‘Survivor’ Castaway JP: ‘If I Could Do it Again I’d Probably Shake Things Up a Little Bit More’

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ (CBS)

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We want to believe that everyone who appears on “Survivor” is worthy of a story, but the fact is there are a lot of people and only 42 minutes of airtime. So, sometimes people end up on the ol’ purple (Kelly) tribe.

JP would have been the challenge superstar of the purple tribe.

I spoke with the mystery man the afternoon after his elimination and asked him why he was targeted first, what happened to his potential power couple partner, and how his mother felt about his prime-time nudity…

Gordon Holmes: The Round Table explodes, you get hit with the shrapnel. Why do you think you were target instead of blindsiding Ryan and his idol?
JP Hilsabeck: Yeah, a big-time blindside. I think I was targeted because I’m a big physical threat. And you have to break the seven up and I was on the outside with Chrissy and Ryan. And you know, if you win a couple of immunity challenges, you can make it further in the game. They figured they’d get rid of me. A good play on their part.

Holmes: How in the loop were you with the Round Table? Did you know about Ryan’s idol? Did you know about Lauren’s extra vote?
Hilsabeck: I didn’t know about the extra vote, but I was right there for Ryan’s idol. When he was digging I was right there with him. We just played it off like nothing had happened.
Holmes: And you were there for Chrissy jumping on Cole’s back and strangling him with his buff.
Hilsabeck: Yeah, Ryan had already gotten the idol before that. It was really funny to stand back and watch everybody wrestle.

Holmes: You and Ashley were close on the original Heroes tribe, but we didn’t see much with you two after the merge. Had you drifted apart or were you trying to make sure people didn’t think you were a couple?
Hilsabeck: After the merge, our relationship faded out a little bit just as far as we were on different tribes and different alliances had formed. We didn’t really rekindle anything when we got to the merge.

Holmes: You got the ol’ invisible edit as far as gameplay went. What did we miss?
Hilsabeck: Luckily I was able to get in with the seven. I wanted to break up the seven a little sooner than later, but it was the safe way to go. I went the safe route. If I could do it again I’d probably shake things up a little bit more. But in the heat of the moment, that’s what I did and it was the wrong way to go.
Holmes: And you considered Chrissy and Ryan to be your closest allies?
Hilsabeck: Yes, at that point it was Chrissy and Ryan.

Holmes: Cole said that you had offered to throw a challenge if it meant he would win immunity.
Hilsabeck: That is accurate. We were the threats going into the challenges and if he was able to win immunity that’d be two votes for us. Maybe we could mix things up and go with the other guys. As you know, the game changes so fast.

Holmes: And Joe wanted me to ask you about how you would shy away from group strategy discussions and would have one-on-one meetings with people.
Hilsabeck: You get a better sense of people in one-on-one meetings. When you’ve got a big group it’s more about deception. And you might open your mouth and say the wrong thing. It was easier to talk to individuals. Maybe it hurt me, I could’ve done two, three, or four people at a time.

Holmes: Cole also said you were concerned about being too deceptive because it might reflect poorly on your firehouse. How important was that to you?
Hilsabeck: It was. I have that t-shirt on and I not only represent myself but something bigger than myself. I represent the whole department. We’re professionals and we do our jobs, we’re not backstabbing people. I stand by it.
Holmes: If the theme had been something more along the lines of “Beauty vs Brains vs. Brawn” and your heroic career wasn’t as much a part of your in-game identity, would you have been more deceptive or is that just not who you are?
Hilsabeck: I think that’s not the kind of person I am. At the end of the day, you’re there to play the game. But, if I was out there without the firefighter part, I probably would’ve went with it and tried to be more deceitful.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Alan.
Hilsabeck: Athletic, funny guy.
Holmes: Roark?
Hilsabeck: Funny and outgoing.
Holmes: Ryan?
Hilsabeck: Skinny little guy, you could see his heart pounding through his chest. I felt bad for the guy.
Holmes: Ben?
Hilsabeck: Jokester.
Holmes: Ali?
Hilsabeck: She wore her heart on her sleeve, great personality.
Holmes: Jessica?
Hilsabeck: I didn’t get a chance to know Jessica very much. Nice…sweet…humble girl.
Holmes: Desi?
Hilsabeck: Super athletic, great looking, great person.
Holmes: Chrissy?
Hilsabeck: Super smart.
Holmes: Cole?
Hilsabeck: Stud.
Holmes: Joe?
Hilsabeck: Manipulating.
Holmes: Katrina?
Hilsabeck: Huh…I don’t even know…I don’t really have anything.
Holmes: Devon?
Hilsabeck: Super laid back.
Holmes: Lauren?
Hilsabeck: Hard working.
Holmes: Let’s finish off with Ashley.
Hilsabeck: Beach girl.

Holmes: Your trademark moment for this season might be the impromptu strip search. How did your family and friends react to that?
Hilsabeck: All my friends and co-workers thought it was hilarious. The only person who didn’t think it was hilarious was my mother. She wasn’t too happy about that. But hey, it happened.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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