Archive for January, 2013

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Fan Julia Landauer: ‘I Want to Make Some Enemies’

January 31, 2013
Julia Landauer (CBS)

Julia Landauer (CBS)

I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.

Name: Julia Landauer
Age: 21
Hometown: Stanford, CA
Occupation: Race Car Driver/Student

Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Fans” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the returning players.  They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.

Gordon Holmes: You think you’re like the lead character in ‘Monk’?
Julia Landauer: (Laughs) Yeah. I’m a little compulsive, not OCD. I’ve got little quirks, little things that bug me. Anything from shoelaces needing to be the same tightness…
Holmes: Mine or yours?
Landauer: (Laughs) Just mine.
Holmes: OK, does my recorder need to be at a right angle?
Landauer: No, but I do align things with right angles. It’s really hard to hang pictures and calendars because I need it to be equal. My friend and I had a bunch of posters in our room this year and it took forever to set them up. My desk has to be neat. So, those little quirks, if I’m focusing on them when I’m away, are going to take away from my game. So, I’ve been working on making myself a little uncomfortable and just dealing with it. And, I’m making progress.
Holmes: You’re in the middle of nowhere. There isn’t a right angle to be found.
Landauer: Yeah. Also, tan lines have been an issue for me. I don’t like having them. So, I’ve just been out in the sun a lot, not that you can tell because I’m fair skinned, but now I have tan lines. I’ve got to embrace it. I’ve started to learn how to make fire, and when I was on the ground I let ants crawl on me. My dad was watching and he was like, “Oh my God. She had bugs on her!” So, I’m making progress.
Holmes: That’s good, there’s a good chance you’ll have bugs on you in the near future.
Landauer: Probably. Q-tipping, or lack thereof is going to bother me. Like after my ears get wet.

Holmes: You are a race car driver.
Landauer: Hells yes.
Holmes: Hells yes, indeed. I know very little about race car driving, could you explain to me what the Skip Barber Racing Series is?
Landauer: It’s basically an amateur racing school. They teach you everything from how to drive the proper line, proper braking, they have a racing series. It’s “Arrive and Drive” so you don’t own your car. They mix up the cars every week. You pick your car out of a hat to make it as equal as possible. When I was thirteen I got into the car for the first time and did some practice. When I was fourteen I did a full series and I won the championship. I started in go-carts when I was ten. It was a family sport, I have a younger sister and a younger brother. It’s where boys and girls can compete on the same level. My parents thought it was very important to learn how to interact with the opposite sex. I fell in love with it, and I told my parents I need to keep doing this and if you support me I will give it my all and you will be proud parents.
Holmes: And they are proud parents? You’re a woman of your word?
Landauer: They are proud parents.

Holmes: Is racing a male-dominated sport?
Landauer: It’s definitely a male-dominated sport. But, there are a handful of women in every given series, and you’re definitely seeing more girls doing go-carting. I think it’s going to be a while before it’s equal, if it ever makes it to that. But, we’re seeing steps in the right direction.
Holmes: I’m betting you’re probably going to run into some alpha males pretty soon. Has racing taught you how to deal with those types?
Landauer: Yeah, my biggest pet peeves in personalities are alpha males and airheads.
Holmes: You might be in some trouble.
Landauer: I’m going to run into them while on the show. It’s going to be hard for me to contain my disgust with that behavior.
Holmes: You practiced with ants, you didn’t practice with any airheads?
Landauer: I guess I’ve chosen surroundings that don’t really have them. At Stanford you don’t have a lot of alpha males because we’re all told that we’re phenomenal people.
Holmes: Isn’t that how you make alpha males?
Landauer: No, it’s very level-headed. I figure I’ll have to buckle down and make it work while I’m out there.

Holmes: Are you a big “Survivor” fan?
Landauer: Yeah. I had watched a couple of episodes before. But, when I was recruited for the show, I have since become a huge, die-hard…
Holmes: You have basked in the glory that is “Survivor.”
Landauer: I have watched so many seasons. For the past couple of months my days have been doing my schoolwork, doing my racing work, eating, and watching “Survivor.”
Holmes: With the exception of all that work, that sounds awesome.
Landauer: (Laughs) It’s such an amazing show. And, the fact that luck plays into it, makes it incredibly terrifying for me. I feel like I have all the skills to go be the sole Survivor, but then there’s luck involved. It provides this X factor. And, it’s very authentic, which you don’t see in a lot of reality TV.
Holmes: Like “X Factor.”
Landauer: (Laughs)
Holmes: Luck is a huge part of it. I’m a big believer that if you play the game with the same cast and the same twists 100 times, you’ll get 100 different outcomes.
Landauer: People’s moods might be off one day and it gives you the false impression that they’re a good alliance, and they’re not. Anything could happen.

Holmes: What do you think it was about you that made them reach out?
Landauer: Um…
Holmes: That was the worst wording ever.
Landauer: (Laughs) Yes, but I know what you meant.
Holmes: This is what I do for a living, by the way.
Landauer: You’re off to a great start! I think there’s this bad ass mentality with race car drivers.
Holmes: You do seem somewhat bad ass.
Landauer: Thank you, I tried…despite the floral dress I’m wearing. There is that tough mentality, but I feel like I have a weird combination of skills that unlike other Survivors, I feel they could make me really relatable to people. I could also alienate people. I could be a swing player.
Holmes: You’ve got the tools, you just need to know how to use them.
Landauer: Yeah. And I am really smart, and don’t try to hide that I work really hard. I love learning. That nerdy aspect with this bad ass race car driver doesn’t seem natural. I think I’m a weird personality. Difference is cool and stands out on TV.
Holmes: I totally agree, there are so few nerdy bad asses like us.
Landauer: (Laughs) Love it.

Holmes: You just rattled off a long list of reasons of why I’d want to vote you out.
Landauer: Here’s the thing though, I’m also very young and people tend to underestimate the young people. Especially Kat on this last season, “I’m 22, I’m just having fun.” At 22 you’re not young enough to just be having fun, you need to be an adult.
Holmes: (Laughs) You’re an old soul. You remind me of Sophie from “South Pacific.” Is there anything you’re going to downplay?
Landauer: I think I have to downplay Stanford. I think that’s the least relatable aspect of my personality. I’ll play up the race car driver because I think people generally think of drivers as rednecks who aren’t very smart. Which is false, you can’t operate heavy machinery at those spends and not be smart. If people think I’m this young, rash race car driver, they could underestimate me and BOOM, I’ll go out and win “Survivor.”
Holmes: Have you prepared for what happens on Day One if I ask, “Where’d you go to school?”
Landauer: I’ve been going back and forth on this. I think I’d say Stanford, but I’m definitely emphasizing the race car driver thing more. I’m not going to advertise it, but I’m not going to lie about it.
Holmes: Do you have issues lying in the game?
Landauer: I think when you’re out in such a weird, new environment, to lie about a lot of things in addition to having to deceive other people in the game could get overwhelming. But, you do what you’ve got to do. These answers could totally change.
Holmes: So, push comes to shove, you’ll lie?
Landauer: I would lie. In the real world people lie.
Holmes: What?!
Landauer: I know, weird right? But, I want to make some enemies. That’s part of my strategy.
Holmes: That’s unique.
Landauer: Not a lot of enemies. But someone who is voted out early or maybe part of the jury.  One of the biggest problems with Amanda, she was on “Micronesia” and “China” and one other…
Holmes: “Heroes vs. Villains.”
Landauer: Right, one of the biggest things in all three of her seasons was she didn’t have any enemies on the jury. She played in three seasons and never won. I don’t want to be in that position. I want people to see that I took risks and made moves and part of that was making enemies.

Holmes: Some people flirt to get ahead. Is that an avenue you might pursue?
Landauer: I’m not a good flirt. That’s the problem.  I feel like the youth factor will play in more that flirting. I’m just not good at it.

Holmes: What’re we doing with the million dollars? I’m guessing race car parts.
Landauer: There are two possibilities. One is fund my racing career. Two is pay for college. I wouldn’t say I’m paying for my education until the end though, because I don’t want it to come off as a sob story.

Holmes: Do you have any experience roughing it?
Landauer: So…I have a fear of the dark. I should also mention that. It’s a genuine fear, don’t laugh at me.
Holmes: I’m not here to judge, I’m afraid of zombies and I’ve never actually seen one.
Landauer: (Laughs) I face the dark every day. So, I’m trying to get over it. I’ve practiced camping. We’re taking baby steps.

Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it will be?
Landauer: I feel like we could see some past Survivors returning. Other than that, I’m not sure. That’s the most common one. I think that’d be super cool, but a little intimidating. You could learn from them. And if you’re smart you vote off the returning people.

Holmes: You’ve been with this cast for a day. What are your first impressions?
Landauer: I think it’s a really intense group. You can see a lot of fire in people’s eyes. And then there are people where the intensity is not there. I’m not going to write them out just yet, because you never know. I think it’ll be a good season. They’re all kind of young too.
Holmes: What do you think their first impression of you is?
Landauer: I think I have a stern, natural look. But I also don’t think I look particularly old, I hope they think I’m a young kid. And I’m antsy and move around a lot, that adds to that youth factor. I hope they think I’m this kid here to have fun and then BOOM!
Holmes: The most bad ass nerd to ever win “Survivor.”
Landauer: Exactly.

Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Fave Erik Reichenbach: ‘It’s an Island of Misfit Toys’

January 30, 2013

Erik Reichenbach (CBS)

I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.

Name: Erik Reichenbach
Age: 27
Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA
Occupation: Comic Book Artist
Previous Finish: Erik came in 5th place in “Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites”
Memorable Moment: Erik was voted out shortly after giving his immunity idol to Natalie Bolton.
Fun Fact: Erik is the only person to ever go from being a “fan” to being a “favorite.”

Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Favorties” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the new players.  They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.

