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Survivor: Redemption Island — Matt’s Journey With God

May 21, 2011 03:09 PM by Ryan Haidet

Matt Elrod endured a long stay on Redemption Island having been blindsided by the Ometepe tribe twice.  When it came time for the final duel on Survivor: Redemption Island, Matt missed out on his second shot at returning to the game resulting in a seventh-place finish — that’s pretty good considering he was actually the second person voted out of the game.  Throughout the season, Matt’s story was heavily based on his religious faith and celebrating his connection with God.  Shortly after the live reunion show at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, Matt stopped by to talk with me on the red carpet for a few minutes about his experience on the show.  We discussed his religious journey through Survivor while also chatting about Phillip Sheppard and his wacky ways.  Be sure to watch the exclusive video inside this article for all that and much more.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: You stayed on Redemption Island for as long as you possibly could of.  What was that moment like when you realized it was all over?

Matt Elrod: It was surprise.  It was complete surprise.  I was just kind of almost on autopilot.  I was like, “Sure, I’m gonna win.  I’m gonna get back in the game.”  To actually lose, I was like, “Wait.  I lost?  How is this happening?”  It didn’t quite make sense to me.  Then it was followed by overwhelming relief.  I had been living on the edge with the pressure of trying to stay in the game for over a month.  In retrospect, I think it’s fitting that my time ended with Redemption Island.  I was there at the beginning, and my time in the game was over (there) at the end.  I’m proud of the way I carried myself and the way I played.  It was fun.

Ryan Haidet: Talk about the moment you got back in the game, but immediately blindsided for the second time.  What was that like walking down the stairs?  Were you ready to just call it quits at that point?

Matt Elrod: At that point, no.  I was pretty upset and more just like, “Man, I can’t believe I really just let them do that to me again.”  That was kind of followed by humor.  I was like, “I just let the same people blindside me twice.  Who does that?”  It was good.  I loved being back in the game.  It was funny, they didn’t actually show this, but I remember saying in several interviews, “I kind of miss Redemption Island.  This fast-paced game is kind of hard to keep up with.”  I guess I got what I was wishing for.

Ryan Haidet: You played from a very faith-based perspective in the game, which we’ve never seen as heavily as we did with you.  Can you envision playing the game like Boston Rob did?  Would you do that to win a million bucks?

Matt Elrod: Could I envision myself doing that?  Yes.  I was awfully tempted to.  But I had a very different motive for playing the game of Survivor.  That was really to glorify my God and let people know that Jesus Christ is my savior.  That’s why I was playing the game.  It wasn’t really to win a million dollars.  I loved that I stayed in as long as I did.  Part of me thinks, yeah, I could play the game like Rob.  I could do a great job, but it’d be kind of self-serving.

Ryan Haidet: Talk about Phillip.  What’s your take on this guy?

Matt Elrod: Phillip.  He means well.  I believe he has good intentions.  He’s a very emotionally driven creature.  Whenever his emotions start bubbling up and bubbling up, it’s hard to put the lid on.  He’s a good guy and he means well, but I think he was definitely putting on a show.  He liked the camera and the camera liked him.

Ryan Haidet: You represented the theme of the whole season — Redemption Island.  You were the Redemption Island resident, I called you that in a couple of my articles.  Next season, they’re bringing two players back for redemption.  If they call you and ask you to return to the game to redeem yourself, are you going to hop on a plane and go to the next location?

Matt Elrod: The South Pacific, it seems nice.  (Laughs)  I’d have to put some serious thought into it and prayer into it.  I’d love to come back and play again — I’m just not sure that’s the best thing for me.  I kind of just want to move forward from here and say, “Wow, I took so much out from this experience,” and leave it untainted.  But, you can see the look in my eyes right now.  The temptation is definitely there.

Ryan Haidet: Thank you for your time.  Nice to meet you.

Matt Elrod: Thank you so much.  Nice to meet you as well.

Check out my interview with “Boston Rob” Mariano — the winner of Survivor: Redemption Island:

Check out my interview with Phillip Sheppard — the runner-up of Survivor: Redemption Island:

Check out my interview with Natalie Tenerelli — the third-place finisher on Survivor: Redemption Island:

Check out my interview with Ashley Underwood — the fourth-place finisher on Survivor: Redemption Island:

Check out my interview with Andrea Boehlke — the fifth-place finisher on Survivor: Redemption Island:

Check out my interview with Mike Chiesl — the sixth-place finisher on Survivor: Redemption Island:

Game images courtesy of CBS. Red carpet photos by Melissa Fouse.

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Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Survivor, Survivor Videos |

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