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'Survivor' post-game: Matt Elrod talks about 'Avatar'-like swims and possibly returning to the game

May 20, 2011 |  3:05 pm


He's admitted that the game was "far more difficult" than he expected it to be, but that doesn't mean that Matt Elrod didn't give it his all on "Survivor: Redemption Island."

To recap his crazy journey, Matt was the second person voted out of the game, but he survived over at Redemption Island long enough to return to the game when the tribes merged. But his blind faith got him sent right back, and although he lasted until the final RI duel of the season, he fell to both Mike and Andrea. Still, a castaway voted out in the second episode wasn't completely out of it until the finale.

I emailed Matt some questions on what his experience was like, given that he was by himself for a lot of the time, and what he plans to do now.

Were you always as outspoken with your faith? Besides submitting to God's will, what were the most memorable lessons you took away from the experience?

I mentioned this in the finale, but following your heart doesn't mean it's necessary to ignore reason and logic. If I hadn't blindly followed much of what I felt, it could have been a different game.

Most reality TV participants have funny, interesting stories about all the stuff that didn't air. You were by your lonesome for most of your game, but what unseen memories do you have that you're willing to share?

One night, Mike and myself looked out and saw the ocean lit up with phosphorescence.  Neither of us had ever seen it so bright, so we swam in it, and it was like "Avatar"! I was surrounded by neon blue water that almost looked like I was on fire with it while swimming. That was easily the most visually stunning thing I have experienced.

In your wildest "what if" dreams, who would you have taken to the final two with you, and why? Who do you keep in touch with today, Andrea aside?

I would have liked to have taken Mike and Grant. Both are such great guys and tough competitors. I think it would have been a difficult vote for the jury, and made for an interesting tribal council. I really keep up with most everyone. I really like everyone on our cast, they are very kind and most make me laugh hysterically. I would have to say I'm closest with Mike, though.

What's next for you? How can fans follow you from here on out? And with the Redemption Island twist continuing, would you go back soon, later or never?

I have three classes to graduate so I will finish up in the fall with my degree. I love to travel and plan on spending a good chunk of time exploring after I graduate. I have a Twitter — @mattelrod40. Fans are welcome to follow, but I'm not very clever or funny so don't say I didn't warn you. I'm really open to anything. I would love an opportunity to play again with what I have learned, but ahhh haha I'm still so fresh out of this show. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with the game. I have a lot of respect for the show... so I guess we will have to wait and see...

And if you care, please detail some of your favorite pop culture stuff -- fave movies? Music/artists? TV shows? Books?

Mark Twain is my absolute favorite. He really changed everything in my opinion, and he is just so stinking funny! I am also a huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut. I'm a sci-fi geek, and I really love how Vonnegut addresses social and almost spiritual issues in such a creative way.

"Legends of the Fall" is one of my favorites. It's so emotional and intense. I also liked pretending to be Brad Pitt when I had my long hair (don't tell anyone that...). Haha.

Music — Mumford and Sons speak to me! I also like Lupe Fiasco, "Phantom of the Opera" soundtrack, Led Zep, Muddy Waters, and country, since I'm from Nashville. My musical taste may lead you to believe I'm having an identity crisis, but I just appreciate all the emotions these artists evoke in me.


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'Survivor' reunion recap: Love! Valor! Resentment!

— Anthony Williams / anthonyw_ent

Photo: Matt Elrod during "Survivor." Credit: CBS