‘Survivor’ Castaway Gonzalez – ‘When I Meet with a Husband and Wife, I Know to Always Charm the Wife First’

“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Ghost Island.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Name: Stephanie Gonzalez
Age: 26
Hometown: Aguada, Puerto Rico
Current residence: Ocala, Florida
Occupation: Graphic Sales

Gordon Holmes: You’re in sales, I’m assuming you’re constantly meeting people, getting them to like you…
Stephanie Gonzalez: Every single day. I’m in and out of networking events where I’m trying to meet people. Constantly shaking hands with everyone I can. Make a good impression, get some business cards, set up some meetings.
Holmes: That feels like it would lend itself to a game where you’re about to meet nineteen strangers.
Gonzalez: Definitely…of all ages, all kinds, all ethnicities.

Holmes: Why do you think you were cast?
Gonzalez: I think it’s my unique personality. I’ve got so many different dimensions to my personality. I’m this girly girl, but I can transform into this super tomboy. Hang out with the guys, go to a game, grab a beer.

Holmes: Is there anything about your background that you’re going to keep a secret?
Gonzalez: That’s a tough one…I was a rebel. (Laughs)
Holmes: How so?
Gonzalez: I would run away from home, I got this tattoo at sixteen years old, pierced my own belly button. I was kind of a rebel in that sense. They’d tell me not to do something and I’d be like, “OK, watch me.”
Holmes: They should’ve used some kind of reverse psychology. “Stephanie, get a tattoo.”
Gonzalez: (Laughs) Oh yeah? I won’t get a tattoo.
Holmes: Someone’s going to figure that out and play you like a fiddle in this game. “Stephanie, vote me out.”
Gonzalez: I’m not going to vote you out. (Laughs)

Holmes: Have you set any boundaries as far as lying, deception, etc.?
Gonzalez: I’m not going to physically hurt someone.
Holmes: Well, you’re totally not allowed to do that.
Gonzalez: (Laughs) That’s probably my only boundary. The lying and the backstabbing, I think there’s a way of doing it so it’s not so abrupt to that person. You don’t do certain things so it’s putting salt in the wounds.
Holmes: What about flirting?
Gonzalez: Yeah, I don’t call it flirting. I call it charm. You bring out the smile, you bring out the eyes, the shoulder rub.
Holmes: The shoulder rub?
Gonzalez: That’s the move. (Laughs)
Holmes: That’s the move. Is there anyone back home who will be upset if they see you busting out the charm?
Gonzalez: Not at all.
Holmes: So, you’re single?
Gonzalez: No.
Holmes: OK, so there is someone, but they won’t get upset.
Gonzalez: Yes. He trusts me 1000% and I analyze things to a tee. I’m good at sales, so I know how to speak to people. When I meet with a husband and wife, I know to always charm the wife first. It’s all about making feel comfortable. So, the boyfriend knows exactly how I work. He thinks I’m a masterpiece.
Holmes: He’s not wrong. That’s a smart strategy. I started dating this girl and her male friend was not happy about it because he was interested in her. So, the first time we hung out, I was all over him. Using the charm. And it worked. We’re buddies now.
Gonzalez: You’ve got to know how to play it.

Holmes: You’re in the dark as far as twists and themes. Any guesses?
Gonzalez: I think there’s a little bit of a “Heroes vs. Villains” kind of theme. But, I’m not sure.

Holmes: Are you a big “Survivor” fan?
Gonzalez: I am. I watched it in Puerto Rico growing up. And then I moved to the States and didn’t watch TV for a couple of years, but got back into it about six years ago.
Holmes: Do you ever have “Survivor” stress dreams?
Gonzalez: Oh God, yeah. Probably for the last two months. I’m sitting with four other people and Jeff is walking to me with a paper which is the check. It’s great. And I’m crying. It’s awesome.
Holmes: That’s not a stress dream. That’s a wonderful dream.
Gonzalez: That’s a great dream. It’s stressful because I haven’t even started yet.

Holmes: Alright, I’m going to give you two “Survivor” situations. You tell me which one you would rather deal with.
Gonzalez: Let’s do it. I love these games.
Holmes: That’s basically my whole gimmick. Would you rather align with a Hillary supporter or a Trump supporter?
Gonzalez: Hillary supporter. I hate Trump. All he cares about his power. He scares people into voting for him and he’s extremely racist. And coming from a Hispanic background…he’s pathetic.
Holmes: Steal a vote or eliminate a juror?
Gonzalez: Steal a vote, it’s pretty powerful.
Holmes: Endurance challenge or word puzzle?
Gonzalez: Word puzzle.
Holmes: Align with a racist or a sexist?
Gonzalez: Sexist…it doesn’t phase me.
Holmes: Voted out first or before the final Tribal?
Gonzalez: Final Tribal?
Holmes: Align with an adulterer or a tax cheat?
Gonzalez: An adulterer…I don’t know why.
Holmes: Lose the family challenge or win and have to decide to who to take along?
Gonzalez: Win and decide.
Holmes: Caught stealing food or idol hunting?
Gonzalez: Idol hunting. It’s “Survivor.” That’s kind of OK.
Holmes: Align with a super fan or someone who doesn’t watch the show.
Gonzalez: Super fan. That’s a given.
Holmes: Dance challenge or karaoke challenge?
Gonzalez: Dance challenge!
Holmes: What’s your go-to move? Is it the lawnmower?
Gonzalez: The sprinkler. (Laughs)

