‘Survivor’ Millennial Mari: ‘I Don’t Like Going by the Rules…Sorry’

Mari Takahashi (CBS)

Mari Takahashi (CBS)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X” needs. We’ll have interviews with all twenty of the new players to hold you over until the season starts. Then we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the players after they’ve been eliminated, and the return of the ever-popular “Survivor” Power Rankings. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.

Name (Age):  Mari Takahashi (31)
Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA via San Francisco, CA
Occupation: Professional Gamer
Hobbies: Video games, rock climbing, and traveling
Pet Peeves: Stagnation and laziness
Three Words to Describe You:  Courageous, adaptable, and calculating

NOTE: Usually I get a good thirty minutes with each contestant before the game starts. However, this season I had to get through all 20 players in only two-and-a-half hours. So, these pieces will be short and hopefully sweet.

Gordon Holmes: You are a YouTube gamer and I am an old man.
Mari Takahashi: (Laughs)
Holmes: So, explain to me what exactly that is.
Takahashi: I play video games at home. I yell at my screen, get angry, have fun. And apparently people like to watch that on the internet. It’s a strange new career that is available to millennials apparently.
Holmes: I like to play “Excitebike.” How do I get someone to pay me to do that?
Takahashi: There’s actually a lot of retro gamers out there.
Holmes: Sign me up!
Takahashi: (Laughs)

Holmes: You’re also proficient in ballet.
Takahashi: Yes!
Holmes: I know what that is.
Takahashi: (Laughs) I’d hope so.
Holmes: I imagine that would come in handy during all of those post-merge balancing challenges.
Takahashi: Yeah. I’ve trained for 27 years. It’s going to be one giant secret that I’ve done that. I’m just going to get really “lucky” in those challenges.

Holmes: “Survivor” has evolved into a game where deceit almost can’t be avoided. What is your approach?
Takahashi: I’ll approach this like I do any game, pretty much without emotions. My objective is winning, but I also want to have fun. You can call it manipulation, you can call it all of these things that have a negative connotation, but at the same time; is strategy something that has a negative connotation? They’re just words. It’s just playing the game. And I think I have a huge advantage because I don’t get too emotional over these things. We all know what we’re signing up for.
Holmes: But you do get emotional playing video games.
Takahashi: I hate losing. I’m not getting emotional because somebody took a headshot on me or beat me. I’m emotional because I didn’t win. I think there’s a difference in getting emotional when someone lies to you and taking it for what it is, a game.
Holmes: Do you get emotional when people lie to you?
Takahashi: No. Especially in this setting. It’s part of the game.

Holmes: How well do you deal with hunger?
Takahashi: Ballerina, 27 years. No problem. (Laughs)
Holmes: Good point. How about sleep deprivation.
Takahashi: Video games. I don’t sleep.
Holmes: Dude, you are perfect for this.
Takahashi: I know! I think I’ve been priming for this my entire life. And I had no idea until now.
Holmes: I know “Survivor” casting has been looking for a ballerina gamer for years.
Takahashi: (Laughs) They didn’t dig deep enough.
Holmes: How well do you do in the heat?
Takahashi: Very well. I’m actually like a chihuahua. I’m cold anywhere unless it’s 100 degrees.
Holmes: Does paranoia get to you? People running off into the woods, maybe talking about you?
Takahashi: I don’t know. We’ll see, man.
Holmes: What’s your stance on flirting?
Takahashi: I don’t know. I like to throw the little sister/big sister trope in more than spreading my legs.
Holmes: I think you and I have very different definitions of flirting.

Holmes: Have you seen any of the other players around?
Takahashi: Yeah, I’ve seen a few of them.
Holmes: What are your early thoughts on them?
Takahashi: I like to keep a notebook of notes. And I’ve seen some familiar faces and some new ones. I’ve seen an equal number of men and women. Nobody seems too giant and muscular. Judging a book by its cover, I’ve seen some people where I’m like, “That guy must work in tech.”

Holmes: If there is a twist, any guesses as to what it could be?
Takahashi: I think it could be Millennials vs. Generation X or Baby Boomers. But, I haven’t seen any old people. Or, maybe because I’m a gamer it will be tech people vs. traditional jobs vs. corporate. I think my profession and my age has something to do with this casting.
Holmes: I shouldn’t tell you this, but everyone there is a video game playing ballerina.
Takahashi: Damnit! I thought I was the only one.

Holmes: If you could align with any past player, who would it be and why?
Takahashi: Boston Rob. He’s fun, he’s smart. And I like to watch villains play. Boston Rob walks the line and I like that. He’s very human.
Holmes: Could there be some villainous blood in you?
Takahashi: I don’t know. I’ll weigh the situation when I get there.

Holmes: OK, we’re short on time, so I’ve prepared a lighting round. Cats or dogs?
Takahashi: Dogs.
Holmes: Beer or wine?
Takahashi: Neither, whisky.
Holmes: Superman or Batman?
Takahashi: Neither! Arrow.
Holmes:  Meat or vegetables?
Takahashi: Meat.
Holmes: Republican or Democrat?
Takahashi: Gahhhh…somewhere in the middle.
Holmes: Books or TV?
Takahashi: Video games.
Holmes: You are bad at this.
Takahashi: (Laughs)
Holmes: One or the other, Mari!
Takahashi: I don’t like going by the rules. Sorry.
Holmes: Swimming or sunbathing?
Takahashi: Swimming.
Holmes: Many casual friends or one good friend?
Takahashi: One good friend.
Holmes: A nice car or a nice home?
Takahashi: A nice home.
Holmes: Smart or funny?
Takahashi: Smart.
Holmes: I know this one; Parvati or Boston Rob?
Takahashi: Boston Rob.
Holmes: A big vacation or a big TV?
Takahashi: Big vacation.
Holmes: Working alone or working with a team?
Takahashi: Alone.
Holmes: Dragons or unicorns?
Takahashi: Dragon unicorns.
Holmes: Whoa. Careful planning or fly by the seat of your pants?
Takahashi: Gosh…let’s go with careful planning for right now.
Holmes: Jeff Probst or Ryan Seacrest?
Takahashi: (Laughs) Jeff Probst.
Holmes: And a special bonus one just for you; Mario or Luigi?
Takahashi: (Laughs) Mario.

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X,” Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 8pm ET.

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