'Survivor' castaways talk about returning home, future plans and visits from angels
First off, let me say that I'm both happy and sad that only the final five castaways from "Survivor: Nicaragua" (plus a few other people) made it to the tented red carpet area in the rain Sunday night, after the winner was named. Sad because I of course would have loved to talk to more, namely NaOnka, and figure a little more out about them outside of the show's editing. But sooo happy I didn't have to try to have a civilized interview with Shannon.
It was interesting out there, with photo ops with Jimmy Johnson and the Nicaraguan tourism agents present, but I got to speak to Sash, Chase, Holly and the million-dollar man, Fabio. (Dan was there too but we didn't have a chance to chat.)
I asked Sash that, if he really didn't see the jury's biting anger coming at him, what did he expect? "I really thought that some people would respect the game -- outwit, outplay, outlast -- more. Unfortunately, people made votes on personality. ... It's their right."
"You only see me talking about that 'minority alliance' with NaOnka. Not Brenda," Sash said.
I started to think I wasn't as big a "Survivor" fan as need be after learning about Chase's musical aspirations for the first time last night. But he told the reporter next to me he didn't go on the show to necessarily hype that up, so of course all we know is the pro racing stuff. Like he talked about on the air, he recorded a five-song EP in Nashville just last Thursday -- when he also got to see one of his biggest inspirations, Garth Brooks, in concert.
The EP should be out within a month, Chase said, but the single he performed during the reunion, "Buzz Back," will be available next week on iTunes (where you can also find an old album of his). For more, fan him on Facebook and find more at ChaseRice.com.
He said he won $100,000, so he can't complain after losing to Fabio in a close vote, but did have to watch himself when I asked what, if anything, he wished they would've shown this season that they didn't.
"I was ... the editing of the show is interesting. I got caught up in game," Chase said.
Holly, on the other hand, knew exactly what she wanted to see -- more from the time she, Chase and Jane spent at the spa after a reward challenge.
"They gave us some drinks, Jane had a few, but I'm not a big drinker," she said. "We got a little tipsy and Chase and I had a lot of big laughs, so I was surprised they didn't show that but also kind of glad."
South Dakota is "a very friendly state," Holly said. "Their support has been phenomenal, with cards and e-mails. Even early on, with the breakdown, my friends called me and asked, 'Did they make you do that?'"
Fabio hit the red carpet with his shirt untucked and in chill mode, so I was pretty surprised to get a serious story thrown out from him.
"I spent four days in a psychiatric unit when I was 18, thought I saw an angel," he said. "They were talking about numbers, signs, designs. ... Then I come out here and win a million dollars. I don't know, man."
So yes, Fabio didn't stop giving interesting/confusing/mysterious answers once the cameras were off. And he hopes to help others all over say what they want and make for "creative warfare" with his new production company, Judson John Entertainment.
"There'll be colorful, artistic films," he said. "I've got lots of talented friends, and this can be a great umbrella foundation for us. I want to celebrate our history instead of misinterpreting it."
I also asked all four what they did when they first got back home. Sash said he visited his mom in Minnesota, went to the Mall of America's food court and binged. Chase just marveled at everything in his grocery store, and Holly opened and closed her refrigerator six times before dunking a Snickers bar in peanut butter.
Fabio's answer was the best, though: "First thing, got off the plane, and my dad said, 'You won this thing, didn't you?' I just smiled, and we went for burgers and beer."
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-- Anthony Williams
Photos, from top: Chase, Fabio and Sash await the reveal of the winner of "Survivor: Nicaragua." Credit: Mark Davis / CBS
With all the cast seen on stage, Chase performs his new song. Credit: Mark Davis / CBS