March 10, 2011 04:07 PM by Ryan Haidet
Raw emotions emerged from villain Russell Hantz as he became the second official elimination from Survivor: Redemption Island. In a conference call with reporters today, Russell explains why he cried so hard, he talks about Ralph’s dumb strategies, discusses his Survivor legacy and reveals why he shaved his armpits before the game began. Russell also addresses the accusations that he spoiled previous seasons of Survivor by questioning the credibility of the person who brought the allegations to light. To top it all off, he also answers my question on whether he’d ever consider teaming up with Boston Rob for the Amazing Race. Read on for all that and much more!
Question: What was going through your head after you lost the Redemption Island duel?
Russell Hantz: I’m saying this a lot, but this is the only thing I can really equal it to. You get these big 350 pound linebackers crying because they just lost the Super Bowl. You put everything into this. Your heart. Your soul. Your mind. It is so draining. It’s so emotional — even for me. I watched it by myself. My kids turned to my wife and said, “I never seen daddy cry before.” They’re 11. Because I don’t do that. Then I felt like I let everybody down. I feel like I let my fans down. I feel like I let my friends down. I felt like I let Jeff, Mark Burnett, the whole cast, the camera crew, the sound people. I got to be family out there with these guys. Jeff looked at me once I got voted off before the cameras were rolling and they were setting up the talk. He looks at me and he puts his head down and he puts his hand up and he says, “Give me a second.” When he did that, I seen in his eyes, I felt like he was upset. … When I feel like I let him down, it hurt my feelings. That’s what started it. … Just overwhelming. I mean, it’s hard for me to talk about it right now.
Question: Do you think Ralph is too big for britches or did he outplay you?
Russell Hantz: Ralph found an Idol under a rock. I told him to get rocks to make a fire because you put the rocks under the fire, it keeps the rocks hotter. He was looking for rocks. Not an Idol. If it was a snake, it would have bit him. He wasn’t looking for an Idol. There’s no such thing as somebody that dumb can outplay me. Like something is wrong upstairs with the dude. Look what he did when it was time for me to finally go home. He was actually about to take that Idol out and show it. That would have been priceless. He was taking it out and the only reason he didn’t is because Sarita is like, “Don’t. Don’t do it. Don’t do it.” He has the Idol and he’s about to show the entire team.
Question: You said after your elimination that you were done with Survivor because you have nothing more to prove. But you haven’t won.
Russell Hantz: I’m done with Survivor. I have nothing to prove because I am happy with what I’ve done. In a year and a half, I’ve played three times and I went to the end twice. That’s a hell of an accomplishment. I did my best. Even though I didn’t win because of bitter jury or however you want to say it, I tried my best. I played my best. I have things going on right now. Bigger and better things are about to happen with me. I can’t really talk about it, but this won’t be the last time you see me on TV.
Question: After Heroes Vs. Villains you said you weren’t sure if you would play the game again. Why did you decide to return for season 22?
Russell Hantz: At first I didn’t want to play. And then it’s the whole Rob thing. Him being a coward and not wanting to shake my hand. You know what, if he ends up doing well in the game, I’ll shake his hand at the end of the day because I’m not a punk. I’m not a coward like he is. Why didn’t you want to shake my hand? You don’t want to give me credit? I would give him all the credit in the world if he does well in this game. I give him credit right now. If he gets voted out next week, he’s doing a great job.
It’s funny it was called Redemption Island because I didn’t know that. I wanted to redeem myself. Watching myself on TV sometimes is embarrassing. If you watched me this time, people are saying, “You kind of played the same.” Well, really? Did you see me say one thing negative about my tribemates Krista and Stephanie? Did I say anything about my dumbass girl alliance? No. I only praised them. I said how good of players they were. The only thing I talked bad about is the opposite tribe trying to get rid of us. So I did play different. I was trying to play different. I didn’t tell Krista or Stephanie that I would take them to the top two. I told them, “We’re going to go as far as we can go.” I didn’t make promises like I used to make promises. I tried to play different. Maybe that’s my downfall. Maybe I need to lie to them. Julie asked me, “You going to take me to the top like you did Parvati?” when I was trying to get her to switch. You know what I told her? No. I said, “I can’t promise you that. All I can promise you, is that if I’m in this game, you’ll be in the top four.” …
Russell Hantz: Man, I’m kind of getting sick of hearing about that, because it’s a bunch of bull. The same person that said the accusations about me — and I don’t even want to say his name because I don’t want to give him any credit — is the same person that posed a picture of Snooki from Jersey Shore and me. And tried to sell that to TMZ. So that’s the credible guy we’re talking about.
Question: You said you can’t really talk about what you’re planning for the future, but is there any consideration of you and Boston Rob running the Amazing Race together?
Russell Hantz: The only thing I would do with Boston Rob is fight him in a cage. Hahaha. That’s it. If he agreed on that, I’m going to tell him way ahead of time, “Hey partner, look. This is the deal here. This ain’t no game. I’m not gonna take it easy on you. I’m gonna train like I’m about to fight Mike Tyson. So you better be ready!”
Question: We saw this nasty rash with your armpits. Why did you shave them before you started?
Russell Hantz: With me, I like to stay clean. You’re out there for a long period of time. The less hair you have, the cleaner you can be. Obviously Ralph looks like an ape out there. So I shave everything before I go out there. To tell you the truth, when you’re laying in bed at night and sleeping, you don’t want to smell like armpit hair. It all got infected. They didn’t show it, but even my alliance was cleaning it for me. That would have been good TV, but they didn’t show that part.
Question: Which season of the three are you most proud of?
Russell Hantz: My first season was magical. … I’m proud of that season, but the funny thing is, this might be my best season. I’ve redeemed myself. Some things I said out there that wasn’t aired. How I tried to play the game more honest. I didn’t promise anybody anything. I did what I had to do.
Question: What do you want your Survivor legacy to be?
Russell Hantz: I care about the game a lot, and it shows. I want 20 years from now, when Survivor is considered one of the best reality shows that’s ever been played, I want some to say, “Oh yeah, Russell. He was one of the best.” I get it now. Maybe I can’t say I’m the best because I haven’t won the game. And you need to win the game to be the best, I guess. But I will be considered one of the best that ever played. And I will be considered the most passionate to ever play the game.
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