Aside from his apparent psychosis after quitting his three-pack-a-day smoking habit right before the start of Survivor: Panama – Exile Island, Shane Powers seemed to have the Casaya alliance in his grip. However, with Courtney’s ouster in the previous tribal council, Shane’s plans were destroyed. And the joy of getting to see son Boston, 13, after Terry shared his reward challenge was short-lived. Powers, 35, couldn’t outlive Cirie’s new alliance and in a 3-2 vote, he became the 12th person voted off the show. The owner of an L.A. celebrity-wrangling company recently talked with PEOPLE about his brush with insanity and his love for his son.
Do you think you were portrayed fairly on the show?There were a lot of opportunities for them to show my witty side and my funny side and there’s just not enough time because, “We’ve got to get the Shane-freak-out-section in this week!” That’s what people want to see. I knew going in that I was very comfortable with behaving however I was going to behave. I did have a hard time out there but I got to a point during day 22 or day 23 where I felt I could have been out there for five years alone and been okay.
What was up with that piece of wood you acted like was a BlackBerry?
Who knows what I was doing? Probably being a weirdo and roaming around and I look down and the piece of wood reminded me of a BlackBerry, which is literally like an appendage when I’m at home. It was the same shape and the same size and I looked at it and said, “You know what? I’m going to goof around with this thing!” It was actually very therapeutic for me. I was sending messages to people and obviously I knew I wasn’t going to get a response. It helped me to not be so explosive.
You’ve said your son sees you as his hero. What was it like when you got to see him after Terry picked you to share his reward?
I think for both him and me it was an amazing experience and it was on a multitude of levels. I mean, I had been so depleted and so wrecked. I think it was the first time in his life to have seen his “immortal” dad mortal, you know. I had some very, very weird physical stuff going on and he was processing the fact that, “Oh my God, my dad isn’t invincible.” We discussed where I was at emotionally and physically.
You quit smoking cold turkey when you went on the show. That really set you into an emotional tailspin.
Anybody who has ever smoked three packs a day and would ever try to quit the way that I did on this show, it was an experience that was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I talked to some doctors afterward and they were pretty amazed. They were like, “To smoke that much and then to quit cold turkey without water is the big problem because you need water to flush nicotine out of your body.” And I had NO water for three days! So they just basically explained that the nicotine was stuck to the fatty cells of my brain and I was probably experiencing schizophrenia. I feared for my emotional state. I was a crazy person.