Posts Tagged ‘Vytas Baskauskas’

‘Survivor: Second Chance’ Vytas: ‘I’ll Take Ciera to the End, I Can Beat Ciera’

September 21, 2015

"Survivor: Second Chance" (CBS)

Quick Note: XFINITY TV sent me deep into the Cambodian wilderness to bring you all kinds of “Survivor: Second Chance” goodness. So, be sure to check back for exclusive interviews, photos, and behind-the-scenes tidbits. And, follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Name: Vytas Baskauskas
Season: “Survivor: Blood vs. Water”
Finish: Tenth place
Why You Should Remember Him: The brother of “Survivor: Panama” champ Aras Baskauskas made a strong showing for himself, but was quickly voted out after the merge when the brother pairing was deemed to be too powerful.

Gordon Holmes: You were my pick to win “Blood vs. Water,” and whoever I pick to win loses. So, I feel terrible.
Vytas Baskauskas: Like the ill-fated car curse of “Survivors” of old.
Holmes: Yeah, and at least they get a car out of it.
Baskauskas: (Laughs)
Holmes: I am truly sorry. So, who would you like me to curse this time?
Baskauskas: Who do I think has a good shot at winning this game…? I guess I’d like you to curse Stephen.
Holmes: He’s done for. Great guy, but he’s a goner.
Baskauskas: Oh, I’m planning on working with him. But when it gets down to the end…
Holmes: The curse will kick in.
Baskauskas: Exactly.

Holmes: Did Aras give you any advice before you came back out?
Baskauskas: Aras is smart, dude. Aras has a really good knack for this game. He is excellent at building relationships and I think I was lucky that my first impression from people was one that Aras had laid the groundwork for. “Everybody loves Aras! I’m going to like his brother, too. He does yoga, too! Aras and Vytas, such trustworthy guys!” Unfortunately, I don’t get to create a first impression the second time. But, as soon as the campaign started, all of my social media was about creating  that impression anew. As far as what you saw on my season, I was a little more conniving and manipulating. I wasn’t a true villain, but I the knives were out a little bit more in my gameplay.
Holmes: You’re worried that’s what people might remember about you?
Baskauskas:  A little bit. So, as soon as the campaign started it was pictures of me and my son. And, “I’m into yoga, remember me? I’m Aras’s brother. I’m a family man. I’m loving and kind and sweet.” And I think in the beginning, what Aras and I talked about was creating those bonds, engendering trust in people, engendering good will. You can’t win the game in the beginning. You can only lose the game in the beginning.

Holmes: You have history with Ciera…
Baskauskas:  I’m surprised we’re the only two “Blood vs. Water” players. I guess a lot of the others didn’t really have a shot at the second chance. You know, Brad (Culpepper) didn’t make it on here. Hayden (Moss) didn’t make the cut of the group. People like Marissa (Peterson) I think deserve a second chance.
Holmes: Are you and Ciera working together?
Baskauskas:   I’m sure Ciera and I will be working together. That’s a relationship that is a good relationship for me to have, but is unfortunately the relationship that everybody knows about. It’s not something I can hide. In a big group, people are going to know that we’re together. It’s an alliance we can minimize. If we’re on the same tribe we can have a talk on day one like, “Hey, we’re obviously together. But, don’t sit near me when we eat. Don’t sleep near me.” Maybe we can even bad mouth each other, “Yeah, I like Ciera. But, I don’t think I’m going to stick with her.” I’ll take Ciera to the end, I can beat Ciera. Get me to a final Tribal with her? She’s not the best at playing this game. You’ve got to work the people you have positive relationships with.

Holmes:  Who else do you have positive relationships with?
Baskauskas:  Ciera is one of them. Terry is one of them. Spencer is one of them. Pretty sure Stephen…Stephen and I haven’t met. But I live in L.A. so I get to meet people when they come through the finale. And that’s where I get to use Aras because Aras loves the “Survivor” community. Same with Jeremy, I think we shook hands at their finale. But at a finale party later Aras and Jeremy had a long conversation. So, that’s something. I can say, “Hey Jeremy, my brother loves you, man. He says the best things about you. Let’s work together!”

