Dave Cruser was called crazy by some and a dictator by others during his stay on Survivor: China. He butted heads with both Ashley and Sherea and while he managed to outlast one of his female adversaries, he couldn’t get past the other as Sherea’s strategy of focusing on the challenges was seemingly more important to her tribe than Cruser’s camp contributions. I talked to Dave about his feuds with other members of his tribe, what the food situation was like at Zhan Hu compared to Fei Long, and why he gave the hidden immunity idol clue to Todd. I also asked him about how many compared him to the infamous Richard Hatch. It was definitely an interesting interview.
: How is it Murtz?
Murtz Jaffer: Hey Dave, how are you?
DC: Good, thank you.
MJ: Good, good. Ready to rock?
DC: Yeah, sure.
MJ: I want to start by asking you about Ashley. You obviously clashed with her and when she left, she said that she would see you soon. What was your problem with her and were you surprised that she was right about seeing you soon.
DC: Was she right about seeing me soon? Well, I was already on my way out of the tribe due to my efforts and my sensibilities and my actions. You know? The have-nots makes them feel guilty for not knowing it. The problem with her was her attitude and her awareness. You audition for a show. You go to extreme environments, you gotta pay attention to stuff and I just thought that she just wasn’t paying nearly enough attention for her own good even. I think Ashley’s a wonderful person. We butted heads in camp life but it was also in some of those extreme conditions of at least the duration of my stay there and she was also really really sick. I mean how would you fare under those conditions with such a little-completed shelter, fire going, food… and be that sick? I kind of feel for her. Outside of the game, I think she’s a great person. I think she’s awesome.
MJ: Right, right. Now another question that I had for you was that you were one of the few Chicken supporters out there. Why do you think the tribe decided to vote him off first?
DC: Well Chicken I don’t think played his game in a real super heads-up manner. He was gone a lot by himself exploring what was around and trying to figure stuff out and he didn’t really get definitive answers or interact well with the younger crowd. He’s also 47 years old. You know, I can kind of understand that because I am half-redneck down from Memphis.
DC: It’s hard to understand the good ‘ol boy sensibility if you haven’t left the country very much and where he’s coming from. I had a hard time relating to generation-Y which is the majority of my tribe let alone having Chicken. So I kind of felt bad for him and tried to be a brother there for him.
MJ: Do you think that there was an alliance to get you out or was it just everybody just saying that they didn’t want to be bossed around anymore?
DC: I think it was pretty spontaneous. But at the same time, I think that with my absence there they are going to really feel how much I contributed to camp life everyday. Even after the stuff was built, it’s a daily chore of maintaining food and water and boiling water and all that kind of thing.
MJ: I know that you and PG were the tribe’s designated leaders, but was there anyone who was calling the shots as to who left at each tribal council?
DC: Jaime was probably our best PR person…
DC: In the tribe. So she actually is playing her game pretty tight and pretty right so she’s got a lot of control on that tribe.
MJ: When you got to Fei Long, things seemed to be different. Did they have more fruit trees and vegetation than your old tribe did?
DC: Oh, my tribe’s location sucked. Period. We got the short end of the stick for sure. Going over there, they had lime trees, pear trees, apple trees. They had a lot more open space. It was not nearly as congested. The water was cooler ’cause their inlet was bigger. They appreciated my attitude and my efforts. It was just such a more congenial place for me to be at least.
MJ: I am a good friend of Michelle’s from Survivor Fiji and she kept commenting on how it seemed like you hugged everybody on the last episode. Are you a big hugger?
DC: I am a pretty affectionate person and I also try and keep clean. I was swimming two or three times a day so there wasn’t a brewing funk or anything. It was kind of a joke because I know that James doesn’t like hugging at all and he’d given me a half a lime in the morning and it was like the best thing in my mouth that I have tasted in like 10 days so (laughs) I had to give him a hug. (Laughs). You know what I mean.
MJ: Too funny, too funny. I also wanted to ask you about the rice. Why do you think it molded?
DC: When you’re in those kinds of extreme conditions with you know, that much precipitation and that much humidity, it’s only a matter of time before something’s going to happen, you got too much moisture to increase the mold.
