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Exclusive: Aras Baskauskas talks 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' (Part 1)


By Reality TV World staff, 11/21/2013 

Survivor: Blood vs. Water eliminated returning castaway Aras Baskauskas from the game after he lost the season's eighth Redemption Island duel during Wednesday night's tenth episode of the CBS reality series' 27th edition.

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Aras -- a 31-year-old musician from Santa Monica, CA, who was previously crowned champion of Survivor: Panama -- Exile Island, which aired in early 2006 -- lost the duel to brother and newbie player Vytas Baskauskas, a 33-year-old yoga instructor and math professor from Santa Monica, CA, and returning castaway Tina Wesson, a 52-year-old motivational speaker from Robbinsville, NC.

Aras had previously been voted out of the merged Kasama tribe when his male alliance, especially Tyson Apostol and Gervase Peterson, turned on and betrayed him. His brother is still competing in the game although he's still on Redemption Island.

In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Aras talked about his Survivor: Blood vs. Water experience. Below is the first half of his interview. Check back with us on Friday for the concluding portion.

Reality TV World: After you were voted off, Jeff Probst asked yourself and Vytas if the Survivor experience helped bring some closure to your rivalry, and Vytas basically said not really. Did that surprise you? Because you seemed to console Vytas afterwards, assuring him it was okay he still felt that way.

Aras Baskauskas: [Pauses] Did it surprise me that Vytas said, "No?" Yeah, I think, [pauses] it's hard to say. Nothing surprises me with my brother. We've had a long and tumultuous relationship that's gotten much better, but no. I mean, it's not like out of character for him to say that.

Reality TV World: How aware were you about how Vytas felt before you guys went on Survivor together? Because even though the show presented it as "a rivalry," it kind of seemed to be a pretty one-sided rivalry in which Vytas seemed to have a lot of resentment towards you and you really didn't seem to have many harsh feelings toward him.

Aras Baskauskas: Yeah, I mean, I think that's kind of been the nature of our relationship for a long time. It's kind of just what you described. Vytas loves me. I can tell you that. Vytas loves me a ton and I love my brother a ton.

I think kind of given the way our childhood unfolded, maybe he just felt like he had more to prove. I don't feel like that with Vytas, and I think that perhaps this game may have changed the way Vytas approaches our [relationship].

[The rivalry dynamic], that's like typical Vytas. But I do think, in Vytas' defense, when Jeff asks you a question out there and you have to process the experience, it's hard to sum up the experience of Survivor while you're still on Survivor, you know? I bet if Jeff were to ask Vytas that question [again now], he would probably give him a much different answer.

Reality TV World: It had seemed like Vytas and your own tribe of mainly guys agreed your tribe had a big advantage over Vytas' tribe when he ended up on a tribe of mostly older women after the swap. So how did it feel losing the Redemption Island duel to Tina, who was obviously one of those older women? Had Vytas, Tina and yourself joked about the circumstances at all before the duel or what was the dynamic there?

Aras Baskauskas: Well look, I just got blindsided pretty bad, and I certainly knew that on paper, Vytas and I had quite the advantage. But I was not counting a victory having just been blindsided.

I knew anything could happen, and I think that Vytas and I assumed we had a pretty good chance, but we knew anything could happen. And that game, it just wasn't built for what I'm good at, which is obviously not using a maze.

Reality TV World: Vytas decided to give [Katie Collins] the clue to the hidden Immunity Idol after he won the Redemption Island duel. Did that surprise you, or had all three of you already discussed it ahead of time and decided to give it to Katie no matter who won?

Aras Baskauskas: We discussed it at that point, you know, we were the four people that got blindsided by my vote-out, so we were going to stay together as long as we could.

Reality TV World: So even though, at best, only one of you would end up back with Katie, you guys were still planning on continuing in the game with Katie if you could -- if you got to re-enter the game?

Aras Baskauskas: Exactly.

Reality TV World: Did you ever suspect that Tyson had already found the hidden Immunity Idol, or had anyone else out there told you they thought he might have found it?

Aras Baskauskas: No, I didn't suspect it. I mean, granted, it was only a day after he found it that I got blindsided, so I didn't have much time to reflect or consider.

Reality TV World: So when Vytas and Tina joined you on Redemption Island, they didn't mention they were suspecting it or anything like that?

Aras Baskauskas: No. No, no, no.

Reality TV World: The editing made it look like Vytas and yourself had gone into the tribal merge thinking you two were in complete control of the game and were basically just going to cruise to the final tribal. Were you as cocky or arrogant about your chances as it came across?

Aras Baskauskas: I was pretty nervous going into that Tribal Council. I told medical that I had a really bad feeling in my stomach, so it was either a virus or I was getting voted out. Obviously, it wasn't a virus.

I said in my interview before Tribal that -- the producer asked me, "What's happening tonight?" And I said, "I'm going to get blindsided." I was really uncomfortable. There were a lot of signs, and my biggest fear was being paranoid. And so rather than just listen to my intuition, which was telling me, "Hey, you're doing something wrong," I didn't, and I just sat there and took it.

I was certainly shocked when I got blindsided, but it wasn't a complete, complete -- Vytas was completely shocked. Vytas didn't see any of it coming, and I think a lot of that was because he had the immunity necklace around his neck. But there were signs. I just didn't respond in an appropriate manner to them.

Reality TV World: What were the signs?

Aras Baskauskas: Gervase started being short with me, Tyson spent a long time talking to [Ciera Eastin] on the beach. She was supposed to be toxic. I asked Tyson what he was talking about and he goes, "Oh, well, she just wanted to know who we were voting out." And I had [already] told her [Monica Culpepper].

Oh no, he said, "She just wanted to know who we were voting out and I told her I'd tell her later." I was thinking to myself, "But Tyson, you talked to her for like 20 minutes." There was much more conversation than that, so that was strange.

And then we get to Tribal Council and [Laura Morett] said, "No, we got an alliance." And then Monica said, "I'm voting for the person with the best relationship out on the beach," which obviously wasn't Laura M. And so, at that point, I should have spoken up -- at least blown up Tribal and tried to flip it on its head, perhaps get Laura and Ciera to come with Vytas, myself, Katie, and Tina for a "loved ones" thing.

But I didn't do it! Those are all -- Hindsight's always 20/20. It's always very hard also to determine how much of this you saw and how much of this you're pretending like you saw, you know? It's way, way easy.

Reality TV World: And it was also bit of a new experience for you as well, since you won Survivor: Panama -- Exile Island on your only prior season. You didn't have to worry about that the first time around. (Laughs)

Aras Baskauskas: Yeah, that's the other thing. But I will say I felt like the way they edited that episode when I got blindsided, they make Vytas look super cocky, and I kind of feel like I get a guilt by association. I certainly -- I mean, I don't think you could point to a single scene where I look like I'm being arrogant or cocky.

Certainly I felt comfortable, I mean, that's the nature of a blindside. But I wasn't walking around saying, "We have this beach on lock." I was very aware that there were a lot of moving parts and that it wasn't going to be a very easy situation.

Above is the first half of Aras Baskauskas' exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us on Friday for the concluding portion.

(Photo credit CBS)


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