"I was just taking things day by day," says Stocker

By Patrick Gomez
November 17, 2016 04:52 PM


Taylor Lee Stocker was more known on Survivor for his showmance with Figgy and hiding a secret stash of food, but the snowboard instructor promises there is more to him than meets the eye.

“I was playing up the whole dumb snowboarder,” Stocker told PEOPLE Thursday after being eliminated on Wednesday night’s episode of the CBS reality show.

Now back in Spokane, Washington, the 24-year-old — who will soon welcome a son with a girl he was dating before competing on Survivor — reflects on his showmance, strategy and how the decision to hide food may have ultimately led to his elimination.

Monty Brinton/CBS

You worked hard to reveal Adam‘s secret advantage and get him voted out instead of you.
The hard part was that I knew if I was going to reveal his secret, then I had to reveal mine too. I was just trying to do anything to make him seem like someone who couldn’t be trusted. The part about his advantage was true but I also wanted them to think he could have an idol and had been eating the food with me. I was just throwing all of that speculation out there.

Were you surprised the votes went the way they did?
I was just surprised the others split the vote so evenly. Usually on Survivor you give the majority of the votes to one person and then just enough to just tie if someone uses an idol and then you can switch the votes the second time around. I was hoping we could at least tie with votes for Adam and then maybe change things around for the second vote. I was surprised Will voted for Jay. I assume it was just because of where he was sitting at tribal and someone told him that was the way it needed to go.

Do you regret burying your secret stash of food?
Having the extra energy from eating it was great but, yeah, I think it probably got me eliminated. I can only think of one other person who hid food on Survivor and I’ve always wondered why more people didn’t do it. I guess it’s because you get voted out. If I did it again, I’d try and get more people involved that way we all share the blame of hiding it. Then again, there’s that saying, “Three people can keep a secret as long as two of them are dead.” So, I guess things always come out.

You got very close to Figgy while you were out there. Do you think it painted a target on your back or was it worth it to have someone you trusted that much?
I think if we’d both made it to the merge together, one of us would have been the first one out for sure. And she definitely paid the price for it and went home. But I think working with her was actually good for my game. I could have easily been on the bottom in the very beginning if we hadn’t gotten close.

Were you going on the show looking for a showmance?
Was I seeking it out? No. But I also told myself that I wasn’t going to ignore something if it came along. I was just taking things day by day and was out there to go on an adventure.

What does your family think of how you played the game?
I’m used to being around really laid-back people and so I tapped into that when I got out there. I wanted to come across as this really relaxed guy who wasn’t really playing hard. But I was always trying to figure out how to stay on top of what was going on. I came across on TV a certain way, but the people who know me could see I was putting on an act a little bit.

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on CBS.