Reality Dish Exclusive Interview: Spencer Duhm of Survivor: Tocantins

SURVIVOR: TOCANTINA

Spencer Duhm, the youngest Survivor contestant ever is a 19-year-old college student from Lakeland, FL. However, following an Immunity Challenge that played to his weaknesses and left him as the scapegoat for the Jalapao’s loss, he became the fifth castaway to be eliminated from Survivor: Tocantins. The day after he got eliminated, I got the chance to participate in a conference call interview with Spencer. Here are the highlights of what he had to say about her Survivor experience…


Why didn’t you reveal that you were gay?

Spencer Duhm: Everyone looks for some silly reason to separate you from the group or whatever they want in their head. Some people can have a prejudice against some different minorities, I was not going to even bring it up but if they asked me I was totally going to tell them; but if not I was not going to worry about it since it never became an issue. I was surprised they even showed that interview where I talked about it.

Did you ever think it could have gone the other way like if you told them they would vote you off?

SD: No, it’s just like the others they voted off two African Americans did anyone think they were prejudice. And I’m sure they didn’t think ‘man we are going to look really racist’, so no that was not a problem at all.

So what happened with that challenge with the nets and balls?

SD: I just couldn’t get the hang of it. Like when I played baseball when I was a kid, I was a terrible outfielder I couldn’t judge fly balls very well. I was just really bad. And yes JT scored all the points for our team and Brendan scored just as many points on Taj, that Brendan scored on me. I felt it was a little unfair that I was targeted and held responsible, but people look for any reason to vote you out or target you. Sydney and Stephan (I’m not trying to throw them under the bus and I like everyone on my team) were launching the balls, so they weren’t at risk at all for performing poorly… so ya it was a little unfair.

Do you have any regrets for not working it or pleading your case?

SD: They didn’t show any of that. It looks like I am ‘ah are you going to vote me out, oh I hope you don’t’ and it looks really horrible. What they showed was not the case at all and it makes me look like a pathetic super fan. Alliances were formed on our team on day two and there was so much going on.

The spinning challenge how tough was that?

SD: I handled it better than some others, but it was really difficult. I had heard when you get spun around to keep your eye on the same point every time you make a rotation and that will help. But that only helped the first few times and then it got too fast. I just gave up and got up and once I put my foot on the log it wasn’t two bad; it only took two times. So it wasn’t too bad.

Being a big fan of the show and being picked as an alternate, what was that moment like when you found out you were going to be on the show?

SD: One of the people there said it was the loudest silent scream they have ever heard. I was still in the area of the others cast members, they couldn’t see me but they could have heard me if I did scream. Jeff Probst told me and I flipped out and couldn’t believe it, I was totally in shock. I prepared myself to just go down there and and be disappointed and not being able to play and just for the pre-game stuff. And I basically lost it.

Being a fan of Survivor what was your favorite past season? Why?

SD: Amazon was my favorite past season; the location was awesome, the characters incredible, it was very unpredictable.

How does it feel to be the youngest Survivor? Was it a factor at all?

SD: No it wasn’t a factor at all. But it was an incredible honor, to this day I can’t believe I was chosen to be the first teenager ever. But I applied just for the thrill of applying and I put my application in and it was a complete whirlwind, it was a fantasy world, ya it was surreal. An incredible honor though.

Do you think it was a handicap though?

SD: No not at all. There were jokes like he is the baby but it never hindered me at all. Or used against me.

What was the hardest part of being out there?

SD: Boredom! Definitely boredom; there were days we didn’t have Tribal or Council and they don’t show it on TV because nothing goes on. You try to conserve your energy and be helpful and social, but man those are the longest days!

With watching Survivor in the past, did the experience you had with Survivor live up to what you thought it would be?

SD: Absolutely! 100%! I was so thrilled to know that for proof we didn’t get any extra food, any amenities, that they hide on the show. It was all real, nothing was given to us, no razor, nothing. I was just thrilled that the experience is genuine. I did expect to be hungry, the only thing I really didn’t predict is the boredom. But I knew the challenges would be hard and that we would be tired, but I actually embraced it the whole dirty feeling and all.

Did you really miss your IPOD as much as we heard?

SD: I do not ever remember making that comment so apparently I did. But honestly I don’t remember making that comment. I remembered reading that and saying ok…

What was the easiest part of Survivor for you?

SD: Strategizing was the easiest part, I really enjoyed that. Honestly, I enjoyed going to Tribal Council when I knew I wasn’t going home. It was fun and we would come back from Tribal and people would be upset and say it was so hard. But I was thinking hours ago we were so ready to get rid of that person now we are so bummed, get over it, this is a game. And that is why it was easy for me to handle getting voted off; yes, I was upset but it is a game. But I was able to separate the game from the reality; it’s not a personal thing, its the strategy part. I enjoyed voting people off, not because of the people they were, but it got me closer to the the process you have to go through to win. Getting voted off SUCKS but it happens.

What were the insects like?

SD: I was fortunate. The blankets really helped because you can cover up. Taj had it bad because of Exile Island. Some people just had worse reactions than others, but Exile made it pretty bad for who went there.

Was there anything with watching the show that surprised you?

SD: Not really, just the Exile alliance that was definitely eye opening. But aside from that, maybe hearing that you are being targeted to go home. It is interesting to find out what happens at the other Tribe though.

What did it feel like getting the letters from the loved ones and what did yours say?

SD: I hadn’t talked to my parents since I found out I was going to play the game so mine was a little different than anyone else’s. I saw when I opened it that it was from my mom, dad, Taylor and my brother that was the best feeling in the world. I knew when I saw it was from them I would lose it and I started bawling like a little girl, it was pretty sad (laughs). But no, they said they were proud of me and I was living one of my life dreams and to be smart and gave me a little update from home. That’s it.

What was your proudest moment there?

SD: I would say in episode three there were 2 challenges and I feel I performed really well and even Jeff gave me credit for leading the Tribe both times and those are my proudest moments. But really winning any challenges and being able to bond.

Is it hard being that dirty?

SD: Oh I loved it!!!! I loved it because it is part of the show not because I like to go out and play in the dirt and be filthy for 15 days and I thought if I’m not getting dirty, I’m not on Survivor. It was really disgusting though having to look at your nails and be dirty all the time and not being able to wash your hair and feel disgusting, but you do get used to it. And I actually kind of enjoyed it.

So you really couldn’t go in water and clean off?

SD: No, we could but I had to watch out for my thumb. Once I cut my thumb I couldn’t get it wet so I had to watch out for that so it wouldn’t get infected and I was terrified it would. But we could go in the water whenever we wanted but just going in river water doesn’t mean you get clean. I would go in in the morning and scrub my face and my arm pits so I wouldn’t stink of really bad BO and I would bathe to the best of my ability but you still don’t have soap and water can only do so much.

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