'Survivor: Caramoan's' Phillip Sheppard: 'I'm what is called 'super normal''
Are you glad you went back on "Survivor"?
"Absolutely. It's a wonderful opportunity to go back and show that not only can I bring back Stealth R Us and have fun out there and try to win a million dollars -- My first goal was to win a million dollars. My second goal was to show people that not only did I play a strategic game the first time I played ... but I also observed some things that Boston Rob did out there and I'm going to talk about those things and incorporate them into this season, so people can realize Phillip is a strategic player. He's a big enough of a threat, as we saw last night, when I was voted out of the game, to play two Idols. ... If a guy's not playing really well, who gives up two Idols with nine people still in the game? Who does that?"
Tell us about that Tribal Council -- did you guys have any idea what was going to go down?
"I spent a great deal of time that day trying to get my fellow Stealth R Us members to believe that there were two Idols. I believed that Malcolm had an Idol and I believed that Reynold still had an Idol and nobody would believe me. Nobody would believe that they would play two Idols that night. They don't show you that I argued with Brenda, I argued with Andrea about that. Andrea felt, what they showed you, that we had the numbers. ... But it was a pretty awesome Tribal Council last night, epic. If you had to go home, that's one way to do it."
Were you surprised to see that Erik flipped his vote to you?
"No. Erik had said to me at one point, his family had told him, if you ever play 'Survivor,' don't trust Phillip. He demonstrated on that very first vote that he was not prepared to listen to the core alliance of Dawn, Cochran, myself and Corinne when we asked them to vote the way we wanted them to vote and instead he voted for Andrea ... when we were gonna vote Francesca out. He knew he was on the bottom of Stealth R Us. I tried to cultivate him back into Stealth R Us ... but that was more trying to control him, trying to keep him close to us.
I wasn't surprised that he voted for me. That's his character, from what he had said to me. Not surprised. I was going home no matter what last night. The cards were in. It was a wasted vote, I was still gonna go home. ... It was just silly. He was vindictive for no reason. To bring something that his family said into the game rather than gathering the information on his own accord and then revealing that to a person ...."
How do you respond to other castaways who have called you certifiable or say there's something wrong with you?
"I'll tell you something that I've never revealed, but I'm going to reveal it today. Number one, when I was interviewed ... I was stopped on the street and asked to participate on the show. I was evaluated extensively. From that testing, I also had subsequent interviews with multiple psychologists for the show, as everyone does who participates. I was told by the psychologist that I'm what is called 'super normal.' I give honest responses, I'm very straight-forward as a person. That can be uncanny for someone who's not like that. I don't believe [I'm crazy] for a second. I don't believe anyone who knows me believes that.
I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't understand what Mark Burnett said in an interview in Esquire last month. He never agreed with the fact that any of his shows were called reality TV. Because they do wonderful storytelling. ... Frankly, that's what I try to do, when I'm out playing 'Survivor.' I'm trying to win, but at the same time I'm trying to tell a story that's interesting for the audience at home and that's what I did with Stealth R Us. ... Fans are requesting to be an honorary member of Stealth R Us.
I find it disconcerting that so many people spend time calling me crazy and yet I've never been arrested. I've never been detained. I'm a retired United States Army soldier. ... The only time 'Survivor' has ever beaten 'American Idol,' to my knowledge, was when I was on 'Survivor' in Season 22. ... I've never been in a fist fight, I've never been arrested. ... I'm a down-to-Earth person. I'm just a normal guy."
Once you were voted out, who did you think was the strongest player left? Who was in the best position?
"I think there are three people that have to be taken very seriously in this game. At one point, it was Malcolm, but if you realize what he just did by giving up two Idols, that was pretty non-strategic. Cochran is looking pretty good to me, Andrea is looking pretty good to me and if Dawn hadn't had the breakouts she's having, she might be in there. But I'd put Brenda in there. She's a dark horse. She won the challenge last week, she's being under-the-covers, super-stealth mode. That's what I'd say."
"Survivor" airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.