Exclusive: Ace Gordon discusses his surprise 'Survivor: Gabon' ouster
By John Bracchitta, 10/31/2008
Ace Gordon, a 27-year-old fashion photographer and Cartier jewelry salesman from Naples, FL , didn't set out to make friends on Survivor: Gabon -- even his closest ally referred to him as a "snake," but one thing was certain: Ace was truly in it to win it.
However, 21 days into the game, his perception as a threat to other castaways, combined with his closest ally's betrayal, led to Gordon becoming one of two members -- and the seventh overall -- to be eliminated during the competition during Thursday's broadcast of Survivor: Gabon on CBS.
On Friday, Ace talked with Reality TV World about how he knew he was going to be betrayed by Jessica "Sugar" Kiper, what castaway he considers to be nothing more than a "patsy," and why his British accent is not a fake.
Reality TV World: Why did you ask Sugar for the Immunity Idol before last night's Tribal Council -- were you worried that [Matty Whitmore] was going to flip on you or were you worried that Sugar was going to flip on you?
Ace: I actually was worried about both of them. Also I wanted to soothe Matty's worries that she had the Immunity Idol.
I sort of saw that Sugar was going crackpot so I wanted some form of protection.
Reality TV World: Last night's broadcast only showed Sugar saying she was going to think about giving you the Idol. Did she ever end up giving it to you?
Reality TV World: So does that mean you had a feeling she was going to turn on you or did it still come as a surprise?
Ace: I knew she was turning on me.
Reality TV World: Did she give you an explanation for not giving you the idol?
Ace: No, she just didn't say anything. She said "Give me some time to think," and I knew I was dead then.
Reality TV World: Why were you immediately certain that it was Sugar and not Matty that had betrayed you -- was there some kind of giveaway on that part of Sugar's vote that the show blurred out?
Ace: No, just because... I don't know. At a certain point you know who... I'm a very good judge of character, let's put it that way.
Reality TV World: Could you elaborate on how you could tell?
Ace: Well, the same way that people have "tells" when they play poker. It was obvious, she wouldn't look me in the eyes. Matty's one of the most expressive characters I know and the absolute look of fear, horror, and shock on his face when I was voted out sort of gave away the fact that he didn't vote for me.
Reality TV World: On Sugar's vote there was something that was written and blurred out on the broadcast. Do you know what that was?
Ace: No, I'm not sure.
Reality TV World: You were pretty boastful and overconfident throughout the game, do you think that's what ultimately did you in?
Ace: No, not really. I mean I was confident and things like that but I mean... confidence and arrogance are akin I guess and that's why people would say that.
But on the same note, I tried to keep that purely for [my] confession[al interviews]. I tried to be quite secondary in relation to my interactions. I mean I do have a strong personality, I would never deny that and I'm not in any way in-adept. But at a certain point we can only hide so much.
Reality TV World: This morning, [Survivor: Gabon host Jeff Probst] posted a blog entry in which he insisted you were blindsided but had been refusing to admit it. Is that true?
Ace: Absolutely not because there's an interview -- if he really wants to argue about it -- right before me going to Tribal Council with me saying I'm about to be assassinated. He can... I don't know the most polite way to put that.
Reality TV World: You'd convinced other people -- including Matty -- not to vote Sugar out of the game several times. Did you plan on sticking with Sugar all the way to the end or were you planning on dumping her at some point?
Ace: I mean I had sort of no reason to dump her she was a great person to bring to the Final 2.
Reality TV World: : How about Matty?
Ace: I made Matty a promise, I would've stayed [until the end] with him. I was very inclined to be next to him, he's a very physical competitor, which was good [because] one of us would have the personal Immunity Idol.
On the same note he could sway people, but only to a certain extent and I felt confident in my closing arguments that it would be to my benefit to have him there.
Reality TV World: So before last night's Tribal Council session, [Ken "Kenny" Hoang] and Sugar had a conversation where Kenny told Sugar that you'd told everyone that you'd planned to get the hidden Idol from her so that you and the rest of the tribe could blindside her -- was that true or did Kenny completely make that up?
Ace: He was making it up. If I really wanted to have blindsided her I could have done it three times in a row. Why would I do it the fourth?
Reality TV World: It it safe to say that it stung a little more because you protected Sugar for 21 days and then she was the person who ultimately voted you out?
Ace: I mean obviously it was a stunning thing too. On the same note it wasn't the fact that I so trusted her, it was more the fact that there was no point for her to do what she did. I understand people if I suddenly became a huge threat, or if I was gonna kill her or something of that nature. But she had two Immunity Idols at that point. Why vote for the person that's been protecting you when it's obvious he's been protecting you the whole time.
If it was a strategic move I would have respected it. The fact that it was all willy-nilly "I'm just gonna choose somebody and I'm gonna choose the person who's been saving my ass" was slightly frustrating.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised at how strong a strategic player Kenny was?
Ace: Kenny's not a strategic player.
Reality TV World: Well obviously he was swaying Sugar. Why do you think he wasn't?
Ace: Because of the fact that he just went along and played "patsy" for everyone. He didn't make any decisions himself. He thinks he's some sort of "mystic" in that respect and the man behind the scenes, but that was really not true.
Reality TV World: Things didn't look very good for you when you first got switched to the Fang tribe. Were you surprised were you when the Fang tribe members decided to vote out [Danny "G.C." Brown] instead of Sugar or yourself?
Ace: No. G.C. had become a nightmare at that point. He's a very nice person outside of the game, but he was cracking at the edges at that point.
Reality TV World: Except for Sugar and Matty, you didn't seem to be very popular with any of your other Fang or Kota teammates -- why do you think that was the case?
Ace: Did you say either of the tribes?
Reality TV World: Yeah, the Fang or Kota tribes.
Ace: Oh, I didn't realize I was that unpopular in relation to Kota. On Fang it was because I had nothing in common with these individuals. There was no common ground.
Reality TV World: Last week when [Kelly Czarnecki] was eliminated, you two had an exchange of rude comments and she said that you were lying. Looking back now do you have any regrets about that exchange?
Ace: No. I mean, in retrospect, other things could have been said but at the time we were in the game. I think Kelly's a nice girl outside of the game. She's a friend of mine.
But at the time we were all particularly, comparatively vindictive.
Reality TV World: Lots of people -- including Jeff -- have noted how your British accent seems to come and go and questioned whether it's real. What do you have to say to that?
Ace: (Sarcastically) It's definitely fake. I mean, yeah I just put this on all the time because I have nothing better to do!
(Pauses) I mean, people can say what they want I don't really care to tell you the truth.
(Pauses again) I'm sorry, I'm not really frustrated at you, I've just had this question asked one-hundred times today so it's the same answer regurgitated over and over again.
You know, my accent comes and goes depending on who I'm talking to or what emotional state I'm in, so on and so forth. I lived in England for eight years. Both of my parents are English. I mean what do you want me to say?
If I was bother to lie -- if you really think about it in relation to the game -- I should have faked an American accent during the game and then put an English accent back on, or just let me have my normal accent, during confessions and it would have been great TV.
But the truth is I didn't think about it. my accent actually hindered me more than anything else because it made people question the fact as if I was loyal because I sounded different than they did. I was practically a black swan with the white swans [and] ostracized because of that. Why would I bother to exile myself on purpose when I have the intellect and capacity to understand what it would do if I didn't do it.