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“I’m Good With the Whole Thing”: An Interview with Survivor: Exile Island’s Terryby David Bloomberg -- 05/19/2006
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Being a reality TV writer can be interesting and fun sometimes, such as when there was a little confusion about when I would be interviewing Terry. I wasn’t home and he called my house, so my wife answered. It took her a few seconds to realize she was talking to the Terry from Survivor! Not the kind of phone call you get every day. But once we connected, Terry was great to talk to, and even in the middle of the interview, discussion turned to coaching Little League baseball (which both of us do) and other topics.
RealityNewsOnline: What was your original strategy?
Terry: My original strategy was to push leadership onto Dan and for me to do well in the challenges, and me to be a maniac helping out at camp – work really hard, step up to lead if I have to, but I didn’t want to show my cards. So I tried to have Dan be the leader. From there, I wanted to make a strong alliance, which we did, and play hard at the challenges.
RNO: In your jury speech, among other times, you said that you were not deceptive in your time on Survivor. Many people have wondered: What do you have to say about breaking your alliances with Ruth-Marie and, more importantly, Dan?
Terry: When Dan and I and Austin and Nick made our alliance, it was basically to the final four. Little did we know it was going to be our tribal final four. As strong as I felt about Dan, I felt that strong about Austin and Nick by that point. What you didn’t see on TV was when I went to tell him, I didn’t lie to him. It was total honesty. It was like breaking up with an old girlfriend. He said, “you guys should just vote me off, I messed up three challenges.” At that point, kind of as a team leader, I thought there might be one more challenge before the final nine. I looked at Dan as possibly the weakest of us. He was getting dizzy at the time and shaky on his legs. The guy lost 32 pounds!
With Ruth-Marie, Dan wanted to bring her in and, yeah, I could say we never shook on it but I told Dan that’s fine. Those were my words, me not thinking that it would have to come down to a choice between Sally and Ruth-Marie. Then watching Sally perform on the balance beam, she was running with Austin. I thought, “we’re going to need her on the next challenge.” I put on my managerial hat and tried to do the best thing for the tam. Was it the smartest decision I ever made? Was it the best? You don’t know because of 20/20 hindsight. Maybe having Dan and Ruth-Marie could have swayed the vote with Cirie and Bruce. Who knows. If I had won, I wouldn’t think twice about any of my decisions.
RNO: When you were telling Danielle how much easier you would be to beat than Aras, was any of it true or were you just telling her what you wanted her to think?
Terry: I was pumping her up, and you only saw half the conversation. I was trying to make me look worse in her tribemates’ eyes. But when I got back to the loser lodge, they told me I would have won 7-0. I tried pumping her up, saying I’m the one they hated the whole time. But that’s not true – I fed them, I was the hardest worker around camp with Aras. I didn’t piss them off. Cirie and I got into it once, but that was like a family argument. You have those.
RNO: Why did you use the soft-sell, and do you think a hard-sell from you, like Aras used, could have changed her decision?
Terry: I couldn’t do the hard-sell, I had to do the soft-sell. And after we talked, Aras told me he don’t know what I said, but she broke the promise with Aras and went back to the drawing board. He couldn’t believe whatever I said to her really swayed her. I couldn’t do the hard-sell with her, so I tried pumping her up. I would have just pissed her off if I would have done the hard-sell.
RNO: Did you realize that Danielle essentially had no chance of winning at that point?
Terry: No. I actually thought she made the best choice for her. In my heart, I knew she would lose against me. I thought she had a better chance with Aras. Once I figured out that side of it, I figured Aras would win. But I don’t think either of them knew. But had I been there in the final two, I would have been positive that I was going to win.
RNO: Looking back, do you think there is anything you could have done using the hidden immunity idol to turn the game around sooner and get Casayans to jump ship?
Terry: I was willing to give that thing up to get numbers, and they knew it. Not only was I trying to work it, but I was trying to get them to work it. With 20/20 hindsight, yeah, maybe we could have gotten rid of Aras, but we didn’t have the numbers. Would things have been easier? Yeah, but we tried. I wasn’t willing to give it up unless we could get numbers. Also, we thought Austin was going when Nick went, so giving it to Austin ahead of time wouldn’t have worked. Then Danielle didn’t flop and Courtney didn’t flop – which she totally regrets now. That’s hindsight.
I was willing to give that thing away to save Sally and Austin. I was really bummed out, because I wanted to try.1 2 3 Next-->
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