Gordon Holmes: So, when you gave up the idol…
Erik Reichenbach: What? You’re supposed to ask a couple of softball questions first.
Holmes: We don’t have that kind of time.
Reichenbach: (Laughs)
Holmes: Probst loves to bring that up, I believe he has at times called it his favorite Tribal Council moment of all time…
Reichenbach: Yup.
Holmes: I don’t think anyone remembers you negatively. Everyone seems to enjoy you as a character. But that moment has been hanging over your head for quite some time. How does it feel to get this second chance?
Reichenbach: I’m looking forward to it. But, if I focus on the redemption part, like I need to change my image I’m going to (expletive deleted) blow it. You probably can’t say that word in there.
Holmes: We’re fine.
Reichenbach: But I can’t focus on that or I’m going to blow it. This is the next chapter in the story of where I’m going in the game. The next step in the adventure. You’ve seen where I’ve made a mistake in the past and I’m going to try to grow from that this time.
Holmes: Are you all worried that your past experience has made you gun shy when it comes to big moves?
Reichenbach: I don’t think I’ll be gun shy so much as I’ll be…I’m trying not to focus on big moves, I’m trying to focus on the players. Knowing what’s right to do. So, in a way I might be gun shy on the moves, but you don’t need to make big moves to win the game. Sandra in her season “Heroes vs. Villains,” I don’t think she made too many big moves and she made it.
Holmes: There are a ton of examples of winners like that.
Reichenbach: Plus on this season you’re going to have huge egos. You’re going to have Cochran, you’re going to have some pretty big egos that want to make bold moves. You don’t have to be the one driving the car to get to where you’re going. I don’t know if that’s a good analogy.
Holmes: I think that’s a smart strategy, to be honest.
Reichenbach: I think a lot of people are going to do a lot of stupid (expletive deleted).
Holmes: I can’t wait.
Reichenbach: That’s what I’m excited for! I’m excited to see Phillip Sheppard talk to Brandon…what is that interaction going to be like? What is the interaction with Corinne going to be like with anybody?

Holmes: So you’re still a big fan?
Reichenbach: Oh yeah, huge fan of the show.
Holmes: That’s good to hear, I know some people have been on the show and the experience has soured them.
Reichenbach: I was sour for a while.
Holmes: I can imagine. It can’t be easy to hear people say those things about you.
Reichenbach: I was sour during “Samoa” and “Heroes vs. Villains” because it was the Russell show. And I just watched “Heroes vs. Villains” in preparation because I think it’s an accurate representation of what I’m going into.

Holmes: What’ve you been up to since we saw you in Micronesia?
Reichenbach: Not too much, been working a lot. Jumping around. I was working at Trader Joe’s for a while as an artist. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling. I got to go to Africa, South Africa, I got to go to Europe a bit. I went up and down the coast.
Holmes: For fun?
Reichenbach: Yeah.
Holmes: That’s cool.
Reichenbach: A lot of charity stuff. There’s one, Give Kids the World in Florida. But, basically just watching the show and hanging out.

Holmes: You have played with returnees in the past. Now you are a returnee. What did you learn from that experience?
Reichenbach: I think that’s a big plus, playing with people who’ve already played the game. I got to learn from them like how it works. I was with the Fans and it was a total train wreck. They were first timers, they didn’t know what they were doing. Then there was a swap and I got to play with Favorites who’d played the game before and they showed me the ropes. Ozzy took me under his wing and Amanda was one of my best friends out there. I think that’s a huge advantage.
Holmes: This is a dumb questions, but that’s never stopped me before…why do you think you were brought back?
Reichenbach: I think I was brought back because I made “Survivor” history by giving away the immunity idol to Natalie. And, that’s OK. That’s what people remember me for.
Holmes: People can hang on to things like that for too long. It’s seems good for you and your game that you’ve put that behind you.
Reichenbach: Oh yeah, I’d be nervous. The more you try not to think of something, the more you think of it.
Holmes: What’s it like to get that call after four years to come back?
Reichenbach: It’s awesome. It’s so cool. I was so nervous that it wasn’t going to happen because I was in the line-up for “Heroes vs. Villains” along with Natalie Bolton who voted me out. I was so bummed out when I didn’t get it.

Holmes: It’s day one, we arrive on the beach. I remember you from Micronesia. What do you think I remember about your gameplay?
Reichenbach: I think two things; they’re either going to think I’m a stupid kid who gave away immunity and am still pretty stupid, or they’re going to think that guy is going to try his ass off and try to earn redemption and be a big player.
Holmes: I feel like that can be very valuable.
Reichenbach: What do you mean?
Holmes: I always use Coach as an example. He was able to use people’s preconceived notions of him as an advantage. People thought he was a goof and he really wasn’t.
Reichenbach: Exactly.
Holmes: You have a lot to work. Someone who thinks your dumb will think they can control you.
Reichenbach: There’s no negative connotation attached to me.
Holmes: Right.
Reichenbach: I’m not Boston Rob or Parvati. Parvati always has a target on her back.

Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it will be?
Reichenbach: I don’t know. That’s why I like playing with no plan until you’re there. One thing that’s interesting is there’s one guy here and I don’t know who he is. So, he must be on one of the recent seasons. I’m hoping he’s not a Russell character. Also, there’s only one tribe so far. So, I don’t know if this is Fans vs. Favorites, or whatever the subhead ends up being.
Holmes: I honestly don’t know at this point.
Reichenbach: Fans vs. Failures.
Holmes: That’s very negative.
Reichenbach: (Laughs) It could be a Redemption Island, because I feel like a lot of the people here need redemption. I kind of like that. I would enjoy that for the sake of myself because I think I could do well.
Holmes: I rewatched Micronesia a year ago, and I’m trying to remember how well you did in individual immunity. I’m thinking you did well, right?
Reichenbach: I got three in a row and then the last one was the one where I gave up immunity. I could have won until the end which is what every person on the street has told me.
Holmes: What kind of reaction do you get on the street?
Reichenbach: It’s 50/50. People think I’m an idiot and I’m stupid and the others say, “We really wanted you to do good, we love you, let us bake you cookies.”
Holmes: Cookies? That happens?
Reichenbach: That happened a couple of times, which is weird.

Holmes: What are your thoughts on this cast so far?
Reichenbach: It’s an island of misfit toys. I like all of the people. They’re going to be awesome. They’re going to be hilarious. I can’t wait to talk to all of them. I’d love to talk to Brandon and share notes about giving up immunity.
Holmes: Anyone in particular you want to align with?
Reichenbach: I don’t want to align with anyone specifically, I want to align with numbers as they form. I’m trying not to be biased. Every piece of me wants to say don’t align with Phillip because he’s (expletive deleted) crazy. He’s a nutso. But, you can’t be emotional. You have to look at numbers.
Holmes: Of your fellow castmates, who do you think will do better the second time around?
Reichenbach: Francesca. (Laughs)
Holmes: You’ve had years to say, “I’ll do this different, I won’t make this mistake.” But so have they.
Reichenbach: I hope Cochran does better just because there’s so much hype around him. I hope he does better. Last time I thought was kind of shameful. I’d like to see how Corinne does. She was portrayed as a bitch last time and she’s not a bitch in real life. I hope I do better.
Holmes: You doing better would have you very close to a pretty big check.
Reichenbach: Yeah, it’d be a big deal.

Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Fan Matt Bischoff: ‘I’m a Pretty Conservative Guy’

January 29, 2013

Matt Bischoff (CBS)

I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.

Name: Matt Bischoff
Age: 38
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Occupation: Brand Manager of Two BMX Brands

Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Fans” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the returning players.  They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.

Gordon Holmes: What does a brand manager for a BMX brand do?
Matt Bischoff: I’m in charge of everything. All of the riders that ride for me. I develop new products. I deal with international distributors. I do a little bit of everything.
Holmes: Do you ride yourself?
Bischoff: Yes, I’m a pro bike rider. But, now that I’ve gotten older it’s transformed into more of the business side of things.
Holmes: I’m unfamiliar with the industry, so to be clear, we’re talking about bike tricks, X Games kind of things?
Bischoff: Yeah, it’s BMX like you see on the X Games.
Holmes: So you can do all of those crazy things like going off a ramp and spinning the bike around…
Bischoff: Going off of rails, all kinds of dangerous things. But, I always remember to wear a helmet.
Holmes: Is it going to be weird spending the next month and a half without a bicycle?
Bischoff: No,  because lately I’ve been so consumed with working. So, there hasn’t been as much riding going on the past couple of months anyway. And preparing to go on the show, I’ve been doing other activities. I didn’t want to get hurt. It’ll make me appreciate it a little more when I get back.

Holmes: You are a “Survivor” mega fan.
Bischoff: Yup.
Holmes: How many times have you applied?
Bischoff: I sent in a video, and the second I sent it in I told my wife I was getting on this show.
Holmes: This was your first application?
Bischoff: No, I applied back in maybe 2005. I sent in a video and never got a response. For years after that, I thought there are so many people who apply, I’m not going to even bother. But, that’s not my motto in life. I make a lot of things happen. A lot of people call it “The Bischoff Effect.”  It’s not being lucky, it’s being proactive and following your dreams. And I made the video and that’s that. I’m super stoked that I put my mind to it, I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time.
Holmes: Why do you think you were picked?
Bischoff: Because there are a lot of facets to my personality. I look a certain way. People judge me a certain way because of the tattoos, the gnarly beard, I ride BMX. But, I’m a pretty conservative guy. I love my family. I love my kids. I love just hanging out and spending time with them. I have a major sensitive side to me. Some men are afraid to cry, I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Saying goodbye to the family was emotional.

Holmes: You’re the lead singer in a band. Is there any lead singer syndrome in you? You know, where the lead singer has a big head?
Bischoff: (Laughs) No. Singing in a band, being with a group of people, working with BMX people, I know how to find my place and when I need to shut up I can shut up. I don’t have this super cocky attitude. Sometimes you have to sit back and observe and not ruffle too many feathers in this game. I don’t think I’ll have that problem. But I can be a leader if people aren’t stepping up.

