Returning for Survivor: Caramoan, Sheppard played a more strategic game, but was still called out for his eccentric behavior.
Now on the jury after getting eliminated on Wednesday, Sheppard chatted about his upper body strength, his fear of water and why he’s not crazy.
Hi, Phillip. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.
Before we start, I should mention that I have a book called The Specialist that came out on the day the series premiered, and I’m working on another book right now. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. I know you want to talk about what just happened on Survivor.
Okay. Did you know that you were going to be voted off last night?
I knew I was going, so I thought this was a time to flush out both idols. I knew that it would mean the end of my game, but that is a compliment. They gave up two idols to get me out of there, because I was a physical threat. Everyone knew I was a physical threat and I was playing a very good game. So they had to get rid of me.
You weren’t a physical threat on the last episode, though. You sat out of the immunity challenge. Do you regret it?
I’m not a phenomenal swimmer, and I wouldn’t have won my challenge. Besides, based on what happened when I was a boy where I almost drowned, there were some reasons why I opted not to participate.
Which is it? Because of your childhood experience, or because you knew you couldn t win?
My experience is what came to mind. And I knew I wasn’t going to win the challenge. Brenda owns a dive company and even she couldn’t win that challenge. And besides, I wasn’t feeling well that day.
In the previous immunity challenge, you were submerged underwater under a cage and yet you participated in that challenge.
But I was the first one out. And for most of the challenge, my face was over water. My challenge strength is my physical upper body. I won challenges based on my strength. Physically, before the tribal swap, I was owning challenges for my tribe. And I’m very loyal to the people who are in my core alliance.
Who do you think is playing a good game out there?
I’m going to refuse to answer that question, because I don’t want to give out any spoilers.
On both seasons, the show classified you as crazy and annoying. How much of that is real and how much is editing?
First, I would disagree with your characterization on how I came off this season. I came across as a physical threat, a strategic player. Until I was voted out, I only received one vote. Tell me, if I was really that annoying, why did they not get rid of me earlier?
Perhaps the other contestants wanted to sit next to you in the finals, because they thought they could beat you.
Then why did they vote me off? If I was really a goat, they would have kept me to the end. But they voted me off because of my physicality.
But your main alliance didn’t vote you off. They wanted to keep you. It was the three-member counter-alliance.
Malcolm said he was voting me out because I don’t let anyone have any fun. That’s ridiculous. It’s a million dollar game and he’s going to vote me off for that? Tell me, do you think Malcolm is strategic?
Then if he’s strategic, the only reason he voted me off is because I was a physical threat.
So you’re not crazy?
You’re listening to me talk right now, and it’s obvious I’m not crazy. My novel was No. 70 on the Canadian Amazon bestseller site, and it was the No. 40 gift in Canada. It was the No. 1 selling book in Japan. There’s a lot of Phillip Sheppard that you just don’t understand. I came up with the idea of forming an alliance and calling it Stealth R Us, and CBS made it a centerpiece of the show. … I leveraged that to be a memorable character – one of the most well known characters in Survivor history. And I’m leveraging it outside the game. You don’t understand how I played the game.
You’re right, I don’t.
I can walk into a situation while other people are singing songs or talking about TV shows that they’ll never put on the air. But I can come out there, make you laugh at home and publish a book! I have thousands of fans writing to me saying, “Give me a name in Stealth R Us.” My brother is a police chief in Rochester N.Y., and I have a twin sister who is a Ph.D. I come from a very successful family. Tell me, do you think that makes me crazy?
Well, we seem to be out of time. Thanks so much for the interview!
Thank you. And remember, you can order my book on Amazon.