I Didn’t Realize Ken Had This Personal Vendetta Against Me”
by David Bloomberg -- 11/14/2008
On the show, we didn’t hear a whole lot from Charlie. But in talking to RealityNewsOnline, he had more to say than pretty much anybody else! What does he think of why he was voted out? What was Ken saying about Charlie behind his back? Who has gotten the best edit contrary to her real personality? And why was such a nice guy aligned with the likes of Corinne and Randy? And best of all, he’s a fan of RealityNewsOnline!
Charlie didn’t get nearly the camera time of a Corinne or Randy – and he tells us here that his quiet nature on the show was definitely done on purpose. What was his overall strategy? What did he think of some of the others out there? And why was he happy to be blindsided?! Read on for all of this and lots more!
RealityNewsOnline: Hello, Charlie, and thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at RealityNewsOnline! I have to tell you, you were my pre-show pick to win it all, so I really don’t like the fact that I’m talking to you right now!
Charlie: I bet you regret that. But thanks.
RNO: Starting at the beginning, what was your strategy coming into the game?
Charlie: My strategy was threefold. First of all – I knew Todd had just won Survivor: China and I kind of resembled him and he was a sneaky, conniving player. So I wanted to be as non-threatening as possible. I was the funny little silly gay guy. They forced me to wear a suit but I stripped off that suit [as soon as I could].
I also wanted to be a likeable guy and build genuine friendships because people who made it to the end [recently], like Amanda and Parvati, were genuine friends. So I saw that as an asset in the game. I didn’t want to alienate other people if that didn’t work out.
Last, I wanted to be very adaptable. I am a fan of the show and there are thousands of twists and you never know what’s coming. So you need to be on your toes at any given moment.
RNO: Until last night, did you have any idea that Ken was behind your ouster?
Charlie: People talk about the show afterwards, so I had heard that.
RNO: What do you think of the reason behind it?
Charlie: Honestly, I think I’m surprised because he prides himself on being a strategic player and it sounds like he made an emotional decision because he had a personal grudge against me for a silly reason. If you want to win, I’m not sure it’s good to lie to your allies for personal reasons. If you make these moves over and over… he lied about Ace to Sugar and it seemed more necessary. But this one didn’t seem that way. I think at some point it’s going to catch up to him.
RNO: In your final Tribal Council, you indicated that you thought Ken was a great guy. Once you were voted off and especially now that you’ve seen the episode, has your opinion of Ken, as a person, changed?
Charlie: I had very little experience with Ken. The only experience I had with him were those three hours we spent as a merged tribe after the challenge and before Tribal Council. The other thing with Ken was when Dan, Susie, and Randy came into our tribe, I learned Ken had been calling me “fag” behind my back.
I was in a game where there were a lot of abrasive, in your face, obnoxious people there and I was still able to foster good relationships with them. I was kind of nervous to meet somebody who perhaps might have negative views on my sexuality. It was just hearsay at that time. When Jeff asked me, I had just met him. Within three hours, my opinion of Ken had not changed. I didn’t want to make a snap judgment so I said that.
When we arrived at camp, it was chaos. We were scrambling to get the food and shelter in order, and the strategy. There wasn’t enough time to get to know Ken very well. The only thing I got to know was the one thing I heard.
Isn’t it interesting that the one person I didn’t get along with and who wanted me gone was the person who called me that behind my back?
RNO: When I talked to Ace, he said he thought Ken was just lucky. Then Marcus told me he thought Ken took advantage of people. What do you think about the way Ken has played?
Charlie: I didn’t know [at the time] how he was playing. As a viewer, I think he [had some luck] – you see before the first switch, the axis of evil were down in numbers, then there’s a switch, then they’re down in number and there’s a switch. He was fortunate but he did make some smart moves. I commend him for convincing Sugar. I was very impressed with that move.
RNO: Speaking of her, Corinne and others obviously had a pretty low opinion of Sugar’s intelligence and ability to play the game. What did you think?
