Reality Dish Exclusive Interview: Jerry Sims of Survivor: Tocantins


Jerry Sims, a 1st Sergeant in the Army National Guard, was the third person voted off of Survivor: Tocantins this past week. Certainly an unexpected elimination, but Jerry got too sick to continue and was thus voted out because of that. The other day I participated in a conference call interview with Jerry. Here are the highlights of what he had to say about his Survivor experience…

What made you want to be a part of Survivor: Tocantins?

Jerry Sims: When the show contacted me, I thought, “It’s a million dollars.  Why not?”  That was the reason I tried out.

Do you have a lot of experience being out in the wilderness and fending for yourself?

JS: Oh yes.  I have been with the National Guard for 26 years and I spend most of my time outdoors.
How does being in the National Guard compare with being on Survivor?  Are they similar in any way?

JS: Yeah, setting up the shelters, divying up duties… that’s pretty similar. 
How do you think you managed to escape the trap of being a leader that so many ex-military players on Survivor fall into?

JS: Well that was my strategy going into the game. I could have been the leader. I could have took the map and the compass and been like “Hey, this is what we need to do. We’re gonna do it this way. Blah blah blah.” And I said no – the leader don’t last long around here. So I better play my cards and hold my teeth as long as I can. Till I see things going too badly – and then I need to step up and say “Hey, we need to do it my way from now on.”

Did your military experience ever come out? Or did they never find out?

JS: Well, one night I kinda let it – I think it was like day – I can’t remember what day it was – but we was all sitting around talking about each other’s backgrounds. And I kinda let it – I kinda let it slip out that I had been to Afghanistan. And then all the questions came out on me like “Blah blah blah – this and that.” And I said “Uh oh. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.”

Tell us what happened in your last few days in the game and the problems affecting your health.

JS: From day 3 until I was eliminated, I was having stomach problems.  The last 3 days, I couldn’t eat at all.  It was 100 plus degrees and I couldn’t eat and had very little water.  I held on as long as I could.
If your tribe had voted someone else out instead, would you have stayed?

JS: I would’ve stayed but, in a way, I wanted to go.  It was not my top performance.  It wasn’t even 50%.  I didn’t want my team to keep losing challenges because I wasn’t at my best.
Timbira started out the season looking strong and now they can’t seem to win against Jalapao.  What is going on with your tribe?

JS: We didn’t have… we need a leader.  We had a bunch of chaos and we needed one person to make the decisions.
Coach seems to think that he should be the one making the decisions.  Do you think he’s the right man for the job?

JS: My pick would’ve been Brendan – he’s a more levelheaded guy.  He can take a stressful situation and calm it down.  With Coach, his anger would’ve taken over.

What your relationship with Coach. He quickly seems to be turning into one of the most hated villains in Survivor history. Honestly, he gives me the willies. How was he with you? 

JS: Man, me and coach was like brothers. We was like – we was – But what I see on TV is totally different from the way he acted when he was around me. So he was – I guess you guys just get to see the real Coach. I guess he was just faking it with me to stay on my good side.

You think so? So he gave a brother kind of a teammate kind of a feeling?

JS: Exactly. Exactly. He was like a team type person. With me and Coach it was like a team type of a thing. We didn’t have any harsh words to say about each other or to each other. But from what I see on TV – Now, is this the same guy that I knew in the game? Hey, I guess he’s the villain.

Watching the show on tv, has there been anything that surprised you?

JS: Oh yeah!  A lot of stuff!  I had no idea that Sierra and Sandy went looking for the idol on that first day… Brendan and Taj on Exile Island.  He came back totally different.  I believed what some people told me but I always had doubts.
If you stayed in the game, who would you have wanted to align yourself with?

JS: Brendan, Tyson, Taj, and JT.
Did Brendan ever mention that he had 50 million dollars from a granola business?

JS: No, in fact when we was doing all the talk’n and spilling the beans he denied being a millionaire but we finally got it out of him.

So how did you get it out of him?

JS: We just kept asking him questions and then finally he said “Yeah, I’m the guy that created Bear Naked Granola”.

Who is the player that everyone should be looking out for?

JS: Stephen is a sneaker.  He’s the one you never hear about but he’s gonna be like a snake in the grass.
What has life been like since Survivor: Tocantins started airing?

JS: Everywhere I go, people yell out, “Jerry!  It’s you!”  It’s been so exciting.  People have asked me for autographs and pictures.  I see what celebrities go through and I’m not even famous!

So would you do it again?

JS: Probably not. I figure one experience is enough for a lifetime for me under those circumstances. If I was a lot younger – if I was in my twenties I’d say “Yeah, send me out there again.”
Many people go on reality shows in the hopes of becoming famous.  Do you have any aspirations to stay in the entertainment industry?

JS: I’d like to go on a talk show and give my views and opinion on things.  If the opportunity came up, I’d consider it but I’m also content with what I’m doing.