Holmes: You have a hell of a beard.
Bischoff: (Laughs) Aw yeah.
Holmes: And Hans Langseth pretty much rules your life?
Bischoff: He rules my life so much that I have a tattoo of him covering my entire back. He is the man from Norway with the world’s largest beard. His beard was 17.5 feet long when he died. I’ve just been fascinated by him. I’ve actually started to let my beard dread, because the only way to achieve a mega beard is by dreading. Everyone’s  hair has a genetic terminal length. I’m going for the gold medal in the longest beard. I’m dedicating my life to see how long it’ll grow.
Holmes: When was the last time you were clean shaven?
Bischoff: Seven years ago. But I’ve had a beard ever since I could grow facial hair. It’s funny, because I can’t stand shaving my face, but I shave my arms and my chest and things like that.
Holmes: I’ve got to ask, can I see the tattoo?
Bischoff: Yeah, man. (Matt stands and unveils his back tattoo.)
Holmes: Wow, that’s really good work.
Bischoff: Yeah, Chris Garver from Miami Ink did that tattoo.

Note: Matt’s back tattoo is huge and very impressive. Hopefully they give us some good shots of it this season.

Holmes: As far as your “Survivor” gameplay goes, how do you feel about lying?
Bischoff: Here’s the deal, anyone who watches the show has got to realize that there is lying and deceiving and backstabbing. And even when you feel comfortable, you can be blindsided. I’m going into this game knowing how it works and I’m going to do whatever it takes to win. So, if that means backstabbing a friend? My goal is to win and I’ll do whatever it takes. You can’t play this game completely honest. But, after the game is over, everyone should respect who wins the game.
Holmes: It’s easy to say that when you’re the person winning this game. If you were a jury member, could you vote for someone who you thought was the best player but had stabbed you in the back?
Bischoff: You’ve got to respect people that make it farther than you. If you backstab me, I’m going to have an emotion of being pissed off. But, I’m going to vote for someone like you over someone that would ride coattails and not play the game.
Holmes: So, no respect for coattail riders?
Bischoff: This game takes a lot of luck and big moves and I think a lot of people want to sit back and chill and watch the game. I’ve got to be able to spot opportunities and make big moves when necessary.

Holmes: What are you going to do with that million-dollar check?
Bischoff: Invest in my future and my retirement. Buy a house in a better school district.
Holmes: Good dad.
Bischoff: Yeah, invest the money for my family’s future.

Holmes: If there is going to be a twist, what do you think it will be?
Bischoff: I think it will be Fans vs. Favorites. That’s my opinion. I could be totally wrong. But, I think there are going to be returning players. I think it could be a tribe of newbies versus a tribe of people who come back. I could be completely wrong.

Holmes: Any early impressions of your fellow cast members?
Bischoff: In my mind I’ve given these people nicknames. We’ve got “Jersey Shore” and “The US Marine” and there’s the “Model Dude” and there’s some attractive young women. A bunch of blondes. So, we’ll see how their work ethic is. Will they be laying under the sun or putting in work? If they’re not doing any work, I’m not going to complain about it and be like Phillip bitching at them to do stuff.

Holmes: If you don’t feed me, I’m a (expletive deleted). Do you have any problems like that with lack of food, lack of sleep…
Bischoff: There’s three things in my life that get me really irritable; if I don’t have sex for a  period of time.
Holmes: Well, I’ve got bad news for you on that one.
Bischoff: (Laughs) If I’m hungry…
Holmes: More bad news.
Bischoff: Or if I’m tired.
Holmes: It’s a clean sweep.
Bischoff: (Laughs) I definitely think those things will make me irritable. I don’t know how it’s going to affect my personality, but I’m going to try to roll with the punches as best I can.

Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Fave Dawn: ‘I’m Going to Have to Take Control’

January 28, 2013

Dawn Meehan (CBS)

I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.

Name: Dawn Meehan
Age: 42
Hometown: South Jordan, Utah
Occupation: English Professor
Previous Finish: Dawn came in 10th place in “Survivor: South Pacific”
Memorable Moment: Dawn won an immunity challenge for the Savaii tribe by outlasting Stacey Powell in an impressive weight-holding challenge.

Fun Fact: Dawn is the most dominant Power Ranker in XFINITY TV history, having defeated myself, Jim Rice, Sophie Clarke, Christine Shields-Markoski, and a “Survivor” Hall of Fame Coffee Mug.

Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Favorties” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the new players.  They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.

Gordon Holmes: OK, I know we don’t have a friendly past, but I’d appreciate you keeping your language clean, this is a family site.
Dawn Meehan: (Laughs) When I get mad I do swear like a sailor.
Holmes: Like every other word. It’s uncomfortable.
Meehan: It’s true.
Holmes: I was a little surprised to see your name on the cast list.
Meehan: So was I! (Laughs)
Holmes: It doesn’t make sense, but it does makes sense. You weren’t like this big, flashy (expletive deleted), but you can only have so many of those. You had a great story with how you turned things around during your time in Samoa. Either way, I was excited.
Meehan: Aww…thank you.

Holmes: You are the most dominant XFINITY TV Power Ranker of all time. Now, you didn’t play a full season, but every round you played, you won. And you nailed the “One World” final five exactly.
Meehan: I know.
Holmes: Do you think that exercise will help you in the coming game?
Meehan: I really enjoyed doing the Power Rankings because I felt like I wasn’t emotionally attached and I could really understand personalities. Like, who was fishing together and who was sleeping next to each other. I just watched those things and went with what I thought based on what I saw. I think when you’re inside the game sometimes you become too emotionally attached and you don’t use logic. You just use emotion and you make decisions that aren’t necessarily rational. And I thought about it each time I’ve done rankings and though, “If I could just play like this,” which I know I can. It kind of gave me confidence realizing I can do this. My perception is right.
Holmes: So, if you pull this off…
Meehan: If I pull this off I think that the Power Rankings will be the best PSAT course ever for “Survivor.”
Holmes: You’re so going to owe me.
Meehan: For a million dollars? I’ll get you a new mug.
Holmes: Oh sweet. Man, you hate that mug.
Meehan: I hate muggsy.
Holmes: I don’t want to get you too excited, but Coach got to the finals of your season after being a Power Ranker.
Meehan: (Laughs) That’s right!
Holmes: Before the Power Rankings, he was like the ninth guy out.
Meehan: I know.
Holmes: After the Power Rankings, final three.
Meehan: That’s right.
Holmes: Final two, actually. He got some votes.
Meehan: True.
Holmes: Bad news though, the mug was cast too. And it holds a grudge.
Meehan: (Laughs) I’ve beaten that mug before.

Holmes: Alright, I hate to besmirch your character, but is it true that you’ve been bribing people with bread?
Meehan: Yes, I will always bribe people with bread. In fact, I don’t even know if I’d call that a bribe, it’s just me. I like bread, a lot of it. I make it every day to eat. I can’t imagine not giving it to people. My arms are all burned from the baking.
Holmes: That’s terrible. How does that happen?
Meehan: When you take it out I always hit a heating element. So, if I win the million, new oven.
Holmes: If you win the million, instead of oven mitts, we will get you full oven sleeves.
Meehan: I could get longer sleeves, I could take Panera on.
Holmes: Someone on Twitter called you “Dawn of the Bread” and I was jealous that I didn’t think of it first.
Meehan: The bread sounds so cliché, but I love carbs.

Holmes: One of the things I remember about our interview before “South Pacific” was that you were very wary of being deceptive in the game. Now that you’ve got some experience under your belt, has your attitude changed?
Meehan: I totally get that it’s a game. I wasn’t easily offended in the game. It didn’t bother me to blindside Elyse. That’s what the game is about. I don’t like harming people in the game. So, decisions that affect the outcome of the game? No problem. Things that you say in the game or decisions you make that are going to damage someone’s credibility in real life? That bothers me. So, I don’t like to be super negative or criticize people’s behavior. I don’t like to cut people down.
Holmes: There’s a line with that kind of stuff. Lie to get ahead.
Meehan: Right.
Holmes: But don’t do things just to do them or to make people feel bad.
Meehan: Right.
Holmes: (Laughs) Maybe that’s a terrible attitude. I’ll lie to you, but only if it benefits me.
Meehan: I think I’m stronger emotionally this time. There is a tiny bit of me that’s probably the Sally Field, “You like me, you really like me” because I’ve been invited back. That was really humbling. I think I’ll have a little more confidence this time.
Holmes: I had to pull some strings to make it happen.
Meehan: (Laughs) I so appreciate it. I’ll thank you in my large-check acceptance speech.
Holmes: That leads right into this…why do you think you were brought back?
Meehan: I think because I was a competitor. I was tough in challenges. I did have some moments where I was able to stand out. I think I had some moments where people were able to see themselves. I’m just an average person that got to do something extraordinary.
Holmes: I’m a fan of whenever someone gets to have a defined character arc in a season. You got to have that where you went from crying to Ozzy on day three to being a challenge bad ass.
Meehan: I think this season will be a continuation. I felt like there was so much game left in me when I was voted out. I was just kind of getting it. It was finally happening. So for me, this is more act two than it is a different version. I think it’s a more confident Dawn, who’s still able to do well in the challenges, but maybe more strategic than I was.

