Exclusive: 'Survivor: Kaoh Rong' castaway Joseph "Joe" Del Campo talks (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/18/2016
Survivor: Kaoh Rong -- Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty's merged Dara tribe lost Joseph "Joe" Del Campo and determined the season's Final 4 castaways during last week's penultimate broadcast on CBS.
Joe, a 72-year-old former FBI agent from Vero Beach, FL, was medically evacuated from the game on Day 34 due to an enlarged prostate and severe stomach issues following a Reward Challenge victory in which he gorged himself with red meat.
This marks the third medical evacuation of Season 32, which has boasted the show's harshest conditions yet. Because of Joe's early and unexpected departure, the episode did not feature a Tribal Council.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Joe talked about his Survivor experience. Below is the concluding portion. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: I've heard conflicting views from eliminated castaways on whether this jury would be an emotional one or truly appreciate a well-played game despite blindsides, flips and betrayals. Since you intentionally played an under-the-radar game, were you sort of banking on a bitter jury? Because that would work in your favor.
Joe Del Campo: Well, you know, as I got down to the last five, I thought, "Wow, depending on if it's a two or three person final, I might have a shot at it as far as getting a vote or two." You don't know.
I mean, in all the past ones, you have no idea until the final vote comes up, like, "Okay, do you get that winning vote? Is there some sort of twist or something that throws it in your favor?" So, I would've been thrilled to make it to the Final 3 or 2 or whatever it's going to be, and you know what?
I've walked this earth a long time -- good twist, bad twist, I'm happy that I did what I did. I'm happy as far as my performance. And would I change anything in the future? Maybe, I don't know. But right now, I'm sitting here talking to you and I'm looking back and reminiscing and I think I did okay. I was pleased.
Reality TV World: Without a doubt, you played a very loyal game this season. Do you think you were loyal to a fault? And do you think Survivor was a tough game for you to play considering all the lying that tends to happen?
Joe Del Campo: One of the deleted scenes was that I'm loyal to a fault, and that's true. I shook hands with [Peter Baggenstos] in the water and said, "I will not vote you out," and I meant that. People viewed that as being rigid and this and that, well you know what? I carry what I do in my outside life into the game, and that's just me!
It might have worked to my detriment, like maybe another time I could have shifted a little bit here or there. But I put my hand out, shook the man's hand -- and he did not realize I did not vote him out until it was portrayed on TV about three, four or five weeks ago. He still thought at that time -- until he saw that it was me who had voted him out, but I gave my word. My word is my bond.
Reality TV World: When you did give your word, you were rock solid. You were close with Debbie Wanner in the game and seemed shocked when the two of you had voted for Scot Pollard but the rest of your alliance voted for Debbie at the Tribal Council when she went home. Were you angry at all after that, and was it difficult to trust your allies again?
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Joe Del Campo: No, and I'll explain why. Because Debbie, during that day, there was unseen, untelevised things that were going on with Debbie. I knew the girls were not quite happy with what was going on. I had said, because you know, Scot and I were having our problems (laughs) and I thought the vote would go that way, but they did, on the fly, [vote Debbie].
I was not brought into that. In the end, there was a lot of scrambling going on at Tribal Council. But I stuck with my vote, [Debbie] stuck with her vote, and then she was blindsided. And off she went.
Reality TV World: If you had stayed in the game, could you confirm for me what your plan was going to be going into Tribal? You, Aubry Bracco and Tai Trang seemed to definitely be working together, so whom would you have voted off next?
Joe Del Campo: I'm going to reserve comment on that because things happen so quickly, as you know. In a heartbeat, you think you're going into Tribal Council one way, and all of a sudden, the "original plan" -- I love that word -- comes out and you vote another way. So I'd prefer, actually, to not comment on that.
Reality TV World: Would you agree with Aubry in that she feels Cydney Gillon would be a bigger threat to take to the end than Tai? That was a little surprising to me, so what are your thoughts on that?
Joe Del Campo: Well, of course, Tai had flip-flopped back and forth so much that people were wary of Tai. I mean, he's an incredible person. Outside the game, we haven't talked. But in the game, we had late-night chats with him. Cydney is very sharp, a very intelligent person. She was very good at the way she was playing the game.
So, if I was to think in the end, "Wow, which one is more threatening?" I would think Tai had people that were upset with him, and Cydney, not so much. Probably [Aubry]'s best bet would be to go and off Cydney. But that's just speculation on how you asked the question here.
Reality TV World: There's been a bit of a debate this season on whether Scot and Kyle Jason acted like bullies in the game. Debbie said absolutely -- that they were the worst Survivor has ever seen -- and Julia Sokolowski argued no, that they were wonderful people out there. You seemed to butt heads with Jason in the game, so what are your views on this?
Joe Del Campo: Well, we did. And if you go to the Ponderosa video that's on now, you'll see that we talked about how in-game, we did butt heads. We called each other names. There were even things on-camera that were not shown.
But the game was over, so we're back to real life, sitting there and talking with another veteran -- he is a veteran, as I am -- we kind of laughed about it and joked about it.
But in the game, yeah, they did things that I wouldn't do. I would not put the fire out. I know that's strategy, but I would not have taken the tools that we needed to survive. But also, we had Cydney find the saw, put the coconut in the fire and open it up. So, it's interesting.
But that's the great thing about it -- it changes from second to second. When you think you have a plan, like [Jeff Probst] says, "You think you're strong one minute and you're not. And then you think you're weak in another minute, and all of a sudden, you come to the top of the pile." That's a great thing about the game.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised when the castaways got so emotional at the time of your medical evacuation? Did you realize, for instance, Cydney viewed you as a grandfather?
Joe Del Campo: I felt very close to them and I guess what I pride myself on is that there was a lot of chatter, non-game stuff, talking on-camera but that didn't make it on TV. It was stuff the audience wouldn't be interested in during the game.
When you talk to Cydney about their life and who they are and stuff like that, you get close to those people. And I had that with pretty much all of [the cast] -- all the folks. So yeah, at the end, Jeff was very nice in his comments.
I got on the boat, he got on the boat, and he said, "Joe, you left a lot of love on that beach." I felt that from the emotion they showed to me as I left, and I felt the same towards them also. Like when they pulled [Neal Gottlieb], I was very emotional about him. I mean, he was a competitor, but I hated to see him go that way.
Reality TV World: I recall you saying that you're always looking forward to your next adventure, your next challenge. Would you ever be interested in playing Survivor again, or was one time kind of enough?
Joe Del Campo: Three words: In a heartbeat. If they would ever have me come back, absolutely. My bag is packed right now!
Reality TV World: Was this your first time applying for Survivor?
Joe Del Campo: I applied in [the year] 2000 when [Rudy Boesch] got selected.