Random Reality – Interview with Survivor: Micronesia's Jonny Fairplay

The newest season of Survivor is underway and this season takes place in the Micronesia Islands. But there is a slight twist to the format for this season. This time it will be the “favorites” vs. the “fans” to start us off. Meaning, some of the fan-favorites from past seasons of Survivor are back to take on a new batch of rookie Survivor contestants.

Since Survivor has gotten so popular, CBS decided to change the format in how they do the Survivor Exit Interviews with members of the press. I had the chance to join a conference call with the first person eliminated from Survivor: Micronesia, Jonny Fairplay.

Jonny Fairplay is neither shy nor is he afraid to embrace the “bad guy” image that he got on Survivor his first time around. This time around, though, Jonny seemed to have matured for whatever reason. Members of the press talked to him about that and his overall experiences with the show this time. Here are the highlights of what Jonny Fairplay said in this conference call for Survivor: Micronesia


You and Jeff Probst have an interesting relationship. How would you describe it?

Jonny Fairplay: Honestly, when people looked at Survivor: Pearl Islands most people considered the story of Jonny Fairplay vs. Rupert, but I sent Rupert home halfway through. The only constant in the show was Jonny Fairplay vs. Jeff Probest. We would go at it tooth and nail to be honest, and I think it made for great television. So this time around was round two and I think it was only fitting in the final chapter of Fairplay vs. Probst that it ends in a hug. I thought it was beautiful television.

Were you happy with the group of “Favorites” that was assembled?

JF: Most of them.

Is Jonny Fairplay really a character played by Jon Dalton?

JF: Actually I’m in the legal process of changing my name to Jonny Fairplay. I just had a baby girl, she’s three weeks old, named Piper Addison Fairplay. When Michelle and I were debating on which last name to go with, Dalton or Fairplay, I was like “not only are we changing for Piper, we’re choosing for you. We’re getting married June 14. Do you want to be Michelle Dalton or Michelle Fairplay?” She was like “I think Fairplay is cool!” So that’s pretty much the deal. But as far as Fairplay being an over-the-top character and Jon whatever, yeah there is a difference. Jonny Fairplay, the character is me turned up to 11, it’s ridiculously over-the-top. But I think that makes for great television. I honestly feel there’s a reason why Survivor: Micronesia was the fortieth television show that I’ve done. People like these over-the-top characters. For the fact that I embrace the bad guy role, and people like Jerry or Ombrosa feel like they get a bad edit and their really not bad, I love it. When I watch Batman, I root for The Joker.

Usually when someone gets eliminated from Survivor, they still have to stay away from home in sequester for a certain amount of time. So most fans don’t think it was sincere for you to say you wanted to get back home to your girlfriend and everything, when you would have to stay away from home anyways.

JF: That may or may not have been the case. This was a very special circumstance. Two things that people didn’t about me personally going into this show. The whole Danny Bonaduce incident happened one week prior to us going to film. So that week I received 15 hours of dental surgery, four root canals, and my top jaw bone is completely shattered. I have to undergo operations for four more months. So that was the week that I left. You’re going out there and you can’t have your medications, even with three doctors’ notes saying that I needed it. They were basically like “go without it or you can’t go.” So I just got finished winning Celebrity Bullriding Challenge and I beat Nitro from American Gladiators and Rocket Ismail from the Dallas Cowboys and Vanilla Ice and all of these athletes. So I felt pretty invincible at that time. The pain was horrendous, but I felt that I could fight through it. So five minutes in and getting blind-sided by Yau-Man jaw-first into a boat, I was in a world of hurt right there.

Number two, my girlfriend, Michelle, was 7 months pregnant at the time. So going into that, we made a pact and agreed that if something bad happened with the pregnancy, she wouldn’t tell CBS because I didn’t want to know out there. I wanted to focus on Survivor. I’ve been waiting four and a half years to show everyone why I believe I’m the greatest player to play the game. Once I got there, though, I thought I made a poor decision. If something bad were to happen, I’m not going to know and the only thing you’re thinking the worst while you are out there. A big thing that wasn’t shown during tribal council last night was Yau-Man and Jonathan, who are both parents, said with all honestly that if their wives were seven months pregnant, they wouldn’t be out there.

