'Survivor: Samoa's' Erik Cardona: Best game? 'Natalie, 100%'
Before we jump right in to last night's episode, can you just tell us what you were doing before "Survivor?"
That's a great question. I've been this guy who has done some things. I went to college, I graduated and then I was just kind-of called to something greater, something bigger in life. I'm from a small town and the fact that I didn't just become a school teacher and have kids by age 22 made me kind-of an outcast here and I was always chasing a bigger goal, a bigger dream. I would go to bed at night and think to myself, "When is it you are going to find whatever it is you are looking for?" I swear to God, I've said that to myself hundreds of times and then this opportunity came along and a couple weeks in I was standing on the beach, looking at that Samoan sky and I thought, "You found what you were looking for."
So what did you do after "Survivor?" Are you back in your hometown?
No, I'm out in LA. I just moved out to Santa Monica. I went to college at Pepperdine and was really fond of the ocean so I moved out there for the beach. Most people go out here for the glitz and glamour but I really just love the beach. I got fired fro my job for taking time off for "Survivor" and when I came back I was like, "But I was on 'Survivor!'" and they're like, "You're still terminated." So now I'm working with my buddy on this production company and I help him write stories and tell stories. Carson Brothers Creations is what it's called and we just love good stories. It doesn't matter, funny, documentary, anything, we just want to tell stories. I have a much more appreciation for a good storytelling after being on the show, it's such good theatre.
Okay, so let's talk about last night's crazy episode. What happened, from your perspective?
They lost their damn minds. They just went crazy. They broke my heart. It was so tough. I haven't felt so brokenhearted since a girl in college came back from a year overseas, a girl I was totally in love with, and said, "Erik, I don't think I love you at all." I haven't felt like that in eight years, so thank you Galu for bringing me back there. They just broke my heart.
I think there was an idea, then there was confusion, we were malnutritioned, there were crazy people there to begin with and a crazy idea came out and they went with it. The whole thing went down in like 5 minutes. I walked down the island and there was no elephant in the room and I come back five minutes later and all of a sudden there's a huge elephant sitting on the sofa and it's like, "Where did that guy come from?" I would like to give them more credit for the invisible attack but they did it in five minutes! What decision have you ever made in your life that took only took 5 minutes? These people didn't think about anything. They went "Erik, Erik, Erik, okay cool." I went from zero to villain on my own tribe, the one that I bled purple for, in five minutes.
Did you have ANY idea you were getting voted off?
No. Zero. Zilch. Even though I did sense a little bit of confusion, I didn't know it was directed my way. There was nobody, there was nothing, there was no Erik and then somehow they all jumped on it. I thought that if something crazy were to happen I would've thought that I had earned enough respect of playing my ass off for that team that it would've warranted at least someone to say, "Hey, let's think about this a little more." I thought I was tight enough with some of those Galu men that one of them would've put the kibosh on it. Somehow this crazy plan got past me, it got past my guy tribe members, and it went into effect
Is it more satisfying to get booted off by blindside because that's good game play, or do you wish you would've known it was coming?
Oh no, I think you want to know. As a guy who reveres respect and loyalty, I think the right thing to do is to look someone in the eye and tell them they are going home. I understand that game play doesn't lend itself to that, but especially because I had the Idol! Nobody knew about it and if somebody had given me the respect of telling me, I still could've played it.
The other thing is, here's the behind-the-scenes "Survivor" exclusive. When people get booted off, they're actually relieved. There's a moment, there's a part of you that when your torch is snuffed is like, "Okay. Time to go." But for me, it was zero like that. I wasn't happy about the food or the warm showers or being able to talk to people. There was absolutely no relief, no satisfaction about going home.
At this point in the game, who do you think is playing the best game?
Jesus... gosh, that's so tough. John? Maybe? I gotta go with John. I think everyone is kinda playing a little bit different game. See, Laura was playing a good game but she was wrong. She made a mistake and got a little greedy and got a little pompous. I can't really say Russell, because he's aggressive but he looks like a total idiot when he comes to our tribe. He came over to us and he shows 8 different people the idol and makes promises to everybody and I thought his game play sucked.
At this point in the game I didn't really respect anybody's game play. Shambo, God bless her heart, she was very loyal but she wasn't a gamer. She wasn't a strategist, she was loyal and that's what she brought to the table. Monica was thinking she signed up for the wrong show. She thought she was going to be on "Survivor: Cabo San Lucas Princess Edition." I guess maybe Brett because he works really hard, he's very intelligent. I'm gonna go with Brett and America doesn't know that because he doesn't get so much facetime.
Oh, wait no! Natalie. She's protecting herself as a lone wolf, only woman on Foa Foa. She's really tight with a guy who's mowing people down and at this point in the game she concocted the idea to get me out and I think she's responsible for making the biggest move in the game. I stand corrected, it's Natalie 100%.
At this point in the game, who were you rooting for?
Nobody. They all stabbed me in the back. There were so many Erik votes that came up, I thought Jeff Probst himself had written my name down. I felt like there were a hundred votes with my name. Every last one of them except for Shambo stabbed me in the back but it's hard to root for Shambo because she was with me and I don't know if she had enough steam to go farther in the game but I guess without her I wouldn't have gone as far. It was a pretty solid mutual relationship, so I guess I root for Shambo but I wouldn't put money on it.
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Liz's exit interview
Russell's exit interview
Ashley's exit interview