I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.
Name: Brenda Lowe
Hometown: Miami, FL
Occupation: Paddleboard Company Owner
Previous Finish: Brenda came in 10th place in “Survivor: Nicaragua”
Memorable Moment: Brenda was the very first person to wield the awesome responsibility of the Medallion of Power.
Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Favorties” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the new players. They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.
Gordon Holmes: I remember leaving Nicaragua and being like, “Brenda’s my girl.”
Brenda Lowe: How many girls are you saying that to?
Holmes: Probably a bunch.
Holmes: No, you were a ton of fun in our interview, very smart. And then I get home and the season starts and you’re like this bad ass, cool cucumber.
Lowe: Wait, are you telling everyone else that you like me?
Holmes: No, I can’t talk about you with anyone else. They’re welcome to say whatever they want, but I have to stay quiet.
Lowe: OK, good.
Holmes: So, was the stone cold serious thing part of your plan going in?
Lowe: I think in context you’re not going to be all happy-go-lucky or people are going to vote you out first. But, there were fun parts you probably didn’t see because it didn’t go with the story.
Holmes: What were the fun parts?
Lowe: You know, joking around with Kelly Purple. Or, tripping out Sash. We did have our moments.
Holmes: I remember La Flor did a dance on the way to that first immunity challenge.
Lowe: Oh yeah, that was my idea.
Holmes: Did you choreograph that?
Lowe: Hell yeah.
Holmes: And yet, here you are getting no kind choreography credit.
Lowe: Nope, and people couldn’t even do it right! But I thought it was cool, Jeff was rolling his eyes.
Holmes: I don’t know if “cool” is the adjective I’d be using to describe that dance.
Lowe: We’re the young tribe! We’re cool.
Holmes: When your friends and family saw how stone cold you were, what was their reaction?
Lowe: They know I can be like that.
Holmes: Oh, so there is that side to you?
Holmes: So, I should try not to piss you off.
Lowe: (Laughs) Yeah, there is good Brenda and bad Brenda.
Holmes: That’s why I said all of that nice stuff about you earlier. I don’t want to come face-to-face with bad Brenda.
Lowe: (Laughs) That’s smart.
Holmes: I’ve been doing this a while, and every time in the bios they ask the contestants, “Which Survivor are you most like?” Nine out of ten times the women say they’re like Parvati Shallow. However, the name Brenda Lowe has been showing up more and more often.
Lowe: I didn’t know that, that’s pretty cool.
Holmes: What do you think it was about your game that inspired so many future players?
Lowe: I think they say that because I did my own strategy. I was my own little leader out there. I knew what I wanted and I tried to get it myself. Everything I was thinking of happened, until I got voted off.
Holmes: What have you been up to since Nicaragua?
Lowe: Since you saw me last, I’ve still been paddleboarding. When you saw me I was single, now I’m super not single.
Holmes: Super not single.
Lowe: Yes, super in love.
Holmes: Soon to be engaged…?
Lowe: Yes! Soon to be. Still living in Miami, and I’m living a good life.
Holmes: OK, so this is a change for you. In the first episode of your season, you said you were single like a dozen times.
Lowe: (Laughs) Yeah.
Holmes: Does that cut off the avenue of being able to flirt to get ahead?
Lowe: Well, I never really flirted before…well, not too much.
Holmes: But does it take away a potential weapon in your arsenal?
Lowe: I think flirting is more building a rapport. If I’m talking to a guy and he likes it, does that count as flirting or building a rapport? But, I have a boyfriend who I’m not going to disrespect.
Holmes: Why do you think you were brought back?
Lowe: I think I was brought back because I did stuff on the show. I tried to make it interesting and I tried to make big moves. I tried to get far, I was fighting hard. I did get through that first Shannon fiasco. I don’t think you see a young girl being at the top of her alliance.
Holmes: What was your reaction when you got the call to come back?
Lowe: Oh, first I was like holy (expletive deleted). (Laughs) Because it sucks to be out there. You’re not eating and you’re miserable. But, I didn’t want to get my hopes up in case it didn’t happen. But, I was super excited at the chance to go out there.
Holmes: Because you’re going to tear that business up.
Lowe: Hell yeah. I made some mistakes, I learned from my mistakes, and now that I have a second chance it’s going to go much better for me.
Holmes: What’s the reaction you get from fans on the street?
Lowe: They’re super excited. They always want to know what it’s really like.
Holmes: It’s amazing after all these years, some people still think you guys stay in hotels.
Lowe: Yeah, it’s real.
Holmes: OK, it’s day one and I see that I’m playing this game against Brenda Lowe. What do you think I remember about you?
Lowe: I think people are going to watch out for me, which sucks. I’m going to be as nice as I can to everybody. I don’t think anyone’s going to be like, “Aww…she’s so sweet, let’s align with her.” I’m going to fight my hardest to change that preconception.
Holmes: I’m using Coach as my example of someone who used the TV aspect of the show to his advantage. He was able to convince people that the goofy Coach you saw on TV was just a character.
Lowe: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah…I’m going to totally play up that. “You didn’t see the real me, it was editing.” But, the truth is, I was good with my alliance and I had one alliance. But this time, I’ll have several.
Holmes: Probst gave you some grief for not scrambling when it looked like your time was up. I thought it was unique that you said that scrambling might cause your alliance members to not trust you.
Holmes: On one hand, it didn’t work out for you, but on the other, it seems like there’s some merit to that strategy. What did you learn from that?
Lowe: One thing, it’s hard to scramble when you only have one alliance and that one alliance is telling you they’re going to vote you out. At the same time, my key partner Sash had the immunity idol. People wanted me out because they thought I was shady and couldn’t be trusted. So, if people saw me talking to Jane or whoever, then they’re like, “She’s definitely not with us, we need to get rid of her.” So, that was my angle and it didn’t work.
Holmes: Are you worried that there might not be a Medallion of Power this time around?
Lowe: (Laughs) Me and the Medallion of Power got along pretty well.
Holmes: I try not to hang onto regrets in my life. But, my biggest regret is not bidding on the Medallion of Power when they put it up on eBay after the season.
Lowe: (Laughs) You’re such a liar.
Holmes: I would’ve worn it here like a Flava Flav clock.
Lowe: Use it like a Christmas ornament.
Holmes: If there’s a twist, what do you think it will be?
Lowe: I think it’s half returning people, half new people. Then they’re going to mix things up.
Holmes: What do you think of this cast?
Lowe: I want to get to know them, one on one. I want to talk to them and see what they’re like out there. Do I like you? Can I stand you? Can I trust you? I’m going to pretend to like everybody.
Holmes: Did you recognize everybody?
Lowe: Yeah, I know everybody here except for one guy I don’t know.
Holmes: Is there anyone you immediately think you want to align with or watch out for?
Lowe: I definitely want to align with Cochran for sure and Corinne. I’m going to align with everybody, but those two are who I’m going to go with.
Holmes: That’s a sweet deal when you can align with everybody.
Holmes: Who do you think will improve this time around?
Lowe: Well, I think Francesca will improve because she was the first boot last time.
Holmes: She doesn’t have much of a choice.
Lowe: That’s not going to happen again.
Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.