But on paper, I said “I can go and do this! I’m Jonny Fairplay! I don’t care about anything else.” But honestly, I feel like there was a maturation process out there. This crazy I’m doing this, number one. The pain is insane. I’ve done Survivor before, you are there for 39 days, and when you get back you’re a mess. Mentally and physically, you’re destroyed. You’re not right for awhile. So I’m sitting there as a soon-to-be parent going “you know what, maybe this is not the best idea for me to do this with a pregnant girlfriend and a soon-to-be child and dealing with all of this psychological stress.” Like I said, everything looked good on paper and there was no way I was going to pass on the opportunity, even with all of the obstacles thrown in front of me. But finally I just reached a breaking point.

Would it have changed anything if you would have grabbed the immunity idol instead of Yau-Man? What would have happened if you have gotten that?

JF: Maybe psychologically, I don’t know. Actually, if the first immunity idol would have been mine, I wouldn’t have gone face-first afterwards and then that pain wouldn’t have been a factor. So I can easily see me being in the game longer. But honestly the conditions are horrific out there and going through that much pain is unbearable.

Do you think the “favorites” were underestimating the “fans” going into this game?

JF: Not at all. Actually at that challenge, when we hit that tree at the beginning, we bent our axle in half and the wheels wouldn’t turn. It was over then. So I don’t feel like they beat us. It was over from the beginning for us when we hit that tree.

What do you think of the alliances that have formed with the “favorites”?

JF: Well going in, I had an alliance with Yau-Man, Jonathan, and Eliza. Jonathan and Yau-Man, are all business when they go out there. They not going to have fun. So right away I was like “do I really want to live 39 days with these guys? Strategically, they play the same game that I do, but I’m not having for with these guys.” So basically over the days I was there, Ozzy and I became really good friends. I liked the kid a lot. And Ami and I became very close and Eliza and I were friends. So basically the move you saw right before tribal council, I was going to go after Parvati first to break up that strong four. Then, go to Ozzy afterwards and say “nothing personal, but you four together is just too strong to be in one group. Here’s the deal: me, you, Ami, and Eliza. Lets do this. I think it would have worked great. The one thing I can say is that before tribal council, I pulled Ozzy aside and we talked for like 30 minutes and it was very personal. We were both in tears. He was like “don’t do this” and I said “I had had to, but here’s the deal. Here are the alliances and the pecking order and who they are going after and who you should go after.” I told him “Ozzy, I like you but I think your social game is lacking. So when you do go out fishing or diving for clams, bring three people with you, because that hour you are gone they are talking about you. So if they are there with you, they aren’t talking about you, because you are there. And number two, each person should evaluate who you are, first-hand.” Essentially I told him, and this is the exact quote, “here’s the keys to the car kid, don’t wreck it!”

It seemed like you were trying to rehabilitate your image and trying to come off as a nice guy and be considered as a respectable adult this time around. But it seemed like it would have been better to play the game longer for you to do that. Was that your intentions?

JF: You can ask anyone that really knows me. I am a nice guy. After the Bonaduce incident, Leif Garrett called me at 10 a.m. to bring me soup. Ty Murray, one of the greatest bull riders of all time, is the Godfather of my baby. I’ve made some amazing friendships and it’s not because I’m an asshole. It’s because I’m genuinely a nice guy. So this time around I wanted to go in and have fun and all of that. But if you watched the character of Jonny Fairplay on the last Survivor, my interaction with everyone out there was friendly. It’s the confessional interviews where I go into “bad guy” mode and they’re not aware of it. With everything that transpired, I don’t think it was necessarily a ploy by me to make this face change. I think it was just a maturation process of the circumstances around me. It’s just like “hey, you are about to have a little girl. What’s the smartest thing for you to do for you and your family.”

You said that no one should trust you. Do you think you have gained the trust of some people now, though?

JF: I don’t know. Do you think I’m a good guy now? Do you trust me? If you look at my trust issues, in Survivor: Pearl Islands, I never betrayed my alliance of Burton and Lil. That was my alliance and I never betrayed me. And as far as my grandmother lie, I never said my grandmother died, Sandra D did! I’m pretty much one of the most honest players to play the game.

So why do you say that no one should trust you then?