Holmes: With returnee seasons, there’s always talk of pre-game alliances. Have you taken part in any?
Baskauskas:  I’m close to Brad. Brad didn’t make it. I was pretty close with Shane. Shane didn’t make it. And Ciera and I didn’t talk very much. She’s busy being a mom. I talked to Spencer a little bit. But, when you talk to people before the game, you hear that “so-and-so reached out to me. So-and-so has offered me this.” The only thing I feel when I hear things like that is that they’re playing too hard. They’re dangerous. I didn’t want to be someone who had his name out there. I didn’t want anyone saying, “Vytas is making a lot of alliances pre-game.” Of course I wanted to solidify some relationships I had. Even a guy like Woo, I met him at his finale. I sent him a text like, “Dude, I’m so excited that you’re in this group. Hope we get to play again.” It wasn’t like…
Holmes: Final five!
Baskauskas:   (Laughs) Yeah. Some people are doing that.
Holmes: Who’s doing that?
Baskauskas:  Some of the stuff is pretty obvious. You see Kass and Jeff on Twitter. Jeff even made a llama video about Kass’s comment to Tony (Vlachos). Kass offered Shane final five. Shane showed me the text that Kass sent. I don’t really know anybody else exactly. You have to imagine people from the same season are close. I’d imagine that Jeremy and Keith are tight. Is Kelley with them? Kelley was a pre-merge boot. She didn’t get to bond with them at Ponderosa. In fact, maybe she’s bitter that Jeremy talked about voting her out right in front of her. I think people are over the bitterness. I’m going to guess she’s going to want to work with them.

Holmes: Then how dangerous is a cast like Cagayan that has four representatives?
Baskauskas:  Well, Woo was never with Spencer and Tasha. And Woo made it to the end, so he didn’t really bond with them at Ponderosa. I’m sure Spencer and Tasha are good. Stephen Fishbach and Spencer, they spend time together on “Know-It-Alls.” They have the “Rob Has a Podcast” community. Jeff and Kimmi, they had a little feud on their season. But is that something that is fun now, are they really tight?
Holmes: It’s this crazy six-degrees of separation situation. I could see someone with a huge board with yarn going from headshot to headshot.
Baskauskas: And some are so obvious. I’m sure Joe and Shirin are together. Shirin’s Ponderosa video, “I love you, Joe!” They’re tight-knit for sure.

Holmes: Who are some early targets?
Baskauskas: I’m real open. I think there are early targets which are nice. There are a lot of heroic men. There are no real villainous men. There are villainous women. But Terry, Joe…what does it say about what America likes in their men and what it likes in their women? I don’t want Kass around. Her chaotic gameplay scares me. You know when she’s on the bottom she’s going to (expletive deleted) stuff up. She’s going to make it really tough on people in the dominant alliance. I wouldn’t be shocked if we did an initial vote-out like they did on my season. That’s a lot of people to start with.
Holmes: I was there for that. We didn’t know what was happening until we got out there. Probst took me aside and filled me in on the 300 twists that were happening that morning. I remember thinking, “What a trainwreck.” It was awesome.
Baskauskas:  It was awesome. He was like “Welcome to ‘Survivor,’ new players, returning players, here are your buffs. Oh, and one more thing. You’re voting someone out right now.”
Holmes: It was like 20 more things.
Baskauskas:  (Laughs) I was just like…my jaw dropped and I was like, “Oh, (expletive deleted).” We had no idea. The only reason Laura was voted for was because Brad looked at me and Laura (Boneham) was standing next to me. I pointed. If they do that again, I’m sure Kass will be someone who gets the early boot. But, what if you have to vote out.

Holmes: As far as twists, if there is one, any predictions?
Baskauskas: I’m curious how they will break us up. A schoolyard pick is interesting because it shows alliances. We’ll see who wants who. I already have my pick if there’s a schoolyard pick. A man has to pick a woman, so I’ll probably pick Wiglesworth. I heard her Rob (Cesternino) podcast and she seems like someone I’d want to work with.
Holmes: Did the pre-game talk sway you in anyone’s else direction?
Baskauskas: I listened to every one of them. I wanted to hear what people were thinking. And some of the people were really unaware that everyone was listening. Tasha said something like, “Alliances are going to be changing on a whim. You’ve got to be ready to bounce back and forth between alliances.” And I thought, “Not working with you.” Some people were saying, “I’m going to make a huge move this time!” Well, not in my alliance you’re not.

Holmes: Alright, we’re going to play “Align or Malign.” In my hand I have nineteen cards featuring your competitors. You’ll go through them and tell me who you’ll align with and who you’ll malign. Trick is, you only get eight aligns.
That’s a minority alliance, by the way.
Well, let’s hope there isn’t a twenty-person tribe.

Baskauskas: Jeff…malign. That dude campaigned so hard. He posted a thousand memes on Twitter. Someone who wants it that badly scares me. The fact that he’s aligning with Kass scares me.

Baskauskas: Kass…malign. Her gameplay is not to be trusted.

Baskauskas:Keith…align. Seems like a trustworthy dude. I loved his character. Happy they brought him back.

Baskauskas: Stephen…align. Smart guy. I think you want smart players to think you’re with them.

Baskauskas: Kimmi…malign. She lives in Texas, loves her guns. Saw her reading a book on Republican economic theory. It kind of annoyed me a little bit.

Baskauskas: Abi-Maria…I want to align with because she’s so hated. She got such a bad edit her first time around. She knows she’s a villain. I think if you make Abi feel safe, she’ll become a pawn.

Baskauskas: Savage…I don’t know. Something about this guy. I’m maligning for sure with this guy. Maybe because he’s Probst’s good friend.

Baskauskas: Shirin…she got a lot of flack for being annoying on her season. Malign.

Baskauskas: Kelly…align. She seems like she’s really cool. She seems like she wants to go out there and have a really good time.

Baskauskas: Tasha…malign. Some of her campaign stuff talked about doing big, bad things in this game.

Baskauskas: Ciera…align.  We have a good positive relationship. Good history.

Baskauskas: Joe…I’m going to align with. Take a huge target and put it right out in front of me.

Baskauskas: Woo…I’m going to align with. He’s a trustworthy dude.

Baskauskas: Monica…malign. I think she’s a girl who’s used her good looks to get what she wants in life. I’m not into that kind of manipulation.

Baskauskas: Kelley…malign. Super fan, pre-merge…she’ll do anything to make the merge this time.

Baskauskas: Jeremy…malign. He seems a little too cool for school. There’s something about his energy. He seems like a nice guy, but a little rough around the edges.

Baskauskas: Spencer…malign. Somebody that…he’s such a great kid…he spent the night on my couch in L.A. I’m sure I’ll try to align with him at some point, but I always go back to that Cagayan pre-season video he did where he was talking about being the greatest villain the show has ever seen. That scares me.

Baskauskas:Peih-Gee…malign. I don’t know a lot about her. She’s a little bit villainous.

Baskauskas: Terry…align.  He’s one of the most trustworthy guys here. From what I know through Aras and Shane Powers, Terry’s a guy who if he tell you, “Final three,” he’s not going to write your name down.


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

Survivor: Second Chance” will kick off with a special 90-minute premiere on Wednesday, September 23rd at 8 p.m. ET.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Vytas: Laura Coaching Tina ‘Was a Dirty Move’

December 2, 2013

'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' (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 Malcolm Freberg. And, we’re inducting three members into the “Survivor: Hall of Fame” starting Wednesday, December 11, 2013. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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It didn’t me long to pick Vytas as my pre-season favorite to win. He’s fit, smart, strategic, good-looking, likable, and has a bit of an edge to him. He’s perfect.  So, I don’t feel too bad about branding him with my famed pre-season curse.

