of arrogance in the younger dudes.

Holmes: Do you have any problems with lying in the game?
Lambert: I’ve been struggling with that. I didn’t originally come to this show to win a million dollars. I came to this show because I’m from Arkansas and I’ve never traveled out of the country. I thought, “Oh man, what a free trip.”
Holmes: To be honest, you did get quite the free trip.
Lambert: Yeah. No doubt. Three planes, boat ride and four buses. But now that I’m here, I’m competitive, so I want to win.
Holmes: What about flirting?
Lambert: I’m prepared to do all those things.
Holmes: Nice. Coming out guns blazing.
Lambert: But I don’t want to. I don’t want to be that person who has to put myself to the side, but it’s a game.
Holmes: I’m a big believer that you can’t give yourself rules before the game starts.
Lambert: And that’s why I hate to say how I’m going to play because it never turns out that way. I’m just not that manipulative. I used to be, but I guess I grew out of it. It’ll probably be my downfall in the game.
Holmes: Really?
Lambert: Well, maybe when I get closer to the prize it’ll kick in.

Holmes: If you could align with any former “Survivor” player, who would it be and why?
Lambert: James (Clement) because he’s strong and he wants to win. He hates to lose, which is my nature. Parvati (Shallow) because she’s a flirt and she can get what she wants out of the alpha males. “Boston” Rob (Mariano) because he stays out of the drama and picks up the leadership skills without really fighting for it.
Holmes: But what do you bring to these alliances? Everyone needs a role.
Lambert: I think what I would bring is…I fit well in pulling people together as a team. I’m level headed and can maintain them. Also, I’m pretty handy around camp.

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

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

September 7, 2012

Denise Stapley (Gordon Holmes) 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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