Survivor Blood V Water – Interview With Vytas The Yoga Teacher Is Also A Math Professor!
Vytas Baskaukas was one of the more interesting players on this season’s Survivor Blood V Water he was playing with his brother, one time Survivor winner Aras.
The dynamic between the brothers was interesting to see as was watching Vytas cling onto the game where for many episodes in a row his neck was on the chopping block.
Vytas on the show was known as a yoga teacher but in fact is also a maths professor as well. It was an interesting chat. We talk about whether Laura M cheated, the casting of him on the show, and his relationship with his brother.
Reality Ravings: Let’s talk about the Redemption Island challenge where Laura M was helping out Tina quite overtly. Do you think that should have been allowed? Though it should be noted you were giving a sneaky side eye across to her puzzle as well.
Vytas Baskauskas: Do I think it should be allowed? Absolutely not just because it got me out and nothing should be able to get me out of the game. Do I think it should be allowed in future episodes of the game? Absolutely not. The game is an individual challenge and in individual challenges people should win on the merits of their own ability. It was a dirty move but saying that Survivor is a game of dirty moves. It was very savvy of Laura to figure out a way of exploiting the rules of the game. I felt bitter being at the butt end of that and it was unfortunate for me but that is how the game goes.
RR: Why do you think she was helping Tina?
VB: I don’t think it was a pre-planned thing. Laura was never that close with Tina in the game up until that point. Laura finished the puzzle and looked over and realised I can get Vytas out here if I help Tina and that would be a bonus for me as Vytas is a big competitor. I think she was also bitter at me just because Aras blindsided her earlier in the game so she was exacting some personal revenge and planning for her strategic future.
RR: You had some luck in the game but you also had some bad luck. When they did the tribal mix up of the original tribes you got stuck with all the women. Did you know at that point you were going to struggle?
VB: As soon as the tribe swapped and I looked around and realised who I was with I knew it was going to be a very difficult journey to make it through that and I played my hardness. I tried my best to present myself as a trusting alternative in the alliance they had. I used my relationship with Katie to get in good with Tina. It was tough and I played it great but I played it so well I got cocky. Once the merge happened I was a little bit over confident in my ability at that point it was the start of the end for Aras and I.
RR: It was interesting to see the different sides of Vytas. At that point of the game you were the very zen with Vytas being very nice and rationale and stating your case and then on Redemption Island you seemed like the bitter Vytas. Was that editing or do you have a dark side and a light side?
VB: That was editing. They showed three sentences between Aras and I of the whole time on Redemption Island. It was a complete lovefest and we had so much fun together and really great bonding together and really enjoying each others company. Even the things I did say were very tongue in cheek and it was in jest. They edited it to make it seem like I was very bitter. Did I blame Aras at all for my elimination? Aras did make some pretty bad decisions but I can’t blame him as I made poor decisions as well. It is each of our responsibilities on how to play the game so I can’t put it on my brother.
RR: I spoke to Aras last week and he said he had never been approached to return to Survivor after his win as Jeff Probst said he was the most boring winner ever. When they casting for you two were you keen or did you need to be talked into it?
VB: It’s funny I asked the people at casting when Aras was on the show what was the chance of me going on. They said absolutely not. They said they wanted to keep a diversity in their applicant pool they just don’t want to have family and friends of people that have already been on. [Ed’s Note: Clearly this rule was broken for the Hantz’s!]. I was disappointed that I was not going to get to play. I dreamed of the day they would do a family season or a brother season and as soon as they called I was on board immediately. As soon as they called we made a video and then another video. I really really wanted to play Survivor. I was a fan before Aras was a fan. It was a dream of mine to be on the show.
RR: So you had not applied as an individual player before Aras went on?
VB: I had not and this is because of my history. When Survivor began I was an ex-con. I knew they were not going to put me on the show with my recent history with addiction and jail. I knew it would take time and in that time Aras got on the show and they said now your brother has been on you can’t.
RR: As you know reality TV is all about the compelling back story Vytas and you definitely had one and no wonder they were keen to get you on this time. One of the great things about this season was the dynamic between you and Aras. The wrestling challenge – where Aras waited for you to step up and you then pushed him. What was going through your mind at the time and do you regret that?
VB: I immediately regretted it. Not even about how I looked but that was just something that came up inside of me from 31 years of competing with my little brother. We have such a competitive relationship we compete in everything we do. As soon as that wrestling challenge began I knew a few seconds in that I was outgunned. Aras is a little bit bigger then me and a little bit stronger then me and that is what you need int that challenge. That was tough as I knew I was not going to win it and all of a sudden I saw that opportunity and all that old competitive stuff came up and I took it and I immediately regretted it. It would not have happened with anybody else. I would not have cheap shotted Tyson or Gervase. I felt it was one of my first mistakes in my game play.
RR: Probably. At least you came across as a rounded person we saw the good and bad side of you and that is why you were so interesting to watch and hopefully we will get to see you again on Survivor. Were you surprise after the challenge how emotional Aras was?
VB: I was a little bit surprised by his emotion but I was also surprised at my own emotion. I was surprised I did by what I did. Emotion out there is so raw. I was trying to be very calculated on how I came across and about the emotion I did express but you are not eating or sleeping and the emotion just comes out. You can’t control what comes out.
RR: What are doing post Survivor? Are you trying to get more in the media or another reality TV show or has life just gone back to pre-Survivor?
VB: I love my life. I am yoga teacher and I am a maths professor at a college in Santa Monica and I love teaching maths. I am just excited about going back to the life that I lead. I would be so fortunate if they asked me to do Survivor again and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
RR: So you are a maths professor as well. Did they mention that on the show?
VB: They never mentioned it on the show and that is interesting about the character they tried to create. They mentioned my past about my addiction and me being a yoga teacher. I talked about being a maths professor but I was not really talking to my tribemates about that as I was afraid they would be intimidated by my intelligence. I tried to keep it from the tribe. I did talk about it on my side interviews but they never showed any of it.
Ed’s note: It is on a Survivor Wiki page that he is a maths professor. On that same page he also mentions which Survivor players he is most like his reponse: The intellect and wit of Jonathan Penner, the likability of Aras Baskauskas and the flirtatiousness of Parvati Shallow.
RR: No other reality TV shows or any yoga tv show?
VB: If I was approached to do something I would consider it but I love the life I have now. I embrace change and I think change is the best part of life.
RR: Why couldn’t the new players tribe win challenges?
VB: I think it was a little bit of nerves. A lot of these challenges come down to the puzzles at the end and nerves you can get through when you are swimming and running but it is tough to get through nerves when you are trying to solve a puzzle. As the game progresses you get over the nerves and you get more in the flow of things.
Thanks to JStar for both the photo and assistance with questions. Photo sourced from Seek Retreat.
Survivor Blood V Water on GO Channel Thursday night at 7.30pm.