Charlie: Sugar, I think she’s getting the most inaccurate edit. She was very unlikable out there. She was kind of like a princess. She demanded where to sleep in the hut. She tore up our bags and would wear them as dresses without asking; she would wear our clothes without asking. She said what on her mind all the time and did what she wanted to do. That’s great in real life, but in Survivor, I never felt like she stepped back and thought, “Is this fight really a strategic move? Is tearing up their bags going to piss people off?” And she aligned with the one person originally in Kota that everybody despised, Ace. I sort of wrote her off as making big errors in this game.
As a viewer, she was playing the game more than I thought. But I think she was duped a lot – she goes along with the last person who talked to her. She aligned herself with the big alpha male, first Ace, then Marcus, then she clung to Matty. I think she’s playing the game more than I thought she was, but I don’t think she’s playing the game very well.
RNO: A few minutes ago, you mentioned some of the obnoxious people in the game. So how did a nice guy like you end up in an alliance with the likes of Corinne and Randy?
Charlie: (Laughing) That’s a good question. On my last day, I’m like, “F**k, I’m aligned with the mean people! How did this happen to me?” That’s not how it started. Part of my strategy was to align myself with people who are intelligent. The people in your alliance are an extension of you, their moves affect you. I couldn’t put faith in the moves Sugar made, she goes with the wind. That can be very damaging. I was trying to align with people I find intelligent.
Corinne, like her or hate her, is wickedly smart. She’s one of the smartest people – if not the smartest – out there. We were thinkers. Randy similarly is a very smart guy. I think we could bond over that.
RNO: In Tribal Council last night, you seemed to agree when somebody was talking about how there were mean people out there.
Charlie: Sugar was like, “I know I’m a nice person and I don’t annoy people.” I remember wildly rolling my eyes. They played me agreeing with her. I like her as a person, but out there it wasn’t exactly as it’s been edited. With Paloma and Jacquie, the sweethearts of the show, gone so early, they needed to put someone else in that spot.
RNO: Heading into Tribal Council, did you believe that Sugar would definitely be voting against Crystal?
Charlie: No. I thought – if I had to put money on it, I knew my alliance was screwed. We had four people. I thought there was a possibility she would vote for Crystal and at the last minute I woke Bob up from his nap, which he always takes when we have to do the most strategizing. I was like, Bob, wake up, she sees you as a father figure, she recently lost her father, go in there and do the best you can. He took her aside and made one last ditch effort. I knew Sugar wasn’t going to trust Corinne or Randy or even me. But maybe Bob. I thought Sugar’s going to go with the people she was aligned with before. My blindside was not that it was somebody in my alliance, it was that it was me. I thought for sure it would be Randy.
RNO: That had be a sick feeling seeing your name come up.
Charlie: I was shocked. But when I walked out, it made complete sense to me at that moment. I thought they thought, “Next to Matty, he’s the strongest guy in the show and he looks like Todd,” and I thought they saw me as a threat. [Originally], I thought they were playing with their emotions and would vote out Randy or Corinne. So I gave them props. I view myself as a threat relative to those others. They had the game in their lap at that point and could do what they wanted.
RNO: Well, most of them did vote because they saw you as a threat – per what Ken told them.
Charlie: They voted me as a threat because they believed Ken – his lie had to be believable. But the genesis was a personal vendetta. At that juncture, this game was predictable, I’m going to be sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth – I didn’t think I’d be nine.
RNO: In your final words, you seemed thankful that if you had to lose, it was a blindside. Why?
Charlie: For two reasons. Emotionally, I get very paranoid and anxious in my real life and I was concerned I’d be that way out there. But I never had any bouts of anxiety. I was never anxious for my own life. I was spared that.
Secondly, I am a huge Survivor fan. As a viewer, I know blindsides are the most fun to watch. To be part of something that’s fun for other people was exciting for me. Now that the game might be leaning as more predictable, if you know you’re going out and there’s nothing you can do, that’s not as fun as a blindside! Some people are embarrassed to be blindsided, but that’s not the way I felt at all.
RNO: You also indicated you didn’t think you’d make it past the first Tribal Council. Why not?
