Archive for the ‘Black Entertainment’ Category

‘Survivor’ Castaway Latasha – Trish Would ‘Clean Up (Tony’s) Mess’

May 8, 2014

'Survivor: Cagayan' (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to be for all sorts of “Survivor: Cagayan” back-stabbin’, torch-snuffin’ fun. We’ll have Power Rankings with “Blood vs. Water” competitor Ciera Eastin, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

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Yeah, yeah…for the 100th straight season, the person I picked to win “Survivor” went home without a million-dollar check.

And while we’re at it, let’s forget that I had Tony in last place and Spencer in second-to-last place.

I spoke with the latest victim of the Gordon Holmes “Survivor” Curse the morning after she was sent packing and had a chance to ask about the real Tony, the real Kass, and if I should be real sorry…

Gordon Holmes: So…sorry about that whole curse thing.
Latasha Fox: (Laughs) You should be sorry!  Next time if I play again could you please pick someone else?
Holmes: I promise.
Fox: (Laughs) But I appreciate you for recognizing my greatness.
Holmes: How could I not! You’re a St. Louis girl!
Fox: (Laughs)
Holmes: Is that why you’re so good at challenges? Because you’re from the same town as the St. Louis Cardinals?
Fox: Oh yes, the “Show Me State.” We’ll show you what we’re working with.
Holmes: Are you a big Cardinals fan?
Fox: Love, love, love the Cardinals. They’re awesome.
Holmes: I grew up in St. Louis and have been a Cardinals fan my whole life.
Fox: Awesome! That’s great. I knew I liked you for a reason.
Holmes: Who’s your favorite player? Who’s your guy?
Fox: Um…I like all of them? (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs) Me too.

Holmes: Alright, CBS is going to get upset if we don’t talk about “Survivor.” Last night it seemed like Tony thought something was up because you weren’t scrambling. Did he read the situation correctly?
Fox: That threw me off a little. Scrambling is not in my personality, so I don’t know where he got that from. Given the fact that I’d just come off of three immunity wins, it’s not like he would have recognized a trend. The only time I was on the chopping block was when Morgan went home. And I gave this big speech saying, “It was great working with you. I’m going to wear my formal suit tonight. I appreciate you guys.” I was trying to use reverse psychology. So, him coming up with imaginary trends? That was kind of random. It hadn’t been something that I’d done before.

Holmes: You show up on the beach on day one and Probst says, “Hey, you’re on the Brains tribe.” You’re a former NFL cheerleader, so you’d probably have qualified for all three tribes. Is that a compliment to be on the Brains tribe? Is it an insult?
Fox: That’s a double-edged sword. I took pride in being on the Brains tribe because beauty and brawn are something you can recognize visibly. Intelligence is something you can’t. So, getting that validation was great. On the other side of that, I don’t know how many brains spent time in the gym. So, I’m like, “Crap, I’m screwed.” It didn’t look like the other brains had any physical ability.

Holmes: There aren’t many unforgivable sins on “Survivor.” But one of them could be, “Don’t mess with the food supply.” Were you worried you could take heat for keeping J’Tia around after she cooked all the rice at once?
Fox: (Laughs) Absolutely not. I think keeping J’Tia was the right decision. Had I voted her out, then that would have left Spencer and Garrett with the authority and power to say if I would go home next or if Kass would go home next. That was power that I was not willing to relinquish. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my million-dollar game for a  five-dollar bag of rice. I needed her for one more week and if we lost again she’d be the person to go.

Holmes: After Kass flipped on you guys at the merge, she continued to rub people like Spencer and Jeremiah the wrong way. What was your relationship with her like?
Fox: After Kass flipped I could not talk to her for like three days.  I didn’t want to say anything that could jeopardize her willingness to work with me in the future. So, instead of addressing the situation, I had to take a step back. I was upset, but I knew maybe I’d need her. I felt like it was the wrong decision for her game, but that was the decision she made. My thing was to do the best with what I had. So, after she flipped I knew I had a physical game, so I turned that up.

