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Survivor: Thailand - Interview with Jed Hildebrandby Peggy Keller -- 01/06/2003
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RealityNewsOnline: In the beginning, Jake picked an amazing team. All really strong, many very intelligent... on paper it looked liked the perfect team. Why do you think he picked a strong team and then voted out the strongest players?
Jed Hildebrand: Jake knew that if he had the strongest players, winning challenges would be easier. Some of the weaker challenge contributors' egos began to swell as they began thinking we were unstoppable and thus could handle to lose some of the stronger players without being affected. Jake started his strategy after the picking and with a majority of strong players and winning all the challenges it was easy for him to convince the others to begin eliminating some of the strength.
RNO: As far as what you have heard, how did the alliance of Jake, Ken, Erin, Penny, and Shii Ann form?
Jed: I am not sure of an exact time when that alliance might have actually occurred, but I imagine it was sometime after Robb started sleeping on the beach with Steph and me.
RNO: Who do you think was the leader of the tribe?
Jed: I think Jake was controlling the strings of the fort five and was playing out his strategy more than the others. It was not really a question of leadership, but more that his strategy did not waver from the start and during the course others adapted to the conditions that played out and gave up some of their independence. Every player comes out with an idea of the way they want the game to go and I think the fort five all gave up part of their game plan to eliminate their perceived threats quickly (or were convinced that was the best way to go) and just tolerate each other in the mean time.
RNO: Shii Ann herself was one of the people told by Jake to collect food, and Robb objected to this, but Jake said it was his idea. Jake also admitted that somebody had to collect food and water so the hut builders could continue working. If he agreed with the separation of chores, did he do anything to make the others understand why it was necessary?
Jed: Jake knew that dividing up the chores was important, but he wasn't going to stand up to the group and express that they were wrong for doing it in a "herd" way. He just let the tension build and work for him.
RNO: When did you realize that the others felt you were alienating yourself from them and what did you do about it?
Jed: After the rain during the fourth night and I slept under the fort. The tension was in the air and I felt I must start showing the importance of the food and water. I began to have meals together and try to rally the tribe before challenges. Personalities grow stronger as the days grow long and it is easy to let petty things get blown out of proportion.
RNO: Did you or Stephanie ever say, "Food must be gathered," or, "The beach is so much more comfortable," or try to explain why you did what you did?
Jed: Of course this was said, but no one wanted to give up the security of the fort and the acceptance of the group for the comfort of the beach and food. Everyone was afraid to be outside the majority. Everyone saw how six days later most everyone was sleeping on the beach and everyone complained about how uncomfortable the hut was then and later.
RNO: After the shelter was built, who got the food and water? Was the shelter ever finished? What work was actually to be done besides water gathering and cooking?
Jed: I think the fort was always a work in progress and fixing a leak was always a good excuse for doing nothing (literally all day long). The gathering of water finally was split up among a few people, but the lack of actual camping skills by several precluded their appointment at the fire pit as well as collecting food. Nothing else had to be done around camp besides the gathering and cooking. The energy level of most was so low that everyone just sat around talked about how hungry they were while waiting on the next challenge.
RNO: It's been said that the sleeping under the floor of the shelter was better than the shelter because the floor kept the water out and the sand was comfortable. Why then did you sleep on the beach away from the shelter if that was suitable and would make you appear less distant?
Jed: Sleeping under the fort was more comfortable than on top of the bamboo, but still not nearly as comfortable as the sand which forms to your body. Under the fort was still just dirt, hard ground, with twigs and plants to maneuver around. But the rain only came twice in nine days and at those times I did go under the fort for cover.
RNO: What was the daily routine on the beach like?
Jed: Basically the people in the hut would wake up and either help boil some water, act like they are busy and productive fixing a leak, or act like they are so worn out and hurt that they can't move and get the sympathy treatment from the others around them. I chose to not act out either of these charades because I didn't feel it was a true representation of who I was and I would have been embarrassed to come back home. So I chose to go have fun in the water and throw the Frisbee. I was out there to play the game, but also to play it my way by having fun at the same time.1 2 3 Next-->
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