Holmes: What kind of first impression do you think you put out there?
Gonzalez: Girly girl. She’s a girly girl. She’s got her hair done, she’s got her makeup on. Look at what she’s wearing. She has bright, happy colors. She’s in sandals. She’s probably educated, because I speak kind of proper.

NOTE: The cast members do not know each other’s names at this point. I showed Gonzalez a picture of each of the competitors and asked her to share her first impressions.

 

LIBBY

Gonzalez: Barbie! Extremely concerned with her looks at all times She’s worried about her hair. When she walks she sways her hips so she’s pretty confident. She lingers around the guys a lot so she can flirt with them.
Holmes: If you catch her doing the shoulder rub…
Gonzalez: Oh, that is it.

ANGELA

Gonzalez: She nice, but she’s nervous. She’s twitching a lot, looking around. She’s somebody that you have to reassure. She’s probably going to play a paranoid game. She’s a coffee drinker, so I think she’s going to be a high-anxiety person.

CHELSEA

Gonzalez: She’s nice. But, I believe she is one of those that is very peer-pressure, go-with-the-flow, I’ll do what the crowd thinks. She’s got red hair, which is a trend. So, what’s cool is what she’ll do.

JENNA

Gonzalez: Very dominant. She runs the show. She doesn’t care what you think.

STEPHANIE

Gonzalez: Super friendly. Spending a little time with everyone. She’s likable, which could hurt her. She’ll probably build shallow alliances with everyone.

MORGAN

Gonzalez: She’s a swimmer. Her body is perfectly sculpted. I want her on my team. She’s friendly and kind of quirky.

LAUREL

Gonzalez: She’s built like an ox. (Expletive deleted) She’s definitely a physical threat. She probably runs. Her calves are beautiful. Socially she hasn’t really made a whole lot of connections.

KELLYN

Gonzalez: I like her. She’s smart. She reads big books. She’s focused. She’ll read for an hour straight with no distractions. She’s awkward…I like that. She doesn’t wear much makeup. She’s probably all brains.

DESIREE

Gonzalez: She’s nice, but easily intimidated. I tried to give her a friendly smile and she wouldn’t look at me. I think she’s going to have a wall to break down before you connect with her.

BRADLEY

Gonzalez: He’s analytical like me. I think people will assume he’s not a threat, but he’s going to be a big threat. He’s got a charming smile.

BRENDAN

Gonzalez: He’s super organized. The way he stacks books, the way he reads, he watches what he eats, puts sunscreen on. I think he’s going to be a play-by-the-rules kind of guy.

CHRIS

Gonzalez: He’s extremely cocky and arrogant. I kind of feel bad for him because he’s this over-the-top Ken doll. He waxes his chest, tans four minutes on one side and four minutes on the other. My hands probably have more calluses than his.

SEBASTIAN

Gonzalez: Looks like a surfer kind of guy. Laid-back, not too worried about how to play the game.

WENDELL

Gonzalez: He’s cool. He has this sway about him. He’s down-to-Earth. Not a complainer.

 

JACOB

Gonzalez: He’s cool, he’s super quirky. There’s this great nerdiness about him. He was listening to music and doing the air drums to it. He does want to be liked, though. He’ll be the goofball.

JAMES

Gonzalez: I call it “Little Man Syndrome.” He’s short, but he presents himself in a very dominant way. He’s very fit. He’s going to be a physical threat. But, I don’t know if he’s going to rub people the wrong way.

MICHAEL

Gonzalez: He’s nice, but he’s trying to work his charm with the girls, so I don’t think the guys will like him.

DONATHAN

Gonzalez: I like him, I think he’s gay and I have a lot of really good gay friends. He’s goofy, he’s really quirky, he’s kind of awkward. But, there’s a good aura around him.

DOMENICK

Gonzalez: I think he was in the military. Probably Hispanic or Italian. If he’s Hispanic we’ll click immediately. He eats like me. We’ll have that in common. I don’t know about him playing a good social game.

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Ghost Island” – Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8 pm ET.

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

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