Rupert, everyone's favorite Pearl Islands contestant, took some time from his busy Christmas shopping to call me and answer a few questions. I promised him I wouldn't ask anything that would get him in trouble with CBS. Here's what he had to say:
How do you think you would have fared on the Morgan tribe, versus the Drake tribe?
You know, I had the opportunity to stay with the Morgan tribe, and I probably should have. They were the more honorable tribe. They may have been a little more lazy, but that was because of their leadership, I think. I tried to lead by example, so everyone had to keep up with me. On their tribe, they didn't really have good leadership, so I think if I had gone over there, or stayed over there when I had the chance, my game would have been a lot better.
On their tribe, they made a conscious decision to choose a leader, but on yours, a group kind of took control. Which do you think is better?
On the Drake tribe, there was no way that Shawn, Burton, and Michelle were going to let me be the "official leader". They were the leading group. Shawn thought he was the leader, Burton thought he was the leader, and Michelle thought she had them both wrapped around her finger. It worked okay for us, only because I let them think they were leaders. For the other tribe, they picked the best of the bunch (laughs), but even still - sometimes, like Jeff said, sometimes societies kill their leaders, but in their case, it might not have worked at all for them to "kill" their leader and try someone else.
Now that you've seen the show on TV, who do you think was portrayed the most and the least accurately?
You know, even though Jonny Foreskin was a pain in the butt, they never really showed the nicer side of the guy. He was a great gameplayer, and a great manipulator, and a real pain in the butt, but he also had a nice side. He was my little budy through most of the game, and I never realized what a conniver he was. But they never showed that side of Jon. The for the most part, the rest were pretty accurately portrayed. Darrah - shy and quiet. Tijuana, argumentative. Savage and RyanO, both good guys, but better followers than leaders. Shawn, Burton, and Michelle, the jocks and cheerleaders that thought they were a little better than everyone else. Christa, Sandra, and I who kind of went through and played the worker bees. And Sandra, especially, getting through her game playing the opinionated little Puerto Rican girl, she did great! Everybody was portrayed pretty accurately.
I was most surprised about Christa - it seemed a few people had some things to say about her when they were booted, and we didn't see what supported that.
Christa, she proved that she was the next toughest dude out there. When the strength challenges came up, she was always right up there, ranking with the guys. I liked Christa a lot. She got a bad rap from Survivor, but she was a pretty good girl. She was very good.
You're sitting home watching TV with the rest of us, and you see the episode where Trish was booted for trying to organize a coup against you. Were you surprised to see how close Sandra and Christa were to turning on you?
It was close. When I saw Christa and Sandra say "we've got to do something about Rupert," that felt kinda bad. But you've got to remember that it is a game, and even though Sandra and Christa were on my side 100%, I don't blame them for not wanting to bring me to the Final 2. I think I would have beaten either one of them. I think I would have beaten anyone in a Final 2. But, you've also got to remember that it was Sandra and Christa that saved me. If they wouldn't have been privy to the information that Trish and Jon were spewing, I would have been gone.
When you were finally eliminated, Sandra cast what turned out to be an important vote for Jon, leaving you with enough votes to be eliminated. What do you think happened there?
When Sandra cast that vote, Sandra, Christa, and I had agreed all along that it was going to be a vote for Darrah. There were going to be seven of us voting for Darrah. Unfortunately, that's not the case, and Sandra just wanted to write Jon's name down. I wish it would have worked out different. But if it would have been a 4-4 tie, Sandra would have killed me there, writing down Jon's name. But as it worked out, just Christa and I voted for Darrah, and with the exception of Sandra, everyone else voted for me anyway.
I have to ask about your sense of ownership of the tribe, the spear, etc. during the show. What was happening there?
I hated seeing that side of me coming out. The selfish Rupert was coming out. it was my spear, my tribe, my island, my adventure. I didn't like seeing that side of me. Sitting back, watching on TV helped me understand that that's not who I really want to be. And saying that I just got worn down and got a little selfish is not a good enough excuse for me. That bothered me so much, it made me a lot better at sharing. Because I didn't like that cocky Rupert at all.
Seeing that on TV, did it help you understand more why you were booted?
Seeing the way I was acting on TV definitely explained a little bit of why they had to get rid of me. If I would have found somebody that cocky in the game, I would have been targeting them, too.
Did you seriously consider a post-merge alliance with RyanO and Andrew?