Holmes: What’ve you been up to since we saw you last?
Meehan: I’ve been tweeting. (Laughs)
Holmes: That is true.
Meehan: I love Twitter. I’m teaching back at BYU. I’ve been speaking at a lot of universities and a lot of high schools, talking about the experience of “Survivor.” There are so many fans of the show who want to know how did you prepare for it, was it as a hard as you thought, that kind of thing. I told my husband, “I can’t believe they’re having me back.” And he says, “Every time I go hear you speak I think they’re going to have you back because people love to hear about it and you’re a regular person.”
Holmes: Do your kids know what Mom’s up to?
Meehan: My kids do know, they have to sign the releases.
Holmes: Are they psyched?
Meehan: Yeah! They sent me with all of these cards and pictures. It was harder for them this time. We had just adopted our last two kids three months before I left last time. So, this time they’ve been with me over a year. So, I think it was more emotional for them.
Holmes: So you just bring in new kids and are like, “See ya.”
Meehan: (Laughs) Totally.
Holmes: Your husband is a saint.
Meehan: My husband is a saint. I missed our anniversary last year, anniversary this year, the daughter that we just adopted her birthday last year, her birthday this year. I said to her, “I’ve been your mom for two years and I’ve missed both birthdays.” So, we did her birthday before I left.
Holmes: Think of how you can spoil her for her next birthday with a million dollars.
Meehan: They reminded me. I always say that, “Your wealth is in your family.” And the kids said, “Do you know much good can come from a million dollars?”
Holmes: That’s a lot of bread…no pun intended.
Meehan: (Laughs) So they say, “Think of all the kids you could adopt.”
Holmes: So, after you win, six more?
Meehan: Sixty more! Why not?
Holmes: Sixty six kids? You’ll get your own reality show, you won’t need “Survivor.”
Meehan: (Laughs)
Holmes: “Just the Sixty Eight of Us.” I’m going to go grab that url.
Meehan: “Sixty Eight Is Enough!”
Holmes: Damnit, that’s way better.

Holmes: You played with returnees. You played with Ozzy and Coach. What did you learn from watching them?
Meehan: Well, I learned that as a newbie you’re not super thrilled to play with someone who is returning. And, you want them out. That’s something that I’m a little bit nervous about. You do come in with a target on your back. I think in my case, I’m hoping that the way I played will still keep people thinking, “She’s a good person to keep around. She’ll be good pre-merge, she’ll be good in challenges, you can trust her, she went down with her sinking ship.” Maybe that way I’ll be seen as someone who can be aligned with.
Holmes: As someone who has a reputation for being a nice person, does that give you the opportunity to be more devious?
Meehan: Yeah. I think I was that way in the game before. I was willing to take Ozzy out. I really was willing to make the big moves. I’m going to have to take control if I want that to happen instead of just following.
Holmes: And you’re prepared to do that?
Meehan: Yeah, for sure. The Power Rankings made me realize that.
Holmes: I know!
Meehan: I’m not kidding. Because when I’d be right on I’d think, “I knew it! I saw it the week before!”
Holmes: You’re going to be a rich lady.
Meehan: I hope so.

Holmes: You’re going to love this.
Meehan: Oh no.
Holmes: Between “South Pacific” and “One World” we’ve seen people who are on the bottom of their alliances who either don’t realizing they’re on the bottom, or aren’t willing to do anything to get on top until it’s too late. Why do you think that happens?
Meehan: I think the person that’s in control of the decision making has persuaded them to the point that they don’t believe…Kat did not believe Troyzan. It’s not that Brandon was OK being sixth or seventh, he thought he was going to be top four or top three. He believed that. It’s not being accepting of this mediocrity or just “Hey, I wanted to stay until the family visit.” Someone’s been persuasive enough that you don’t believe the other person. So, I think hats off to Coach for giving four other people the sense that they were in the top three.
Holmes: So, the Coachs, Sophies, Kims, should be commended more than the others should be given grief?
Meehan: Yeah. Edna didn’t believe for a minute that she was the bottom, even with Jim laying it out at Tribal Council. It didn’t matter. She still believed it. I think people all thought that Kim was taking them to the final three. Coach and Kim were very similar, people trusted them.

Holmes: What are your first impressions of the cast members you see running around here?
Meehan: OK, nervous about Corinne. We have a different approach (Laughs) to the game. I’m nervous about her, not because I’m afraid of her, but she’s definitely tough. I’m excited about Francesca. I loved her. I was sad to see her go. I don’t know her, so I’m excited to get to know her. I think she’s someone I could trust. Not sure what’s going to happen with having two other players from my season who both voted me out. To me, Brandon and Cochran developed a really strong bond. That’s what I saw in the game, almost a brotherhood.
Holmes: Well, when you share a sweater vest…
Meehan: I expected Brandon to name a child after John.
Holmes: Give him time.
Meehan: It was only them in a bubble for a lot of hours every day. They’ll be strongly aligned and Cochran will probably need someone like that quickly. I don’t know where I’ll fit in with them.
Holmes: Is there anyone in particular that you want to align with?
Meehan: Well, I love Erik, just from a fan standpoint. I love the way he played. I just think he’s so authentic. I’m looking toward Francesca, Andrea, the two from my season, and Erik. I’m nervous about Phillip because I just don’t know Phillip well enough from outside of what I’ve seen in the game. Is he crazy like a fox or just crazy? I saw the feather today.
Holmes: He brought a feather?
Meehan: The mug and the feather are doing their own junket.

Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Fan Allie Pohevitz: ‘People Trust Me Right Away’

January 25, 2013

Allie Pohevitz (CBS)

I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.

Name: Alexandra “Allie” Pohevitz
Age: 25
Hometown: Oceanside, NY
Occupation: Bartender/Nanny

Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Fans” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the returning players.  They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.

Gordon Holmes: I feel like bartending is a good job to prepare you for “Survivor.” You have to able to listen, you deal with a wide variety of people, you have to know how to get people to like you…
Allie Pohevitz: It’s definitely a good match. You have to deal with all types of people. People come in on their best days when they’re so excited and they want to do shots, and then people come in when they’re crying because somebody just broke up with them.
Holmes: So either way, still doing shots.
Pohevitz: Yeah, still doing shots.
Holmes: Is that going to be rough for you when you don’t have shots to pour out?
Pohevitz: (Laughs) Yeah. It’s going to be rough because when people get out of hand I just call the bouncer and he sends them away. Here, I still have to be nice to them and kiss their ass.
Holmes: Or they’ll send you away.
Pohevitz: Exactly.

Holmes: You were the Editor-in-Chief for your school magazine “The Pioneer.”
Pohevitz: I was.
Holmes: First of all, writers are all (expletive deleted).
Pohevitz: (Laughs) Yes, I agree.
Holmes: As you’re going to relearn over the course of this interview. In that role, you must’ve had to have dealt with a lot of people with various personalities over something that they care very deeply about. That experience seems like another “Survivor” plus.
Pohevitz: Yeah, I had to deal with the sports people and the entertainment people, the theater people. It was never one specific genre. And as a student magazine people didn’t take you seriously. Trying to get interviews, people looked at you and thought, “We don’t owe you anything.” So you still have to press them to get the information, but you don’t want to be overbearing so they hate you and don’t help you out.

Holmes: You hate dirty people.
Pohevitz: Yes. (Laughs) Which doesn’t bode well for this show.
Holmes: Best case scenario, you’ve got 39 days in front of you with dirty people.
Pohevitz: There’s a difference between living on an island, we’re going to be dirty, we’re going to have (expletive deleted) under our nails. We’re not going to look cute. There’s a difference between that and being disgusting in public. People sneezing all over other people. Not washing your hands after using the bathroom. If you leave eighty dishes in the sink, you’re just lazy. Take care of it. I’m not worried about people being dirty on the island.
Holmes: I think there has to be a switch that goes off when you’re out there that we’re all dirty, and that’s just how it is and I don’t care. Things just smell.
Pohevitz: I always wonder when I see the people cuddling or doing romantic things, I’m just thinking, that’s disgusting. You haven’t brushed your teeth in weeks.
Holmes: You talk so fast.
Pohevitz: I know. I’m sorry.
Holmes: No worries, we’re recording.

Holmes: I’m about to give you some grief.
Pohevitz: Oh, great.
Holmes: The three things you would take on an island would be…
Pohevitz: No, I had wanted to apply forever and ever and I came home from the gym one night and it was January 10th and I looked online and said “Deadline: Midnight, January 10th.” So, I’m thinking, “Oh (expletive deleted). Let me bring eye liner and Crest white strips.” I’m so hilarious. So, those are not my real answers.
Holmes: You’re going to be the prettiest, starving person out there.
Pohevitz: Exactly.
Holmes: Alright, here’s your mulligan, what three things would you take with you for real?
Pohevitz: I would bring things that would keep me entertained. Like Scattegories, you could write on the back, you could keep a journal. I would bring something that would help us on the island. Like a huge wall hanging, like a blanket that reminds me of home, but isn’t like a picture of my cat. Actually, that would be my third thing, my cat, he’s my best friend.
Holmes: And his name is?
Pohevitz: Wolf, he’s eighteen years old, I’ve had him since I was six. He’s my best buddy.
Holmes: I get a kick out of people who name their pets after other animals. My friend Pam has a dog named Rooster.
Pohevitz: (Laughs) I was six! And technically his name is Wolfgang, we call him Wolf for short.

Holmes: You think that anyone who says they aren’t playing “Survivor” for the money is either a liar or brain dead. People go on this show for a variety of reasons.
Pohevitz: Yes, but they’re always thinking of money in the background.
Holmes: I think a million dollars is awesome. But I would be more interested in the title of sole Survivor. Would you think I was trying to con you if we were playing together?
Pohevitz: People who go in and say “I’m just playing for the experience,” and then throw in that they have $50,000 in student loans are lying. You’re trying to get sympathy. But, you’re clearly a liar. I’d much rather give the money in the end to someone who’s not sitting up there saying,  “I’m going to give $900,000 of this to charity.” No, you’re not. You’re lying to me. You’re going to buy a car and pay your bills and go on vacation. Then maybe you will give some to charity.

