Yesterday, we spoke with Colton Cumbie the 21-year-old college student from Monroeville, Alabama. Colton exited Survivor One World this week with a medical issue. Although many viewers and readers may want this interview to be a Coltonoscopy, whether revered or reviled, we at the Yak appreciate all contestants who take the time to interview with us and answer even the toughest questions. We don’t spin it. We ask; they answer. It’s up to you to discern if these answers are candid and sincere, or calculated.
Colton told us some great behind the scenes information that you may not have seen in the edited show. His greatest alliance was with Jay. He was going to vote out Alicia next, not Christina. He confirmed that the altercation between Tarzan and Leif was staged for Bill’s benefit so that Bill would agree to go to tribal. Colton thought their acting deserved an Emmy.
Colton was removed from the game and flown to a nearby hospital. What they thought was appendicitis was not. Colton had a severe bacterial infection in his intestines. He was treated with strong antibiotics. When Colton returned to the States he still had the infection and had to again be treated. He’s well and says he’s “fat” again.
The Yak:: How have you dealt with peoples’ reaction to you on the show?
Colton: Um…Obviously watching it, some of the certain parts, specifically episode 4, I was uncomfortable watching that. Obviously I don’t want to be seen as someone who treats people that way. As far as my personal life there haven’t been any people who have attacked me. People recognize me all the time, if they don’t recognize me by looking, as soon as I open my mouth people say “I know that voice.” (laughs) People that are admittedly not fans can tell me that they thought I was the most deplorable person on the planet earth but then we get to talking and I pose for pictures with their kids and they say “You’re not at all how you seemed on TV.” I say “Of course, because it’s just that, television.” I mean we’re totally different people in the real world than you see on television, in some cases.
The Yak:: Do you have any statements or actions that you specifically regret?
Colton: Yeah, I mean I regret the way I handled the Bill situation. The only issue I had was Bill was that he was a little obnoxious and loud and I didn’t think his jokes were funny, but I’m not here to belittle him anymore than I already have. I just had a problem with the fact that I felt he was going to get to the end and use his financial status as a means of saying “I deserve to win because I need this money.” If I was on the jury and you’ve got Tarzan who’s a plastic surgeon, you have Troy who’s a world-renowned photographer and then you’ve got Bill sitting there saying “I really need this money”, well obviously you’re going to give it to him because that’s just human nature. So that’s what I kind of had a problem with. I took it to a level it should never have gone to. I regret my remarks to him and Christina but at the end of the day I’m kind of glad I said it because I got to see myself through other peoples eyes and I get to grow as a person. Otherwise had it not been on Survivor I probably would have gone though life thinking oh all of this is okay.
The Yak:: How did your housekeeper react to the comments you made at tribal council?
Colton: OMG (laughs). She is absolutely fine. This is a woman who literally changed my diapers since birth. She’s like a second grandmother to me, she’s like a member of our family, you know. She knows me and my personality. She’s used to my snarky comments and she thinks I’m funny. She actually stood up in her church and told everyone at her church that I was a nice person (laughs).
The Yak:: We saw a lot of hateful controversial things directed at Christina. In a social game where those types of things determine who wins, how can you win a million bucks.
Colton: Well first of all the Christina thing; I had already apologized. When I got sick that night and you saw me laying my head in her lap I had apologized to her,. I said I’m really sorry that I was mean to you and she was like “you’re fine, sweetheart.” I was genuinely sorry for the way I treated her. Then when I got sicker I really did consider giving her the idol and I thought, this poor child she won’t know what to do with this, she’ll think it’s a necklace so I refrained from giving it to her.
The Yak:: How has this experience changed you?
Colton: I’m from a town of 3000 people. I’ve had the same friends since I was 4 years old. You know, I’ve grown up in this bubble. I think it’s hard for people who haven’t been in my shoes to envision how that’s possible like how do you not interact with people that are not like you? It’s not been by choice but I haven’t, that’s just the cards I’ve been dealt. I’ve realized that it’s okay if people are different from people. Survivor opened my eyes to people that have lived different lives than I’ve led. You know that’s okay, it takes all kinds to make the world go round and that’s what I’ve learned from the experience.
