Exclusive: Carter Williams discusses 'Survivor: Philippines' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/06/2012
Carter Williams was voted out of Survivor: Philippines' merged Dangrayne tribe during Wednesday night's twelfth episode of the CBS reality series' 25th edition.
Carter, a 24-year-old track coach from Shawnee, KS, was voted out of his tribe at the season's twelfth Tribal Council, which was also the sixth elimination vote for Dangrayne, after most of his tribemates determined he was a big threat in physical challenges and due to his solid social game.
In an exclusive interview on Thursday, Carter talked to Reality TV World about his Survivor: Philippines experience.
Below is the first half of Carter's interview. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: You seemed surprised that the tribe decided to vote you off and keep Abi-Maria Gomes. That's how the show presented it last night, was that actually the case?
Carter Williams: I was pretty aware that that was a smart decision to make.
Reality TV World: Could you elaborate on that a little bit? How did you become aware and what made you consider it the "smart decision?"
Carter Williams: Because, I had been pretty close to [winning] every Immunity Challenge. I had my back up against the wall and there was a lot of people sitting on the jury that, at very minimum, I hadn't pissed off. I had a lot of people that I liked still in the game that could be on the jury later on and were on the jury at the moment.
The episode before that, I gave up food for the whole tribe. I won some Immunity Challenges already, so basically, I wasn't surprised. Because if I put myself in their position, I would probably be doing the same thing.
Reality TV World: You mentioned how you gave up food for the tribe. Could you talk a little bit about that? Was that complete strategy or what was your thought process when you made those decisions? Because not only did you give up food, but I'm pretty sure you gave up something else for the tribe later on as well although I can't recall what that was.
Carter Williams: Yeah, well in that food auction, my food [the lamb shanks] got shared by everyone... Looking back, maybe a wise strategy would've been to say, "Screw you guys. I'm going to eat this potato." But the thing that people at home don't realize is those episodes are three days worth.
We're out there -- that was 33 days I was out there getting to know these people, spending time with them, spending all that down time with them, talking to them, talking one-on-one with them, talking to them in groups, finding out about their families -- you know, going through this rollercoaster of physical and mental emotion.
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And then this opportunity comes up and we were out of food back at the camp. We were very nervous because we had no food. So this opportunity comes up where it's this situation of "feed these people who have become your friends," and it's like, that's a no-brainer! To me, it was a game, but we're also living out there.
I became friends with them, so that rice thing -- it wasn't strategic. I actually don't know what would've been the smartest strategic thing to do with it. That was just me being me.
Reality TV World: You were shown at last night's Tribal Council saying that you believed based upon all your tribemates' respect for the game talk, which everyone had been stressing throughout the game, they should keep you around. The show presented it as if you were surprised they were talking about voting you off. So it sounds like you really hadn't been surprised or were buying into the respect for the game talk necessarily, right? -- Or were you trying to shame them into keeping you around?
Carter Williams: So, the thing is, at one point, you saw that they were saying -- at the Reward Challenge, they were saying, like, "These guys are bullies." Like, "I don't want one of these goalies to win the game."
Reality TV World: That was shortly after the merge. We saw that with "Pete" Peter Yurkowski, Artis Silvester and Abi, yes.
Carter Williams: Yeah, and then all of a sudden they're in trouble and [Lisa Whelchel] jumps ship. And so, I still think that they don't want that person -- a so-called "bully" -- to win the game, but they didn't want me to win the game either, if that makes sense. Like, why?
That wasn't a final decision they were making -- Abi over me. Ultimately, it could be, but it wasn't. That situation, it was just tough for me to swallow. And I realize there's strategy involved and I realize [Malcolm Freberg] saying now that -- there's a scene that CBS posted -- and he's kind of saying like, "Why would we take a guy who can give that speech at the end?"
But to me, it was just like, "Man, this girl has treated you guys so crappy, and this girl Abi has just kind of done all this stuff. Just take me because it's been a goal since four weeks ago to get rid of us."
Reality TV World: Do you think Abi's claim that she had a hidden Immunity Idol played any role at all in why they decided to vote you off and keep her? For example, maybe it was safe to vote for you because if they did vote for Abi, there was a chance she could play her idol?
Carter Williams: No, I personally don't. It may have been, [but] I personally don't think -- from what we've talked about out there and what went on in my own head, I don't think that was the case at all. But what's interesting is, Abi, if she could get her way to the finals, she would actually have a pretty good speech lined up.
I think at home watching this, people are going, "Why wouldn't you take that Carter guy? He hasn't done a whole lot." But out there, it's clearly completely different.
But Abi, all of a sudden, she had her back up against the wall and she's been outnumbered by what, three weeks about right now? (Laughs) She's had to play a hidden Immunity Idol, she's had to win Individual Immunity -- and so, it's like all of a sudden, like her or not, she could have a decent ending speech.
Reality TV World: Do you think Abi's potential speech would be enough to win jury votes or do you think it would just be a decent-sounding speech? (Laughs)
Carter Williams: (Laughs) I don't know if it would win jury votes, probably not.
Reality TV World: I don't want to put words in your mouth, but it sounds like everyone out there was close to 100% percent confident that Abi was lying and didn't really have a hidden Immunity Idol?
Carter Williams: Yeah, just the way she was acting about it, the way she was just flaunting it ridiculously, the way she wouldn't show anyone the clue of what it actually said -- she tore it up in tiny pieces and stepped back when she read it -- she made it very clear to Jeff she was going to read part of it, and Jeff just kind of looked like, "Ugh, okay." (Laughs)
And yeah, no one believed her. I don't think that's why I went home. I think if they really wanted her to go home, they could've easily voted her out.
Reality TV World: Obviously you seemed to have a pretty strong performance in that Immunity Challenge during last night's show and seemed to finish in a close second to Malcolm. But it sounds like, based upon what you're saying, you don't think the fact you finished second and kind of showed yourself as a challenge threat played a big role in why they decided to go after you either then right? You think it had more to do with how you had a lot of friends on the jury and still in the game?
Carter Williams: No, I think in that episode, it clearly shows that they were afraid of the challenges. I don't know if it was in that scene they posted on CBS.com or not, but one of them said, "So what happens? We bring him into the Final 5 and then what? He wins out with Immunity Challenges? It's totally a possibility. And then this kid who's had his back against the wall in sixth is all of a sudden sitting in the finals going, 'Look at me, I survived! I outplayed everyone here.'" And that would've been my argument if that happened.
Reality TV World: Looking back at it now, do you regret trying so hard in that challenge and think things might have gone a little differently if you hadn't done so well and flown under the radar a little bit more, or do you have no regrets at all?
Carter Williams: To me, it's really hard to say that I regret trying hard in any Immunity Challenges. I mean, that's kind of why I was drawn toSurvivor. That's how I'm wired. And you know, if I had slacked off in that one and lost, then I'd forever be kicking myself in the butt because I think it was -- [Michael Skupin] and Malcolm at one point were talking going, "Yeah, we're pretty evenly matched but he's going to beat us."
And Skupin was like, "Yeah, he was the first one to Final 6." He was talking about me beating him in the Individual Immunity. So, you take someone out and then to just keep winning, because then you've got to turn on each other sooner than you want and it wreaks havoc on the camp, which I would've loved to have done.
Above is the first half of Carter's interview. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the concluding portion.