Exclusive: Artis Silvester talks about his 'Survivor: Philippines' experience (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/15/2012
Artis Silvester was eliminated from Survivor: Philippines' merged Dangrayne tribe during Wednesday night's ninth episode of the CBS reality series' 25th edition.
Artis, a 53-year-old computer engineer from Terry Town, LA, was blindsided and voted out of his tribe at the season's ninth Tribal Council, which was also the third elimination vote for Dangrayne, after Michael Skupin had decided to flip on his former Tandang tribe.
In an exclusive interview on Thursday, Artis talked to Reality TV World about his Survivor: Philippines experience.
Below is the first half of Artis' interview. Check back with Reality TV World tomorrow for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: Before last night's vote when you guys were at Tribal Council, you said you wanted to "clear the air" and then said you understood you could be blindsided and weren't 100% percent confident you were safe. So does that mean you were surprised to be voted off or not? Because your facial expressions made it look like you were pretty shocked when the votes were being counted later on.
Artis Silvester: No, I wasn't surprised. I knew that could [happen], but I wasn't surprised. I wasn't really blindsided. I knew there was one scenario that could send me home, and I was hoping that my conversation with that person -- that I knew was going to be the one to send me home -- I thought my conversations with that person were tight enough to convince them that I would be loyal to them and could still stay and [that person would] vote with me -- rather than against me.
And what you saw was, when I saw that vote -- when I saw that person's vote, what you saw was me realizing that I didn't do a good enough job to keep him on my side and that I was going home.
Reality TV World: So who's the mysterious "person" you keep referring to? (Laughs)
Artis Silvester: (Laughs) I kind of want to keep that a secret. Mike would never -- I knew Mike would flip the minute he had the opportunity where he felt safe. What I mean by that was he could flip and feel like if it doesn't work, he wouldn't feel the wrath of the tribe on him. So Mike was never part of my equation.
Reality TV World: So you're saying then basically you thought one of [Carter Williams, Jonathan Penner or Malcolm Freberg] was not going to vote for you?
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Artis Silvester: Right, right, right. One of those three, I had conversations with, and I tried to reassure him that everything would be okay and if they'd just ride this out with me one more time, that they'll get a lot farther -- that we'll be okay. We'll make it as far as we'll be able to make it.
Reality TV World: So how were things going to be okay? What were you promising this person -- that he would be in the Final 3 with you or something? How did you see the game unfolding?
Artis Silvester: Well, Penner played the game the hardest, but he could do that. He should do that! He better have done that. If you've played the game three times, and you still don't know what you're doing, you shouldn't even be out there.
So Penner was an excellent player. Eliminating Penner now puts us back in the situation where all those people that flipped, they have no choice but to come begging -- because now, they're down by three instead of two, and there's nothing that they can do to save themselves.
Reality TV World: It seemed like Penner and his alliance decided to vote for you because they felt there was less of a chance that [Abi-Maria Gomes] would give the hidden Immunity Idol to you than she would give it to ["Pete" Peter Yurkowski]. Actually, I think they said there was "no chance" she'd give it to you.
Artis Silvester: They were 100% percent right. I knew Abi would never give me the idol. Abi -- [I knew she] would never give me the idol. The only person Abi would ever even remotely consider giving the idol to was Pete.
Reality TV World: So you said you knew there was a scenario when you went into Tribal obviously that you could be the vote target, but it sounds like you weren't expecting to be the target. Is it correct to say you kind of thought they'd still be more likely to vote for Pete or Abi?
Artis Silvester: No, what I thought was Penner would go.
Reality TV World: But who did you think Penner and his group would be voting for?
Artis Silvester: I knew they were targeting me as I calculated how the votes were called out. Penner would have that one vote that I got -- that sent me home.
Reality TV World: You thought Penner would be going home, and so because of that, it doesn't sound like you ever asked Abi outright if she would be willing to give you the idol then, right?
Artis Silvester: Oh no, after conversing -- look, after living with Abi for a period of time and having sporadic conversations with Abi, you know what Abi is [like]. You knew darn well who Abi would give that idol to. There was no sense in even asking [her].
To make matters worse, as volatile as she was, she would be liable -- that could've really backfired on me. Because you see how volatile she gets. I could've asked her for the idol in secret and she could've blown up and let everybody know that I was asking for it.
Reality TV World: What's your general opinion of Abi? I know last night's episode showed you calling her a "loose cannon" that "needed to shut up" before she "screwed everything up" for you guys. Do you think that's what ended up happening -- that her mouth and the way she treated Skupin and Lisa Whelchel is why Skupin ended up flipping on Tandang?
Artis Silvester: No, Skupin ended up flipping on us a long time -- long before that, but Abi's mouth is just ridiculous. I don't know if she created that character to play the game or what and she just decided she was going to be the villainess person because the episodes needed a villain and so she was going to be that person -- I don't know what was going on in her head to come out and play like that.
[Maybe she was] thinking if she played like that, "Nobody likes me and so they'll take me to the end," I don't know. But that was ridiculous. Again, it probably makes for great TV, but again, I wasn't out there to make great TV. I was there to make a million dollars.
Reality TV World: Obviously we've seen on TV that Skupin's viewpoint happens to be that yourself, Pete and Abi mistreated him and "RC" Roberta Saint-Amour prior to the merge and basically alienated them. I wanted to get your side on that topic. His standpoint is that he flipped on you guys because Tandang had mistreated him, and it sounds like you view it differently.
Artis Silvester: RC, I'd be willing to work with. Mike was just not an option for me.
Reality TV World: Why was that?
Artis Silvester: Michael knows why. We have personal problems, Mike and I, and I explained that to him. And like I said, I'm not understanding of the fascination with Mike, you know. Mike's just not a good -- Mike's not a nice human being as far as I'm concerned and he knows that.
Reality TV World: When you refer to a "fascination," do you mean how Survivor brought him back or are you referring to some other castaway's fascination with him?
Artis Silvester: When you're out there playing the game, even though you're in a game, certain situations will arise throughout the course of that game where you react the way you would react as a human being -- as a person. You can't hide it, you can't fake it. You can't say, "Oh I said that because it's part of the game." No, that is who you are, and I didn't like -- things came out with him that I didn't like and I exposed.
I don't talk behind people's backs. I'm not one to hide behind a TV camera and say things about people or hide behind a computer screen and type things about people. If I got an issue with somebody, I talk to them about it and I go up to them and say, "We can handle this any way you'd like to handle this," at that point in time.
But I'm not going to sit there and talk about you behind your back about something that I didn't already say to you to your face. So a lot of the stuff you're asking about now, all I can say is, Mike and I will never be eye-to-eye, and he knows that. It's not gameplay. It's not gameplay, it's personal.
Above is the first half of Artis' interview. Check back with Reality TV World tomorrow for the concluding portion.