Charlie: Because that’s just more of my personality. I’m a lawyer and I thought I’d fail the bar. I’m realistic or pessimistic. The day before we began, Jeff Probst talks to us. He asked, “Why do you think you’re going to win?” Win? I think I’m the first one gone! I will be eaten up. We’re out there a week before we start, and my mind had been playing tricks on me the five days before the show. I just was convinced and I convinced myself. That’s part of my character.
RNO: If you and Marcus had survived these past two votes, do you think the two of you and Corinne would have gone to the final three, or do you think the alliance would have broken down somewhere along the way as each of you jockeyed for position?
Charlie: I think had there not been the twist last week, we would have predictably been going to the final three with maybe Randy switching it up a little. I think he wanted to blindside Marcus because he knew he couldn’t beat him, and we might have gone along with that. But everything was set up so perfectly. We had layers and people didn’t want to stray from the layer and rock the boat. Like Bob was number five and fiercely loyal. To have a strategy where that happens, I thought we did a really good job with that.
RNO: In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently?
Charlie: Yes and no. I think I took a risk – I spent the whole day I was voted out campaigning to keep Randy. If I had gotten on the let’s-vote-out-Randy bus, I could have lasted another day or two. But I was thinking long-term strategy so that was a risk I needed to take. If we got Sugar to come over, then I was sitting pretty. If Randy was voted out, then I’m going to have to do some new maneuvering but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I didn’t realize I was at risk at that point. I didn’t realize Ken had this personal vendetta against me, so maybe I should have realized it.
RNO: We didn’t get to see as much of you as some of the more vocal players. What did you do on the show that we didn’t get to see on TV?
Charlie: It actually is accurate. I didn’t talk as much as everyone else. Every second of the day, I was playing the game. Everytjing that came out of my mouth, I was cautious and calculated about. We had to wildly strategize because we needed to set things up and prepare to go on with the game. We spent so much of the game thinking.
With the new tribe members [after the first switch-up], we had to make them feel comfortable. There was a lot of strategizing you didn’t see because it never had to come into play. Even going to the dock and fishing with one person, should I stand side by side with that person? How are others going to see that? Corinne and Randy were different. The second that we switched tribes the first time, Corinne sold Ace down the river. I was like, hold up, we need to evaluate whether trashing him at this point is smart – we might need him in the future. Everything I did or didn’t do was a calculated move.
Personality wise, I had a blast. I was truly friends with everyone. From Kelly to Paloma to Bob. I had so much fun with everyone. I was there for gay pride and we had a gay pride parade through the forest in Africa. I had a ton of fun. I think they showed that in that we won like 13 out of 15 challenges. I was constantly happy with a huge smile on my face.
I’m probably giving you boring answers.
RNO: Not at all. Stop putting yourself down!
Charlie: I’m just waiting to see what you write in “Why Charlie Lost.”
RNO: Ah, so you know about that column.
Charlie: I’m a fan!
RNO: Great! Right now, I don’t know what I’m putting in there yet.
Charlie: I’m sure you’ll come up with something.
RNO: We’ll see when I’m writing it. Anyway, what was the most eye-opening thing you saw on TV that you didn’t know about while you were there?
Charlie: I didn’t realize Crystal was so mean. I didn’t know what was going on at Fang. We were very strategic and happy and there was a lot of teamwork. I thought they would be wildly strategic. But everyone was flip-flopping and there was no strategy. Crystal is mad at GC. They had Kelly and didn’t have Kelly. Everything we guessed was as if they were playing logically and with common sense.
I knew Crystal had a very strong personality – at challenges she was very emotional. But I didn’t know she was playing with such a mean-spirited nature. I commend her for some moves, but she could have done them with some grace. Like in the voting booth…
RNO: When she flipped off the person she was voting against?
Charlie: You can say, “I didn’t get along with you.” But you’re a mother and you represented our country in the Olympics. Is that how you want to behave? It’s not how I would.
RNO: Wrapping up, do you have anything else you’d like to tell us about your time on Survivor?
Charlie: I walked off and I wasn’t bitter in the least. I had such a great time. It was an honor to be there. I feel like the luckiest person. It’s all downhill from here – it was the highlight of my life. To be able to play it was incredible.
RNO: Thanks again, Charlie!