Mark “Papa Bear” Caruso was the second person sent home from “Survivor: South Pacific,” but he tells Zap2it he couldn’t be happier with the experience of “Survivor.”
Are you glad you did Survivor? Was it everything you hoped or expected it to be?
“I had the time of my life. I had this opportunity given to me from Mark Burnett and Jeff Probst. They chose me out of thousands and thousands of people. Best experience of my life. I’m a family guy, I’m a regular guy on the street and they chose me. How can I walk away with anything but the best experience of my life?”
Would you have done anything differently if you could do it over?
I would love that opportunity some day in the future. But I think everything I can do, I did to the best of my ability. A lot of it’s where you land and which tribe you’re on. A lot of it’s a social game. I was on an island with young, young people, which is great. But me and Dawn were the oldest people and on the other tribe, I would’ve fared a lot better. Or on one of the prior seasons with older people.”
That was actually my next question – do you think you would’ve had a better chance on Upolu? I felt like you might have.
“Definitely would have. I like Coach as a person, he looks like an honest guy and looks like somebody I can bond with. Also with Stacey and Christine, even Rick. I don’t know Rick, but these guys were older and definitely would’ve bonded with Brandon. A lot of people don’t like him, but he’s a Christian, I’m a Christian. Lot of different levels of diversity on that team, I would’ve done a lot better I think. But you can’t worry about ifs or whens or whatever. I went out with a good attitude. I shook Jeff Probst’s hand. They always say Jeff is like the 19th contestant and he is, he knows the game and for him to shake my hand, I was able to move on and say I did a good job. I don’t walk away with any bad feelings. Obviously I wanted to win, but it is what it is, and I had a good time with it.”
Which tribe do you think is stronger at this point in the game?
“Upolu, obviously. They’re more focused. My tribe is scattered.”
Who do you hope to see at the end?
“If I had to pick a winner, I would definitely pick Keith or pick Dawn. Dawn’s a wonderful, wonderful woman. Christine also. Christine’s a wonderful lady. I also like Keith. He is a wholesome man who has a good heart. At least what I perceive him as. They come off as good people.”
Any messages to your fans?
“Just want to let my fans know that I really appreciate who they are. To really take a liking or a love to Papa Bear, without really knowing me, I really appreciate that. Hopefully in the future they’ll see me again. I want to be a representative. Not only as a gay man in the gay community, but as any man in any community. Be who you are, be true to yourself. I want them to know I’m here for them. I’m going to hopefully be a speaker or do something that is honorable.”
“Survivor” airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.