Exclusive: Candace Smith dishes about her time on 'Survivor'
By John Bracchitta, 02/20/2009
You can call Survivor: Tocantins castaway Candace Smith outspoken, honest or no-holds-barred, just don't call her a "bad apple."
The 31-year-old actress/model and event planner and former lawyer from Los Angeles, CA was one of the physically stronger member of her Timbira tribe. However, after not taking a liking to many of her tribemates, Candace eventually wore out her welcome in her tribe and became the second castaway to be eliminated from the show during Thursday night's broadcast.
On Friday, Candace spoke to Reality TV World about how she really felt about Benjamin "Coach" Wade (It's not good), why she felt he was able to orchestrate a blindside against her without a legitimate reason to do so, and which of her tribemates she described as a "prancing-attention-deficit-disorder-cougar."
Reality TV World: After you were eliminated, you said you were "surprised" and "pissed off" about your elimination. Did you really have no idea you might be a target?
Candace: Yeah, I was definitely taken by surprise. I would say like right before we went to Tribal Council I noticed some people had some difficulty making eye contact with me and I kinda sensed that maybe they were all in on some shadiness, but I thought "No way. Look at how strong I am in competition and how hard I work at camp. There's no way they would make the idiotic decision to get rid of me now.
Reality TV World: Yeah, kind of going off of that, Given you seemed to be the strongest woman out there...
Candace: Oh I'm ten-times stronger than you would even believe.
Reality TV World: Well alright, you would have seemed to be a natural fit for Coach's "survival of the strongest" plan...
Candace: Oh totally!
Reality TV World: But you clashed with him. So what happened there?
Candace: Why do I think Coach and I clashed?!
Reality TV World: Just begin I guess...
Candace: Like where do I start dude. I've got respect for myself, first of all, so dealing with a highly delusional misogynist is very difficult for me. I mean he was intimidated by me form the very beginning. It's like, I'm not just a pretty face, I'm mentally strong and I can keep up with the best of 'em. And I'm physically stronger than him, so of course that intimidated him as well, and I didn't buy into his manipulative ways and crap. Like, he's seriously all about talk and no action, and that worked with a lot of people and he saw it did not work with me.
And everything I said was the truth! On the episode I said that he has not shown anything, and he did not. On the first episode, you did not see me pick up two planks, put them over my shoulder and run over the hills? Meanwhile he struggled.
He was so weak form the very beginning, and I saw it and I pointed it out. I mean, we're all about this "Survival of the fittest," [then] why are you getting rid of Candace?
Reality TV World: Going off of that a little, a lot of viewers seem to think it was pretty hypocritical for [Coach] to have carried on about wanting to ally with the strong and vote off the weak but then cozy up with the weakest person on your tribe -- [Sierra Reed] -- and vote off you off instead -- what's your opinion about that?
Candace: I think it's hypocritical and complete bullshit. First of all, I would argue over whether or not Sierra or [Debra "Debbie" Beebe] was the weakest. They were both weak as hell, and that to me was really [who he was] aligning himself with. The reality is he's weak.
I really don't know what else to say. What do I think about this kid aligning himself... Um, he's a douche.
Reality TV World: Well that kind of goes into my next question, based upon "first impression" a lot of viewers have gotten of him, and also yesterday I don't know if you heard but he got fired from his soccer team because he was gone...
Candace: I'm not allowed to comment on that.
Reality TV World: Okay I was just bringing it up, but [so far] he seems to [be coming across to viewers] off as a pretty arrogant and a kind of creepy...
Candace: Oh he's beyond arrogant and creepy. I'm gonna tell you right now there's no way I would let him coach my daughter or my son in anything. He's creepy, he's a pervert. He constantly tried to feel on my ass, he wanted to lick on my neck, he constantly talked about how sexy I was. After the challenge you saw how I performed, do you think he talked to me about my performance or my breasts? Which one?
Reality TV World: I'm gonna guess the second one.
