Posts Tagged ‘shamar thomas’

‘Survivor’ Castaway Shamar: ‘I Do Not Take Any Crap from Anybody’

March 7, 2013

Sgt. Shamar Thomas (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Doing the pre-game “Survivor” interviews is one of the best parts of this job. I truly enjoy getting to speak to these people before they go out on their big adventure. There’s just something intoxicating about the mix of nerves and excitement that is flowing through them.

I remember when I met Sgt. Shamar Thomas before “Survivor: Caramoan.” My first instinct was; “America’s going to love this guy. He’s like a big, bad-ass teddy bear!”

My instincts are not always awesome. I’m the same guy who picked Michelle Chase to win “Survivor: Gabon.”

I had a chance to speak with the controversial Sgt. Shamar after we was removed from the game due to an eye injury and asked him about the fighting, the lounging, and the “No Talking” list…

Gordon Holmes: First off, how’s the eye?
Shamar Thomas: The eye is doing quite well. Thank you for asking. I appreciate it.
Holmes: Good to hear. You hate to see someone leave with an injury, especially something as serious as an issue with their eye.

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Holmes: You had already discussed quitting earlier in the game. Were you looking for a way out when the eye injury occurred?
Thomas: I don’t think I was looking for a way out. I had actually injured my hand and the pain that I was going through, I didn’t show it because I’m a big, tough Marine, but the pain along with elements, the dehydration, the starvation, it angered me a little bit. I knew I wasn’t going to be the challenge monster that I was. And that’s where my anger came from, I was kind of demoralized. Because if I don’t do well in these challenges, then I’m out of here.
Holmes: That’s why it seemed like you were always on edge.
Thomas: That’s a tough show, man. I was psyching myself out because I was dealing with the pain all day. And in “Survivor” you don’t have anywhere to go, so I just had to deal with it. It was tough.

Holmes: Before the show started you said your goal was to make people uncomfortable so they would quit. Then the show starts and every time they cut to you, you’re in a fight with someone. Was that intentional or were the elements getting the better of you?
Thomas: I wanted people to be miserable, but what I meant by that is I wanted the game of “Survivor” to be rough for them. I wanted them to quit. But it wasn’t my nature, it was trash talk. I wasn’t serious. It isn’t in my nature to actually harm people. Going into the game I told people that I’m a nice guy, but I do not take any crap from anybody. What you saw was, me being combative because people were saying things to get under my skin. I put people onto the “No Talking” list for a reason so I wouldn’t get into confrontations, but they kept talking to me. I said, “Oh my God, leave me alone! I don’t want to argue with you! Especially because you’re not in my alliance!” (Laughs)

Holmes: Before the game, you struck me as a super positive guy. Your plans for the money if you won involved creating businesses in your neighborhood to help employ troubled teens. Now “Survivor” comes out and you’re portrayed in a negative light. How’ve you been dealing with that?
Thomas: I don’t really take everything that everybody says seriously. I got a lot of positive feedback, I try to stick to that. I love freedom of speech and I’m glad people are watching the show. I’m a really big fan, I appreciated the opportunity so much. I wish they could have shown a few light moments.

Holmes: Do you know how much weight you lost while you were out there?
Thomas: I lost eighteen pounds in eleven days.
Holmes: That’s no joke.
Thomas: The funny thing is, I didn’t want the rice. People would offer me coconuts. I wanted the water. I was so dehydrated.
Holmes: Is that why you spent so much time in the shelter?
Thomas: That’s why you see me laying in the shelter, it’s because I knew the challenges were my strong point and if I spent my energy climbing rocks I wouldn’t have any energy for the challenges. Dehydration was my biggest enemy out there.

Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Sherri…
Thomas: A great player.
Holmes: Matt?
Thomas: Weak in challenges.
Holmes: Michael?
Thomas: Don’t really know.  (Laughs)
Holmes: Julia?
Thomas: Don’t really know. (Laughs)
Holmes: You’re not doing this right, but we’re short on time. Eddie?
Thomas: A great guy. He’s somebody that I respect.
Holmes: Reynold?
Thomas: He’s an awesome “Survivor” player.
Holmes: Laura?
Thomas: Laura…not really sure. (Laughs)

Holmes: It’s unfortunate, but sometimes bad blood remains after the show. But, it seems like you had some nice things to say about Eddie and Reynold in the word association. What do you think you relationship will be like with Eddie and Reynold in the future?
Thomas: I’m sure that we’ll all be cordial. Because of being a “Survivor” now, I know what the elements can do, I know how the game is played. So, I don’t really take anything personal. There were a few comments that I didn’t like, but other than that I have no issues. I hope those guys do so well. I don’t hold any grudges with anybody. I live a really, really good life. I’m trying to inspire, so grudges are the furthest thing from my mind.
Holmes: There’s the positive Shamar I remember!

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.

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