phillip sheppard survivor 'Survivor: Redemption Island's' Phillip Sheppard: 'I played the game'“Survivor: Redemption Island” saw Boston Rob Mariano finally win the grand prize, by an almost unanimous vote. But the colorful Phillip Sheppard managed to get one vote. He talks in his exit interview about … well, a lot of different things.

On his strategy in the game:

“I wasn’t there to try to win votes … I saw early on the Ometepe tribe members were in complete awe of Boston Rob. I basically was the guy that everybody focused on and that allowed Rob to manipulate the people he needed to and as such he brought me to the end. I knew there was nothing I was going to say at that point to get them to give me all the votes and not Rob.”

On his strategy if he’s invited back:

“As I said, I’m the type of person having been trained as a former federal agent, I read every single book that has been published on ‘Survivor.’ I watched almost every former season. When I came into the game, I was going to play it totally totally different, which I’m not going to reveal here because if I were to be invited back, I would use that research.”

On his relationship with Steve:

“Steve and I … talked a lot. I really like the guy, frankly. We played the game, I was starving out there. Once I got home and saw what I saw, I realized that I erred. Like a man and like the example I want to set for my 17-year-old son … I did the right thing. This race issue, this is a learning issue for both sides. The specialist got a lesson.”

On whether he considered aligning with the Zapatera members:

“When the Zapateras voted out Russell, there was a little bit of gloating. They immediately won the next challenge, there was pride. They felt like they did such a huge accomplishment in throwing Russell out of the game … I had thought about [going with Zapatera], then the merge came and I got to eyeball those people and that’s when Stealth R Us got created … I realize if any of them got into our tribe, we realized they had a little desperation about them and my mother told me that sometimes people in need are not friends indeed. I’m glad I made the decision I made because I finished no. 2.”

On his spirit guide:

“He was born in 1822. He was a Cherokee Indian from North Carolina. I’m the guy that went out, spent five years … visiting records to do the family research on my family history. There was only one guy I couldn’t find … Jessum Herring … the way I actually found him, he came to me in a dream and he said to me, ‘Look to the Georgia records, look to the Missisippi records’ and I actually found him on my great-great-grandmother’s death certificate, initially. The way I got to know him, since they were no records kept by slave masters, was through the oral tradition. The last living descendant of a slave just died five years ago. That’s how I learned about him and from just dreaming about him. When I found myself in certain crises in life, he just shows up. He showed up when I needed to find my shorts out there. Based on invoking him in my mind and in my brain and asking him to sit with me for awhile.”

On the final Tribal Council and why he didn’t campaign for votes:

“I didn’t think it was going to get me anywhere. I’d been out there 39 days with these people and none of them … walked up to me and said, ‘Phillip, here’s what we want to try to do.’ I realized I wasn’t going to do myself any favors by saying, ‘Please guys, vote for me … I didn’t mean to yell at you.’ … Ralph, to his credit, realized I was not crazy. I played the game.”

“Survivor: South Pacific” will be premiere in September on CBS.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."