The Yak:: Do you consider yourself the season’s villain and do you like being cast as the season’s villain?
Colton: I don’t know who else could be considered the season’s villain. (ed note: Alicia). You might as well embrace it, it is what it is. I’ll own my title, I’ll wear my crown with pride.
The Yak:: Did you plan on being the villain or did you want to have a persona to be remembered in the game or did you really want to win the million dollars?
Colton: I wanted to win. I’m not the type of person who’s going to sign up for something. It’s actually funny because right before we went into the game Jeff Probst asked me if I thought I could win. I said Jeff if I didn’t think I could win, I wouldn’t be here. I don’t sign up for anything I don’t think I can win whether it be a board game or a potato sack race, I hate to lose and so honestly, I went in thinking I probably would be a villain because I kind of knew how I wanted to play but I didn’t care about being THE villain. The things I said to the camera really had underlying humor. There were some cruel things that I wish I could take back or change or whatever but for the most part the Republican comment, the Helen Keller comment, the knock him back to OZ comment, that was all supposed to be funny.
The Yak:: Alicia is coming off as mean and cruel. Did you see her that way?
Colton: I saw a different side to Alicia than most people did. You say things you don’t necessarily mean when you’re in the confessionals, we throw the word hate around when I can count on one hand the amount of people I strongly dislike. I didn’t mean half of the crap I said on television. I’m sure Alicia did the same thing. I think she’s going through a hard time right now, even harder than I am. The backlash from being on the show is hurtful to her. I can handle people saying things about me but it hurts Alicia when people call her a bitch.
The Yak:: As a viewer from episode 1 until this weeks episode, I really saw a huge change. It appeared to many that you were actually having a mental breakdown at one point, before you got the idol. What really happened?
Colton: First, I never, ever would have quit the game. Secondly, in the beginning it was more so shock. Really, it’s men vs. women? During the casting process they ask you what is your biggest fear coming in? What would be the worst possible scenario, etc. I told everyone, my family, casting, if it was men vs. women, I’d have a heart attack. It was my worst fear come true. I immediately knew that I had to change my game plan. I thought I was going to have an immediate target but I did not just lie down and die like they portrayed me. I did go over to the women, but the men were totally fine with that because I was telling the guys that these women would trust me, I can play them. So the men said, ok, go do your thing. I was telling the girls, the boys are being really mean to me, so I was playing both sides very early on. Actually what you don’t know is that when I went over kind of crying and begging to live with the girls I didn’t have the idol at that point and I was trying to manipulate Sabrina into giving me that idol. I had an alliance with Jay from day one. He came up to me immediately and said “I’ll take care of you” and then Matt came up to me and said “I’ll take care of you.” Troy came up and said “I’ve got you” and then Tarzan said “I think you’re really smart”, so I was thinking well, this is not terrible but I’m not going to let the girls know that.
The Yak:: You’ve been criticized for things you’ve said and one is that you said you were Republican and didn’t believe in any handouts yet you accepted the immunity idol from Sabrina.
Colton: Yes, I’m glad you asked about that. First of all I can totally see where people can make the connection between that comment and me receiving the immunity idol from Sabrina. Here’s the thing, I really had to work for that idol in a roundabout way. I had to put on an Emmy worthy performance at the first immunity challenge. What you don’t see is I’m supposed to throw the first immunity challenge. The girls agreed that if I threw it, they would give me the idol. Well Kourtney broke her arm and if you notice, when the guys are discussing whether or not they’re going to keep immunity I didn’t go anywhere near that huddle and then they told me, you tell Jeff, so I told Jeff. I started boohooing “we didn’t earn this”, and the girls started saying well bless his heart he really did try, so Sabrina gave me the idol. I think the difference was I tried to do something to benefit them and they came in our camp and said we want fire and they didn’t want to give us anything in return. They had to give that idol to someone, why not make that person me?