Holmes: Why do you think you were cast?
Pohevitz: Like you said, I talk fast. I can come up with things quickly. I’m a bartender, I can deal with a bunch of different people. I make a good first impression. People trust me right away. I can tell you half the names of the people here because people say them in private, then they say, “Oh, you didn’t hear that from me.” Even people that are supposed to be keeping secrets from me are telling me more than I should know.
Holmes: Do you mean the contestant wranglers?
Pohevitz: Yeah.
Holmes: I didn’t let anything slip yet, did I?
Pohevitz: Just Rooster.
Holmes: I don’t think he’ll be out there. But there tend to be twists so you never know.
Pohevitz: Maybe I’ll eat him.
Holmes: You’re a terrible person.
Pohevitz: (Laughs) I wouldn’t eat a dog.

Holmes: Do you have a line you won’t cross as far as lying in this game?
Pohevitz: Nope. It depends if you’re lying in relation to the game. I didn’t get why people say they’re five years older or younger. That’s a pointless lie and you’re just lying to amuse yourself. As far as lies in the game go, you have to lie. If you swear on your kids? That’s for you to deal with. I don’t care.
Holmes: If I was a doctor or someone who made a ton of money I would lie.
Pohevitz: Oh yeah, something like that. Absolutely. If you’re a millionaire plastic surgeon say you work at CVS.

Holmes: You’re a lovely young woman.
Pohevitz: Thank you. But…?
Holmes: But you talk too fast! No, that was just an observation. What I was getting at was, do you have any moral problems using your looks to get ahead?
Pohevitz: I don’t see why I wouldn’t, I just don’t think that will be my first approach to things. I think a lot of people see me and think, “She’s cute, she must be an idiot. She’s going to be following everybody.” If you think that, I’m not going to go out of my way to disprove you. But, I’m also not going to be flirty. I want people to see me for the smart person I am. It depends on the person too. If I like you, I’m naturally flirty with you. Men, women, it doesn’t matter. I’m just a happy, nice person in general.
Holmes: It’s not an overt flirting.
Pohevitz: Yeah, it’s just who I am.

Holmes: Recently people on the bottom of alliances haven’t making moves until it’s too late. Why do you think that’s a trend?
Pohevitz: I think people become complacent with where they are. People say, “My whole family said I was going to be the first person voted out, so if I’m still here the third week that’s great.”
Holmes: Did your family say that?
Pohevitz: No, my family thinks I’m going to come back a millionaire. Like Christina this past season (“One World”), I had no problem with her, I like her. But, the whole cast is saying nasty things about her, like she didn’t belong there. And she was just proving them right. So many of us people have wanted to be on this show forever. I’m going to do everything I possibly can to advance myself in the game. And she just let it go. I don’t get it. It’s hard to watch as a fan.

Holmes: Do you have any experience roughing it?
Pohevitz: Nope! Not a day in my life.
Holmes: You’re so screwed.
Pohevitz: I’m really competitive. I think I’ll be fine with the elements. I’ve never camped outside, but I adapt very well to things. And I’m not someone to cry and give up.

Holmes: What are your first impressions of the cast?
Pohevitz: Everyone but one of us was at finals together. So, I had preformed opinions on everyone coming in. Everyone I didn’t like in the finals, is not here. So, CBS agreed with me on that.
Holmes: When you’re done winning this season, you should apply for a casting job.
Pohevitz: Yeah! Everybody seems alright, but it’s hard when you can’t make eye contact. But, I don’t want to form opinions so soon.  There are a few that I like. I like the girl with the long blonde hair, her name is Laura Alexander.
Holmes: You know who you’re like? I watched this show about a high-security prison and they talked about how guards would cover their mouths when they talked because the inmates could read their lips and learn about the guard’s wives and families and use that information against them.
Pohevitz: (Laughs) I’m definitely nosy.

Holmes: If there’s a twist, what do you think it will be?
Pohevitz: Fans vs. Favorites. Definitely.
Holmes: OK.
Pohevitz: I think everybody here put down “Super Fan” on their application. There’s only ten of us here, so if it was Fans vs. Favorites I could see them bringing in ten returning players.
Holmes: If there are any returning players, is there anyone in particular you’d like to see?
Pohevitz: The problem with that is; the people I’d want to see would be the people I really liked, but I wouldn’t want to play against them because I’m going to want to be friends with them and keep them around, which would be stupid. It’d have to be someone along the lines of a Colton or an Alicia that you’d be OK getting rid of.
Holmes: So you’re hoping for more of a Fans vs. People You Don’t Like.
Pohevitz: (Laughs) Fans vs. (expletive deleted).
Holmes: I don’t think CBS would go for that subtitle.

Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

First Photo of the JJ Abrams ‘Star Wars’ Sequel

January 24, 2013

starwarsOK, this joke isn’t brilliant, but it might be first.

WWE Superstar The Miz Is Ready to (Royal) Rumble This Sunday

January 24, 2013

The Miz (WWE)

Every teenager who puts on pancake makeup in their high school production of “Oklahoma” dreams of Broadway. Every youngster who hits a seeing-eye single in little league dreams of the World Series. And, every kid who plops a toy championship belt over their shoulder dreams of Wrestlemania.

There are two differences between those people and The Miz. The Miz did it in front of everyone on MTV’s “The Real World” and he made his Wrestlemania dreams a reality. And if the aaaaawesome one has his way, this Sunday’s Royal Rumble will be his ticket back to sports entertainment’s grandest stage.

I spoke with the WWE’s “Must-See” Superstar in the days leading up to the Royal Rumble and had a chance to learn about his new relationship with Ric Flair, his picks and strategies for this Sunday’s show, and how he went from underdog to top dog…

Order WWE: Royal Rumble Today

Gordon Holmes: Good morning, Miz. How’s it going?
The Miz: I’m in Los Angeles, California getting ready for the Royal Rumble.
Holmes: Los Angeles? I’m in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania freezing my butt off.
The Miz: It’s 75 and sunny here, so I’m feeling pretty great about myself. I might go take a swim in my pool.
Holmes: You are the worst human being in the whole world.
The Miz: (Laughs)  I am.
Holmes: Not only that, but I was on hold and I expected the WWE’s conference call system to have some kind of cool Superstar theme music. Instead it was a weird muzak.
The Miz: Really? When they put me on hold for you it’s always some kind of WWE entrance theme.
Holmes: That’s unfair.
The Miz: I had to sit through Alicia Fox’s entrance music.
Holmes: Well, this leads to an important question, I didn’t want to lead off with it, but do you have the best entrance music?
The Miz: I will say I have one of the best entrance themes in all of WWE. I won’t say the best of all time because my favorite is The Brood. They didn’t even have words, and they didn’t need words. They had the best entrance as well coming up through the fire was just awesome.
Holmes: Nobody’s using that right now, can you swipe that entrance for Wrestlemania?
The Miz: Nope, that’s theirs. I’ll let them keep it. I’ll keep my marshmallow blow-up “Awesome.”
Holmes: Don’t bash the “Awesome” bounce house. That was cool.
The Miz: My friends all made fun of me when I first got them. They said, “Everyone gets this cool pyro. The Undertaker has the lights go out and fog. Then you come out with these blow-up marshmallows. Congratulations, you’ve really made it.” I’m like, “Thanks, guys. Thanks, buddies.”
Holmes: The “Awesome” balloons aren’t free. Someone put some money and thought into it.
The Miz: Right? Kids love it.

Holmes: Alright, this Sunday at the Royal Rumble, correct me if I’m wrong, but this is what I assume is going to happen; The Miz defeats Antonio Cesaro for the WWE United States Championship in the Internet show, then goes on to win the 30-man Royal Rumble.
The Miz: That’s exactly what I’m going to do. This is what’s going to happen, the pre-show I’m going to take the United States Championship from Antonio Cesaro, making it the most-watched pre-show ever. Then I’m going to go on to the Royal Rumble, and it’s going to be the most talked about Royal Rumble in WWE history as well because I’m going to win as the United States Champion. Then I’m going to go on to main event Wrestlemania and it’s going to be the most-watched Wrestlemania, not because of the Rock, not because of whoever else, not CM Punk, not John Cena, but The Miz. I’m going to be a multi-champion. It’s going to be awesome.
Holmes: This isn’t your first Rumble. What kind of things do you do to prepare yourself?
The Miz: A lot of cardio. Running, jump rope, any kind of thing that gets your heart going really fast. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I was in that ring for 45 minutes last year. I was the first entrant, which is the unluckiest number out of them all. Not only does it take cardio, but it takes luck, it takes ability, it takes strength. One unlucky thing, one slip and you’re done. The best thing you can do is stay under the radar and hope nobody comes after you. If you’re Ryback or John Cena and you’re the favorite to win, guess who everyone is targeting?

