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Exclusive: Survivor Interview With Vytas Baskauskas — Holey Shirt & Game Mistakes

December 03, 2013 06:00 AM by Ryan Haidet

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Vytas Baskauskas was roasted faster than a turkey on Survivor: Blood Vs. Water thanks to Laura Morett’s wily strategy.  After completing the Redemption Island duel first, she guided Tina Wesson with the information needed to knock Vytas out of the game.  It worked.  Back to back, both Baskauskas boys burned their buffs and joined the jury.  I spoke with Vytas today where he talked about his feelings toward Laura M. today, revealed how much he’s obviously been thinking about the cube-stacking puzzle, gushed praise for Tyson Apostol’s gameplay, explained his desire to play again and dished the details on where the GIANT HOLE in the back of his shirt came from.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Was Survivor the talk of your family’s Thanksgiving?

Vytas Baskauskas: Fortunately, for us, it was not.  I’m grateful for that because it’s been on my mind for the last few months and I’m kind of ready to just move back into being a yoga teacher and a math professor and letting some of the excitement subside now.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: How do you feel toward Laura M. today after she basically forced your elimination by helping Tina solve the Redemption Island cube-stacking puzzle?

Vytas Baskauskas: I hold no grudge against Laura.  She did what she thought was her best play to make it far in the game.  Survivor is about cheating.  She’s really doing what she can to make it further for herself.  I think, maybe socially, it was a little myopic in the sense that she’s showing people how hard she’s playing.  She’s making enemies.  Aras and I are on the jury, and if her or Ciera gets to the end, is it good for her because we will be bitter at her?  Survivor is knives-out and she did what she thought she could to win.  It’s difficult, especially in that puzzle, there are so many different configurations of stacking four cubes.  There’s over 40,000 configurations — not that I’ve thought about this or anything (laughs) — and she walked Tina through the one configuration she found.  I doubt that Tina would have had an easy time on her own.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: What was your reaction in the moment?

Vytas Baskauskas: All I could hear was that she was helping her.  I wish I would have actually heard the instruction because I would have taken that and put it in there.  I kept trying to look over and maybe get a glimpse of something and then she would spin it.  I’ve been a fan of the show for a long time and I’ve seen, on numerous occasions, people look at a completed puzzle and base their own off of it.  But never have I seen the person who actually completed the puzzle talking somebody else through how to do it on their own.  It was new for me.  I felt hosed.  In the end, kudos to her for getting me out because I was a big threat.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: We saw a lot of remorse from your brother, Aras, that he had messed up your game.  Was he that way with you after the game was over?

Vytas Baskauskas: Oh, yes, but I made plenty of mistakes on my own.  I can’t fault Aras for my elimination.  There are things I could have done better.  Did Aras make a bad move completely trusting that Tyson and Gervase were with us?  Yeah, he did.  But that’s Survivor.  Maybe it’s not Aras making such a bad of a move as Tyson and Gervase making a great move in convincing Aras.  I knew going into the game that Aras was a little too trusting.  I told myself, make sure you do your due diligence on these relationships and don’t just trust those with Aras.  When the merge came, Aras told me, “Yeah!  Tyson is with us 100 percent.  I got him!”  Instead of me going on doing my due diligence, I just went on and trusted it.  It’s an individual game.  You can’t blame anyone else for your oust.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: In my interview with Aras, he told me you guys had a pre-game alliance with Gervase and Marissa, which fell apart quickly.  What is your take on that?

Vytas Baskauskas: Aras told me that he and Gervase had a friendship.  Me and Aras tried really hard not to pre-game.  The only thing I really knew was that Aras had a friendship — he even spent the night at his place in Philly the year before.  I wasn’t that surprised when he said he had Gervase.  But when Aras said he had Tyson, that was somebody that he and I were very leery of in the beginning.  Me and Aras discussed the fact that we needed to get Tyson out early, which is why I targeted Rachel early on in the Tadhana tribe.  Tyson did a great job of minimizing that target on his back and getting Aras to trust him.  It was a little bit of fault on Aras for trusting him, but I think a better job on Tyson for befriending him.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Knowing that Aras and his trustworthy nature might be a problem, would that have ever resulted in you voting against him?