And in my defense, everybody liked Vytas to win. So, back off.

I had a chance to speak with my latest victim in the days following his Redemption Island defeat and asked him about Laura M.’s sneaky strategy, Caleb’s Tribal Council audible, and Tyson’s Baskauskas blindside…

Gordon Holmes: I’d like to start off by apologizing for cursing you.
Vytas Baskauskas: It’s like the new car curse. It’s the Gordon pre-season curse.
Holmes: It’s “Survivor’s” own “Sports Illustrated” cover curse. So for that, I apologize.
Baskauskas: (Laughs) No sweat, man.

Holmes: Laura pulled a fast one at Redemption, coaching Tina through the final puzzle. What were your thoughts on that?
Baskauskas: “Survivor” is a game of dirty moves and it was a dirty move. And I can’t say I didn’t make my share of them out there as well. To win the game you have to make those kinds of moves. So, props to her for realizing she could get me out that way. It’s unfortunate because it’s one thing to yell out instructions to somebody, or to leave your puzzle up, but it’s unfortunate that if the placement had been different, if I had been in the middle, it couldn’t have happened. So, based on luck of the draw, Tina got to get help. If Tina had been on the other side of me, there’s no way she could’ve gotten instruction from Laura without me hearing it.
Holmes: Do you take it as a compliment that you were more of a threat than Tina?
Baskauskas: In hindsight I take it as a compliment. In the moment I was not feeling complimented.
Holmes: Did you know it was a possibility? Had they been plotting at camp?
Baskauskas: No. When Laura came to Redemption Island, the first thing she said was, “There’s no need for any strategy here. Only one of us can get back in the game, so may the best person win and we can all be friends.” I guess it must’ve happened on the fly, she realized she could get me out. So, props to her for doing it.
Holmes: I thought it was interesting that in “South Pacific” Ozzy went to Redemption to make friends and influence jury members, and Laura might’ve just done the opposite.
Baskauskas: Yeah, it was a shrewd move for her to get me out. But in the gameplay sense it might alienate both Aras and I. Aras and I are now the first members of the jury and if there’s any bitterness on our part, should she or Ciera get to the end, it’s tough for us to want to vote for one of them based on what she did.

Holmes: So many angles this season.
Baskauskas: A lot of angles. A lot of in-depth, complex analysis was happening in my mind at all times.
Holmes: It’s been tough to handicap. You guys were coming up with things that never crossed my mind.
Baskauskas: I’m a chess player and I love chess analysis, but there’s one type of chess called Fischer Random Chess where the pieces just start completely random at the bottom of the chess board. This feels like that kind of chess.
Holmes: Not to discount what Aras did in Panama, but I almost feel like his first season was checkers and this season is mega space chess.
Baskauskas: Back in Panama it was real simple. Get to the merge with numbers, stick with you alliance, ride it to the end. That’s what Aras did.  They came to the merge with numbers and then eliminated the other tribe. Unfortunately, Terry (Dietz) kept winning immunity. I was worried that being a strong guy, usually strong guys make the merge, because you needed them for challenges. But in this season, getting to the merge with numbers wasn’t going to be an issue because people had alliances on the other tribe that were going to be stronger than any initial alliance. That was really scary for me thinking my beginning alliance wasn’t going to be as strong as an alliance of loved ones coming together.

