Sometimes, it’s just hard to really get to know all of the contestants on Survivor each season. Some just aren’t that interesting perhaps (remember Rick Nelson of Survivor: South Pacific? Exactly.). Others just lose out to the larger personalities on their tribe.
Whatever was the case with Artis Silvester, we never really got to know much about him or his strategy withing the game. When he was depicted, he was usually shown as a grumpy, angry old dude. Strategically, we never got much insight, but we did know that he was closely aligned with Pete and Abi, this season’s band of villains playing what Penner referred to as a “bully game.”
Last night, he was the easiest target for the opposing alliance as they figured Abi – had she used her Idol – was most likely to use it on herself of Pete. But the exit of Artis was not a guarantee…it still required Skupin or Lisa to flip on their original Tandang alliance.
Of course, Abi’s Idol never came out and Skupin did ultimately flip. Artis was sent packing, becoming the third member of the jury, as this season’s biggest enigma had his torched snuffed.
I spoke to Artis today about his time in the game and how he was portrayed on the show.
So why do you think it was ultimately you and not Penner who got voted out?
Artis: Because I couldn’t convince one person to stay with me to get one more vote. Mike was never an option in my game plan. I knew early on – very early on – that Mike was not going to stay with the Tandang tribe.
Before Tribal, was there any communication at all between you and Skupin?
I had no communication with Skupin. I really had no interaction with Mike at all (laughs).
How did you feel about being portrayed as a sort of villain this season?
I aligned myself with Pete, and with Pete came the baggage of Abi. That literally got me lumped into this thing where I was considered an evil villainous person. I’m nothing like that. But it played out well because, if I’m not smiling and I’m just sitting there, my natural demeanor and my facial expressions, would lead you to believe that I am angry at something. That was a huge obstacle for me to overcome coming into the game. That actually restructured how I had to play the game before even playing, just based on how people perceived me by looking at me.
Was there ever any consideration to strike an alliance with any of the Kalabaw members?
I had conversations about that with myself. But unless I am mistaken, as a huge fan of Survivor, I don’t remember any male that has flipped and has won the game. Plus, we continued to have numbers. No matter how dysfunctional we were, we still had the numbers. You don’t get to change horses in the middle of a race.
In your Ponderosa video on CBS.com, after being voted out you are quoted as saying that had you made it through this vote, “things would have really been shaken up.” What did you mean by that?
Oh, definitely to get rid of Mike. I would have gotten rid of Mike long before I would have gotten rid of Penner. I just didn’t want Mike in the game. I made an alliance with two key people – Pete and Abi – and everybody else could have been thrown under the bus. I also knew the deep bond between Malcolm and Denise and I knew that we were going to have to eventually break that up. Penner would have had to go because he was excellent at always pulling his tribe back together when they were split up. So I would have just needed to get rid of Malcolm or Denise, and Penner. At that point in time, for me personally I think it would have been a cake walk for me winning the game.
You aligned with Pete early on. Pete has been given the “villain” edit this year and doesn’t seem all that liked out there. Do you agree with how Pete has been portrayed? What is something that you saw in Pete that made you want to align with him?
See, there are people trying to compare Pete to someone like Russell. I don’t see it like that. You’ve got to understand, Pete is just out of college, frat boy, he’s just doing frat boy stuff. The thing I like about Pete is, Pete didn’t do anything that he didn’t tell me he was doing. So I couldn’t get upset with him. Even if it was something that I didn’t like, I’m not one to tell someone how they should be playing their game.
Do you feel like in the amount of time you were on the show, that the viewers really got to know you?
The viewers? No. But it is what it is. I was depicted as a villain. I kind of wish that I would have had an inkling, in any way, shape or form, that that was the route they were going to go in with me. Because I probably could have been the worst villain in Survivor history. I know that’s how it was going to play out. Again, I just have that look that when I’m not smiling, I’m angry. I did a lot more smiling than was depicted. But if they cast you as a villain, they can’t continue to show that you are smiling. I hitched myself to Pete and it would have been a very easy transition to take a nice person and make them a villain, when you are aligned with that group.
You have a pretty amazing backstory, having survived cancer. Are you disappointed that your story never really came out on the show, as opposed to someone like Lisa, who is someone that they seemed really interested in as far as exploring her personal background?
I can’t quarrel with it. We all signed the same contract which mean we all signed our lives away. They get to do what they choose and they get to tell the story that they want to tell. We have no say-so with that other than what we do in the game, and if they have a storyline that they want to tell, then it’s going to get told. Lisa’s been in TV her whole life, it’s common sense to think that they’d want to keep it that way, for whatever reason. So no, I don’t have any ill will. As a matter of fact, that could have possibly cost me the game had I made it to the Final 3, or that would have put a target on back because people would have seen my past as something that somehow made me more deserving than others, because of all I’ve been through. So no, I don’t harbor any resentment behind that, my story is my story and if they tell it, they tell it and if they don’t they don’t. I can’t control that.
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