The Yak:: It appears that everyone had resigned themselves to the fact that you were running the game. How did you get away with that?
Colton: This is going to sound very pompous and arrogant but I don’t know how else to put it. I can honestly tell you that I can be a very charming person. You might see me on television and want to stab me in the face but I really can charm people. I know how to get people on my side. You saw me do it with these people and I just know how to do it. I don’t know. It’s a gift. God did not bless me with a high IQ, he blessed me with charisma.
The Yak:: What was your plan if you made it to the merge?
Colton: Oh I had it all planned out. I had a producer tell me on day 3 that I was the first player in the history of the show that when everyone was on day 3 I was on day 33. I had a plan. I knew who I had to get rid of and I knew when I had to get rid of them. I was actually getting rid of Alicia next, I was about to send her home. I knew about her relationship with the women she just didn’t think I did. I wanted to get rid of Monica because I thought Monica was a threat and I honestly thought that Monica and Michael were close. That’s why I got rid of Monica. The reason I was going to get rid of Alicia next is because Christina didn’t have that relationship with the girls and I figured Christina would have no choice but to go with the guys. I think she honestly would have.
Going into the merge I was planning on getting rid of Chelsea immediately. I knew about her and Kim’s relationship. I knew they were close and I wanted to cutoff Kim’s right arm. I wanted Kim to come with me and kind of go along with what I wanted. My ideal final 4 was going to be Jay, Troy, Kim and me. I knew there was no way in hell I was going to win the final immunity challenge. If Kim won it I was going to get rid of Troy. If Jay or Troy won it I was going to get rid of Kim. Sitting in the final 3 I was going to make the argument, “Look I was the most underestimated player in this entire game. I literally had to claw, scratch and bite my way to the end. None of you thought I would get here.” So I thought I had a valid case but (laughs) we’ll never know.
The Yak:: Would you have preferred to be blindsided then going out the way you did?
Colton: OMG YES! Had I been blindsided, that’s the thing, I feel like I don’t have closure. Had they all grown brains and said “Let’s get rid of Colton and the idol, let’s blindside him” I would say props to them, but they didn’t get me. I got taken out by something that was out of my control, their control and everyone’s control. That’s what was disheartening about the way I went out. I didn’t get blindsided. I kind of feel like I was in the middle of writing my Survivor story and I ran out of ink and kind of left there to dangle in the wind.
The Yak:: Can you explain your decision to keep the immunity idol as a souvenir?
Colton: Yes, I was actually going to give it away had I been able to give it to who I wanted to. Jay was my closest ally in the game. We were super close, yet it was edited so that you saw no conversations between us. I wanted to give it to him but was told I had to give it to someone on Manono. Also, due to Jay and my relationship I didn’t want to do anything to potentially screw up his game. Although I appreciated what all the people on Manono had done for me as far as following me around, I didn’t want it to come back and hurt Jay’s game in the end. That’s why I opted to keep it, plus I’m a villain I have to do something selfish and be true to my nature (laughs).
The Yak:: If you were asked to go back I am assuming you would so you could finish your story?
Colton: Yes, Yes. I feel like Natasha Bedingfield “The rest is still unwritten” and I want to go write it.
The Yak:: Who do you see taking it all the way?
Colton: As much as it pains me to say this I think the boys are going to fall apart without me. You see Kim, you see Chelsea and they really seem to know what’s going on. They seem to have it all together. I’m rooting for Jay but I’m also rooting for Kim just on principle alone cuz I feel that in that game there are only 4 people who knew how to play this game. I feel like I knew how to play, Kim knew how to play, Troy was playing a pretty good game and I think Matt knew how to play and that’s why he went home first. Right now I would say that Kim probably has the best chance of bringing it home.