December 22, 2010 04:00 PM by Ryan Haidet
He went from being the goofy underdog to the champion of Survivor: Nicaragua on CBS. Judson “Fabio” Birza claimed the $1 million prize and title of sole Survivor beating runner-up Chase Rice by a single vote. I have sat in the audience for the last eight finales, and Fabio’s victory brought the biggest reaction from the live crowd than I’ve ever seen. Fans were on his side the entire time. Fabio, who is now the youngest Survivor winner in the show’s history at 21 years old, became the 12th male to claim the top prize. I had the opportunity to chat exclusively with Fabio on the red carpet just moments after the live reunion show.
Read on to watch video of the interview where Fabio explains his strategy in the game and the reason he decided to cut his hair.
Check out Ryan Haidet’s red carpet interview with Fabio:
RealityTVMagazine: First of all, congratulations. You just won a million bucks. The youngest Survivor winner ever.
Judson “Fabio” Birza: So dangerous. … A million dollars at the age of 21 is gonna be a lot of fun. I have the opportunity to do a lot of cool stuff, and I want to. It feels crazy good. Overnight. It’s crazy.
RTVMag: They kind of had you portrayed as the goofball character. It was even said in the opening of the finale that you are the guy nobody took seriously. Was that for real?
Fabio: Yeah. I believe you have to know yourself really well to do things like that, and express different characters. I was very aware of how other people were perceiving me. Yeah, I was left out in the dark a lot, but I also knew that I wasn’t on the chopping block necessarily — most of the time. So yeah, I definitely let the goofy part fly. And certain people, they don’t include it in the editing, (but) I would have in-depth conversations with Marty. … Every time somebody else would be devising the plan, I always was calculating for my own sake and for whatever. I was going through all possible scenarios. Chess. Like mind chess.
I think I definitely have an ego. I hope I really don’t get one after this. But I also don’t mind sitting back and letting somebody have all the power — being in the driver’s seat or whatever. Communication man. Also, being super goofy or whatever, I had Chase coming up on the big swing vote and he was like, “Dude I have two alliances telling me the truth. I’m pretty sure.” I was like, “Great! Tell me.” Then NaOnka coming up and filling me in on some stuff I wouldn’t have known. Things fell into my hands. That’s where you kind of create your own luck like how you set yourself up before.
RealityTVMagazine: You were on the verge of getting eliminated. Then at the final Tribal you were sitting pretty. Did you know that?
Fabio: Yeah I kind of did. Anybody that wins three in a row (Immunity challenges) is a homie. I don’t want to say it about myself, but. … I knew that I really didn’t have to make a lot of people mad, but that’s why I had to win all those to get in there. Then I remember the second time, I believe I walked out and Brenda looked at me and said, “Go Fabio.” And they’re all communicating back at the thing (Ponderosa). … I was friends with some aggressive people. Marty. Dan. Benry. I know they were in my corner. That’s another way. Sash was doing jury work, which is obvious. People know it while you’re doing it. …
Maybe in their minds they’re like, “We could either give it to Chase and see what he does with it, or we could give it to Fabio and see what he does with it.” That might have been a factor, too.
RealityTVMagazine: Let’s talk a little bit about your hair. You cut it.
Fabio: I know. I cut it Friday. I wanted my big-boy hair, dude. I wanted to bring out another character, dude. I’ll grow it out again. Don’t worry.
RealityTVMagazine: Would you play again?
Fabio: No. I just won. I don’t want to go tarnish anything that I have going. I could slip up and say something and they could decide to edit me as the bad guy, too. Well they might not get away with that necessarily. I want to stay involved with Survivor. I want to work with Jeff’s charity — the Serpentine Project — with foster kids helping them acclimate when they’re 18. So there’s a lot of things that come with it, but I don’t think I’ll actually play the game again.
RealityTVMagazine: Anything else you’d like to add?
Fabio: The fans, man. Survivor has some very loyal fans, dude. That’s great. Almost a cult. But that’s why we’re here dude — is because of the fans. Everybody says that, but it’s cool. Especially Survivor ones when they stop you on the street like, “Yeah man. We were pulling for you.” It feels good.
RealityTVMagazine: All right, man. Cool. Congratulations. Hope to see you soon.
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