Vytas Baskauskas: I don’t see myself ever writing Aras’ name down on parchment.  I think it’s short-sighted.  Anybody who you make a promise to later in the game is always gonna remember that you wrote down your brother’s name.  What would stop me from writing down their name?  If the writing was on the wall, and even if I wanted Aras to go, I probably wouldn’t be that obvious and write his name down.  I would probably have put a throwaway vote down by putting somebody’s name down that didn’t matter.  Just so people would see at least I’m loyal to my brother.  I have some semblance of loyalty.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: In that face-to-face physical challenge, you went after your brother with a cheap shot move.  What was your motivation there?

Vytas Baskauskas: Aras was beating me in that challenge.  Aras has always been a bit bigger and stronger than me, so I knew I was going to be at a disadvantage.  It was a really long round, they didn’t quite show all of it.  After five or 10 minutes, I realized, wow, Aras is getting the better of me and I need to do whatever I can to win.  I’m not proud of the cheap shot, but I probably wouldn’t have done it to anybody else.  That came from years of competing with my brother.  Both he and I will do whatever it takes to win.  I’m not proud of the move I made.  I’m happy he won that one in the end.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Are you happy you had the chance to play with your brother or would you prefer to go in with a clean slate knowing nobody?

Vytas Baskauskas: I’m really happy that I got to play with Aras.  I love my brother and I’m stoked it got to happen.  He and I are the only brothers that got to play Survivor together.  That being said, I think it was difficult having Aras there.  I’m going to be a threat already as it is being an athletic, smart player.  Put two of us together and we’re an even bigger target.  That is not a very long leash for us.  We made a few mistakes and all of a sudden we’re gone, whereas other players, they might have a much longer leash and they can make mistakes, mistakes, mistakes before they actually get voted out.  I think it was unfortunate that we made our mistakes.  If I played again, I would love to play by myself.  I would love to see what I have without having my brother with me.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: What tips did Aras give you before going into the game?

Vytas Baskauskas: His experience in Panama (season 12) was a lot different.  A lot of advice he gave me was about how physically arduous it was going to be.  It wasn’t that arduous.  We got pretty lucky with the weather.  It didn’t rain that much.  We got pretty lucky with the amount of food that was available on the island.  We caught fish, there were plantains and papaya trees.  The one piece of advice he gave me that I didn’t listen to was that he said it’s a marathon and you have to continuously play the whole time.  It was that one day after our Immunity challenge at the merge when I had the Immunity necklace and I was just way too cocky. …  It was unfortunate that I got so overconfident.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Your heroin addiction was a heavy topic throughout the season.  Why did you bring that up so early to your tribemates?

Vytas Baskauskas: Maybe I should have saved it for a little bit later on, but I really wanted to present myself as somebody that was trustworthy who would share a bit about himself to be vulnerable.  I think that is one of the keys to building trust.  I’m fortunate enough to have this story that is completely true that allowed people a bit of insight into who I am.  It’s weird, because I’m playing a game of betrayal.  I don’t want people to think I’m using my story to get ahead in the game.  In a sense, it helped me present myself as trustworthy.  It was a really trying part of my life.  It’s probably one of my greatest triumphs, overcoming that addiction.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: Would you ever want to play again?

Vytas Baskauskas: In a heartbeat.  I’m a Survivor fan thick and thin from the beginning.  I feel blessed that I had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play Survivor.  Should lightning strike twice and I get called back to play again, I would do it in a heartbeat.  It was a great experience.

Ryan Haidet, RealityTVMagazine: One final question… Where did you get that huge hole in the back of your T-shirt?

Vytas Baskauskas: That’s a funny story.  After a few weeks out there, you really start to smell pretty ripe.  The only way to get rid of some of the smell of our clothes is to boil them.  One afternoon I put my shirt and pants in the big pot, I boiled it and hung it out to dry.  Then I realized they weren’t going to be dry by nightfall and since we sleep on the ground, I really wanted to make sure I had a shirt to sleep on.  I was hanging my shirt over the fire and I somehow lost track of how low it was and all of a sudden my shirt was on fire.  I put it out really quick, but it still had a hole in it.

What are your thoughts on what Vytas had to say?  Would you harbor resentment toward Laura M. for doing what she did during the Redemption Island challenge?  Do you think Vytas was a better player than his brother this season?  Sound off and leave a comment below!

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Photos courtesy of CBS.

Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Survivor |

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