Candace: So I mean does that say anything about kid "Coach?" He's a disgrace to coaches, like, he's a disgrace to every coach I've ever had. What coach do you know who doesn't uplift the strong or those who are physically excelling and says "Let's get rid of them," or "They're a cancer?"
No, you personally are threatened by them and you have somehow been able to manipulate and influence everyone.
Reality TV World: So how do you think everyone else in your tribe went ended up going along with him? Was he running your tribe [that] tightly?
Candace: I mean he was kind of like our... our... our self-proclaimed leader and I think for the most part people just went along with him because it wasn't their heads on the chopping block.
I think Debbie went along with it because -- well, first of all she's so far up Coach's ass it's disgraceful, like "Whaddaya need Coach? [You want me to] come here Coach? Want me to wash your boxers Coach? Want me to stick to your plan Coach? Need some water Coach?" It was seriously insane and what that's all about I have no idea.
Plus, she probably heard me say she was weak because she is weak, and mentally she was so discombobulated that I don't even see how she could've performed in any challenge that required mental strength.
Sierra just wanted to save herself. Calling me a snake in the grass absolutely made no sense, but I wouldn't expect anything more from her.
[Erinn Lobdell] was highly insecure, intimidated by me from the very beginning. She was like obsessed with me, and I knew she really didn't want me around. I mean she went on and on about "Oh my God, why do you look like that without makeup? And your body and blah, blah, blah. I gained weight to be on here." Yeah, right! "I train for marathons," like, those aren't marathon legs. Like, I know what legs look like when you train for a marathon, get outta here.
Reality TV World: We saw a couple of references to it on last night's show, but how serious were you when you were trying to vote off Coach, because [although] you talked with Erinn, you ended up voting for Sierra and you kind of seemed to change your mind. Why did you decide to back off?
Candace: Like, in a utopia Coach would've been gone. I guess what happened was I just really saw the influence he had over everyone and I was like "This isn't even doable." I don't know how he did it, maybe he was hypnotizing people with his toe rings. Like... hey kudos to him because he manipulated the shit out of some people and they were just like "Okay Coach!"
Reality TV World: Yeah, actually kind of going off of that, did anyone push back when he [first said he] wanted everyone to call him by the name "Coach?"
Candace: I was probably the only one. (Laughs)
I mean I didn't hear anybody else say "Huh?" but me. Like, you don't see it in Tribal Council, but [Survivor host Jeff Probst] asks "So, who is the leader?" and I go "Well someone wants to be referred to as 'Coach,' what do you think?"
And everyone looked at me "(Gasp) She's talking bad about Coach!" Get outta here...
Reality TV World: During your Final Words, you said the tribe was like an apparent "day camp," and you said that "they're gonna need [you]." Can it explain a little but more about what you meant by that?
Candace: I meant that it was just a lot of social manipulating, superficial crap going on. And like the whole show-and-tell with people trying to portray themselves as something that they're not. I'm saying it was more like day camp to me versus Survivor.
Like, if it's Survivor then cut out the whole show-and-tell and just prove it. Go out there and perform in the challenges, work at camp and show that you're strong and you're worth keeping around. Don't see who can talk the most and can parade around like "Oh, I such a nice person, let me just keep talking to you like Debbie."
Like seriously, [Debbie] would say "Oh I love you James!" to [Jerry Sims] all the time! I'm like, first of all his name's Jerry, dude! What are you talking about [with] "You love him?"
It's just like this crazy delusional socialization. That was what I couldn't deal with. I'm like dude, if you wanted to be a strong tribe, and that's what it really was all about, I'd be there. But if it's day camp, I'm outta here. That's what it was.
Reality TV World: So is it safe to say that you didn't form any lasting relationships or friends on the tribe?
Candace: (Laughs) I mean, I have a connection with Jerry because Jerry reminds me of one of my uncles, I love Jerry. The only other person on the tribe that I could see myself socializing with, or wanting to have a cup of coffee with, is [Tyson Apostol]. I don't even respect the other people, they're not even interesting they have nothing to contribute to the world. They just kinda talk nonsense.