MJ: One of the things that is synonymous with Survivor is people catching food. We haven’t noticed a lot of that this year. Were there people on your tribe catching food? Were you catching food?
DC: We were hunting around for snails and mussels in our inlet and it was very difficult to catch fish there. You needed a net. You needed stuff that we just did not have to do it and so we were left to snails and mussels basically.
MJ: Your personality clashed with Sherea, starting with the shells. What did you think about her when you were out there and why did she stay over you?
DC: Well, why she stayed over me, she’s obviously more socially together and bound with the rest of the tribe versus me. You know when everyone was bonding and stuff, I was building. That whole outburst… it was really uncalled for. It was really a low dip I thought. My decision (in what I was rubbing her the wrong way with) was not interpreted because I asked her not to move the moldy rice until it was separated into more stuff and she did it. It was just out of line. Why I was booted out before she was? I am not sure. She didn’t put a lot of effort into camp. She said that she was only there for challenges (laughs). That’s it! (Laughs).
MJ: Tell me about the shells. Were they actually for your mom (because we only got a little taste of that)?
DC: The shells were the other part about it. My mom’s taking a jewelry design class right now and she’s casting very small organic things and precious metals and doing things like that and loves mother of pearls. So I figured it’d be a sentimental thing to bring her back a few shells to see if she could incorporate them into her jewelry and really didn’t want Sherea to toss them in the water.
MJ: I wanted to ask you about why you decided to give the hidden immunity idol to Todd. What about him stood out because you’re the second to share info with him (Leslie told him about the idol as well)?
DC: Yeah, very coincidentally. Todd’s a young kid… he’s really great. He’s an extrovert, he’s sharp, he’s got a good game, he’s the biggest fan. He’s the unexpected choice and I figured he was so into it that to incorporate him that much more deeply into the game would just make a super fan like him really happy and hopefully form an alliance later. And ironically a few hours later, after he had spoken to the rest of his alliance, what you didn’t catch on camera was that Todd and his alliance (which was also Aaron, Denise and Amanda) asked me that if I needed to jump ship, that they’d be willing to take me in and be their secret weapon in terms of a majority vote.
MJ: Do you think that you played the game too far ahead instead of just focusing on the day-to-day? Obviously you had big plans to jump after the merge…
DC: Well those big plans were provoked by my lackluster time with my time. It was something that came to me… it was an option to sort out. I was also trying to figure out information. What happened was that I just left things too neat and pristine at the camp and they thought that they could get along without me.
MJ: And finally, I wanted to ask you about the whole Richard Hatch comparison. A lot of people have been saying that Dave with the naked stuff at the challenge, like is this Richard Hatch 2? Do you get that a lot?
DC: I heard that frequently except that Richard Hatch exposed himself virtually all the time and was very inconsiderate of other people’s personal space. I only did it twice during two challenges and put my shorts back on in-between and it was full strategy. Unless you’re gay or Greco-Roman from a few millennia ago, you don’t want a crazy naked guy charging you and that was my strategy (laughs).
MJ: What’s next for you?
DC: I am back in LA. I am doing some contractor work and I am starting industrial design. I want to build furniture and do all sorts of things and take those skills back to Cape Town and then probably make South African-exported products from there.
MJ: Very cool. Thank you so much Dave.
DC: Thank you.
MJ: Alright, bye bye.
Dave Cruser is currently a bartender. He has previously worked in construction, advertising and as a model/actor, having lived in South Africa for an extended period of time. He has also spent time in Paris, Milan, Munich, Zurich and Hamburg. He attended one year of college at Moorpark Community College and one quarter at ITT studying computer drafting.
Cruser’s hobbies include studying industrial design, snowboarding, hiking, bodysurfing, riding his motorcycle and frisbee golf. Cruser describes himself as creative, funny and hard-working. He believes he’ll do well because he loves to camp and considers himself to be a motivator and team player.
Cruser currently resides in Simi Valley, California. His birth date is October 26, 1969.
– Survivor: China airs on CBS on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
– Survivor: China airs on the Global network in Canada on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
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