‘Survivor’ Champion Jeremy – ‘They Shouldn’t Have Taken Me to the End’

"Survivor: Second Chance" (CBS)

From the second he hit Bayon Beach, Jeremy the fireman was on fire, man. He quickly implemented the “meat shield” strategy he laid out for me in his pre-game interview and went to work.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Second Chance”

From there all it took was a key immunity win, two (count ’em!) perfect idol plays, and a last-second pregnancy reveal at the final Tribal, to earn all ten of the jury’s votes.

I spoke with Jeremy the morning after his big win and had a chance to ask him about the Collins on the way, why people kept him around, and Savage’s special gift…

Jeremy Collins: Gordon, how are you?
Gordon Holmes: Not as good as you.
Collins: (Laughs)

Holmes: So you’re a fireman, who’s married to a police officer, who has a beautiful family, and a son on the way. Who is worse to go to final three with than you?
Collins: (Laughs)
Holmes: Maybe a nun who’s playing for orphans?
Collins: Kass was saying early on, at the merge, “If you take Jeremy to the end, he’s going to win. I’d vote for him.” Ciera would say it. Abi would say it. It was hard, but they shouldn’t have taken me to the end.

Holmes: I thought you had it in the bag before you told everyone that Val was pregnant. But, part of me was wondering if some jury members might think you were trying to pull some Fairplay-level shenanigans.
Collins: No, they all know me and they know I’m not like that. They all trust me. I had a connection with every person out there at some point in time. They all know that I’m a stand-up guy. I’m not going to lie about my family. I wanted anyone on the fence, for this to push them over the edge.

Holmes: Looking back at your game, the only real mistake you seemed to make was trusting Kimmi. It almost cost you.
Collins: I started the game with Kimmi. We were together every single day. All of the tribe swaps, we never left each other’s side. I trusted Kimmi. When she turned her back on me, it did hurt my feelings. Gameplay aside, you don’t think like this out there. We talked about family out there. It was crazy to me that she went after me. It was a good play. I applaud her for taking her shot. Spencer and Tasha were telling me and I just didn’t see it.

Holmes: If you’d lost final four immunity, how confident were you that Spencer and Tasha would keep you around?
Collins: That’s tough. I think if Spencer wins final immunity…I don’t know if he takes me. Kelley has a lot of people on the jury. She’s an underdog story and she played a great game. I don’t know if he goes that route. I think when we said it was us to the final three, we had that bond from when Kelley gave us time alone at the family visit. I think that solidified us.
Holmes: Knowing that Kelley had a lot of people on the jury, did you ever seriously consider keeping her instead of Spencer?
Collins: No, I didn’t. You always try to think of every possible option. But, I’d made my decision. I felt like Kelley’s picks at the family visit, that was her mistake in the game. She played a great game, but that was her mistake. We were going to capitalize on that.

Holmes: It seemed like Stephen was your third earlier in the game. What was your plan for him before he was voted out?
Collins: I wanted to be his JT. He had his heart set on getting out Joe. And I knew if Joe was gone I’d be the JT. That’s why I wanted to keep Joe around. Stephen trusted me. He never lied to me. It would be tough for Stephen to vote me out after I saved him with the idol.
Holmes: When I interviewed Stephen, he said he’d have gotten rid of you before the end.
Collins: It’d be a good move. That’d mean Stephen is playing to win. It takes balls to do that, though. Could you do that? Someone saves you? The emotions out there, I don’t know if I can do it. If you saved me, I’d have to play for second place.

Holmes: You were like the Godfather out there. People were coming to you, you weren’t saying a lot. And your game is exactly what you told me in pre-game. Hanging back, letting bigger guys take the heat.
Collins: It was unbelievable. I wanted my meat shields and I had that. And Kimmi said I was like the Godfather. I wanted to be that, but I didn’t want everybody to see that, so I started pulling back and letting others take over. If I wanted someone gone, I’m not putting them out there. But, I’m with you, so who do you want gone? Maybe later on you guys will take out the people I want.

Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start with Monica.
Collins: A sweetheart.
Holmes: Abi?
Collins: Abi…she’s crazy…but she’s a good crazy. Out of the game she’s awesome.
Holmes: Isn’t that amazing?
Collins: It’s crazy. If her mom played “Survivor” with Abi, she could win the whole thing. She was so pleasant and awesome when her mother was there. And then a few days later, Abi went back to crazy Abi.
Holmes: I have a theory that there is something in the material that the buffs are made out of…
Collins: (Laughs)
Holmes: It seeps into her skin and sets her off.
Collins: We had Abi handlers! At one point I was an Abi handler, but then I couldn’t handle it and Spencer took over.
Holmes: Kass?
Collins: Kassanova. I met Chaos Kass one time. The rest was Kassanova.
Holmes: Savage?
Collins: A role model.
Holmes: Savage’s hat?
Collins: (Laughs) I like the beanie! He gave me one!
Holmes: (Laughs) A million dollars and a beanie!
Collins: (Laughs) Yeah!
Holmes: You really cleaned up, my friend. Wiglesworth.
Collins: Kelly is serene.
Holmes: Ciera?
Collins: I thought I was going to not want to work with Ciera, but I’m a huge fan of hers.
Holmes: Fishbach?
Collins: Fish is my dawg.
Holmes: Joey Amazing.
Collins: Amazing! Period. He can do it all. He’s the greatest “Survivor” challenger.
Holmes: Kimmi?
Collins: Kimmi is loyal, even though she came after me.
Holmes: Keith?
Collins: Keith is funny.
Holmes: Wentworth?
Collins: She’s a great Survivor.
Holmes: Tasha?
Collins: Day one. She’ll know what that means.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Spencer.
Collins: Spencer is my brother.

Holmes: I predicted you would win “San Juan del Sur” and you lost. So, I didn’t predict you this time because I care about you.
Collins: I appreciate that. (Laughs)
Holmes: So, since I predicted you to win about a year ago and you did win eventually…I think I need your endorsement to get credit for finally guessing something correctly.
Collins: Absolutely. I’d take that.

Holmes: I’m talking to Keith later. I love that guy. But what should I be asking him that we didn’t see on TV.
Collins: I have questions for Keith! He wanted to take me out last season because I was a challenge threat. And this season we connected and I said, “I’m not going down that route again. Let’s have a clean slate.” And then he goes with Joey Amazing. Joe is the best “Survivor” challenger ever. And Keith went with him! We’re firefighters, we’re parents. Just ask him why we didn’t connect out there.
Holmes: You’ve got it.

Holmes: Do we have a name yet for this boy that’s on his way?
Collins: We do. But Val is not releasing that information to anybody.
Holmes: How about Bayon?
Collins: (Laughs) If you talk to Stephen it’s “Young Fishbach.”
Holmes: (Laughs)
Collins: It’s Fishbach Chaos Savage Amazing Collins.
Holmes: That’s got a nice ring to it.

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

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