Murtzcellanious: Murtz Jaffer Interviews Survivor: Fiji's Alex Angarita

Interviews, Shows

I had the pleasure of meeting Alex at the Survivor Fiji finale this past weekend, and I can say that he was just as intriguing in-person as he is in this interview. And seriously… how great was that jury tirade he went on? I loved it!

Murtz Jaffer:: Hey Alex.

Alex Angarita: Hey, how’s it going?

MJ: Not too bad. How are you?

AA: Great, thanks.

MJ: Are you ready to rock?

AA: Let’s do it man, let’s do it.

MJ: Usually when I start these interviews, I ask the contestants if they were shocked to be voted out. You obviously knew it was coming, so how tough were those three days just knowing that you were next in line?

AA: They were pretty tough man. I had to not let myself mentally check out. I had to believe that there was still a chance that I could persevere. I don’t have the type of personality that ever quits, despite what odds are against me. So really, it was more a question of just mustering up whatever will power I had left to make it into that immunity challenge and beyond.

MJ: I want to ask you about Earl specifically. It kind of seemed like you were the leader of your alliance and he was the leader of his. Why do you think the people in his alliance just allowed him to skate through? I don’t think he was ever in danger.

AA: This is a good question. I think that Earl was smart or the circumstances were such that he was able to align himself with people who are not team leaders. I think people who are used to being followers and being led and I think that made it much easier for him. I think the people in my alliance were all strong-willed leaders in their own right.

MJ: I asked the other two members of the Horsemen (since I don’t really consider Dreamz to be a member) if they knew where you came up with the Horsemen name. They didn’t know, so I wanted to ask you if you know where the name came from? Is it a wrestling reference?

AA: I am actually not a huge wrestling fan, but one of my buddies in law school was like obsessed with the concept of the Four Horsemen. On the show, I looked around and saw that we were four men.

MJ: Oh okay, so there was no hidden story behind it? Just that your friend from Harvard liked to say it?

AA: Yeah. Just my friend from Harvard liked to say it.

MJ: You were a very quotable player during the season. I remember you quoting the Count of Monte Cristo, how you throw your hands up in despair and on the last episode the line about having a smile, velvet gloves and a dagger in your pocket. Did you realize these lines were so memorable when you were using them?

AA: Not really. I just kind of talk that way.

MJ: (Laughs). You must be very entertaining in a bar…

AA: (Laughs). I am very entertaining in a bar.

MJ: One of the things that I found incredibly interesting was how right you were in the beginning of the game when you tried to tell Boo/Stacy and Lisi that Cassandra and Dreamz would flip and they wouldn’t listen to you. Since that is exactly what happened, does it frustrate you that they didn’t listen?

AA: You know, it did frustrate me quite a bit. My attitude is very much… I am not the type of person that likes to have any regrets so as long as I feel like I gave it my 110% to do whatever I felt was right for me, I can’t control other people so it’s frustrating on a macro level but for me personally, I was like what can I do? You know?

MJ: Yeah, yeah. Did it surprise you when Stacy and Boo jumped so quickly to the other side?

AA: No. It did not surprise me.

MJ: I wanted to ask if you had any regrets and I know you said you didn’t but for example, do you regret keeping Stacy over Michelle or using the hidden immunity idol? Is it just what happened at the time and there wasn’t anything about it that could be changed?

AA: Basically. You know Michelle was in the other alliance. Earl’s right-hand woman. And I had a sense of that so taking her out at that tribal, taking advantage of the confusion and not being able to strategize prior to… I made exactly the right move given the amount of information that I had. How was I to predict that Stacy would find zero… I mean she had zero loyalty right after I saved her bacon… how do you predict that? And in terms of using the idol? I was going off the information that I had. Even still, even at that tribal council, there was a little voice inside me that just kept saying ‘give it to Ed, give it to Ed, give it to Ed,’ but even though that might not have been the right thing to do, it was such a long-shot right given what I thought based on the information in front of me. That would have maybe taken me out of the game and screwed things up for my alliance. I don’t have any regrets. I mean hindsight is 20/20, but at the time I feel like I played the game as best I could.

MJ: Things went south pretty fast after you ousted Michelle. You weren’t even a target until that point.

AA: Yeah, it was so tough because I was like ‘okay, do I take control of the situation now’ and reveal or show my cards to be a threat or do I let this vote go and then put myself in more of a numbers hole. I opted to show my cards a little bit earlier than I had wanted rather than take a shot at the numbers.

MJ: And that must have been a strategic vote, because obviously I am sure that you prefer Michelle to Stacy considering how everyone wasn’t down with Stacy anymore.

AA: Oh yeah. Michelle and I are friends now. It wasn’t a personal thing. I like Michelle on a personal level quite a bit. But she was on the other side.

MJ: Tell me about Dreamz. What are your thoughts on him and why does he keep saying that you will find that there are snakes and rats in the game when he is the biggest one?

AA: My thoughts about Dreamz… game-wise, strategically, he’s a very short-sighted player. He’s the kind of guy who will do whatever it takes to get himself to the next level. That’s a good strategy to get yourself to the end. It’s not a good strategy if you want anybody to vote for you. On a personal level, I just think he kind of lacks maturity in that way. He’s a very reactionary sort of person and I don’t think there’s a lot going on up there other than how do I save my skin right now.

MJ: Finally, you are highly educated. Do you think that this helped or hurt you in the game?

AA: Both. I think it is a double-edged sword. I think it helped me in the sense that analytically obviously it helped me kind of keep a lot of scenarios in play in terms of just language, persuasive ability it was great to help me get my point across. It hurt me in that it made me a threat. People started talking about the fact that I went to Harvard. All of a sudden, I was somebody that they did not want to be up against. I had to be myself though. I wasn’t going to lie about who I was or how I work.

MJ: Do you think it is better to play an intelligent game like you tried to or a visceral and raw one where you do whatever it takes to move ahead?

AA: I think you gotta do both. At times I went with my instincts and at times I relied more on analysis. You’re not going to win with just one or the other. I think it is definitely both.

MJ: What’s next for you?

AA: I am still practicing law a little bit on my own. Since Survivor, I started an academic consulting company. Helping undergraduates and highschool students get into college, law school, medical school. I started it with some other guys that I went to law school with and some med school guys that I know from Harvard. So entrepreneurship. It’s just where I am at right now and I am really enjoying it.

MJ: Thanks Alex.

AA: Thank you.

Born in Colombia, South America, Alex Angarita moved to California where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Irvine. He then moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he received his Juris Doctor Degree from Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, he was also a member of the Harvard Boxing Club.

Angarita is currently practicing law on a freelance basis and working to start his own educational consulting company. Prior to his participation on SURVIVOR: FIJI, Angarita worked as an attorney for one of the largest law firms in Los Angeles, where he represented large companies in various transactions. He previously worked as an operations director for a test preparation company and also as a tutor.

He enjoys boxing, running, basketball, weight-lifting, painting and yoga. He recently spent a week climbing Mt. Whitney. He describes himself as assertive, witty and personable. He is a member of the American Bar Association.

Angarita currently resides in Los Angeles, California. His birth date is April 20, 1978.

Survivor: Fiji airs on CBS on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Survivor: Fiji airs on the Global network in Canada on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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Please credit Murtz Jaffer & when using this interview. If reposting, please post just an excerpt and link back to the rest of the piece.

Murtz Jaffer is the world's foremost reality television expert and was the host of Reality Obsessed which aired on the TVTropolis and Global Reality Channels in Canada. He has professional writing experience at the Toronto Sun, National Post, TV Guide Canada, and was a former producer at Entertainment Tonight Canada. He was also the editor at