Reality TV World: Like you alluded to on the show, there was an extra day between when you guys lost the Immunity Challenge and finally went to Tribal Council -- you said there was "a long time for people to be rallying" for votes. Do you think that helped contribute to your elimination?
Candace: That I didn't rally?
Reality TV World: Well just that there was extra time to rally -- either for your elimination or not or whatever. Do you think [the extra time] eventually led to your elimination?
Candace: Oh, for sure. If we had went straight to vote, than there wouldn't have been time for Debbie to go (in a baby voice) tell on me to her loving Coach that I was trash talking when she trash talked so much.
It's like, are you kidding me? Like yeah, but she's the one that tries to portray herself as being super positive, Miss Innocent, school principal.
Get out of here, like, you're full of shit. (In a baby voice) "Oh my God! Candace is trash talking you!" Wow, like who all have you trash talked Debbie?
Reality TV World: Was you that rice and beans cooking [argument] that you had with Coach the first time that you guys clashed?
Candace: No, we clashed multiple times, and I feel like every time we clashed that I was in the right, honest. Like with the rice and beans, you didn't even see the whole conversation, but I basically said to him -- because he's telling me he knows exactly how to do it -- and I said "If you're an expert on it you should do it." It wasn't me being a bitch or me saying I don't wanna do it. I'm like "Dude, this is my first time cooking rice and beans over fire so it may not come out perfect, but know that I'm trying."
But that was him all the time, telling people what to do and how to do it, but never actually doing it. He constantly told Jerry to chop firewood. Every day, all day and I finally had it! No one stood up to coach but me. No one did.
Reality TV World: You said that you thought his ego was "bigger than Brazil" and you thought that would be his downfall. Do you think the other tribemates will eventually see through him?
Candace: Yeah, definitely. I mean people have to eventually snap out of their cult daze and see him for the douche that he is. I mean people were already seeing it when it was time for me to go but nobody wanted to step up. See, he was very strategic about it, he threw my name out at the last minute where people didn't have time to say "No, wait a minute, Candace is actually pretty strong. Why are we getting rid of her, because she wouldn't give you any booty? Like, what's going on?"
Reality TV World: Last question about him, you talked about how [Coach] would flirt with you, could you just comment on that a little?
Candace: Yeah it was nonstop. he definitely wanted me, and Sierra might have been his second choice. Like, he was on me nonstop from the very beginning. "Oh Candace, you're so sexy," and trying to rub on my butt. Or "Hey Candace touch my chest, it radiates heat. Candace, now let's kiss and make up." Get outta here! He was a pervert!
Reality TV World: You seemed to be, if anything, surprised after hearing of the "fire pit" and you said you didn't "think it [made] that much sense." Did you have any idea that Sierra had a clue for a hidden Immunity Idol and may be looking for it?
Candace: Yeah, I had a feeling something was going on. It's completely illogical, and the fact that everyone bought into it? (Laughs)
Again, it felt like The Twilight Zone. Debbie comes skipping around the corner like a prancing-attention-deficit-disorder-cougar talking about "Oh my God, we got a fire pit! It's on the other side of the beach. Isn't that great!?! They dug it for us!"
I'm like "Dude we're having a hard time maintaining this fire, why would we... I mean... isn't this Survivor? Shouldn't we maybe save our energy for challenges? Like, why would you dig a [pit]?"
I knew something was going on, of course I didn't really get time to investigate.
Reality TV World: Did anyone else get an [idea] about it?
Candace: None of them got it. Absolutely no!
Reality TV World: At least on the show it seemed like Erinn might be the closest to who you were with out there, were you surprised that she went along with the plan to vote you off?
Candace: No. Erinn and I were not close. Like, you got that impression from watching that episode, but Erinn and I were not close at all. I mean, if I were to say I was close to anyone, it might be like Jerry or Tyson. Erinn I knew wanted to get me outta there immediately, I knew that from the very beginning. She's so insecure, I knew she didn't want me around.
Reality TV World: Was there anyone that you were surprised to see go along with the plan?