Holmes: As the Royal Rumble winner you get to choose which champion you face. Have you given thought as to who you’re going to target?
The Miz: At this point, you never know who’s going to be the champion at the time. You’ve got CM Punk going against the Rock at the Royal Rumble. And, if the Shield is involved in this match, CM Punk will get striped of the title. That’ll be interesting to watch on its own. Then you have the World Heavyweight Championship where it’s the Big Show versus Alberto Del Rio, nobody wants to go up against a seven-foot tall, 450-pound man at Wrestlemania in the main event. So, it all depends on who’s going to be the champion at the time.
Holmes: You’re one of only three guys that has had a recent match with the Rock and CM Punk. Who do you like in that bout?
The Miz: Here’s the way I look at it; if I win the Royal Rumble, CM Punk…
Holmes: Whoa…if you win the Rumble?
The Miz: When I win the Royal Rumble I will have the choice between the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. So, you look at it and you go, CM Punk vs. the Rock. CM Punk has held the title for 400-something days. He’s a proven champion and he’ll do whatever it takes to win that title at all costs. Then you have the Rock coming back, hasn’t been in the ring in almost a year now. CM Punk has been defending the championship for the past year. He’s crisp, he’s in his prime. The Rock might have a little ring rust. But, I want the Rock to win. The Rock is the reason I wanted to become a WWE Superstar. I would like to face the Rock in the main event of Wrestlemania, beat him, then solidify myself as the most must-see WWE Superstar of all time.
Holmes: You wrestled the Rock in his first match back at the 2011 Survivor Series. Was there any ring rust? Has he missed a step?
The Miz: Not that day. You heard the sold-out Madison Square Garden chanting at him, “You’ve still got it.” He definitely still had it then, but remember, that was a year and a half ago. A lot of things happen in a year and a half.  Obviously, he’s training and getting ready, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Holmes: Alright, true confession time. A lot of people, and I include myself in this, were rooting against you. By that I mean, here’s this kid who gets some fame from “The Real World.” He wants to be a WWE Superstar, but does he appreciate what it really takes to make it? A lot of people would use that modicum of notoriety to get their foot in the door, but then wouldn’t have the work ethic to do anything beyond that. So, add me to the list of people who were wrong about you.
The Miz: Oh! Are you one of the naysayers?
Holmes: Yes, I was one to say “nay.” Did we help drive you?
The Miz: My entire life it’s been like, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.” And, those are the people that motivated me to be the person I am today.  When I was trying out for “The Real World” people told me I wouldn’t make it because there’s 40,000 people trying out. What makes me stand out? And once I started trying out and they saw me be successful, all my friends tried out the next year. And when I tried to be a WWE Superstar there was, “You’re not big enough. You’re not athletic enough. There’s no way.” And, I went in and said, “Yes I am.” And once I got to the WWE, people said, “You’re never going to be a success. You’ll be fired in three months.” Everyone wanted me gone. I was kicked out of the locker room, everyone hated me. But I kept a positive head on my shoulders and kept working hard. Harder than everyone else. Anytime there was media, interviews, I was on it. I wanted it more than everyone else. That’s my workman’s mentality and it worked in the end.
Holmes: The confession I just gave you, have you heard similar confessions from other people in the industry?
The Miz: I don’t think people like to confess that kind of thing. Most people like to be right.
Holmes: I like to be right too, but I can admit when I was wrong.
The Miz: I guess the only one that comes to mind was when I was on “The Real World,” I asked an executive producer, “Why did you pick me?” And he said, “I didn’t pick you. I was outvoted. I thought you were a buckethead. I couldn’t stand you.” He called me a buckethead!
Holmes: I was going to say, “What’s a buckethead?”
The Miz: He said I was a buckethead. But he said, “As the season progressed, not only did I like you, but you became my favorite. So, I was proven wrong.”

Holmes: You’re starting to be cheered now.
The Miz: It’s weird, isn’t it?
Holmes: It is weird. Have you had to make any tweaks in this new role?
The Miz: I’d say it’s the same exact role I’ve played my entire career. I’m still the cocky, arrogant, egotistical Superstar. Now, I’m just their cocky, egotistical Superstar. I’m the guy who calls it like it is. Have I changed at all? No. It’s just the people that are coming up to me now are the people that most people hate. I’ve always been a person that what you give to me, I will give you right back. So, if you boo me? Guess what? I’m going to make you boo me even more. If you cheer me I’m going to try to make you cheer for me even more.

Holmes: You’re starring in a movie, “The Marine 3: Homefront.” Now, you’re the Marine and some guys have got your niece?
The Miz: My sister.
Holmes: Gotcha. My question is; why do these guys keep messing with these Marines?!
The Miz: (Laughs) I don’t know.
Holmes: It never turns out well for them.
The Miz: You’d think these people would get it. Alright, this guy’s a Marine, I can’t mess with him. But, they keep doing it. You don’t want to mess with a Marine, that’s number one.
Holmes: The WWE does a lot for the military with the Tribute to the Troops shows. Has there been any feedback about the movie?
The Miz: They’re always incredible. This year I went to Bahrain. Myself, Vince McMahon, R Truth, Layla, and Eve all got to see what our Navy does. And let me tell you, these sailors are incredible. I asked one guy why he wanted to be in the Navy. And he told me, “The reason I wanted to be in the Navy was because I was working at Lids, you know, that hat place, and I was having a daughter, and I wanted her to be proud of me.” And the thing is, he doesn’t get to see her often, but he knows he’s paving the way for her to have a great life. And I thought that was amazing. These guys sacrifice so much for our freedom. And I hope that I make every Marine proud with “The Marine 3: Homefront.” And I think I will. I’ve seen the movie and I was like, “Wow, this is incredible.” And normally I’m very critical of everything I do. But, this is something I’m very proud of.

Holmes: If Must-See Miz could go back and give some advice to “Real World” Miz, what would it be?
The Miz: I would tell him to do exactly what you’re doing, because whatever it is, you’re doing it right.
Holmes: It’s like “Back to the Future” and you’re afraid too much information about the future will screw him up.
The Miz: If I change one little small thing, something might change. And right now I really love my life. I love the memories I’ve had since “The Real World.”
Holmes: What’s the best advice you received when you were coming up?
The Miz: Probably from Billy Kidman back when I wasn’t in the WWE. I was actually at a Playboy party and he was there for Torrie Wilson’s cover. His best advice was, “Stick with it.” And it sounds so simple, so stupid, but so many times people find excuses to not fulfill their dreams.

Holmes: As far as your proudest moments in the WWE, was it winning the WWE Title from Randy Orton or participating in a “Woo” off with Ric Flair?
The Miz: (Laughs) You know, you really can’t beat having a “Woo” off with the legend Ric Flair. Not only that, but to have Ric Flair allow me to apply the figure four, it’s almost like…I hate to say a passing of a torch, but I felt so honored. To sit there and talk to Ric Flair on Miz TV and not only strut like Ric and “Woo” like Ric, but to have the honor of putting on the figure four and now using the figure four is just an incredible feat.
Holmes: Did he give you any figure-four pointers?
The Miz: Well, if you watched Raw I had trouble putting it on Dolph Ziggler due to Beat the Clock. Now I’ve been watching tapes of Ric Flair to make sure I never have problems again.
Holmes: In your defense, Ric Flair has been using that moves for decades.
The Miz: I agree. He’s been doing it for thirty years, I’ve been doing it for two weeks. I’ll take my faults, but the Twitter universe was on me. Man, they were killing me.
Holmes: Whoa…hold the phone. You’re trying to tell me the Internet was negative about something?
The Miz: (Laughs) I know, right? You take it with a grain of salt, then perform as best you can the next time out.

Don’t miss WWE: Royal Rumble this Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Fave Malcolm: ‘Girls Are More Terrifying Than Guys’

January 23, 2013

Malcolm Freberg (CBS)

I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.

Name: Malcolm Freberg
Age: 25
Hometown: Hermosa Beach, CA
Occupation: Bartender
Previous Finish: Malcolm came in 4th place in “Survivor: Philippines”
Memorable Moment: Malcolm allowed Lisa Whelchel’s brother to visit the tribe’s camp. Lisa’s brother promptly told her to vote Malcolm out.

Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Favorties” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the new players.  They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.

Another Note: Since “Survivor: Philippines” hadn’t aired yet, I knew nothing about how Malcolm had performed.

Gordon Holmes: Whenever we go to “Survivor,” me, the press, Probst, we all sit down and we talk about who we like. I liked me some Malcolm.
Malcolm Freberg: My man. Appreciate that.
Holmes: So, you can’t tell me a thing about what happened in the Philippines, which is fine… and don’t do it. I need to stay pure and unspoiled for the Power Rankings.
Freberg: I won’t.
Holmes: When I left the Philippines you were in bad shape. Zane was voted out. You were on a tribe that seemed like it was destined for destruction.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: So…when I saw your name in the bios, I was super psyched. But, then that elation was followed by immediate depression.
Freberg: Depression?
Holmes: Because seeing your quick return made me think you didn’t win. Also, I’m thinking the reason you were brought back is because you did something super evil or super stupid.
Freberg: (Laughs) You’ll just have to wait and see.

Holmes: You are basically the new Russell Hantz in the sense that you’re going back into the game and nobody knows a thing about you. Is that a benefit or a detriment?
Freberg: I’m the new Russell…plus a foot. I just walked by Brandon Hantz in the hall and he barely scrapes my nipple.
Holmes: (Laughs) We just started and you’re already taking us way off track.
Freberg: (Laughs) It’s a double-edged sword. Because of Russell it’s a detriment because of how notorious he was. Everyone felt more duped because they didn’t have a chance to see him play first. That’s not necessarily the way I’m going to play it, but there’s a stigma that I have an advantage because nobody has seen me play. But, at the same time I’m a complete wild card. There are people out there who have negative stigmas already attached to them for what they did on their seasons. So, when it comes to going with someone you know is going to be a liability versus someone you don’t know anything about. Maybe you go with the wild card in that instance.
Holmes: But sometimes people will take the devil they know over the devil they don’t know. If I’m playing, here’s this kid I’ve never seen play before, and he had to do something to be brought back so quickly.
Freberg: The story I’m going with is I’m coming back because of the wonderful bounce in my hair.
Holmes: No sane person could debate that fact.
Freberg: Now that I have a look at who’s back, I’m not as worried about being shunned. Just because of aspects of the game that are important early in the game. Looking at some of the guys here, not to name names, but they’re not big physical competitors.
Holmes: You can name names, I can’t.
Freberg: OK, maybe you can give Brandon and Erik a little credit, but there are no other big guys. If someone’s going to try to take a hold of this game, they’re going to need to keep me at least a little while. It gives me time to show that I’m not this crazy, egomaniacal, kill-all, destruction strategist like Russell.

Holmes: You’re a huge “Survivor” fan.
Freberg: I am.
Holmes: What do you think the twist is, if there is one other than bringing back guys with amazing bounce in their hair?
Freberg: So, there’s ten favorites back, five guys, five girls. I’d imagine that we haven’t seen another ten. They’re probably not returnees. So, a repeat of season sixteen, Fans vs. Favorites. If that’s the case, more power to me. There were returning players in my season and I know what it’s like for the new people to see people they’ve seen on TV and have to play with them. The aura that’s around them, people get timid around that. People aren’t going to be as aggressive or as confident around people that they’ve seen on TV. You’re just the rookie on the baseball team. It’s your first at bat and you’re having to go against Mariano Rivera. You might be the best stud batter out of college, but you’re going to be nervous going against the veteran.