Holmes: Tony is hinting that he has two idols. At this point in the game, does anyone believe him?
Fox: I think we believed that he had the one. The second one we were a little iffy about it. But, if he says he has it, it’d behoove you to just believe him. Tony, you just never know. Just assume the worst.
Holmes: Last night we saw Tony kick back and tell police stories. What’s he like when he’s not fighting with Kass or hiding in his Spy Shack?
Fox: I really like Tony outside of the game. He’s a family person. He loves his wife, he loves his daughter. He’s a good guy. But in the game sometimes you have to be a totally different person to win. I respect that. But I don’t think Tony would have been as great as he says he is if he didn’t have a Trish or a Woo. Give me a Trish and a Woo and I’ll be as great as Tony…if not better.
Holmes: Tony keeps blindsiding Trish, and she keeps picking up the pieces and saying it’s cool. What was your relationship like with her?
Fox: I had a good relationship with everyone even though they were picking off my alliance members. You just never know when they’ll be ready to make a big move. I like Trish. What I didn’t appreciate about Trish is that she didn’t do more in the game. She played her role, which was the clean-up lady. After the bloodbath that is Tony, she’d come by with the mop and the broom to clean up his mess.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Spencer.
Fox: Smart.
Holmes: Morgan?
Fox: Sweet.
Holmes: Jeremiah?
Fox: Cutie.
Holmes: LJ?
Fox: Overestimated.
Holmes: Tony?
Fox: Crazy.
Holmes: Kass?
Fox: Confused.
Holmes: Trish?
Fox: Sweet.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Woo.
Fox: Funny.

Holmes: One of my favorite strategic moments of the season was at Tribal where you and Spencer both said you’d vote for Tony if he got to the end. That seemed like a great way to get his alliance to wake up. Was that a narrative you guys pushed often?
Fox: At every opportunity I had I said, “If Tony’s in the end, I’m voting for him. If you make a move, I might vote for you.” It wasn’t necessarily the truth. It’d depend on who Tony was sitting next to. But in the moment, I was trying to get these other people to realize that they were playing Tony’s game. Like I said about Trish, she was instrumental in getting Kass to flip, but she wasn’t getting credit for it.

Holmes: Ok, here’s the deal. You’re going to come back on the show.
Fox: (Laughs) OK.
Holmes: I’m not going to pick you to win.
Fox: (Laughs) Thank you.
Holmes: And in exchange, you have to learn the names of some Cardinals.
Fox: (Laughs) Matt Holliday.
Holmes: That works!

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Cliff: ‘Being Irritating Was a Part of (Trish’s) Game’

March 20, 2014

'Survivor: Cagayan' (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to be for all sorts of “Survivor: Cagayan” back-stabbin’, torch-snuffin’ fun. We’ll have Power Rankings with “Blood vs. Water” competitor Ciera Eastin, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

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I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; tribe swaps are the worst. It takes a pair of teams and immediately turns them into individuals. Challenge strength takes a backseat to merge strategies.

(Although in this case, Cliff’s tribe was already trying to get rid of him. But, that doesn’t prove my point, so we’ll ignore it.)

I spoke to the world’s tallest sports management executive the morning after his blindside and asked about his end-game plans, being targeted by Cops R Us, and the Lindsey/Trish feud…

Gordon Holmes: Rough way to go last night with Tony and Trish stabbing you in the back. Did you see it coming at all?
Cliff Robinson: I felt pretty strong all day. But, right before leaving to Tribal there was a conversation that was brought to my attention that made me feel some kind of way about Tony. But, we were getting ready to leave so I couldn’t get back to Tony and massage the relationship or confirm that he was going to vote the way we had decided to vote.
Holmes: Was your plan to be five strong with Woo, Lindsey, and Cops R Us and then go to the final three with Woo and Lindsey?
Robinson: That was the plan. The plan was to keep the five together. I knew Trish was going to, once I saw that she was able to get with LJ, I knew it was going to be over. She was so taken by LJ that I knew once he was able to get her to the side, we would probably lose her. But, she was lost from the beginning.
Holmes: Yeah, it seems like her and Lindsey were butting heads from the first episode.
Robinson: They just didn’t get along. I think that was a part of Trish’s game. (Laughs) And I’ll give her credit for that. I think being irritating was a part of her game. It worked its magic eventually on Lindsey and on me because after a while I didn’t talk to her either.

