Exclusive: Aras Baskauskas talks 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' (Part 2)
By Reality TV World staff, 11/22/2013
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.
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 concluding portion of his interview. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: Your plan had seemed to be that you were in a seven-person alliance in which you were reuniting with Gervase, Tyson, Tina, and Monica Culpepper and then bringing Katie Collins and Vytas onboard. What was your plan for the rest of the game? Did you plan on staying with that seven until you became the Final 7, or what were you thinking?
Aras Baskauskas: Take it down to seven and then knock out Monica, and then either knock out Katie and Tina, or knock out Gervase and Tyson. I wanted to go with Gervase and Tyson and Vytas to the Final 4. Vytas wanted to go with Katie and Tina and me to the Final 4. So that was something we kept kind of arguing about, who we wanted to take to the end.
And my thought was, "Hey, Gervase is a really good friend of mine from before the game started and Tyson and I have become close out here on the island." Vytas is thinking he's become close to Tina, and Tina is a good friend of mine from before the game as well. It was going to be a tough vote for me one way or the other. Fortunately, I never had to make that decision. Unfortunately, I never had to make that decision.
Reality TV World: So even though there's been all this talk of how dangerous a power couple is in the game, you were comfortable keeping both Katie and Tina around and taking them, potentially, to the Final 4?
Aras Baskauskas: Yeah! Because it would've been Vytas and I as the other power couple.
Reality TV World: Okay, so because you were a power couple yourself, you were comfortable having that dynamic around between two other people.
Aras Baskauskas: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that Vytas and I would've had a pretty darn good chance.
Reality TV World: So you obviously recognized yourself and Vytas as a powerful pair. Had you been thinking while you were out there that Gervase and Tyson were never going to turn on you or had you been anticipating that happening at some point?
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Aras Baskauskas: Well, Gervase is a really good friend of mine outside of the show before the season started. So Gervase, that was probably my biggest downfall, that I was never going to turn on Gervase and I assumed the same back from him given conversations we've had before the season started and we have such a long friendship. And that was a bad assumption. I was wrong. Gervase was willing to turn on me, you know, and that was...
Reality TV World: What about Tyson?
Aras Baskauskas: We became really close on the island and now we're really good friends. But yeah, my safety valve was Gervase, because I knew Tyson and Gervase were close. I assumed if Tyson was saying anything bad about me, Gervase would let me know. Obviously, I was wrong.
Reality TV World: The first two times Survivoraired seasons where half the cast were returnees and the other half were newbies, the returnees basically seemed to dominate. But that doesn't seem to be happening this season. Why do you think that is, and do you think the fact this set of newbies came into the game already having relationships with the returnees played any role?
Aras Baskauskas: I would say we still dominated as returnees. I mean, we crushed Tadhana when we were on the original Galang tribe, and then come merge time, now you're seeing the people making the big moves on the returning players still.
I think there's such an advantage to being a returning player. I can't speak enough about it. You stay calmer in challenges, you understand the implications of strategy a lot deeper, you understand how to make really tough decisions. I would say that holds true for this season as well.
Reality TV World: In prior seasons, I think one difference was the newbies weren't "loved ones" and they didn't have perhaps as intimate knowledge of the game already through their loved ones. They probably also had the liability of being "super fans" who might've been a little starstruck by the returnees. Do you think that might've played any role in why the newbies this season are doing pretty well?
Aras Baskauskas: Yeah, I mean, I think that happens even for this season. I think, you know, if you watch some of the new players, there's a lot of mistakes they make that an older player would never make or a returning player wouldn't make. I look at like, Vytas even. Vytas is playing a great game, but Vytas gets to the merge and Vytas doesn't rekindle his relationship with [Hayden Moss] and [Caleb Bankston].
I would say that a returning player would always know to rekindle that relationship, and those are just things you learn as you go. You realize, like, "Oh man, I got to keep everybody close," and it comes from a very good place where Vytas made his choice of, "I'm not going to be with them at the end of the game. I don't want to hurt them. They're my friends." Does that make sense?
Reality TV World: Yes, and in a similar type of question, previews for next week make it look like the remaining castaways, but specifically the first-timers, are realizing Tyson seems to be in control of the game and want to go after him. Does that surprise you that they're considering or going to try to make that kind of move?
Aras Baskauskas: Well, you figure it's about time, right? So Tyson did this really good job of painting Aras as the "bad guy," and so it bought him some time with the rest of the tribe as the savior. And the tribe was kind of blinded by it. Tyson was like, "Watch out guys, Aras is trying to get you! I'll save you from Aras!"
Meanwhile, Tyson is doing exactly what Aras is doing, just better. So you think eventually, the tribe is going to wake up and see it. The question is, are they going to do something about it when they see it? And given the preview, it looks like they're finally ready to mobilize.
Reality TV World: So I noticed Survivorlisted your occupation as "musician" when you returned this season. I was just wondering, what happened to that hat business you had started?
Aras Baskauskas: Yeah, I still have the hat business. Just between me, you, and the wall, I kind of feel like if I'm going to promote something, I got to promote one thing, and I'd rather promote my music than my hat company right now. (Laughs)
My hat company is doing very well, but I'd rather just give people one thing to click on... But yeah, my music is going really well. We opened for Edward Sharpe recently and sold out the Troubadour, so we've had some good success.
Reality TV World: How did you end up coming on Survivoragain and how did competing with Vytas come about?
Reality TV World: So were they aware of Vytas already?
Aras Baskauskas: Yeah, they were aware of Vytas and I said, "Sure, let's do it!" I never thought they'd call again given my first season, and I'm not sure how much you remember, but I wasn't exactly a very beloved character nor was I very hated. I was kind of in the middle of the road, and so I just assumed I wasn't going to get another chance to play again. So it was great to get that call.
Reality TV World: How were they aware of Vytas and why do you think they were interested in having him on the show?
Aras Baskauskas: Well Vytas and I are both LA natives, and so a lot of people in casting we see out and some of the people in production. So I think it was just, you know, kind of a result of that. Yeah, I think they were stoked to get Vytas just because, look at the guy, he's great TV.
Above is the concluding portion of Aras' exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Click here to read the first half. For more information on Aras' music, visit oddus.com.