When we merged, after the big meal, I went to Andrew and RyanO, and said "you guys can pick either Darrah or Tijuana, and get with Sandra, Christa, and I, and whichever you don't pick, we'll all vote them off as a sign of good faith. Because I don't want to put the Drakes down, I want to be able to trust you guys - you know I'm trustworthy. We'll all help each other out, and we'll be 3 and 3." They did not want to do that. They wanted us to vote Jonny Foreskin out. I didn't want to do that, I didn't want to put us down, I couldn't trust them enough. The last 2 minutes before Tribal Council, Andrew came back to me and said "Okay, I'll give you Tijuana." I told him it was too late. We'd already made the plans to vote Andrew out, we'd already turned Lill and gotten her to vote with us. I gave Andrew and RyanO the opportunity very first, and they turned me down. I would have loved to have been in an alliance with those two, but they didn't want to do it my way until they had no other options, and by then it was too late.
While you were in the game, who did you think should have been the Final Four?
I was thinking that the final 4 would be Sandra, Christa, and I, and probably Andrew Savage. Sandra might have been out, and RyanO might have been in there.
Were you surprised by your popularity on the show?
It's still amazing to me. To read all the fan mail, all the letters and the Christmas cards have been wonderful. I'm still answering letters from November, I haven't even gotten to December yet. I get so much fan mail, it's wonderful. It's wonderful. I love it. It's like a dream.
Do you get on the internet at all, and read what people are saying?
Every once in a while I get on the internet, but I've been so swamped with letters that I spend most of my time answering those. I try to answer 20 or 30 letters a day, and I get in way more than that a day right now. So I'm way behind, and I haven't gotten on the internet much. I love getting into discussion boards and reading what everyone says about me. Every once in a while when I can get away from the letters, I do love getting on-line and seeing that.
Going way back to the shoes on the first episode. Did anyone ever say anything about the shoes?
I was waiting all the way through the game. I wanted to hear someone say something about the shoes, and I never did through the whole game. I couldn't ask about it, or say anything about taking them. Then, when the first episode aired, still no one said anything about them. I had to wait until the reunion show, and at the reunion show, Andrew said "I wondered what happened to those darn shoes!" It's the only time anyone ever said anything, it's so funny. But hey, it was a pirate adventure, and I started mine early.
When you went over to Morgan, you went as a result of a challenge that your tribe intentionally lost. They seemed pretty upbeat by their first win. Did it ever cross your mind that telling them you threw the challenge would make their morale plummet, and give Drake an advantage?
There was no way, when I got taken over there and they were so happy about winning, no way I would ever have told them we threw the challenge. They were happy that I sat out, and they couldn't understand why I sat out. I told them that I wasn't happy about it, it was just our rotation. There's no way I would have told them. I didn't want to hurt them, and I sure didn't want to do it when I had to spend two or three days with them.
Let me ask about your final speech when you were booted. You made some comments that played in with the self esteem issues you seemed to have throughout the show, and which you said was much better on the live reunion. What are your thoughts on those comments and how you are now?
Luckily, during the first few days, they didn't show my weaker side. I'd sit up at night and just be freaked out and pissed off that I let Shawn and Burton and Michelle make fun of me all day. I went out there, and after a few days, the gruff exterior of Rupert got stripped away, and I was down to the scared little fat kid. And it took the twelve days in Jury camp for me to realize why I went back to the Drake tribe that didn't treat me too well, instead of staying with the Morgan tribe that genuinely treated me great. Figuring out my comfort level was more being told I was "not". Survivor has built my confidence so it's not so much of an act any more. I used to be a great actor of self-confidence, until I got questioned about it, then I'd run away. I don't run away any more. I believe in myself a whole lot more now.
That's great. I bet it helps you in your job, working with troubled teens, too.
When I'm mentoring the kids, having that understanding of being the kid that doesn't fit in, and that never really let that go... You know, I'm going to be 40 years old in a couple of weeks, and I still carry that around. And that makes it a lot easier for me to understand my kids that don't fit in, either. And they see that in me. We call ourselves misfits. I call myself a misfit - I would never call one of them a misfit. But now I feel like I fit in a whole lot more.
How long did it take you to find the spear head that Shawn lost?
You know, on TV, it showed me finding it in about 5 minutes. It took four and a half hours or swimming non-stop in a grid pattern! Shawn didn't know where the hell he lost it. He was totally lying through that whole scenario. He had no idea where he lost it. When he showed me, he said "somewhere between the rocks and the trees," he showed me an area that was the whole inlet. It's monstrous! And so, four and a half hours to find that darn spear head.
I would sincerely like to thank Rupert for taking the time to call me and answer these questions, and thank Becca for helping set this up. Rupert, if you ARE on All-Stars (and I have no information to say so either way), I hope you do very well. For those here from other sites, please keep in mind that this is copyrighted material, and while you may link to this interview, you may not post it on your site without my permission.