Holmes: Speaking of people worrying about loved ones coming together, everyone was worried about a Baskauskas Brothers reunion. But, it seemed like you guys didn’t pick up on that sentiment.
Baskauskas:  In the pre-game Aras and I were like, “We’re going to be big threats. We need to do everything we can to not appear threatening.” But at the merge it seemed like everybody was with us. We didn’t take our own advice. In that first individual challenge, we went one-two. And then, our other strategy was to get to the merge and if there are other pairs in the majority, we need to get with those pairs. And we didn’t do that either.
Holmes: I’ve always hoped I’d be the kind of player who would tip his cap if he got blindsided. Tyson was the orchestrator behind the moves that eliminated you and your brother. Is that something you can appreciate or does the betrayal sting too much?
Baskauskas: It was a great move. And I had never played with Tyson until that point. We’d been on opposite tribes. Aras and I got to the merge and Aras was 100%. He said, “Dude, I’ve got Tyson. Tyson’s with us.” And I said, “Are you sure?” And he said, “Yes, 100%.” I even reiterated it a few times. So, props to Tyson for convincing my brother. Aras is a little too trusting, but Aras is really good at this game. And then great job to Tyson for convincing everyone that we were the ones who should go. I think he’s playing a great game.

Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Tina.
Baskauskas: Great woman. True friend.
Holmes: Tyson?
Baskauskas: Great player. Funny guy.
Holmes: Gervase?
Baskauskas: Riding Tyson’s coattails a little.
Holmes: Caleb?
Baskauskas: Screwed my game up, got out Brad.
Holmes: Ciera?
Baskauskas: Sweet girl. I like how she’s starting to play the game.
Holmes: Monica?
Baskauskas: Challenge beast. A little bit paranoid.
Holmes: Laura M.?
Baskauskas: Puzzle master and not the best social game player.
Holmes: Katie?
Baskauskas: Sweetheart and kept me alive on the Galang beach during the tribe swap.
Holmes: We’ll finish with Aras.
Baskauskas: I love my brother. Only two brothers to ever play “Survivor” and I’m so happy we got to do this thing together.

Holmes: Let’s jump back into that. Caleb threw your game off by voting out Brad. What was your plan if that Tribal had gone according to how you’d guys had laid it out?
Baskauskas: Ugh…that Tribal…everyday when we’d go to Redemption people were throwing it at Brad. Marissa with the “(expletive deleted) you, Brad Culpepper” and Candice throwing him the bird. I was so happy. That was just targets being moved onto Brad even though I was just as instrumental as Brad at getting those people out. For me, it was take Brad as far as you can and hide behind him. Ciera was going home that night. She even knew she was going home that night.  It was unfortunate that Caleb had that emotional last-minute decision. I wasn’t going to draw rocks. I saw the writing on the wall that it was going to be a tie. I had to switch strategies.

Holmes: We talked a lot before the show about who wouldn’t have been brought on this show if they weren’t someone’s loved one. Who didn’t feel right for “Survivor.” And you and Brad were probably the last people on everyone’s list. You’ve got a great story, you were always thinking of new strategies, really fun to watch. It seems like your appearance on “Survivor” was another step in an amazing journey.
Baskauskas: Thanks, Gordon. In addition to overcoming a lot in my life, you have to understand that I am a huge “Survivor” fan. I’ve been a fan of the show even before Aras was on the show. So for me being out there, it was one of those life goals I’ve always wanted to accomplish. It was an amazing time. I feel lucky that I’ve come so far in my life.
Holmes: So you finally get to achieve your dream, and some jerk ruins it by making you his pre-season pick.
Baskauskas:  (Laughs) I wouldn’t put it all on yourself. The responsibility for getting voted out was on me.

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

‘Survivor’ Castaways Aras & Vytas: ‘When We Fight, It Is Knives Out’

September 13, 2013

Aras and Vytas Baskauskas (CBS)

Quick Note: I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Blood vs. Water” competitors before the game began. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each pairing in the days leading up to the September 18th season premiere. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for those interviews, behind-the-scenes exclusives, and more…

Name: Aras Baskauskas
Age: 31
Relationship to Significant Castaway: Vytas’ Brother
Previous Season: The winner of “Survivor: Panama – Exile Island.”
Current Residence: Santa Monica, California
Occupation: Musician

Name: Vytas Baskauskas
Age: 33
Relationship to Significant Castaway: Aras’ Brother
Current Residence: Santa Monica, California
Occupation: Yoga Instructor/Math Professor
Personal Claim to Fame: Beating heroin addiction, yoga discipline, and receiving a graduate degree in math.
Pet Peeves: Stupidity and show-offs.
Three Words to Describe You:  Smart, strong-willed, and unique.

