Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.
Doing the pre-game “Survivor” interviews is one of the best parts of this job. I truly enjoy getting to speak to these people before they go out on their big adventure. There’s just something intoxicating about the mix of nerves and excitement that is flowing through them.
I remember when I met Sgt. Shamar Thomas before “Survivor: Caramoan.” My first instinct was; “America’s going to love this guy. He’s like a big, bad-ass teddy bear!”
My instincts are not always awesome. I’m the same guy who picked Michelle Chase to win “Survivor: Gabon.”
I had a chance to speak with the controversial Sgt. Shamar after we was removed from the game due to an eye injury and asked him about the fighting, the lounging, and the “No Talking” list…
Gordon Holmes: First off, how’s the eye?
Shamar Thomas: The eye is doing quite well. Thank you for asking. I appreciate it.
Holmes: Good to hear. You hate to see someone leave with an injury, especially something as serious as an issue with their eye.
Holmes: You had already discussed quitting earlier in the game. Were you looking for a way out when the eye injury occurred?
Thomas: I don’t think I was looking for a way out. I had actually injured my hand and the pain that I was going through, I didn’t show it because I’m a big, tough Marine, but the pain along with elements, the dehydration, the starvation, it angered me a little bit. I knew I wasn’t going to be the challenge monster that I was. And that’s where my anger came from, I was kind of demoralized. Because if I don’t do well in these challenges, then I’m out of here.
Holmes: That’s why it seemed like you were always on edge.
Thomas: That’s a tough show, man. I was psyching myself out because I was dealing with the pain all day. And in “Survivor” you don’t have anywhere to go, so I just had to deal with it. It was tough.
Holmes: Before the show started you said your goal was to make people uncomfortable so they would quit. Then the show starts and every time they cut to you, you’re in a fight with someone. Was that intentional or were the elements getting the better of you?
Thomas: I wanted people to be miserable, but what I meant by that is I wanted the game of “Survivor” to be rough for them. I wanted them to quit. But it wasn’t my nature, it was trash talk. I wasn’t serious. It isn’t in my nature to actually harm people. Going into the game I told people that I’m a nice guy, but I do not take any crap from anybody. What you saw was, me being combative because people were saying things to get under my skin. I put people onto the “No Talking” list for a reason so I wouldn’t get into confrontations, but they kept talking to me. I said, “Oh my God, leave me alone! I don’t want to argue with you! Especially because you’re not in my alliance!” (Laughs)
Holmes: Before the game, you struck me as a super positive guy. Your plans for the money if you won involved creating businesses in your neighborhood to help employ troubled teens. Now “Survivor” comes out and you’re portrayed in a negative light. How’ve you been dealing with that?
Thomas: I don’t really take everything that everybody says seriously. I got a lot of positive feedback, I try to stick to that. I love freedom of speech and I’m glad people are watching the show. I’m a really big fan, I appreciated the opportunity so much. I wish they could have shown a few light moments.
Holmes: Do you know how much weight you lost while you were out there?
Thomas: I lost eighteen pounds in eleven days.
Holmes: That’s no joke.
Thomas: The funny thing is, I didn’t want the rice. People would offer me coconuts. I wanted the water. I was so dehydrated.
Holmes: Is that why you spent so much time in the shelter?
Thomas: That’s why you see me laying in the shelter, it’s because I knew the challenges were my strong point and if I spent my energy climbing rocks I wouldn’t have any energy for the challenges. Dehydration was my biggest enemy out there.
Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Sherri…
Thomas: A great player.
Thomas: Weak in challenges.
Thomas: Don’t really know. (Laughs)
Thomas: Don’t really know. (Laughs)
Holmes: You’re not doing this right, but we’re short on time. Eddie?
Thomas: A great guy. He’s somebody that I respect.
Thomas: He’s an awesome “Survivor” player.
Thomas: Laura…not really sure. (Laughs)
Holmes: It’s unfortunate, but sometimes bad blood remains after the show. But, it seems like you had some nice things to say about Eddie and Reynold in the word association. What do you think you relationship will be like with Eddie and Reynold in the future?
Thomas: I’m sure that we’ll all be cordial. Because of being a “Survivor” now, I know what the elements can do, I know how the game is played. So, I don’t really take anything personal. There were a few comments that I didn’t like, but other than that I have no issues. I hope those guys do so well. I don’t hold any grudges with anybody. I live a really, really good life. I’m trying to inspire, so grudges are the furthest thing from my mind.
Holmes: There’s the positive Shamar I remember!
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes