CBS’s Survivor has been one of the biggest reality shows on television for the past 10 years. There have been many great contestants on the show, some villains and some heroes. Jonny Fairplay is arguably the greatest villain, not only on Survivor, but in the history of reality television. It was my honor to interview Fairplay regarding his time on Survivor exclusively for The Montclarion.
Q: During your first tenure on Survivor: Pearl Islands, was it easier or harder than you thought it would be from a social standpoint?
A: I didn’t really see it as being hard before I went in, as I was a professional wrestler, which contained a lot of backstage politics, so I strongly felt that I was prepared for the show going in. I didn’t go into Survivor to win the million dollars, I went into the show to create the character of “Jonny Fairplay” and maintain control over that character while on the show. I wanted to make Jonny Fairplay the biggest bad guy in the history of reality TV, and I think I accomplished everything I set out to.
Q: In Survivor: Pearl Islands, what do you feel was your greatest move in the game besides the deceased grandmother lie, which helped you achieve your 3rd place finish?
A: The grandmother lie isn’t really my favorite part of the show. My favorite part and one of my greatest moves on the show was when I got rid of Rupert. To make an alliance with the Morgan Tribe after Rupert was voted out really changed the complexion of the game more than the dead grandmother lie did. The grandmother lie secured me as the greatest bad guy on TV, and for that I’m thankful as that was my goal going in. Getting rid of Rupert and Burton coming back were the two biggest things to happen in the game. The next day Burton and I talked and he asked, “Why did you get rid of me?” and I said, “Because you were too nice of a guy,” but then we started to talk and formed a great alliance.
Q: You said on Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites that you were learning to be a better person and support your baby, Piper. So have you changed at all from your first term on Survivor when you were simply out to be a villain?
A: That was all a lie, none of that was true. The week before I left for Fans vs. Favorites I had 15 hours of dental surgery and I was on a ton of vicodin. On the show, they don’t give you any drugs – which I don’t think they should – so I was in a ton of pain, and said to myself, “I have to quit.” My plan was to lie and say I was quitting for my daughter, and the same idiots who believed the “dead grandmother” lie would believe this lie as well. You never got the true reveal on Fans vs. Favorites.
Q: Although you were allegedly banned from appearing on Survivor again after quitting Fans vs. Favorites, would you ever consider participating in the show again if asked?
A: Jeff Probst actually put the ban on me before Fans vs. Favorites, so obviously the ban can’t mean too much. I was actually called for Heroes vs. Villains, flew to Los Angeles, got my shots and did all my testing, and a few weeks before I was about to leave I got a call saying that Richard Hatch had not received his passport yet. I asked what that had to do with me, and the producers said that if I were to ever come back to the show, they wanted Jonny Fairplay vs. Richard Hatch. So I guess that puts a hold on me appearing on the show again until Richard Hatch gets his passport.
Q: What was the main life lesson you learned from your time on Survivor?
A: I don’t think I learned any life lessons, as I went on the show simply to become a great villain. Many people go on Survivor to become a better person, but the “bad guy” persona I displayed on TV is my real self, turned up to a higher power for the viewers. So as far as life lessons go, none