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Gordon Holmes: Aras, I know all about you and your winning ways. Tell me about this guy.
Aras Baskauskas: My brother Vytas is a very smart, very driven guy. He’s very motivated by winning. He’s very competitive and very athletic.
Vytas Baskauskas: I think Aras’s assessment is very spot on. I’m driven by winning and most of that drive comes from our relationship. It’s interesting that there’s a big million-dollar prize and I’m with my brother who I always want to win against. And in this case we’re a team. It’s going to be really cool to work together with the source of my competition, but in the end there’s only one winner.
Gordon: What was it like watching your kid brother win a million bucks on national TV?
Vytas: It was an amazing experience. Being as competitive as I am and seeing that he won…there’s no better that I can do, it’s a little bit discouraging. You can’t top first place.
Gordon: Piece of cake. Just get to the end, get all the jury votes, and win Fan Favorite.
Aras: Win first place, then go on an all-winners season with me, then there’s the rubber match. Set us up on different tribes and see what happens.

Gordon: I literally just rewatched “Survivor: Panama.”
Aras: What’d you think?
Gordon: It gets a bad rap for some reason. I liked it. The end was a little anti-climactic once Terry Dietz went home.
Aras: I get a bad rap for being a non-memorable winner, too.
Gordon: Yeah, and Terry is remembered as this great hero, but it seemed like he was kind of a pain in the rear out there.
Aras: (Laughs) Terry’s actually a great dude.
Gordon: I’m sure he is, but my big takeaway was, these people need to vote for later. Be nicer.
Aras: (Laughs)
Gordon: Quite a bit of time has passed since that season.
Aras: It was seven years ago. On May 14, 2006 I was awarded the million-dollar prize. Seven years is a lifetime. I’ve changed and I’ve grown. Hopefully I’ve gotten more subtle. I’m excited to play. I can’t wait to play again. I’ve become a fan of the show since winning. Vytas and I watch the show religiously every Wednesday.
Vytas: I was actually a fan of the show before Aras went on. I watched the first couple of seasons when it was huge. Then Aras got on the show and it reignited my love for it. So, I’m a huge fan. Even meeting Jeff the other day was so exciting.
Gordon: He is a charmer.
Aras: (Laughs) He is, he’s never off.

Gordon: Vytas, you overcame an addiction to heroin, which is awesome. Your body is going to be desperate for things out there; food, sleep, and whatnot. Is this an advantage for you seeing as you’ve been through withdrawal before?
Vytas: Overcoming addiction is probably my great victory in life up to this point. It’s since I’ve overcome addiction that I’ve had the most amazing life. When I was nineteen I went to jail for a year. Because I was addicted to heroin I was robbing people on the street. After getting out of jail, going through treatment, getting clean. The last thirteen, almost fourteen years have afforded me the most amazing life.  I’ve had to develop new life skills because I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs. I’m comfortable in my skin now and I’m comfortable not having luxuries that everyone else does. So for me, being clean and my recovery is really going to help me.

