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I’m usually a pretty good judge of who my mother will like on “Survivor.” She loves adorable, young challenge stars and hates deceptive food swipers.
But what happens when someone does both of those things?
I spoke with the latest “Survivor” castaway a few days after his elimination to get his take on why my mother seems to hate him so much…
Gordon Holmes: My mother and I only get to watch “Survivor” together during the Thanksgiving episode and I thought she was going to love you. I find out she was so mad at you for stealing the food and telling Jessica’s secrets. What’s been the public’s reaction to you?
Cole Medders: I’ve gotten a lot of love from fans. On the days of the show I’ll get comments like, “Why did you eat all the food?” But they’ll also say, “He’s a giant guy, he passed out.” So, there have been a lot of friendly people who say they want to see me play again.
Holmes: Do you feel differently about how you played when you watch those moments at home?
Medders: I do. Obviously I’m much more self-aware about those moments. In the moment I thought, “I did a pretty good job.” As I watch it back I’m hitting myself in the head saying, “You’re so stupid.” (Laughs)
Holmes: Well, get that second chance and see if you can win my mother back.
Medders: Hopefully. Nobody saw the game I’m capable of playing, so if I get that second chance they won’t know what’s coming.
Holmes: What would you do differently?
Medders: I’d go in with a lot more self-awareness. I wasn’t emotionally invested in the game. When I told Jessica’s secrets, I didn’t think about how that would emotionally impact her. She told me those secrets on a personal level, not just playing the game. And I was just playing the game. It was a lack of knowledge of gameplay. I need to be personally invested.
Holmes: It makes sense to me why they’d target the good-looking challenge threat, but why are people sleeping on Joe? Is Ben trying to work with him? What was happening before you left?
Medders: Joe was seen as an easy target to take out later that nobody liked. There wasn’t a threat of him working with anyone because he got on people’s nerves.
Holmes: Were there any cracks within the Round Table that you could’ve worked your way into?
Medders: Me and JP had been having a lot of conversations. We had bonded over rock climbing, he does a lot of that too. He was willing to throw that immunity challenge with Lauren if it came down to me and him to make sure that I won immunity. He wanted to make a move after that Tribal Council.
Holmes: Wow, we don’t see much of JP at all. Had he been making any other moves?
Medders: No, he had not. He really did keep to himself a lot. He’s a really nice guy. Very friendly. And for his sake, he was representing his firehouse on his t-shirt so he didn’t want to do anything too crazy on the show. He caught a lot of fish and we were definitely bros out there, but he didn’t do much of anything outside of his seven.
Holmes: It must have been tough to watch yourself lose consciousness on television. What do you remember from that moment?
Medders: All I remember is I was going to lay down on the beach, and I had been getting dizzy a lot when I’d stand up. I tried to take it slow. I stood up, it started happening again, I tried to grab a tree to support myself, and I missed the tree. Everything blacked out. The next thing I remember is Dr. Mike in front of me saying, “Cole! Are you OK?”
Holmes: That must have been concerning knowing Mike’s field of medicine.
Medders: (Laughs) Yeah, I was hoping it wasn’t for those reasons.
Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Mike.
Medders: Mike’s lovable. He’s probably one of the funniest guys I’ve met.
Medders: Manipulative…which is what you need on “Survivor.”
Medders: A bro.
Medders: She’s tough. She’s got a big attitude…in a good way.
Medders: Besides being intelligent and beautiful, she’s very personable. You can talk to her forever.
Medders: I don’t think I had more than one conversation with Ashley the whole time.
Medders: He’s got this awesome spirit about him. He’s a light, honestly. He draws people towards him.
Medders: (Laughs) Joe’s loud.
Medders: Witty and comical.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Jessica.
Medders: Genuine and sincere.
Holmes: You’re going to get a lot of this today, any post-game romantic sparks with Jessica?
Medders: We’ve been lucky enough to hang out a few times. We all went to Lollapalooza in Chicago. We met up again in LA for the premiere of the season, we’ll see each other at the finale. And we have a trip planned together too.
Medders: (Laughs) Right now we’re just staying in the friend zone. She’s very busy in her professional life and I’m traveling and off the grid a lot. But, we’re building a great friendship and there’s always room for other things in the future.
Holmes: Nice. Man, off the grid sounds amazing.
Medders: (Laughs) It’s nice.
Holmes: Let’s talk about Lauren. You and her butted heads, but you’re not the first person to butt heads with her. Help me understand her better.
Medders: My first interaction with Lauren was once I told Lauren and Ben about the secret advantage, there was a large fight that was not shown between me and Lauren. Lauren took things very personally. For me, it was easy to separate the game and personal things. For Lauren it was all the same. She saw me telling her about the advantage as me trying to trick her and lie to her and be a sneaky person. But that was me trying to make a move in the game. Maybe Patrick’s goofiness rubbed her the wrong way and she took it personally.
Holmes: The spaghetti challenge, what are you thinking when you saw Ryan hide the plate?
Medders: Ugh…there are three big moments that are my biggest regrets. That is one of them. If I had found that idol, I’d still be there. When I saw him hide that plate I thought, “Why didn’t I just do that?” I think if I had made the plate disappear, it’d look like the food had been disturbed and was not natural and I already had a lot of flack for having food issues.
Holmes: What were the other regrets?
Medders: Not throwing the challenges on the middle tribe. We had all discussed it. But, we decided against it because there can be uncertainty at Tribal Council. I wish we had. We could’ve gotten rid of two people who were not in our alliance. And the other is I shouldn’t have told Joe how to find the idol.
Holmes: The beach brawl is easily my favorite moment from this season. Did we miss anything there?
Medders: Oh man…me the idiot, I was in the back of the line heading back into camp, I could’ve easily gone and grabbed it. But I thought, “Nobody is going to go for it in the middle of the day, I’ll be sneaky about it later.” I go to pee, when I turn back around, I see Chrissy digging. Apparently she didn’t even know that Ryan had it. She thought she was finishing the job. So, I in three steps crossed camp and ended up on the beach. Chrissy later told me that it was pure terror in her eyes when she saw me flying at her.
Medders: (Laughs) We both start digging, she calls out for JP and Ben. JP hilariously doesn’t budge. He just stands there and laughs. Ben comes flying down the shelter, throws his shoulder into me. Chrissy jumps on my back and uses my buff as a gag.
Medders: She’s pulling my buff. At that point I back off a pretend like I’m putting an idol in my pants. And then Chrissy reaches for my pants and starts grabbing at my belt.
Holmes: (Laughs) Can you press charges against Chrissy at this point?
Medders: (Laughs) Fiji’s rules might be different.