Things were going swimmingly for Survivor: Cook Islands' cute Brad Virata. That is, until his choice not to swim in a challenge significantly contributed to his tribe's loss. The tide turned after that, and, with Nate gunning for him, the Raro tribe banded together and booted Brad, who says he never saw it coming. TVGuide.com spoke with the Lucky Brand Jeans fashion director about his unlucky ouster.
TVGuide.com: On Thursday's episode, you told Jeff Probst you didn't trust everyone. Who did you not trust?
Brad Virata: I didn't trust Jenny, and I didn't trust Candice or Jonathan simply because I didn't know them.
TVGuide.com: What did you think of the mutiny?
Brad: I thought it was crazy; it was something that had never really taken place before. It took a lot of guts for Jonathan and Candice to step off the mat, and I was totally surprised.
TVGuide.com: Well, I was surprised that your Raro tribe kept Jonathan after he defected from the Aitu tribe.
Brad: You and me both! I had totally pegged him for the next one to get voted off.
TVGuide.com: Were you completely blindsided?
Brad: I was blindsided, but parting was bittersweet. Part of me was like, "This is a good thing. I'll be able to take a shower and brush my teeth." I was excited about that. Part of me wanted to follow through and finish the game. I was really excited to make jury, and that was one of the first goals I had coming into the game.
TVGuide.com: Why did you want to go on Survivor?
Brad: To be honest with you, the reason why is because I wanted to challenge myself from a physical and a mental standpoint. I feel like I've lived in this box my entire life, and I wanted to step out of the box and try something different and see how far my mind and body could go. I am proud of myself.
TVGuide.com: So who do you think had the best fashion sense out on the island?
Brad: This is a tough question; I've got to think about this one. [Pauses] I really like the way Parvati was put together at the end of the day. Her little black two-piece? She worked that well, and she did a great job and looked fantastic in it.
TVGuide.com: Is there someone you think is in dire need of a makeover?
Brad: Yeah, I saw Stephannie in her exit interview, and I could help her out. Just give me like an hour or two with that girl in South Carolina.
TVGuide.com: Nate seemed to turn against you when you didn't swim in that ocean challenge. Why didn't you just swim?
Brad: First and foremost, Rebecca stepped up to the plate. She was like, "Dude, I've been practicing. I can do this, let me swim." We're like, "OK." We had lost every challenge in the home stretch, and I didn't want to lose this challenge because of a stupid puzzle. I do puzzles. I knew it would be a slam dunk, but it didn't go well with a lot of my other teammates.
TVGuide.com: Your tribe also seemed to think you'd flip after the merge. What was your post-merge plan?
Brad: Yul, Becky and I had formed a really tight alliance out of the gate when we were with team Puka. I don't know, I probably would have switched. Hindsight is 20/20. I should have stepped off the mat [during the mutiny], and I would have gone a lot further in the game.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of your original teammates, did Cao Boi's headache remedy actually work?
Brad: It totally worked. As kooky and crazy as that guy is, his old-school technique and that hickey on my forehead worked. I threw up, like, 25 or 30 times that day because of seasickness, and I had this throbbing migraine headache, and he made it go away.
TVGuide.com: Was there anything you saw while you were watching the show that surprised you?
Brad: Yeah, I can't believe that Nate called me a "nancy boy." I could probably beat him at any physical challenge there is. I know that I'm a faster swimmer than him. Being one of the only gay guys on the show that's out, I really don't feel like I'm a "nancy boy." I'm shocked that I come across that way to him.
TVGuide.com: I feel like we didn’t get to see a lot of you. Were you laying low?
Brad: I wasn't laying low. I didn't really try to stir the waters. I tried to play an honest game. Sometimes that can be not the most entertaining. I tell it like it is, and I didn't want to talk trash about people; it is just not my style. I wanted to go out with class.