Holmes: What’s going through your mind when you’re watching Tony poisoning Sarah against you and then them trying to throw a challenge to get rid of you?
Robinson: I had to give them kudos for trying it. They tried to make a move. Big moves are going to be rewarded or you’re going to pay for them. They tried to make a big move.
Holmes: I think the mistake they made was trying to throw a challenge that involved you making free throws.
Robinson: (Laughs) This is true.
Holmes: Sarah approached Woo about throwing the challenge and he seemed to be into it. Did you have any idea that Woo wasn’t 100% on your side?
Robinson: That was the thing that surprised me. Even though they talked to Woo about it, me and Woo had conversations about Sarah and Trish, but he never confided in me about them trying to throw the challenge. I think in his defense, he didn’t know which way the tribe was going. And he was on the fence whether to stick with Cliff and Lindsey or to go with Sarah, Trish, and Tony. When you’re in a numbers game you’ve got to be on the fence. So, I understand where he was at.

Holmes: Did you tell everyone you were in sports marketing?
Robinson: (Laughs) I do work in sports marketing. But right from the beginning, the basketball thing came up immediately. I thought I’d just nip it in the bud and be honest with them.
Holmes: Jeff Kent wears a baseball hat and a helmet and he isn’t quite as tall as you. He might blend a little better.
Robinson: There was nothing wrong with me wanting to omit something. So, if they would’ve asked me if I’d played basketball without someone recognizing me, I probably would’ve said I played some kind of basketball and tried to not bring up the fact that I played in the NBA. But, right at the beginning Woo outted me with the basketball cards.

Holmes: You’re a big guy. You require a lot of calories to get going. How tough was the lack of food on you?
Robinson: After a while, it’s not really that big of an issue. I was able to catch a fish, we found papayas, we found bananas. So, we were able to take advantage of some of the things that were in our environment. But, the biggest thing is hydration. You’re sweating, you’re moving. You want water all the time.
Holmes: One of the knocks Trish made about you was that you weren’t contributing around camp. Do you think her assessment was correct? We only see what they show us.
Robinson: Very not true. That was one of the things I was disappointed about the editing of the show. I caught coconut crabs, I fished, I was the person to locate the papaya trees, I found a lime tree. I was the person to get the bananas. I think that’s a very unfair assessment, especially when she was the person who was eating all of the stuff that I brought into camp. But, at the same time, it was a part of her game to get LJ and Jefra to think negatively about me.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Woo.
Robinson: Reliable.
Holmes: Lindsey?
Robinson: Tough.
Holmes: Trish?
Robinson: (Laughs) Not my type of person.
Holmes: Sarah?
Robinson: Shady.
Holmes: Tony?
Robinson: Very shady.
Holmes: (Laughs) Jefra?
Robinson: Naïve.
Holmes: Let’s finish with LJ.
Robinson: LJ is smooth. He was able to win some people over with his ability to be laid back.

Holmes: Both of our cops are “shady.” Has your experience in the game affected your opinion of the boys (and girls) in blue?
Robinson: No, not necessarily. There’s always a place for a police officer when you need one. But at the same time I’ve run into police officers who don’t tell the truth. I probably should have remembered that when I was out there.

Holmes: It seemed like you were having a blast out there. Any interest in going back?
Robinson: I wish I had the opportunity to blindside someone. I can’t wait to get back out on the beach. I said, “Let’s go, Probst. Get me back out there!”

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway J’Tia: ‘I Didn’t Care If They Didn’t Eat’

March 13, 2014

'Survivor: Cagayan' (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to be for all sorts of “Survivor: Cagayan” back-stabbin’, torch-snuffin’ fun. We’ll have Power Rankings with “Blood vs. Water” competitor Ciera Eastin, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

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If you Google “How to Cook Rice” you’ll get about 147,000,000 results.

I can’t speak for which method is the most tasty, but I’ll bet J’Tia Taylor’s will get you in the most trouble.

