'Survivor: Philippines' exit interview: Artis Silvester
Third wheel in Tandang trio on his alliance, the race factor and being a real survivor
By Sona Charaipotra Nov 15, 2012 1:53PM
This week on "Survivor: Philippines" the Tandang trio's third wheel, Artis Silvester, 53, of Terry Town, La., found himself on the chopping block at tribal council -- instead of his alliance's leaders, Pete and Abi, who many might have expected to get voted out first.
We caught up with the computer engineer to chat about Abi's insanity, the race factor on "Survivor" and winning his battle with cancer.
MSN TV: Were you surprised that you were the first of that Tandang trio to go?
No, I could see it coming. They could have come after Abi -- I would have -- even though she the idol. She's so cocky, she wouldn't have seen it coming even though she'd have the idol in her pocket.
Okay, what gives about Abi. Is she nuts?
The entire time, I was like, 'What?' After a while, I was like, you've got to be kidding me. Nobody could really, truly, honestly be like this. I was hoping she was just playing a character. It was just ridiculous. But it made for good television, I guess.
Why would you align with her? Was it so if the trio went to the end, you'd get the votes?
I can be a vicious person, but I am not by nature a vicious person. I got villainized because of my association with them. And that really is my own doing. But I was not aligned with Abi. Abi was a consequence of aligning with Pete. I had no choice. And because of that, I couldn't vote her off. But she's a mess. I wondered at first if it was an act, because nobody can be that crazy. I couldn't tell if it was deliberate, but she was mean. But we started as an alliance and I really wanted to stick to that. I wanted to see Tandang to take it to the end. Our big move was no move, because nobody could beat us. And also, the way I saw it, no one who flipped ever one the game. I was in the same view as Lisa -- she wanted to stick with the alliance, her loyalty, and I have to applaud her for that. She was holding fast to her loyalty. If we had all just stuck with that, we'd be good to go.
Speaking of which, Skupin --
Mike just isn't a nice person. He doesn't stay true to his word. And then there were some stereotypes at play. Apparently, there is one is that black men can't swim. That came up early on. And so I was done with him after that. But the audience didn't see that. They seem to like Mike.
Speaking of stereotypes, it's so interesting that again anyone of color is gone -- the same thing seemed to happen in previous seasons.
I knew going in that I would be in the minority. In a game like this, it's not even just a racial thing. If you've got to vote somebody out, you're going to vote the people that don't look like anybody else. So I had a double-whammy on me with this whole thing. I was trying my best not to show my temper. But I guess that didn't work, because I got portrayed that way anyway. It's not a racial thing, it's a social thing -- it's who you want to live with when you go back to camp.
Want more "Survivor"? Check out our recap for a play-by-play of this week's episode!
In the end, you also applauded Penner for his game play in your last words after tribal.
If you give somebody three shots at playing -- he better be damn good at playing it. You give them a second shot, they better come back stocked, locked and loaded.
So is there someone you're rooting for now?
Actually, I had a vision for no one else in the game other than myself. So I'm a wild card on that jury. We won't know until the end.
You didn't win the million -- but you battled stage four cancer. Which makes you a real "Survivor."
I consider it a blessing and a curse. I was a huge dude -- 6'4 and 238, and I had a big head. I was proud of what I'd built. So I guess the man upstairs decided to give me a bit of a wake up call: I gave all that to you, and I can take it all away. I should have never got it. I was so healthy. But when I was going through treatment, I went all the way down to 152 lbs. They didn't think I was going to make it. But I made it. It was a good lesson: you're not as big as you think you are. It was like the man saying, 'Now what you going to do with your second shot at life? You going to cry about or you going to fix things?' So I started gaining my weight back, making amends with people -- and I got "Survivor." I'm no one-shot wonder like most of them. I've been trying to get on this game for 25 seasons. And the very first time I applied after the cancer, I got on the show. And it was worth it. So I wasn't about to let anyone ruin that for me. The cancer taught me that if you want something bad enough and you go after it and you just keep applying yourself, you will achieve it. I had a good life before "Survivor," and I'll have a great life after it.
"Survivor: Philippines" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
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