Reality TV World: Other than Sierra's apparent alliance with Brendan, were you aware any other alliances while you were out there? I mean you had also said Coach, Debbie [and Sierra], but aside from that.
Candace: I mean, Coach wanted to have an alliance with all the men and me, and then vote [the weakest girls] off one-by-one. That's what he wanted. I'd be an idiot to go along with that right? Because my head would be on the chopping block as soon as all the women were gone, and I shared that with the women. But obviously they weren't smart enough to digest the information and do something useful with it.
Reality TV World: Did [Brendan Synnott] ever explain why he picked [Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George] to go to Exile Island with him?
Candace: He said some crap about he thought that she might have been alienated from her tribe and would be someone that may potentially [ally] with [us] if there was a merge.
Reality TV World: Last week, [Carolina Eastwood] told us that she had been a big SWV fan and recognized Taj as soon as she saw her. Did you know who she was?
Candace: Until she choked me underwater! (Laughs) What's your question? I'm sorry.
Reality TV World: Did you recognize who she was from [SWV] when you saw her?
Candace: I'm black! (Laughs) Yeah.
Reality TV World: Based on her response, Sierra seemed to really fall for the opening twist and think she was immediately being voted out of the competition -- what was your own reaction to all that?
Candace: What was my reaction to...
Reality TV World: the opening twist vote.
Candace: I mean I was shocked we were doing it and surprised that everyone chose Sierra. I was surprised that she wasn't actually leaving. I had mixed feelings, there was part of me that was like "That's unfair, she hasn't even had an opportunity yet," but she just gave off this vibe like "I'm too cool for school," like she should be on The Hills or Laguna Beach.
Then she was name-dropping like Jack Osbourne as her best friend, which is pretty obnoxious. It's like who name drops? And if you do you might wanna do a little bit better than Jack Osbourne, no offense to him but c'mon.
I think she shoulda just been gone. She says "Oh I gave up this modeling contract to be here." I really wish you took the contract, why are you here? Oh, that's right, to be on TV. Get outta here...
Reality TV World: You talked about it a second ago, but a lot of people on your tribe seemed like your tribe seemed to take issue with some of the tactics that Jalapao used during the Immunity Challenge, could you talk about that a little?
Candace: The tactics?
Reality TV World: During that water challenge. I think you were just talking about how Taj pulled you underwater.
Candace: It was a little dirty. I had my top taken off, but this wasn't the first time my breasts have been shown (Laughs). You know, um, keepin' it real!
It got dirty so I got dirty back. It was an all out brawl, it's like what did you expect? It was going down and I was like "I'm gonna go down with it.
Reality TV World: Overall, what surprised you the most about Survivor?
Candace: How difficult it really was. Like I consider myself to be a very strong person, I knew that I hadn't spent my childhood camping, or [my] adulthood, and this was gonna be completely foreign to me and I had no idea how difficult it would be for me to be out in the elements like that.
I knew it's be difficult, but not that difficult. And I knew the social aspect of the game would be difficult for me because I just have a hard time faking it with people. But it's like when you combine the elements it was impossible. I was just like... my tolerance level had just fallen to the ground.
Reality TV World: Actually, going back to that [water challenge on Thursday], was there any concern for anyone's safety during that challenge? Common sense would kind of dictate that standing in water during a storm might be kinda dangerous.
Candace: (Laughs) Right!? Any concern from who, Jeff?! Jeff's concerned with ratings. He's probably thinking "Dude, it would be awesome if lighting comes down and strikes Candace right when her [bikini] falls off, this is great for ratings!"
No, there was no concern. Taj put me in a headlock underwater. "Yeah, let's see how long she can hold her breathe," Like, no...
Reality TV World: How were you cast for the show?
Candace: Well, someone from casting told me "Hey Candace there's this opportunity, they want you to apply."
At first I said no, I'd never watched the show so they're like "Candace you really need to check out the show. So I got a bunch of past episodes and watched it, became fascinated by it, and just the competitor in me came out. So I went ahead and did the application and video and did the whole process.