‘Survivor’ Castaway Darnell – ‘I Think Jason’s a Great Player’


Darnell Hamilton (CBS)

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Yeah, Darnell dropped the goggles during the season’s first immunity challenge and cost his tribe precious time. And, he was caught taking a number two a little too close to the beach.

But at least he didn’t have a bug burrowing in his ear.

I spoke to the first castaway the morning after his elimination and asked him about his challenge misstep, the chemistry around camp, and Jennifer’s nightmare experience…

Gordon Holmes: There’s so much content to cram into the premiere episode between meeting the new players, the immunity challenge, Tribal Council, and all of that. And they still managed to find time to show you pooping in the ocean.
Darnell Hamilton: (Laughs) I knew that was going to make the cut. I was just waiting for it.

Holmes: People forgive a lot of things in “Survivor,” so I had a hard time believing that they wouldn’t forgive you for the goggle dropping during the challenge. Was there something else that we missed?
Hamilton: I didn’t really know until Jason posted a tweet this morning that said I was likable. I figured they were really worried about me. A lot of people liked me, especially the girls. There was talk of an all-girl alliance. It was more of, let’s get rid of Darnell because he’s holding this alliance together.
Holmes: Yourself, Alecia, Cydney, and Jennifer were an alliance?
Hamilton: Yes. And really, me and Cyd and Alecia were always together.
Holmes: So, the goggles incident was just an excuse?
Hamilton: I think people underestimate Jason. I think Jason’s a great player. He wanted me gone from a strategic standpoint. Scot, on the other hand, he was just mad. He wouldn’t talk to me. He was really upset about the situation. I think that was it for him.

Holmes: It seemed like Alecia was really rubbing people the wrong way. There were accusations that she wasn’t doing much around camp. Was there ever a chance for you to throw the heat on her?
Hamilton: As far as Alecia, she was rubbing everyone the wrong way. It was a unanimous thing. But me and Cyd were on the bottom. If we get rid of Alecia, who are we with? The original alliance was Jason, Scot, and Jennifer. Me and Cyd were on the outside looking in. You don’t want to be too mean to Alecia because you might need her.

Holmes: Jennifer and the bug…I didn’t sleep at all last night.
Hamilton: (Laughs)
Holmes: I slept with earbuds in. Was she ever close to quitting?
Hamilton: No, she is one of the strongest women I know. At one point, we were like, “Does she really have a bug in her ear?” She was still working hard! It wasn’t until that night, I was with her the whole time. And she was in so much pain. There was really something going on there.
Holmes:  I would’ve dunked my head in the ocean forever.
Hamilton: (Laughs) Seeing that bug come out was horrifying. Her ear was bleeding…it was crazy.

Holmes: Was there any talk of idols? Was anyone out looking?
Hamilton: Yeah, Alecia. (Laughs) Everyone was paranoid. They may have said it about me. You really don’t know what people are saying about you. I knew I’d be at camp and we’d be like, “Where’s Alecia?”

Holmes: A lot has been made about the harsh conditions out there. What was your experience?
Hamilton: It was the most intense heat I’ve ever felt in my life. They didn’t show it, but I had sunburn all over my back. I’ve never had sunburn a day in my life until I went to Cambodia. We didn’t have much shade. Our beach was tough. A lot of rocks, it was brutal. And we didn’t have that much water. We didn’t drink from the well at all. We had nothing but coconut juice. We were running on fumes.

Holmes: In the opening they just showed Jeff saying, “Alright, get off the boat.” When was the first time it was mentioned that it was a Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty season?
Hamilton: It was at the start when we were scrambling around.

Holmes: They found time to show your pooping, was there anything they didn’t show that you wish they had?
Hamilton: They just put my yoga up there. I’m anxious to see that. And we also had a loose chicken.
Holmes: Did you attach it to a leash like Tai did?
Hamilton: (Laughs) No, were we cleaning the area and Jason moved it and it ran. We were running all through the bushes chasing this chicken with a net.
Holmes: I don’t blame this chicken. I would have run away from you guys too.
Hamilton: (Laughs) We were hungry!

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Scot.
Hamilton: No clue.
Holmes: Jason?
Hamilton: Genius.
Holmes: Jennifer?
Hamilton: Toughest woman I know.
Holmes: Alecia?
Hamilton: (Laughs) I’ll just say…Alecia.
Holmes: Cydney?
Hamilton: Great friend.

Holmes: Why’s Jason a genius?
Hamilton: I’m a big fan of the show. And how he went out and played and was aggressive and got everyone on his side? He did a good job.

Holmes: What’s your takeaway from this experience?
Hamilton: It was a great experience despite me being first. It was devastating, you want results. But that was my first time ever being overseas. I was so grateful to be out there. I was very eager to go for that aquadump. (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs)
Hamilton: I’ve never done that in my life. I tell people, “You don’t understand. It’s very refreshing!”

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

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