I spoke with “Survivor: Cagayan’s” most notorious chef the morning after she was voted out of the game and had a chance to ask her about the motivation behind her culinary disaster, her relationship with the Brainy Lady alliance, and why she never wants to be a good loser…

Gordon Holmes: You, Latasha, and Kass seemed pretty tight heading into last night’s vote. Were you blindsided?
J’Tia Taylor: It was not unexpected. I knew there was a chance. Anytime anyone goes to Tribal Council they should assume there’s a chance they can be voted out. Going in I did not think they would vote me out, but as it progressed and as Jeff spoke more I understood that he was leading them to consider the challenges. So, it was no surprise to me when I was voted out.

Holmes: You’re probably going to be remembered as the woman who threw the rice on the fire. And this has happened on “Survivor” before. Brandon Hantz did something similar. But, Brandon was an excitable, young man who wanted to make big TV moments, where you seemed like you’d be way more strategic. Help me understand what went into your decision.
Taylor: So, at this time everybody on my tribe basically told me that I was going home. I was already feeling dejected because I did not come through with the puzzle. I felt bad enough and they were kicking me when I was down. Then, I felt like Garrett, who was supposed to be in my alliance, we were supposed to vote Kass out next, turned on me. So, I figured I’d get him where it hurts and that was his stomach. He was always talking about how he was hungry. And, he was supposed to be watching me, so I figured it’d be a double whammy. And I really wasn’t too happy with everyone else, so  I didn’t care if they didn’t eat. And personally, I’d rather stay and starve than go home and eat. So, I threw out the rice.
Holmes: Latasha was in your corner at that point. Was there any concern for her?
Taylor: Latasha said I was going home as well. And as far as us not having any rice to eat, we actually had more food after I threw out the rice than before. We had bananas, I caught us some crabs, we got a little smarter about how we ate. And we still had some rice left over. But, nope. Didn’t feel bad.
Holmes: Do you ever have any over-the-top reactions to things in your everyday life?
Taylor: Like I just go into the cafeteria and dump out all the rice in anger?
Holmes: That’ll show ‘em!
Taylor: (Laughs) Yeah! You, Colonels…how dare you? But no.

Holmes: So many of the things we saw about you were negative. What were some of the positive things that we missed?
Taylor: It seemed like Tasha and Kass hated me. And it’s OK to say I was volatile because I was. I was really hurt. But we got along for the most part. Kass and Tasha, they told me things to my face, they were honest, we did each other’s hair for the challenges. I’m not going to say I enjoyed every minute of it, but I liked everybody I was out there with. I didn’t know they had so many problem with me or thought I was bossy, (Laughs) although I can imagine why they thought I was bossy. But, I am who I am.

Holmes: You’re very successful in your everyday life, and here you’re put into a situation where your value is based on how well you can put a flag on a board while blindfolded.  Was it frustrating to be unable to contribute?
Taylor: It was very frustrating, these are clearly not skills that I use in my everyday life. I thought the Brawn people were so successful because they had a history of competing under pressure. That really helped them come from behind and not panic. It was very frustrating. I’m not used to losing. I’m not a good loser, I don’t want to learn how to become a good loser, because I don’t intend on continuing to lose in real life.

Holmes: What has the reaction been like from “Survivor” fans?
Taylor: I don’t know, I only read the good comments.
Holmes: Smart, I have a filter on my computer that doesn’t let bad comments in.
Taylor: No, I don’t have that, I just ignore everybody. You guys with negative comments are wasting your time. Here…let me see… “J’Tia Angel, you’re a star, you make this season so much better just by being in it.” Here’s another one, “J’Tia, I still love you down to your bone marrow.”

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Garrett.
Taylor: Muscular.
Holmes: David?
Taylor: Crafty.
Holmes: Spencer?
Taylor: Deaf mute.
Holmes: Kass?
Taylor: Salty woman.
Holmes: Jeff Probst?
Taylor: Dot dot hmmm…
Holmes: (Laughs) And Latasha?
Taylor: Really athletic.

Holmes: You had an interesting ride out there. What’s your big takeaway from the experience?
Taylor: I want to say I had a big takeaway, but I can’t think of one. I’m trying to give you something, Gordon. I am who I am. I like who I am. That’s the takeaway. I like who I am, some people don’t. You’ve got to rock with how you are and that’s what I do.