Gordon: Something I’ve been thinking about with the game recently is; what’s it like to be paranoid for 39 days? I feel like that’s something that’s overlooked.
Vytas: I think it’s difficult not to get paranoid even in pre-game. Watching people’s energy with everyone else. Coming from the underbelly of addiction, I’m pretty good at reading people and fitting into different situations. I think paranoia is letting your mind get away from itself. And using my yoga practice and my meditation practice will really let me reign my mind back in.
Aras: What I found to be the most successful way of dealing with paranoia is making mutually beneficial alliances. If I’m in an alliance with you and I’m your best bet, I don’t have to worry when you go off into the woods.
Gordon: That works if you’re aligned with a smart person. A person who isn’t letting the effects of hunger and the lack of sleep get to them.
Vytas: That’s the problem. Doing all of the analysis about the numbers and the people out here…you want to assume that people are going to make the best moves for themselves, but that doesn’t always happen. People make idiotic moves.
Aras: Like Tyson when he voted himself off.
Gordon: Oh c’mon. Vote yourself off once and you’re branded for life.
Aras: I actually think Tyson’s a very smart guy.
Gordon: Agreed.
Aras: But, I think you’re right. That’s why you want to align with people who are smart enough to make the best moves for themselves. Everyone else you have to think, what lens are they seeing this game through? And can I present to them the appropriate image?
Vytas: Like Laura got shafted by John (Fincher) the rocket scientist. So, she might be wary of young, smart guys. You have to understand what their trauma is from their season and play to that trauma. Let her know that we’re different.

Gordon: Who here do you guys want to work with?
Aras: I’ve known Gervase for a long time, and I don’t know if anybody knows that. I’ve spent evenings at his house. We watched World Series games together. That’s a no-brainer. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep that friendship under wraps. Tina, as the other winner, is an obvious alliance-mate.

Gordon: Who are you guys wary of?
Aras: I’m immediately wary of Tyson, just because he’s smart and he has shown himself to be duplicitous. That being said, he was so duplicitous last time he might take a more subdued approach this time. He’s also very athletic. I also think Hayden. He won “Big Brother,” he’s very likable, he’s athletic, he’s quiet. He’s not someone you want to hang around in the game. But, there’s nobody that I personally want out. One of the keys to our strategy is to never identify someone unless they’re an immediate threat. Let other people determine who needs to go out first.

Gordon: Any guesses for potential twists?
Aras: I think we’re going to be starting together. And then after one or two Tribals they’re going to split us. I think we’re together because they need to have a narrative about our relationship.
Vytas: Without us together, there’s not enough time in an episode to tell the story of our relationship. And since there are 20 people, we think the first couple of Tribals will eliminate a whole team. Then they’ll split us.

Gordon: I was going to ask why you think you’re back, but I know why you’re back because returning champions are awesome.
Aras: (Laughs) That’s a great answer.
Gordon: Thank you. But, that puts a target on your back. How do you deal with it?
Aras: People play within the rules of the dominant narrative.
Gordon: Like in “All-Stars” they all wanted the winners gone. In “Heroes vs. Villains” that wasn’t an issue.
Aras: Exactly, it behooves me, Tina, even Rupert, Hayden to have the conversation about getting rid of people who aren’t assets to the tribe. Let’s get to the merge with numbers. Because half of us are returnees, I think everyone is going to be thinking about numbers. People want to be safe and if we can provide that feeling of safety, we’re going to be fine.

Gordon: What’s it like when you guys fight?
Vytas: When we fight, it is knives out.
Aras: It’s ugly.
Vytas: Here’s an example; Aras and his girlfriend were staying with me when they were in between places. We had a pact; 60 days, let’s not get into one fight. Day 60, very last night we got into an awful…didn’t talk for weeks afterward. When we fight, it’s not just what we’re fighting about, it’s past scars.
Aras: Gordon, if you and I were to get into a fight I’d be very logical and present my case. When Vytas and I fight it’s largely our past coming up. That being said, it’s 39 days. There’s a start and an end. That’s easy for me to wrap my head around. But us fighting would be a bad situation.

Gordon: Alright, Vytas. It’s day 39; you, Aras, and I don’t know…Tina find a big basket of food. There’s a big glass carafe of orange juice and other glass items. I need you to keep an eye on your brother.
Vytas: (Laughs)
Gordon: Don’t let him hurt himself. Make sure he gets to that final Tribal.
Aras: I still have a gnarly scar on my back.

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

Don’t miss the special 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET.

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