September 29, 2011 06:14 PM by Ryan Haidet
Semhar Tadasse, the 24-year-old spoken word artist from Los Angeles, has been silenced on Survivor: South Pacific. She became the first person eliminated from the show after losing her duel to Christine on Redemption Island. During a conference call with reporters today, Semhar explained why she was happy to get eliminated, revealed that she was never a fan of the show before getting on it and even gave us one of her poetic spoken word speeches. What else did she have to say? Read on to find out!
Question: What did you think when you watched the episode and saw the expressions on everybody’s faces as you voiced your poetry before the duel?
Semhar Tadesse: Oh, I thought that was an incredibly talented editor over at CBS because nobody could hear what I was saying — except through my microphone, of course. I thought that was hilarious. I had some friends over and we just laughed. It was very comedic.
Question: It did seem like your spoken poetry came out of nowhere. What exactly was that all about?
Semhar Tadesse: It was suggested to maybe say a poem to calm myself down. When we got there (duel arena) I was so dehydrated. I mean, I hadn’t eaten much in three days. So I was shaking like crazy. My hands were just shaking. They said, “Maybe you should say a poem to calm yourself down.” I was actually saying that poem to myself. No one else could actually hear it, but I did have a microphone attached to me. Ha ha. It’s like if you sit in the front row of a comedy show, you have to expect to be made fun of. I put that out there and it was hilarious to watch. But it was really just to calm my nerves.
Question: In the duel I noticed you hardly ever looked up as you were balancing the totem. You were staring straight ahead. Why was that?
Semhar Tadesse: The sun was blinding me. I tried to turn around and turn away from it, which I do at one point. But the sun was in my eyes and I just felt that if I didn’t focus on looking at it I could feel it so much better. That was true. I was actually way wobbly at first and I started to be stronger once I stopped looking up because it was making me even more tired. The sun was right there.
Question: Jeff Probst kept saying in pre-game interviews that you would be the first person voted off. Did he tell you that as well?
Semhar Tadesse: Yes! He shared that with me later. I thought that was hilarious. You’re kind of thankful you’re first off in a way because I didn’t get too deep. I would hate to be fourth or fifth left because I would be like, “Ugh! I made it through all of this.” It was time for me to go home.
Question: What was your experience on Redemption Island like with Christine?
Semhar Tadesse: That experience was really funny because we went from 60 to 0. I was asleep and you just don’t wake me up out of my sleep. Ha ha. She’s got her New York attitude and she’s like, “Where am I supposed to sleep?” I didn’t even know what day someone was gonna come. I finally fell asleep and then that happened. So we originally started off on the wrong foot and it was funny because about 15 minutes later she’s like, “I’m cold. Are you cold?” I was like, “I’m cold, let’s start a fire.” We just stayed up all night talking. I think she’s an amazing person. Yeah, I was really happy to have some company out there.
Question: What was Redemption Island like when you were alone?
Semhar Tadesse: First night, I cried. Ha ha. Then the sun came up and I built a fire. I attempted to go fishing, but God that was just all south. I never caught a fish, in fact I think a fish caught me. I fell in the lake, so that was fun. Looking back on it, it’s hilarious. I found a banana and I like praised Jesus for it. Ha ha. But I had fun, I did. I enjoyed it eventually.
Question: What was your reaction when you first saw Coach and Ozzy returning to the game? Were you a fan of the show? Did you know who they were?
Semhar Tadesse: I wasn’t a huge fan of the show. When I found out I was casted a couple weeks before, I did try to watch episodes. I was slightly familiar with Ozzy. I had no idea who Coach was. I just thought, “Oh, that’s the boy that knows how to climb trees. That’s little Tarzan boy. We want that one.” We (Savaii) were really happy to have him.
Question: Would you do some of your spoken word art?
Semhar Tadesse: Sure… Words jump through my head, crawl down my neck and then sink into my chest. They release through my lips or paper and pen, it doesn’t matter why and it doesn’t matter when. At four in the morning awake in my bed, the rhythm of their message comes fast and comes fist. Truth when it is good and truth when it is bad, the times you made me happy versus times you made me mad. The romance of my love fit special for a king, and the peasants along the way that no longer mean a thing. My word is very tricky, listen carefully. Sometimes what you hear is not what I speak. Sometimes what you taste is not in the recipe. Is the mind a real place or something make-believe? Can you touch it and hold it, hug it and stroke it, listen and know it? Does all of this mean anything or am I just playing mind games?
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Photos courtesy: CBS