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

‘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’ Favorite Francesca: ‘I’m Not Thrilled to See Phillip’

January 15, 2013

Francesca Hogi (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: Francesca Hogi
Age: 38
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: Attorney
Previous Finish: Francesca came in 18th place in “Survivor: Redemption Island”
Memorable Moment: Francesca’s opening-scene comment that the returning players were “sizing us up like prey” may have led to her early elimination

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:  You are the first person to ever return to the game after being voted out first.
Francesca Hogi: Yes. “Survivor” history, baby.
Holmes: Indeed it is.
Hogi: This is my second bit of “Survivor” history. The first is I was the first person to go to Redemption Island.
Holmes: Oh…and the first person to get…eliminated from Redemption Island…
Hogi: I wasn’t going to throw that in there. (Laughs)
Holmes: So, that’s three firsts. And I’m just going to keep my mouth shut.
Hogi: (Laughs)
Holmes: But I’m not good at that, so let’s continue. Why do you think you were invited back?
Hogi: I have no idea. I find this all very surprising. I didn’t believe it was going to happen until yesterday when I got on the plane I thought, “I guess this is really happening.” I guess people in production felt like I got screwed. I guess some people liked watching me on the show. It’s very flattering.
Holmes: I remember thinking it was too soon. You and Kristina Kell.
Hogi: Thank you.
Holmes: It seemed like you were both very smart and had a lot to offer as far as gameplay. And, you were a very good narrator.
Hogi: Thank you. It’s great, I was extremely surprised by people’s reactions to me.
Holmes: You could be the first person to be voted out first, then come back and win the whole deal.
Hogi: That’s the plan.
Holmes: Right, I meant you’re going to be that person.
Hogi: That’s right. That’s what’s happening.
Holmes: Well great, then this whole thing is going to be anti-climatic.
Hogi: It’s like Dalton Ross said, “Worst to first.”
Holmes: You talked to Dalton Ross?
Hogi: I did.
Holmes: I hate that guy.
Hogi: (Laughs)

Holmes: What’ve you been up to since we saw you last?
Hogi: Plotting, scheming, working, playing, traveling.
Holmes: And it’s all going to pay off.
Hogi: Oh yeah.
Holmes: So there’s a basement somewhere with pictures of Jeff Probst and candles…
Hogi: It might be alarming for the outside person to see it, but it’s harmless. I’m not going to kill anyone, I’m just going to win “Survivor.”

Holmes: You have played with returnees before, I’m referring of course to “Survivor” Hall of Famer “Boston” Rob Mariano.
Hogi: “Boston” Rob.
Holmes: And now you are a returnee yourself. What did you learn from watching his approach to returning to the game that you can utilize?
Hogi: Well, if I’m on a tribe with new people, I’m going to employ my own version of the “Boston” Rob, “Who me?” Because “Boston” Rob said to us on the first day, “I know I have no shot of winning this game. I’m not here to win. I just love this game and I want to help you guys win.” And everyone was like, “Oh my God, he’s so nice.”
Holmes: You guys bought that?
Hogi: Yeah, he doesn’t mean that. He’s going to win this game if you let him. I thought, this tribe is going to give “Boston” Rob a million dollars because they want him to like them. Which is exactly what happened. It was like that from day one.
Holmes: Well, he is quite charming.
Hogi: Yeah, but I remember when he was saying it, I was thinking, “Nobody’s going to buy this.” And I looked around and everyone bought it. I think that I could more plausibly do that because I’m not “Boston” Rob.  I’m far from it. I’m the least successful returning player ever.
Holmes: Right now.
Hogi: (Laughs) Right now. So, no one should perceive me as a threat. I’m bad at “Survivor.” Or, I used to be. I’m going to say I just want to get a little bit farther because anything is an improvement from where I’ve been.

Holmes: You march out on the beach on day one, what do you think the other players remember about you?
Hogi: I guess they’ll remember that I have a big mouth. I don’t think there’s anything else to remember. You could probably answer that question better than I could.
Holmes: As a “Survivor” fan I remember you being smart and going home early because you were a threat. Didn’t you say something early on like, “They’re eyeing us like sharks?”
Hogi: Something like that, or “They’re eyeing us like prey.”

Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it is?
Hogi: What I’m expecting, so it’s probably the opposite of what will happen, is that we’ll be returning players and new players all mixed together. I think people are thinking this will be like a Fans vs. Favorites 2 situation. I don’t think that’s what it’ll be. I think there will be mixing. But, I’d rather it be all returning players on one side.

Holmes: I feel like “Survivor” is very much influenced by the last season a cast sees before they play the game. In this case, with “South Pacific” and “One World,” people on the bottom of alliance have been content with their places and have been bounced one by one.
Hogi: It’s driving me crazy. I think not everybody plays “Survivor” to win. I think some people play to get as far as they can. It’s all the cliché stuff. You are out of your element. You are hungry, you aren’t sleeping well. Whatever it takes to get to the next day. It takes a lot to make a big move and not everybody has that drive. People get complacent.

Holmes: Everybody here has been asking themselves “What if” since they were voted out. Is there anything in there you can use? Mistakes they’ve made and if they’re likely to make them again?
Hogi: I’m going to assume that everyone is going to be smarter. You really learn so much from being out there. I assume everyone will be smarter. Whether or not they are, remains to be seen. But I’m not going to rely too much on my preconceived notions of people.

Holmes: You’ve been with the cast for a little bit today. What are your first impressions of the group?
Hogi: So far it’s been pretty good. Well, I’m not thrilled to see Phillip. But, I’m not surprised to see Phillip.
Holmes: Is that still a thing?
Hogi: You know, it’s not a thing for me. I have no relationship with him. I don’t think I’ve had one conversation since that Tribal Council. I’ve seen him and we’ve said, “Hello” and that’s it. I don’t like him. I don’t find him to be a likable person. I’m not looking forward to living with him. I’m trying to really go in very open-minded. Well, not open-minded like I’m going to align with Phillip. I’m not insane. (Laughs) But, I’m not like, “OK, Phillip’s got to be the first one to go.” I’m not thinking that way. I know he could be gunning for me.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
Holmes: Anyone else stick out to you?
Hogi: Other than Phillip I think it’s a pretty good group for me. I don’t know Corinne at all. I’ve never even met her. I met Brenda once. I definitely see Brenda as a big threat in the game, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to align with her, because I will try to. Corinne has a bad reputation for being really bitchy, but she was really loyal to her alliance. I have no problem with that. Smart, bitchy, loyal? Sign me up. (Laughs)  Let’s do it. Brandon makes me a little wary because I think he’s a little bit of a loose cannon. It’ll be interesting to see the people who learned from their mistakes the first time versus people who can’t help themselves and will play the same way. Is Phillip going to do what Coach did and go from being a complete raving lunatic his first season to being an eccentric his second season to a normal person his third season?
Holmes: I think Coach did it right. For Coach to have that crazy reputation, then be able to play against that and say, “What you saw on TV isn’t the real me. This is the real me.” That probably makes people feel closer because they’re seeing a side of him that most people haven’t seen.
Hogi: Yeah, is Phillip going to be Phillip 2.0? A toned-down…well…actually, I saw him today holding a feather, so it’s not looking good. (Laughs)
Holmes: I’ve heard about that. I’m not going to lie, I’m very excited to see it.
Hogi: (Laughs) I don’t see Phillip as being the kind of person who realizes how lucky he was the first season in that everybody was driven crazy by him on day one, but “Boston” Rob saw in him that potential to keep him around as someone he wanted to go to the end with. It took a lot of discipline to keep Phillip around because he’s not an easy person to live with. The rest of the tribe had a big problem with that. I don’t think Phillip appreciates that. I think he might give himself a lot more credit than he deserves for how far he went in the game. So, I don’t know if he’ll play differently.
Holmes: If he pronounces your name correctly, is that a step in the right direction? Will that help mend fences?
Hogi: The last time I saw him he came up to me and put his hand on my shoulder and said, “How are you doing, Francesca?”
Holmes: Oh! See, there’s hope.
Hogi: He was practicing. We’re going to be best friends. I love him. No…I don’t love him.

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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