Exclusive: David Samson talks 'Survivor: Cagayan -- Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty' (Part 1)
By Reality TV World staff, 02/27/2014
Survivor: Cagayan -- Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty's premiere concluded with the Brains tribe eliminating David Samson and Garrett Adelstein from their tribe at two separate Tribal Council sessions during Wednesday night's episode of the CBS reality series' 28th edition.
David, a 45-year-old from Plantation, FL who is president of the Miami Marlins, was voted out of his six-person Brains tribe at the season's first Tribal Council. He was immediately designated as his tribe's leader and had to pick out the weakest link. He selected Garrett, who in turn convinced his tribe to vote David out.
The tables, however, turned on Garrett soon afterwards. The 27-year-old pro poker player from Santa Monica, CA, was voted out of the Brains tribe at the second Tribal Council session.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, David talked about his short-lived Survivor experience. Below is the first half of his interview. Check back with us on Friday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: Did you go into Tribal thinking everyone was voting for J'Tia Taylor, or how did you think everyone was going to be voting?
David Samson: Yeah, I certainly thought it was going to be a 5-1 vote for J'Tia when it should've actually been a 6-0 vote. I would think she should've voted for herself.
She was so bad and so bossy and so incapable and so lazy -- other than with her mouth -- and being bossy. But I had no inkling because it just didn't make sense to me that they viewed me as a threat, and that got confirmed last night watching the episode, but I still would think it would make sense to get rid of a threat first once J'Tia was there.
Reality TV World: After you were voted off, you said you had no regrets, which seems hard to believe given you were the first person voted out. Do you really not have a single regret or did you just say that in the heat of the moment?
David Samson: No, I still feel that way. I think that, as I think back to everything that happened in those first three days, we were so hungry and so thirsty and so malnourished and we had so little energy, the challenge was really hard for us.
I don't regret choosing [Garrett Adelstein] because it occurred to me choosing third that I should put my strongest guy with [Morgan McLeod] and [Trish Hegarty] because what if [Jeff Probst] was going to do a challenge? And maybe the Brains could win something.
If I were choosing first, I would've chosen [Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen], which would've been a more conventional decision, and I don't regret deciding so quickly because they already viewed me as a leader.
I was dressed like a leader and I was on a tribe called the Brains tribe, so I felt like if I bumbled around and dithered around and didn't make a decision, they would see right through it if I wanted to go quickly in with authority.
Reality TV World: I can understand believing Garrett was going to be a big threat once the tribes merged and the Individual Immunity Challenges started and so you wanted him gone before that, but why did you feel the need to tell everyone the truth? Why didn't you make up a lie or say you thought there might be a challenge like you just mentioned -- and therefore Garrett would give you the best advantage?
David Samson: Well, I did point that out and that is something that we talked about and I really counted on Garrett. I just met these people 10 seconds earlier, but I really felt as though he would understand we're all on the Brains tribe for a reason.
I didn't know what that reason was, and frankly after watching the episode, I still don't know what the reason is. And I really thought that he would have the ability to get through it and he just could not.
Reality TV World: So you're saying that when Jeff Probst asked you why you picked Garrett, even though you were shown saying that you picked him because you were focusing on the end of the game, that wasn't all you said? You also noted there might be a challenge coming up?
David Samson: I said to Jeff -- that's exactly what I said to Jeff, but back at camp when we all reunited after he found the idol -- and we didn't know he had the idol but we certainly knew that he had a chance to look for it, because that would makeSurvivor sense -- but that's the first thing I said to them.
Reality TV World: But I think the damage was probably done by that point, so I guess that's what I was asking. Initially, was there some reason why you went with the end-game explanation for Garrett's vote-off? That's an honest and frank answer but it's potentially damaging.
David Samson: Yeah, obviously it turned out that way, but regret is when you'd do something different with the information you have at the time you made the decision. So I wouldn't have done it differently. Obviously looking back...
Reality TV World: So what about using the word "hindsight" instead or "regret?" (Laughs)
David Samson: Of course. In hindsight, I'd want to win. But to me, there's 17 losers and one winner. So whether I'm the first boot of the fifteenth boot, I'm still one of the losers. So in hindsight, I would've had to have done something differently because I wanted a different result, but at the time, I had no choice, in my opinion, other than to do what I did. And I would do it again.
Reality TV World: It would've been unprecedented for the show to just let three castaways decide to vote three other castaways out of the game in the premiere's first few minutes. Based upon what you're saying, it seems like you suspected Garrett wasn't going to be out of the game. So what was going through your mind? Because the comment you made to Jeff made it seem like you assumed otherwise.
David Samson: Yeah, because that's what I wanted to play. That was a strategic thing to say. Everything I said to Jeff, in my mind, was said for a reason. But in my mind, Garrett's in a green shirt. We're all in green except me, so I didn't think he'd switch tribes.
I thought maybe the leaders would switch tribes possibly because I was dressed -- I didn't put a green shirt on. I had a blazer on, but I thought that there would be a challenge or I thought there would be something where having him against Morgan and Trish would make sense. That was what was in my head. And the reason I wanted to go quickly is, you know, who am I fooling?
We're sitting on the brink, my tribe chose me immediately, it didn't make sense to show the other two tribes that I was not able to make decisions, because by the time I got to the other two tribes, in my opinion, there would've been enough other things going on in the game that I could've continued to play.
But my strategy totally changed the minute I realized we were the Brains tribe, because I thought for months about how I'd be. And I didn't want to be a leader. I wanted to just melt in as best I could, knowing that I'd be on the older side demographically. But the minute Jeff announced what the sort of the gimmick was this season, that pretty much made my strategy null and void.
Reality TV World: So were you frustrated you got pinned as the Brains tribe's leader then?
David Samson: You know, I wasn't happy, but it made perfect sense. As an outsider looking in on that six-person situation, look at what I'm wearing. Look at everything. I just look like I should have that role. No one wants that role.
But when five people look at me and say, "Why don't you do it?" I had only two choices to make within those three seconds: Do I accept this leadership role and move on from there, or, do I fight it and look like I'm so badly trying not to lead that it makes me look bad in any case?
So just by definition, I think that [Sarah Lacina], [LJ McKanas] and I have a problem. And again, how it all unfolds, we'll find out. But being called out and being voted that early as the leader really just did not end well.
Above is the first half of David's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us on Friday for the concluding portion.