Holmes: Based on who you’ve seen, is there anyone you want to align with, anyone who scares you?
Freberg: Scares me? Nobody scares me, Gordon.
Holmes: I’m an idiot. Terrible choice of words.
Freberg: Phillip Sheppard and his underwear keep me up at night.
Holmes: See, you’re not a machine, you’re a human being.
Freberg: If he wears those things again…he’s already walking around with a feather. (Laughs) I was hoping maybe he’s a sane guy and we could have a rational conversation, but then I saw that.
Holmes: If that dude doesn’t finish the season with a full headdress I’m going to be so disappointed.
Freberg: I’m going to give him a new feather every day.
Holmes: Off track again!
Freberg: Allies… Strategically, the girls are more terrifying than the guys.
Holmes: Like who?
Freberg: Brenda, Andrea’s pretty smart, Corinne’s terrifying…but she didn’t really do anything strategically, but at the same time, they’re very Type-A girls. Wait, is that a thing?
Holmes: Yeah, you’re thinking of alpha males, but there are Type-A girls.
Freberg: They’re super Type-A girls where it seems like the guys didn’t come out of the gates as dominant on their first season.
Holmes: Knowing that, are you more likely to follow or work with a Type-A girl or lead around some of these guys?
Freberg: I don’t do critical thinking well around pretty girls. I learned that about myself the first time around. So, probably can’t do the girls just because my brain gets befuddled when pheromones start running. So, I’m naturally drawn to go with the guys, but Cochran will turn on you in a second, Brandon…I can’t even discuss Brandon, and Phillip’s crazy. And, Erik…I guess maybe I should align with Erik.
Holmes: What does all of this say about you?
Freberg: I know. (Laughs) What did I do that was so bad?

Holmes: This interview sucks.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: Seriously, this is really hard to do without knowing what happened in the Philippines.
Freberg: I’m thinking about my answers too, which is much less fun.
Holmes: OK, without getting spoilery, why do you think you were brought back?
Freberg: It can’t just be your looks. It can’t just be because I’m funny.
Holmes: Yes, but that combination can’t be denied.
Freberg: (Laughs) But there needs to be more!
Holmes: As the first Survivor to kill a man during the game, they had no choice but to bring you back.
Freberg: Being the first Survivor to take off his ice skate and stab somebody.

Holmes: Did you learn anything your first time around? Will you do things differently?
Freberg: You have to learn. When you play a football game, you go back and watch the tape. Having done it once, I know I can do certain things well in the game of “Survivor.” There are things I’m not great at. Now there’s no learning curve, especially having just done it. I’m going to hit the beach on day one and know exactly what I’m supposed to start doing.

Holmes: Playing back-to-back seasons took a big toll on Russell. Are you worried that you might not be physically up to it?
Freberg: I’m definitely not where I was the first time I went in, just muscle-mass wise. I only had a few weeks in the States in between seasons. I haven’t been eating healthy at all. It’s basically ice cream and beer. (Laughs)
Holmes: That’s pretty much my diet. I’ve been putting on sympathy weight for you.
Freberg: Appreciate it. But I’ve got cake batter on one love handle and chocolate chip cookie dough on the other and then beer in the middle. So, physically I am not in the same space that I was. But, I’m still in the upper tier as far as physical strength goes. But, part of the game is turning your strengths into weaknesses. At some point being strong is a weakness. If I can get really broken down for a few weeks, maybe that’s a move I pull out of my belt. Maybe it’s a feint I use a couple of weeks into the game

Holmes: I’m going to say something that’s probably going to break your heart.
Freberg: Oh no…
Holmes: Which is a shame.
Freberg: Because I have a fragile heart where you’re concerned.
Holmes: I’m aware. You’re human. When we spoke in the Philippines I said to myself, “If Malcolm does well out there, I’d love to have him do the Power Rankings for Season 26.” And then you went and got yourself cast on Season 26.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: How does it feel to miss out on the chance of a lifetime?
Freberg: I love the Power Rankings. Dawn just won.
Holmes: Dawn cleaned house.
Freberg: I guess I’m going to have to walk out of this interview. A chance at a million dollars is nice, but the chance of winning the Power Rankings… Wait, what do you win if you win the Power Rankings?
Holmes: One year it was a Jeff Probst bobblehead that was painted gold.
Freberg: Tell you what, you promise me a three-foot-tall, gold Jeff Probst statue with a snuffer, I’ll walk out right now. Oh, now she (the CBS Representative) looks nervous.
Holmes: You don’t have back-ups ready if he bolts?
CBS Representative: (Laughs) We’ve got nothing.
Holmes: The lure of the Power Rankings is too strong.
Freberg: It’s like I’m engaged to one girl now, but you’re so much prettier.
CBS Representative: Can’t he do it after this one?
Holmes: I guess.
Freberg: Maybe the magic will be gone.
Holmes: He’s going to be all changed after he’s been featured on national television.
Freberg: It’ll be like your high school girlfriend. She’ll always be your first love, but you’re not the same people anymore.
CBS Representative: But he hasn’t changed.
Holmes and Freberg: Not yet.
Holmes: Come talk to this guy in December when he’s a (expletive deleted).

Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Fan Shamar Thomas: ‘I Fall in Love with Women Quickly’

January 22, 2013

Shamar Thomas (CBS)

I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.

Name: Shamar Thomas
Age: 27
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: Iraq War Veteran

Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Fans” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the returning players.  They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.

Gordon Holmes: You have a very impressive military background. How do you think that’s going to help you in the game?
Shamar Thomas: I know it’s going to help me because I’m prepared. I did two tours in Iraq. My first tour in 2004 I was 18 years old and I was a part of the Battle of Fallujah. My mission was mobile security so that convoys can get back and forth to resupply. So we literally, myself and four other Marines, were on a hill with no shelter, no vehicle, a few jugs of water, and a few boxes of food for twelve days. So, to actually get on the plane twice and go through that scenario? “Survivor” is actually less challenging because you get stimulating competitions and the people you’re going to meet are a little bit different. This is like a vacation for me. (Laughs) I’m glad to give up my phone and email.
Holmes: I was going to say, “Survivor” has its share of high-stress situations, but nothing quite to that level.
Thomas: Exactly.
Holmes: Now, your mother was in Iraq with you?
Thomas: My mother did twenty years in the Army. We both went to Iraq in 2004. She got a bronze star, she retired a Sergeant First Class.
Holmes: Your whole family is bad ass.
Thomas: (Laughs)
Holmes: You’re a Sergeant.
Thomas: Yes.
Holmes: So, you’re a leader.
Thomas: Yes.
Holmes: Leaders don’t always fare well in this game. Have you planned for that?
Thomas: I’ve been in the civilian world for five years, so I’ve adapted to civilian life and dealing with civilians. My leadership has been toned down. My leadership is inspiration now. I try to inspire people to do the right thing instead of telling them or forcing them.

Holmes: One of your hobbies is activism. Which causes are you active in?
Thomas: I’m widely known for my video, “One Marine vs. Thirty Cops.” I protected Occupy Wall Street protesters from police brutality. I’m over eight million views now. So, that’s what I’m known for.
Holmes: How did that video happen?
Thomas: On my first tour in Iraq I was involved in a rock riot where the Iraqi populace threw rocks at us because they didn’t like the new mayor that was in place. And, one of the Marines got hit in the face with a rock and had to go in the ambulance and get stitches. We couldn’t respond with violence because the mission at the time was to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. The leadership felt that if we go hurt these people that we might get blown up when we come back to the town. So, to come back to New York City and see people that my brothers had fought and died to protect, they’re not trying to win our hearts and minds. Why aren’t the police trying to win our hearts and minds? Why don’t they worry about us? So, I basically said there is no honor in beating unarmed protest civilians.

Holmes: Are you a big “Survivor” fan?
Thomas: Big “Survivor” fan, since 2001.
Holmes: Since almost day one.
Thomas: Yes.
Holmes: I’ve been asking this question, but I’m pretty sure in your case I know the answer; why do you think you were cast?
Thomas: I was cast because my video touched a lot of people. It inspired a lot of people. I feel like my personality showed in the video. That’s the kind of person that you want to see in a social game. What level will I go to as far as undermining my integrity? I’m here to play an honorable game. I just want to make the living conditions horrible to live in.
Holmes: Wait, you want to make the living conditions horrible?
Thomas: Yeah, I want people to quit. I want people to be tired and to miss their kids. I want them to hate life.
Holmes: You want to be honorable, but have you ruled out lying if it will help your game?
Thomas: I don’t consider it lying. I won’t give people information that they don’t need to hear. I’ll leave everything up to mystery other than outright lying.
Holmes: If you and I are playing this game together, I might think twice about going to the finals with a war hero. Is there anything about your home life or your career that you’re going to keep a secret? Although, with those tattoos it might be tough.
Thomas: (Laughs) Yeah. I think I can downplay a lot of things, like my puzzle abilities. Through the challenges people can feel like they can beat me in the end. He’s not going to have more stamina than me. They’ll see weaknesses in my game.
Holmes: But you’re a Marine.
Thomas: (Laughs)
Holmes: I wouldn’t fall for it. I think I could hold onto a pole longer than you.  But, I know enough Marines to know that it’s not wise to mess with them.
Thomas: (Laughs) It’s a game. My personality will have to disarm people. Once they know who I am they’ll be like, “I like him!” And then because I’m a Marine and because of my video they’ll know that I play with honor.

