Exclusive: Colton Cumbie talks about 'Survivor: One World' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/23/2012
Colton Cumbie, an openly gay 21-year-old college student from Monroeville, AK, was eliminated from Survivor: One World's Manono tribe during Wednesday night's sixth episode of the CBS reality series' 24th edition.
Rather than being voted out at the season's sixth Tribal Council session, Colton was medically evacuated and removed from the game after it was determined he appeared to be suffering from acute appendicitis and in need of emergency surgery.
On Thursday, Colton talked to Reality TV World about his Survivor: One World experience -- including how he got all the former all-male Manono tribe members to give up immunity and go to Tribal Council when someone was going to be voted off and what his cover story really was, how confident he was about being able to run the game had he been able to continue competing and who were his closest female allies and why.
Below is the second portion of our exclusive interview with Colton. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: I want to talk about how you and your tribe decided to give up immunity to the girls. There's been some confusion about what actually happened before you guys went to Tribal Council and that whole scene where Leif Manson was shown being publicly scolded by [Greg "Tarzan" Smith] and how [Jay Byars] was confused about who you were voting for...
Colton Cumbie: I'm really excited you're asking me this, because no one asked me about this!
Reality TV World: I guess my theory's been that voting Leif off was just a cover story you guys came up with to convince [Bill Posley] to agree to go to Tribal Council since it had to be a unanimous vote. Because why else would he agree to go if he believed he was on the chopping block?
Colton Cumbie: What actually happened was, okay, Leif told Bill right before we left for the [prior Immunity] Challenge -- like literally seconds before we were about to leave, Bill walks up to me and says, "So, I hear you want my head on a platter." And I was like, "What?" And at that exact moment, we were told, "You're leaving for the challenge."
And so, I didn't have time to do anything -- like tell people before the challenge we're sending Bill home. Like I didn't have time to think about it. And so, we ended up winning the challenge, but then we come back, and what actually happened was I was mad. I was mad at Leif for telling him, and so all that conversation happened after the challenge.
And at that point, Bill comes over and he's like, "I want to talk," and I was like, "I don't want to talk to you right now," because I knew what he was going to do. Bill was a very good talker. If there was anybody that was going to give me a run for my money, as far as convincing people to go there way, it would have been him.
And he was the type that if he and [Troy "Troyzan" Robertson] are having a conversation and they're talking strategy and someone walks up, he can flip that conversation on a dime and start talking about something totally off the wall and you'll buy it, because he's a really good actor.
Reality TV World: So what I'm trying to understand though, is when you guys got to the point that you were giving up immunity, were you ever going to vote for Leif seriously or was that just a cover story to convince Bill to go to Tribal Council?
Colton Cumbie: I went to Leif and told him, I said, "You are going to go along with whatever we tell you or we will send you home next. We'll throw a challenge. We'll do whatever we have to do."
And I knew a switch was coming, and I knew that Bill in a switch was dangerous. And so, I mean, obviously I didn't know that it was going to be the next round, but I figured it was going to be soon because I've watched every season. I knew they weren't going to leave us men versus women.
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Reality TV World: I think everyone knew that, except for Bill apparently. (Laughs)
Colton Cumbie: Yeah, everyone knew. I knew I needed to get rid of him before a switch happened and you also had to think, I'm really close to those girls.
So the more girls that stay in the game at this point, as far as -- not [Monica Culpepper] or anybody like that -- but the more women that stay in the game, the better it is for me, because if I'm sitting in the five on three with the jury of women, obviously I'd win all day.
Reality TV World: So how big of a surprise was it to you that Bill actually agreed to go along with it? Because like you mentioned, I think everyone had to realize that there was a high likelihood there was going to be a swap coming pretty soon and you never know what could happen next in the game -- look what happened to you. Three more days is a long time and why would you go to Tribal Council three days earlier than you have to?
Colton Cumbie: It wasn't that surprising because no one wants to go against the majority. No one wants to be that person, because you've got to think, like Bill said in his interviews, it really was a gamble. We could have easily sent home Leif, but I had already decided that I wanted Bill gone.
