How are you feeling? How did everything go once you were medi-vac’d out of there?
“I’m obviously 100% better. What happened was I was taken to a hopsital where they determined it was a severe bacterial infection. They gave me a round of antibiotics, I got back to the States and I had to do another round of antibiotics. They thought it might still be appendicitis when I got back to the States, but I still have my appendix.”
You were a very divisive player this year. Were you playing a character for the purposes of TV or for strategy?
“Um, that’s hard. Obviously, there was strategy behind some things that I did. I think I could’ve handled it differently. Christina, for example, whenever I was calling her out, saying those things to her, I really was doing it more so because I wanted to make it very clear that if you go against me, I will send you home. I wanted the guys to be afraid to talk to her and in a way they were … It was almost a Boston Rob Redemption Island cult-type deal.”
People have referred to you as hateful and mean – are you like that in life? Do you think you came across that way on TV?
“Oh, I definitively came across that way on TV. In life, you really just have to know me as a person, in regards to my sense of humor. Calling Leif a munchkin, that was supposed to be funny … I’m not that mean. You have to meet me and get to know me to see past all that.”
Did you come home regretting how you spoke about some of the people?
“I’m going to be completely honest – when I got home, no. I was still so fixated on the fact that I got taken out by something that was totally out of my control. I was running that show. I really could’ve won had I not gotten sick. It wasn’t until I actually saw it unfold on television. You don’t really realize it when you’re saying it, but when you see yourself say it, it’s totally different.”
So you regretted it once you saw it on TV?
“Well, in a sense i did, but in another sense I’m kind of glad I said it so I could see myself behave that way so I could grow as a person and make changes in my own life. If it had not been for ‘Survivor,’ I probably would’ve lived the rest of my life with this self-entitled, selfish attitude because no one would’ve brought it to my attention … it was great because it allowed me to have some personal growth.”
Have you spoken to anyone, particularly Bill? That really rubbed people the wrong way, the way that went down.
“Bill, Leif, Christina, all the people, we all know where we stand with each other. We’re all in good standings. None of us have any animosity towards each other. I think they’re all great people. I think they understand that I was a 20-year-old kid who lived a very sheltered life, I’d never really been out of my bubble … I think this has really opened my eyes to see that it’s OK that people don’t live exactly like I do. It’s OK that people are different and have different opinions and dreams and goals. I think that was the biggest eye-opener for me.”
Would you return to “Survivor” if asked?
“In a heartbeat, are you kidding? … Right now, I feel like I don’t have that closure. Had I been blindsided, it would’ve been one thing. I would’ve been like, ‘OK, they got me.’ But they didn’t get me. I was running that show. I love the game so much. I’ve watched the show since I was nine years old, dreamed of playing it … and to actually be awarded the opportunity to play and then be taken out the way I was, it was bad. Even though, I will say, yes, I know your next question is probably going to be ‘Do I think it was karma?’ I think I found out the hard way that there is a bigger b**** than me and it’s karma.”
“Survivor” airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.