Holmes: Are you prepared to flirt your way to a win? You’re a handsome fellow and I’m sure there are some ladies that wouldn’t mind cuddling with you at night like a big teddy bear.
Thomas: (Laughs) As the situation dictates. I’m not opposed to it. Everyone thinks I fall in love with women quickly.
Holmes: Is that your thing?
Thomas: That’s my thing. I love Alicia from “Survivor: One World.” She asked for fire in the beginning and I told everyone I would have given her ass some fire.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Thomas: You know what I mean?
Holmes: So, you could be in some trouble.
Thomas: I could be in trouble.
Holmes: That’s bad news.
Thomas: (Laughs)

Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it will be?
Thomas: I have…no clue. I’ve looked at the cast, I know there aren’t that many African Americans besides myself. They had the men and women, and the races, I have no clue how they’d set that up based on the people. My whole game is how the situation dictates.
Holmes: You’ve been with these people a day?
Thomas: Yeah, a day.
Holmes: What’re your first impressions?
Thomas: Lunch meat. (Laughs) I was sitting next to one of the contestants and I heard her stomach growling and it made my day. I was like, “Yeah, you’re hungry, aren’t you? You’re going to be a lot more hungry when I start eating your food.” (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs) That will get you in trouble. I’ve seen enough “Survivor” in my day to know that can buy you a ticket out of there.
Thomas: Depends on who you are.
Holmes: That’s also true.

Holmes: You’re a big fan, it seems like lately people are finding themselves on the bottom of these alliances and aren’t making moves to get to the top. Why does that happen?
Thomas: With me, I feel like that could never happen to me. I can’t even try to whisper. I can’t hold my tongue. I went against one of the biggest gangs in America, the NYPD. They kill over three black men a year. All of that, falling to the bottom and getting steamrolled, that won’t happen to me. My personality won’t allow it. I know I can’t hide, so I need to be out there.

Holmes: So, you’re going to win, right?
Thomas: Yes.
Holmes: What’re you going to do with all of that money?
Thomas: There are only two black-owned businesses in my neighborhood and they’re both liquor stores. What I want to do is open up ten businesses in my neighborhood and inspire the kids to want to be business owners and be a part of their community instead of actors, entertainers, and stuff like that. I’m a big gang activist. I joined a gang when I was fifteen years old.  I joined the Marines when I was seventeen years old and learned to be a man. I try to pass on the things I learned in the Marine Corps to the kids in the gangs. I was a good kid, but I didn’t have direction. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. So, I’m trying to save the kids who are just like me. They’re good kids who are from broken homes and bad situations. I’m trying to find another passion for them outside of sports and entertainment. All of my businesses are going to have two teenagers working there. I don’t care if it’s a deli or a barbershop. Whatever it is, there are going to be kids working there. Once I can get people involved in the community, that’s when I’m successful.

Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Fave Brenda Lowe: ‘There is Good Brenda and Bad Brenda’

January 21, 2013

Brenda Lowe (CBS)

I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.

Name: Brenda Lowe
Age: 30
Hometown: Miami, FL
Occupation: Paddleboard Company Owner
Previous Finish: Brenda came in 10th place in “Survivor: Nicaragua”
Memorable Moment: Brenda was the very first person to wield the awesome responsibility of the Medallion of Power.

Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Favorties” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the new players.  They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.

Gordon Holmes: I remember leaving Nicaragua and being like, “Brenda’s my girl.”
Brenda Lowe: How many girls are you saying that to?
Holmes: Probably a bunch.
Lowe: (Laughs)
Holmes: No, you were a ton of fun in our interview, very smart. And then I get home and the season starts and you’re like this bad ass, cool cucumber.
Lowe: Wait, are you telling everyone else that you like me?
Holmes: No, I can’t talk about you with anyone else. They’re welcome to say whatever they want, but I have to stay quiet.
Lowe: OK, good.
Holmes: So, was the stone cold serious thing part of your plan going in?
Lowe: I think in context you’re not going to be all happy-go-lucky or people are going to vote you out first. But, there were fun parts you probably didn’t see because it didn’t go with the story.
Holmes: What were the fun parts?
Lowe: You know, joking around with Kelly Purple. Or, tripping out Sash. We did have our moments.
Holmes: I remember La Flor did a dance on the way to that first immunity challenge.
Lowe: Oh yeah, that was my idea.
Holmes: Did you choreograph that?
Lowe: Hell yeah.
Holmes: And yet, here you are getting no kind choreography credit.
Lowe: Nope, and people couldn’t even do it right! But I thought it was cool, Jeff was rolling his eyes.
Holmes: I don’t know if “cool” is the adjective I’d be using to describe that dance.
Lowe: We’re the young tribe! We’re cool.
Holmes: When your friends and family saw how stone cold you were, what was their reaction?
Lowe: They know I can be like that.
Holmes: Oh, so there is that side to you?
Lowe: Yeah.
Holmes: So, I should try not to piss you off.
Lowe: (Laughs) Yeah, there is good Brenda and bad Brenda.
Holmes: That’s why I said all of that nice stuff about you earlier. I don’t want to come face-to-face with bad Brenda.
Lowe: (Laughs) That’s smart.

Holmes: I’ve been doing this a while, and every time in the bios they ask the contestants, “Which Survivor are you most like?” Nine out of ten times the women say they’re like Parvati Shallow. However, the name Brenda Lowe has been showing up more and more often.
Lowe: I didn’t know that, that’s pretty cool.
Holmes: What do you think it was about your game that inspired so many future players?
Lowe: I think they say that because I did my own strategy. I was my own little leader out there. I knew what I wanted and I tried to get it myself. Everything I was thinking of happened, until I got voted off.

Holmes: What have you been up to since Nicaragua?
Lowe: Since you saw me last, I’ve still been paddleboarding. When you saw me I was single, now I’m super not single.
Holmes: Super not single.
Lowe: Yes, super in love.
Holmes: Engaged…?
Lowe: No.
Holmes: Soon to be engaged…?
Lowe: Yes! Soon to be. Still living in Miami, and I’m living a good life.
Holmes: OK, so this is a change for you. In the first episode of your season, you said you were single like a dozen times.
Lowe: (Laughs) Yeah.
Holmes: Does that cut off the avenue of being able to flirt to get ahead?
Lowe: Well, I never really flirted before…well, not too much.
Holmes: But does it take away a potential weapon in your arsenal?
Lowe: I think flirting is more building a rapport. If I’m talking to a guy and he likes it, does that count as flirting or building a rapport? But, I have a boyfriend who I’m not going to disrespect.

Holmes: Why do you think you were brought back?
Lowe: I think I was brought back because I did stuff on the show. I tried to make it interesting and I tried to make big moves. I tried to get far, I was fighting hard. I did get through that first Shannon fiasco. I don’t think you see a young girl being at the top of her alliance.
Holmes: What was your reaction when you got the call to come back?
Lowe: Oh, first I was like holy (expletive deleted). (Laughs) Because it sucks to be out there. You’re not eating and you’re miserable. But, I didn’t want to get my hopes up in case it didn’t happen. But, I was super excited at the chance to go out there.
Holmes: Because you’re going to tear that business up.
Lowe: Hell yeah. I made some mistakes, I learned from my mistakes, and now that I have a second chance it’s going to go much better for me.

Holmes: What’s the reaction you get from fans on the street?
Lowe: They’re super excited. They always want to know what it’s really like.
Holmes: It’s amazing after all these years, some people still think you guys stay in hotels.
Lowe: Yeah, it’s real.

Holmes: OK, it’s day one and I see that I’m playing this game against Brenda Lowe. What do you think I remember about you?
Lowe: I think people are going to watch out for me, which sucks. I’m going to be as nice as I can to everybody. I don’t think anyone’s going to be like, “Aww…she’s so sweet, let’s align with her.” I’m going to fight my hardest to change that preconception.
Holmes: I’m using Coach as my example of someone who used the TV aspect of the show to his advantage. He was able to convince people that the goofy Coach you saw on TV was just a character.
Lowe: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah…I’m going to totally play up that. “You didn’t see the real me, it was editing.” But, the truth is, I was good with my alliance and I had one alliance. But this time, I’ll have several.
Holmes: Probst gave you some grief for not scrambling when it looked like your time was up. I thought it was unique that you said that scrambling might cause your alliance members to not trust you.
Lowe: Yeah.
Holmes: On one hand, it didn’t work out for you, but on the other, it seems like there’s some merit to that strategy. What did you learn from that?
Lowe: One thing, it’s hard to scramble when you only have one alliance and that one alliance is telling you they’re going to vote you out. At the same time, my key partner Sash had the immunity idol. People wanted me out because they thought I was shady and couldn’t be trusted. So, if people saw me talking to Jane or whoever, then they’re like, “She’s definitely not with us, we need to get rid of her.” So, that was my angle and it didn’t work.

Holmes: Are you worried that there might not be a Medallion of Power this time around?
Lowe: (Laughs) Me and the Medallion of Power got along pretty well.
Holmes: I try not to hang onto regrets in my life. But, my biggest regret is not bidding on the Medallion of Power when they put it up on eBay after the season.
Lowe: (Laughs) You’re such a liar.
Holmes: I would’ve worn it here like a Flava Flav clock.
Lowe: Use it like a Christmas ornament.

Holmes: If there’s a twist, what do you think it will be?
Lowe: I think it’s half returning people, half new people. Then they’re going to mix things up.

Holmes: What do you think of this cast?
Lowe: I want to get to know them, one on one. I want to talk to them and see what they’re like out there. Do I like you? Can I stand you? Can I trust you? I’m going to pretend to like everybody.
Holmes: Did you recognize everybody?
Lowe: Yeah, I know everybody here except for one guy I don’t know.
Holmes: Is there anyone you immediately think you want to align with or watch out for?
Lowe: I definitely want to align with Cochran for sure and Corinne. I’m going to align with everybody, but those two are who I’m going to go with.
Holmes: That’s a sweet deal when you can align with everybody.
Lowe: (Laughs)
Holmes: Who do you think will improve this time around?
Lowe: Well, I think Francesca will improve because she was the first boot last time.
Holmes: She doesn’t have much of a choice.
Lowe: That’s not going to happen again.

Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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