'Survivor's' Vytas Baskauskas: 'It felt like cheating' when Laura helped Tina in the duel
Are you glad you went on "Survivor"? What was the experience like?
"'Survivor' was a dream come true. I've been a fan of the show for a really long time. It was a fantastic experience to get to play the game. I'll remember it forever."
Were you surprised when you tribe turned against you and send you to Redemption with Aras and Tina?
"Hindsight, I'm not suprirised. I was shocked when it happened just because you look at each relationship you have out there and for me, I analyzed each relationship and I counted that we had the majority and I was pretty confident we were good. But some of the relationships I counted were ones Aras had made. Aras was convinced Tyson was with him, Tyson did a great job of convincing him he was with him."
What about this last Redemption Island duel against Laura and Tina -- it really kind of bothered me that Laura was helping Tina. I know it's not technically cheating, but -- that had to have been frustrating for you.
"Let me tell you this, it bothered me as well. I'm gonna go ahead and agree with you on that. It felt wrong, it felt like cheating. But in the game of 'Survivor,' it's a game about cheating. There really is no cheating. You cheat to get as far as you can. I knew that Laura was gonna be really good at the puzzle and as soon as I saw the duel was mostly about a puzzle, I really thought OK, Laura and myself will be moving on. But when I heard she was helping Tina ... I was a little bit blown away, it threw me off. It broke my concentration. But I resolved to just finish as fast as I could and Tina and I finished so close together. I just felt so hosed. I knew if she wouldn't have helped Tina, I would've been the one moving on."
How was your relationship with Aras after filming wrapped?
"Aras and I's relationship has been a work in progress ever since I recovered from addiction 14 years ago. When I was in the dark places that I was in, we had no relationship, so over the last 14 years we've been really starting to mend our relationship. It's been a slow process of growing closer. 'Survivor' was an opportunity to take a big step forward in the process that's been slow going. We still have a healthy rivarly, certainly. But it's something we can look back and tell our kids and grandkids about one day, the only two brothers to ever play 'Survivor,' at least so far."
What has the fan response been to you sharing your life story on the show? You were very candid about everything.
"A lot of people have shared storeis with me through email or social media, just talking about how they've been inspired by me sharing my story and seeing what I've overcome -- that has been really powerful. From what I know about addiction, unless you've been through it it's difficult to know what it's about. It's been an honor to just get some of that from people and people reaching out to me ... 'Survivor's' just one of the great gifts of me turning my life around. I became a fan of the show ... when I was just out of jail. I knew as an ex-con, as a felon, as a junkie, I was never going to get to play. And 14 years later, here I am playing the game.
There's been a few negative responses out there ... as soon as I do something negative on the show, I've gotten responses like, 'Well, a junkie's always gonna be a junkie' or a 'zebra can't change its stripes.' ... I try to take it with a grain of salt."
When you left the game, were you rooting for anyone in particular to make it to the end?
"That's a good question. I don't think I was rooting for any one person in particular. I was just rooting for the ousting of the people in power. ... As I joined the jury, I'm watcing the rest of the game unfold, it's really just 'Is anybody going to unseat these people that are in power?' It's obvious that Tyson is calling the shots. I was rooting for the ousting of poeple who ousted us. It wasn't in a bitter way, but I like to see big moves. I like to see the people who are on bottom get on top."
Who do you think is in the strongest position in the game right now? Is it Tyson?
"Tyson has probably played the best game up until this point, but I'd be surprised if nobody else sees him as that big of a threat. He's orchestrated big moves, it's difficult because along with that comes a target. Even though the end of the game is coming, it's still pretty early to have such a big target. It'll be difficult for him to navigate that. I think Gervase is in a good place if he can start to make a move. ... A swing person like CIera or Monica could be in a good place. At this point, it's going to take another big move by somebody else [other than Tyson]."
"Survivor" airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.