Something I'd also like to point out is that they made it look like I wanted Bill gone at that first Tribal Council that we went to, but in all actuality, I'm the one who flipped it to [Matt Quinlan]. Had I actually wanted Bill gone, Bill would have went home first.
Reality TV World: How did you guys even come to believe that giving up tribal immunity was something you could even do -- I mean we've never even seen Jeff Probst ask a tribe to confirm they wanted to keep immunity.
Colton Cumbie: That was definitely just me -- I said, "You know what? Let's just give it to them and see what..."
Obviously I was [then] informed [by the producers], "If you're going to do it, it has to be a unanimous decision. Every single person has to agree." And so, I don't know if they thought that was going to throw a wrench into my plans and I would never be able to convince them, but they were sorely mistaken.
Reality TV World: So were you surprised you were able to convince everyone or were you pretty confident from the beginning that you kind of had a bunch of lemmings out there?
Colton Cumbie: I was pretty confident, because I knew how much power I had and a lot of people have said, "Oh, well your power was due to the idol," but my thing is, if they wanted to get rid of me, they could have gotten rid of me and the idol when Matt went home.
I kind of used the idol as a -- I would say every Tribal Council we went to, I was like, "You know what, I think I'm going to play it tonight, because I'm just kind of scared." And I kind of used that, like I wanted there to be a sense of fear that if I ever play that idol, whoever I vote for is going home.
And I would also say things, like, I would tell Leif, "Leif, you have to understand. If they come up to you and they're like, 'Let's split the vote,' you have to understand the vote's going to be split on someone. If I throw that idol out there, you could very easily go home. And who wants to be that person? Nobody. So it's easier to just do what I tell you and I'll protect you."
Reality TV World: In your final words or what they aired as your final words, you seemed pretty confident you would have made it to the end of the game. Do you really think you would have been in control if you hadn't been evacuated?
Colton Cumbie: First of all, those final words were from Day 1. (Laughs) So, let me just clarify. (Laughs) Because a lot of people have asked me, "Wait, how sick were you? You had time to go run into the woods and go film?" I'm like um? But yeah, those were from Day 1. But I do honestly believe, and a lot of people have been shocked to find out, that actually [Alicia Rosa] was going home next.
I was going to get the guys together and say, "Alicia has ties with those women and [Christina Cha] doesn't. If we keep Christina, she basically has no choice but to go with us. Let's send Alicia home."
And then when we went to the merge, the first person I was going to target was [Chelsea Meissner], because I knew about [Kim Spradlin] and Chelsea's relationship, and I wanted Kim to have to follow me. My biggest thing in the game was that if you have options, I'm getting rid of them. Bill was a big option for a lot of people. [Jonas Otsuji] and Bill were really close.
They almost have like a brotherly-type bond, and so getting rid of Bill, that kind of -- it's kind of one of those things where paranoia is your worst enemy in that game. And if you're paranoid about someone, you just want to get rid of them because that way you can relatively rest a little better.
Reality TV World: What were your impressions of the women and were there any that particularly impressed or didn't impress you? It sounds like it was maybe Chelsea and Kim that you saw as the biggest threats?
Colton Cumbie: Yeah, Kim is a goddess first of all. Let me say that watching her on television does not do her justice. She is a beautiful woman. When she would stand on the beach -- and I'm gay so I can say this and not be creepy -- when she was standing on the beach and her hair would blow and her eyes against the ocean, she is literally a goddess and she's a challenge dominator. She's just -- I adore her.
Reality TV World: Kim has also seemed pretty knowledgeable of the game. Is that accurate?
Colton Cumbie: Yeah she does. She would often tell me out there, she'd be like, "Let's [Todd Herzog] and [Amanda Kimmel] this b-tch. Let's be Todd and Amanda [from Survivor: China]. And I was like, "Alright, I'm all for that."
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor? How did you get on the show?
Colton Cumbie: I made the tape and actually did the Sears video submission tape and just sent it in. I'm not a very patient person and so I actually contacted a casting director and said, "Look, I'm not going to waste your time. I'm not going to waste mine. I just want you to watch my tape and tell me what you think."
And then this person watched it and said, "You know what? You're really, really good." And so, it kind of went from there and I ended up on the show.
Click here to read the first half of our exclusive interview with Colton.