Survivor: Tocantins continued last night with a lively episode full of social and strategic blunders. Sandy, Taj and Sierra all appeared to be in danger of going home but in the end Timbera unanimously chose Candace Smith, the attorney-turned-actress from Dayton, Ohio. Candace struck me as a direct but clear communicator around camp and one of the more athletic women in the challenges. But she got caught in an escalating battle of personal pride with Ben “Coach” Wade over a fairly banal day-to-day cooking issue. Both of them seemed to have trouble backing down when confronted with a challenge and, while I personally liked Candace, it was fairly obvious from the beginning that Coach held a much more secure position within the tribe. He wasn’t going home this week no matter what happened. Candace could have backed down or marched onward to her doom. Candace’s ouster was short and swift but the tribe held together as seven strong, either a sign that they’re truly unified or that Coach has a lot of power. Earlier today we talked with Candace about Coach’s aggressiveness with her and Sierra, Debbie’s forgetfulness and Sierra and Brendan’s cover up of the giant crater.
Hi, Candace. Thank you for joining us. I’m sure one of the frustrating things about being voted off early is that people watching the show mostly just see the events that led to your getting voted out. Give us a more complete picture. What were the highlights of your first three or four days before your fight with Coach?
Oh my gosh. You are so right. I was a beast the entire time. I don’t think America even got a feel for how hardworking and how strong I was for my tribe. Some of the people who said they were upset they got rid of me would have been ten times more upset if they knew how much I really did around camp and in the challenges. In that challenge I had Coach on my shoulders. Unbelievably. Here he was a man and I’m a woman. He’s six foot two of douche. He thinks he’s some sort of bad ass and he’s weaker than me. While I worked around camp he spent hours sunbathing at this place we called The Spa – over by the waterfall. I’m cool with making the tribe stronger but I thought being strong in challenges would earn respect.
Coach made an interesting comment last night that the two of you were the same. Basically, that you both tended to pick people apart but for different reasons. How would you respond to that?
Hmm. I would say we are not the same at all. I find that offensive that he would even compare the two of us. He said we were the same because he was having a difficult time arguing with me. He was flustered and intimidated. He’s not used to a woman being smarter so he said that. I didn’t tear people apart. That was the best counter argument he could come up with while he ran to a little hole. He’s a disgrace to coaches. A coach respects his players. He strengthens them and uplifts them. I felt like I was living in the Twilight Zone. How could it not be transparent to other people?
He tried to lick you! What was that about?
Okay, he was obsessed with me. I will say it and I will stand behind it. He repeatedly tried to touch my butt, told me how sexy I was. As soon as we got to camp after the four hour hike he said to me “You’re sexy and you know it.” He told me if I put my hands on his chest he would radiate heat. If I’d went along with the licking and the grabbing I’d still be there. I guarantee you that.
Based on some of the deleted scenes that have been posted online some fans seemed to think Coach and Sierra had a showmance going on. Did you pick up on anything like that?
Not really. I mean, she was rallying to stay and I’m sure she fed into his ego and flirted with him some. I wasn’t around a lot because I was working while they had intimate discussions. But I’m sure that’s what she used.
So there was that interesting moment last night were Sierra and Brendan got caught digging the mother of all holes. Did you see the crater? Debbie seemed to believe their story about the bonfire. Did you?
You know I didn’t. You saw his face. The whole story about the bonfire? It was completely illogical. Debbie isn’t the smartest girl on the playground. I know she’s a principal but come on. I had to be Debbie Downer – why would you build a fire over there? Everyone looks at me like [Candace makes a sound effect] “Wuh wuh wuh wuh.” It was 120 degrees out there. If something was not necessary then why would you do it? I said it at the time. That’s probably another reason I got voted off.
Really? So Coach and Debbie and Jerry – none of them said anything after she was gone?
I could be wrong but I don’t think anyone else caught on but me. No one else made a comment. Every time I pointed out something illogical about it everyone looked at me like I was crazy. We have one flint. Why would we use up the magnesium? How are you going to transport it? Coach said light a torch. Oh yeah. Walk through dry wooded area with a lit torch like that? You’d light The Amazon on fire. I know – I know. How did I really feel, right?
You didn’t seem to like Debbie much.
I thought she should have been gone. She had ADD. She would go walk to do something and two seconds later she’d forget why she walked to that area. I was like, “Debbie, you went there to pick up wood. “ And physically? What were we going to do with her? So I wanted to get rid of her.
But Ben was totally unreceptive to that?
What do you think? Ben says I’m a cancer. I don’t think you should play around with cancer.
Last question. It seems like you had so many frustrating experiences out there. But what’s your best memory going to be?
Rock’n the challenge. That’s who I am. I’m a competitor. I’m a beast. That’s who I’ve always been.
Candace, it was a pleasure. Good luck to you.
-Interview Conducted by Henry Jenkins
(image courtesy of CBS)