Survivor Fanatic Guesses His Legacy on the Show
Sydney Wheeler and Spencer Duhm
Nineteen-year-old Spencer Duhm, the latest Survivor: Tocantins contestant to be outed, has followed the show since his childhood. He learned plenty of strategy through his years of viewing — including his decision not to tell teammates about his homosexuality — but he was sent home when his tribe, Jalapao, lost an Immunity Challenge. Now that he's done with the show and going back to school to pursue his dream of working in broadcasting, he talked to TVGuide.com about whether he was really "half-assing it" in the challenge and who he thinks should win.
TVGuide.com: You've been a Survivor fanatic since you were a kid. Where do you think you'll stand in the history of the show?
Spencer: I will be forgotten. But I'm okay with that. When you're voted off fifth they really don't show that much of you. ... I will be the answer to the trivia question, "Who was the first teenager ever to play the game?" But aside from that, I will just be another name. ... I didn't do it so I could be some big character and go to Hollywood and be an actor and get famous and then have everyone on Survivor boards loving me or hating me. It was just the experience I wanted, and I got that.
TVGuide.com: You apologized to your teammates for you performance during the Immunity Challenge, but assuming you gave it your all, physically, what else could you have done?
Spencer: It looked like I apparently was half-assing it or not giving my [full] effort — which, if I wasn't, would definitely be a reason to be upset with me. But I'm a very competitive person. I am always involved in sports and I hate losing. I knew how important winning that challenge was because I didn't want to go down in numbers again, and I'm a huge Survivor fan. So why would I not give my all in a Survivor challenge?
TVGuide.com: Even though you've come out in your personal life as gay, you opted not to come out to your teammates. Do you think in retrospect it would have made any difference if you had?
Spencer: No. The concern really was just precautionary. I was surprised they put that in the show, to be honest. It was one interview I did — it was the only interview I did about that, and I'm really surprised they even mentioned it because it was such a non-issue. The only reason I talked about JT in my interview is because he is kind of the stereotypical Southern boy. That's just the way he comes across.
In my experiences, where I come from, I know people like that can not be as open-minded as you would like, and I thought, okay, maybe he won't be as accepting, and other people like Joe from Texas, and Sandy from Kentucky, they won't be accepting, so I don't want to give them any reason to turn on me. I've been given crap from people, like, "Be proud of yourself." I'm like, it's a game. In real life, I am proud of myself. In real life, if you meet me, you would be able to tell instantly that I'm gay from my conversation. Not because I act super-gay, not because I'm a different person that I was on the show, it's just, I don't hide it from anybody.
TVGuide.com: Who do you think will win?
Spencer: I really want anybody from my tribe to win. At the time, I had a little animosity for JT because I thought he held the challenge against me. But I got over that really quickly 'cause he didn't hold it against me. It wasn't a big deal.