JF: Well it’s part of the wrestling jargon. Like every week when I would vote people off I would use a wrestler’s catchphrase. So going into this, it was a joke “DTA: Don’t Trust Anybody” and that was Stone Cold Steve Austin. So when I say “don’t trust me”, I mean “hey, who knows the game better than anybody else? I’m going to do what’s best for me. If that works out for you and me together, I would trust me more than anyone on the planet!”

Do you feel like you quit or do you feel like you were legitimately voted out?

JF: I don’t know. All I know is that I’m very happy with the decision I made. I think it was smartest decision I could make and I have no regrets whatsoever. So if you have to call it a quit, then you know what, I quit for love!

Where did Cirie fit into the “favorites” tribe, because we didn’t see much of her this week?

JF: Cirie is a Sandra type player. I don’t respect that type of player. I respect Cirie as a person, but I don’t appreciate her game play. She plays the “Sandra game”, you know as long it’s not me I’m here for a vote. There is no strategy in there whatsoever. I just hate that type of competitor. Does it work? Yes, we’ve seen it work many, many seasons. But at the same time I think it’s horrible television. So basically when you see the two groups of four and not Cirie, it’ basically like Cirie goes “I’m with the majority. Just tell me who has more ‘yes’ votes, I’m with them.” I hate that, television-wise.

Are you shocked by the teaming up of Ozzy, Amanda, Parvati, and James?

JF: No. We knew with Parvati..yuck. The weird thing was I was under the impression that Ozzy and James both had girlfriends going into the game. I’m very curious to find out how that is going to play out.

Is it a bad move on their part to hook up with someone so early?

JF: I don’t think so. That’s a strong four alliance. If I had stayed in the game and outed Parvati and unless Ozzy would have gotten with me as I suggested, that’s a pretty weak group. So right know I think there is a lot of power with Cirie being the deciding vote, but once person is gone it’s going to be a majority voting thing.

Based on just watching this week’s episode, what were you take on the
“fans”?

JF: I don’t know. Me going out there with the “favorites”, most of the “favorites” were from newer seasons that I haven’t met me personally. So with them it was more like “we’re playing the game with THE Jonny Fairplay!” I don’t want to be egotistical, but I am one of the greatest reality TV stars ever! I have a pretty full resume, so I was signing autographs for the “favorites” before we even started playing the game. So I was like “WOW, I can’t wait to meet the ‘fans’, this is going to be cake!”

Were you able to see Survivor: China before you had to leave to go film Survivor: Micronesia?

JF: I had a problem with that personally. We were only allowed to see the first four episodes of Survivor: China before we left. I did read on some of the message boards about James having both idols and not using them. So I was aware of that. And I read that James finished sixth or seventh and Amanda made top three from the message boards. However, they weren’t allowed to tell us because it would have broken their confidentiality agreement, and we had to pretend as if we knew.

Do you think that gave them any kind of advantage?

JF: We had discussed it amongst ourselves and pretty much everyone had heard the same thing from the site, Survivor Sucks.

Who do you think will win, a “favorite” or a “fan”?

JF: I don’t know. I have no clue. Honestly, every single “favorite” there has a minimum of 30 days experience there and that’s immeasurable. So my money is on a “favorite”.

Any particular one?

JF: I like Ozzy for the fact that I kinda told him what to do. Johnny Fairplay played a pretty good game of Survivor, so if he’s using my blueprint I like his chances.

What’s the craziest thing that you have seen a Survivor fan do?

JF: Not necessarily a Survivor fan, but more a reality TV fan. I was doing an appearance at Virginia Tech University and this guy came up with his girlfriend and said “doesn’t my girlfriend look like Tonya from The Real World.” I was like “yeah, I guess.” He said “dude, make out with her and tell her she kisses better than Tonya does!” I said “This is absolutely insane!”

So explain more about your relationship with Jeff Probst. Are you friends with Jeff Probst today? Do you hang out with each other?

JF: No, we’ve been doing different press circuits. He’s doing his thing and I’m doing mine. I would have to say that after the hug, officially the olive branch has been passed and accepted, and I would consider Jeff a friend.

What’s next for Jonny Fairplay then?

JF: I have a new gig. It’s called “Fatherhood” and I’m loving it. I left Micronesia to give this family thing a try and I’m loving it! Lets ride this for awhile!


Survivor: Micronesia airs on CBS in the U.S. on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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

Sir Linksalot: Survivor: Micronesia

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