XfinityTV.com sent me deep into the wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of “Survivor” stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.
Name: Roxanne “Roxy” Morris
Home: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: Seminary Student
Gordon Holmes: Religion has played a major role in “Survivor” the past couple of seasons. How will that influence your approach to the game?
Roxanne Morris: People like Coach (Wade), Matt (Elrod), Brandon (Hantz), they’ve had many times that made me laugh watching them as a Christian. At the same time, I’m really excited that people who haven’t found God are finding God in the game. Or if they have a relationship with God, that it’s grown in the game. How does that affect me? My whole life, my whole identity is being Christian. It’s not something I do on Sunday or something I reach for when I have a tough situation. It’s who I am all the time. So, I’m very excited to see how this game will play a role in my effectiveness as a Christian leader. Whether it’s in the military or doing missions in other countries. This will challenge a lot of human aspects of who I am. There are certain luxuries I’m used to, and those are going to be stripped away. How will that affect my character? And how does that mesh with my spiritual connection with God?
Holmes: Religion has gotten a bit of a bad rap the last couple of seasons. Some would argue that religion was used to sway people’s allegiances. Is it important for you to show that a woman of Christian faith can go out there and not compromise her beliefs?
Morris: You know, God is sovereign. I believe He’s controlling everything all the time everywhere. And God already knows if I’m going to win. I can’t bribe God to do something differently if He has plans for who’s going to win the million. So, accepting that has given me peace. I’m not sure everyone else is coming in with that. But, the Bible says “Faith without works is dead.” So my work and gameplay is what it is. I’m going to work to the best of my ability.
Holmes: Sounds like you have a fantastic attitude.
Morris: Thank you.
Holmes: You describe yourself as a “warrior.” What does that term mean to you?
Morris: A warrior is someone who’s ready to fight. The Bible talks about us living in spiritual warfare between good and evil. And when I think of a warrior, I always think of King David. His entire life was spent in the Holy Wars. He shed so much blood that he couldn’t build a temple, his son had to build the Temple of Solomon. So, when I think of war I think of David and I always feel connected to him.
Holmes: You said that the “Survivor” player you think you’re most like is Brandon Hantz. I met Brandon before he went out for “South Pacific.” My first instinct was that he was a good guy. However, when I watched the show, I saw this man who was really conflicted. Are you prepared for situations where you might be conflicted?
Morris: The big way I relate to Brandon is that he takes his Christianity very seriously. You can see that on day one. He identifies who and what will be his biggest weakness. Where I differ is that I don’t see myself as quite a baby. When I look at Brandon I think he’s a little baby who’s learning how to walk in Christ. I feel I have a little more experience than Brandon. The thing that makes me relate to him the most is really his seriousness in his faith, and willingness to die with that if that’s his choice. There are moves I would have done differently, but I respect him staying true to his faith.
Holmes: Deception is a popular way to get ahead in this game. Is that something you’re comfortable with?
Morris: Deception is something that I’m comfortable doing. At the same time, I think wisdom is a huge part or being the backbone of the person. Especially if you’re a Christian. I don’t think Christ has called us to just be nice or be people you can walk over. I pray not to find myself in those situations, but we’re all here for the million dollars, and we all have a purpose for that.
Holmes: My thing has always been; God’s got bigger issues right now than who wins “Survivor.”
Morris: Exactly. (Laughs) I know what I’m here for and I know what plans I have for that money that are greater than this game.
Holmes: What are your plans?
Morris: Well, first thing I have to do is 10% has to go to the church. I’m a tither. Sorry! The church I attend right now doesn’t have a church building, but we’re working toward saving for a building. And then I’d also give to Brooklyn Tabernacle which is the church where I was baptized. The rest of it, I really want to do world evangelism.
Holmes: We haven’t touched on this yet, but you have a military background.
Holmes: How does that work to your advantage?
Morris: There are two major parts of the military. There’s Missions and there’s Morale. The chaplains are the Morale. We have to keep people feeling good about the war. That’s really hard. For the first half of the game, I think that’s a huge tactic of mine. Building the morale of the group, and not in a corny way, because I hate cheesy, just as a person. And honestly, winning as many challenges as we can so we don’t have to eliminate. And if we do, it’s going to be the weakest person. I know that’s not going to be me.
Holmes: And as far as military training, it’s safe to say you’re pretty bad ass?
Morris: Yes, I’m just naturally athletic. I’m not really worried about that. I hate to say it, but looking at everyone so far, I’m not super intimidated.
Holmes: Speaking of, you’ve been around the cast for a few days. What are your first impressions?
Morris: I hate to jump to conclusions. I can’t tell who I would ally with by looking at them. But, I do see some danger zones. There’s this one guy who is so cute and I feel like he would be a distraction. With someone being so attractive you can fall for everything they have to say.
Holmes: I’ve had to deal with that prejudice my whole life.
Holmes: That wasn’t meant to be funny, Roxanne.
Holmes: You’re a lovely young lady, are you comfortable flirting in the game?
Morris: Flirting? I’m not going to lie, I think that’s naturally how I’d be. I wouldn’t overdo it. When you’re living amongst each other, something Christians don’t do before marriage, there’s a natural sense of comfort-ability that’s there. I don’t think that’s something I can avoid. But there are boundaries that have to be set up.
Holmes: If you could align with any past “Survivor” player, who would it be and why?
Morris: I would align with Sophie (Clarke) because I say I’m going to lay low, but I know I won’t. Sophie played a good game. She wasn’t always the person in front of the camera, telling great stories. She laid low. If you looked at the casting you’d never guess her to win. When the arguments started, she’d just lay back. She was all about business.
Don’t miss the premiere of “Survivor: Philippines” – Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.