Survivor: Caramoan – Interview With Shamar Thomas
One of the more controversial contestants on Survivor: Caramoan was former marine, Shamar Thomas, was medically evacuated from the island due to an infected eye, we talk how he was edited, the alliances and what next for him.
Reality Ravings (RR): How are you and how’s your eye?
Shamar Thomas (ST): Thank you my eye is doing well.
RR: You struggled physically and socially on the island, why do you think this was, particularly with your Iraq experience, I would have thought you were used to living in close quarters with people you may not have known that well?
ST: I don’t know about struggling physically, I don’t think I was really struggling that much physically, but socially that is the only thing you can’t prepare for is who you are going to be on the island with. I would have thought with my past, my mother did twenty years in the military, I’ve lived in so many different states and so many different countries I thought it was going to be good. But once I got out there I just did not have a lot in common with a lot of the other castaways. That was pretty difficult for me, but it gave me a lot of time to be with myself.
RR: When I meant struggle physically I meant you seemed to have very little energy due to the starvation or wasn’t doing much. Was that part of your strategy or was it that you were so completely drained because you are a larger man?
ST: I don’t think it was like that. I think as I said I did not have a lot in common with the other people so I just wasn’t hanging out with everybody. I thought I should reserve my energy for challenges. It was a strategic way of helping me out in challenges.
RR: Were you concerned about being stereotyped as “the angry black guy”, in a sense you were shown a lot of the time being angry. Did they just give you a one sided edit? Is there another side of you that you would have liked to have been shown.
ST: Definitely. They totally gave me a one sided edit. I was disheartened because I did not think that was the person I was 24/7. I slept more than I argued with people. I understand that it is TV and that kind of stuff, but my family to see me not being a team player and just being that guy, it just wasn’t me. I have no problem admitting I did not get along with every single person on the show, but as far as me not being a team player that is far from who I am.
RR: What was your strategy once you hit the island? Did you go in with a strategy of game play?
ST: I wanted to be a good person and be myself and be strong in challenges. I did not have a lot in common, a lot of the people on the tribe seemed like they knew each other before we even got there, I have no clue how they just came so together, so I was just on the out just being there. If you really watch the episodes you don’t see me going after anybody, you see me in the shelter defending myself.
RR: In the last episode you told the tribe mates that they had to bring you a meal of rice each day. Were you very confident of your alliance, you knew they were not going to turn on you and vote you out?
ST: I was confident in everything that happened. I was injured, and had been for days. They were really just helping me out, as I really wanted medical attention, but I didn’t get the medical attention to help them out.
RR: So it was a bit of a funny edit really as it implied you were lazy rather than injured. I read somewhere you actually injured your finger as well and you had to have surgery on it. Is that correct?
ST: Yes Mam. That was one of the reason for me getting the medical attention, that was the reason for me quitting, it was not about me not physically or mentally not wanting to be in the game. I was physically hurt, once got medical attention they said you are out of here. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am just happy I had the chance to do it.
RR: Why did you tell Hope about the voting plan for your alliance that time, and you dropped the hint that maybe you should vote for Eddie, as in this is how you can save yourself. Did it really blow up in your face?
ST: I did not blow up in my face as the vote still went the same way as it was supposed to go, and exactly what I said was going to happen. I did not see Hope as a threat as I saw Eddie and Reynold and I just wanted to keep her in.
RR: What next for Shamar? What are you doing?
ST: I am an activist, I have a video called 1 Marine versus 30 Cops it on YouTube has over 8 million views and tonight I am about to go on a police brutality march for a young man who was shot in Brooklyn. I am trying to open up some community gardens in my neighbourhood to give the youth some agriculture and they can learn a skill and make some money. That is my passion, my community and I am doing it for the people. I feel like I won’t be successful as a man until I change 50 lives in my community.
RR: Would you go on another reality TV show, and if so which one?
ST: I would really like to show people that there really was an injury and that I was a strong player and could really done a lot for them, I would love that second chance on Survivor.
Also below is the interview with Hope Driskoll from the fans tribe who was eliminated the week before Shamar, I was unable to get her on the phone so they were written responses.
RR: The editing made it looked like that Sherri’s alliance was going to split the vote between Reynold and yourself to flush his immunity idol out. However when Shemar hinted to you to vote for Eddie it looked like they had decided not to try and flush the idol out and target him. Do you know why they changed their mind regarding this strategy and decided to vote for Eddie instead?
HD: I was incredibly optimistic that I had been able to change Shamar’s alliance’s mind after telling them that he had revealed their plan to me. I thought I had convinced them that he was an untrustworthy member and that we needed to come together and vote him out. Walking into the final tribal council I honestly thought there was a chance that he would be sent home; however, I guess that is what makes Survivor so exciting is all of the unexpected twists and turns. I don’t know exactly why they changed their mind and it is incredibly frustrating because I still don’t know. Apparently their alliance was very tight and no one felt comfortable enough to break it.
RR: When Shemar was talking to you about who his alliance was voting for did you think this was now an opportunity to make him look like a traitor and get his alliance to turn on him? At any stage did you think that you had convinced them to turn on Shemar?
HD: That is exactly what was going through my mind. Instead of going against my alliance, I wanted to try and turn Shemar’s alliance on him after convincing them that he was untrustworthy. Laura and Julia gave us their word they would vote with us. Walking into tribal council I honestly did think there was a chance that my plan would work… Anything can happen in Survivor!
RR: Is Shemar as unbearable as he appears on the show?
HD: Shemar’s strategy going into the game was to make everyone miserable and that is exactly what he did. He caused a lot of tension and frustration around camp. We had to spend 24/7 with him and the viewers only saw an hour of it a week.
RR: Do you regret not voting for Eddie now?
HD: I don’t. Survivor is a such an exciting game where literally anything can happen. There is so much that happens that never makes it on the show and I think our alliance did everything we could stay alive. In the end, I didn’t turn on my alliance… I am a loyal person and that is how I played the game. I didn’t get as far as I would have liked, but I am still proud and happy about the experience.
RR: Laura was feeling feeling vulnerable because of her poor performance in the immunity challenge and it looked one stage she was going to flip and vote for Shemar. How serious was she in doing this and do you know what changed her mind?
HD: I tried very hard to plant the paranoia of getting voted off in Laura’s mind and I thought there was a definite chance she would end up voting with us. I wish she would have and I still am unsure of why she chose to stick with her alliance–I think she was more comfortable sticking with them.
RR: What are your plans for the future?
Has life changed since you went on Survivor? I have spent the past several months in Milan, Italy where I have been modelling. After I head back to the states I will be starting law school in the fall.
Survivor Caramoan is on GO Channel on Thursday nights at 7.30pm with a repeat on Saturday on Go Channel at 4.30pm
If you could go on any other reality TV show (regardless of what talent you have) which one would it be? haha I honestly don’t know if I would be on another reality show besides Survivor.. It is one of my favorites and I would love the chance to play again!