Spencer Duhm of Survivor Tocantins: Interview

And how many days did you end up doing?

I was there for 15.

So, 15 days, when we watch it, it doesn't seem that rough. But how bad was it out there?

Boredom and hunger and the things that get to you, but the boredom is probably worse. You expect to be hungry, but you really don't think about how much downtime you're going to have in camp. That's really the rough part. By day 8 or 9, when we ran out of all the squash we had, and all we had left was rice, before we took their beans, that was probably the roughest time because we were eating so little. It was finally starting to take its toll on us. We hadn't had a lot of food in over a week. So that was probably the hardest part. Having to get your body to function out there with very little food and always being exhausted, and just the boredom, but it was all part of the experience. We all talked about food a lot, but none of were going to quit or anything. It was just hard.

And did you have any of those revelations when you're stripped of everything you're used to and you find out who you truly are and all of that?

No! I didn't have any sort of epiphany. I feel like I'm pretty comfortable with who I am, and I was only out there for 15 days. Some people last longer and realize who they trust in life, but you have to take it in context. It's a game. Everybody's there for a game. Yes, you're playing with your emotions and their emotions, and that can mess with people. But it was very easy for me to separate outsde the game from inside. Once we were put on that truck, it was all building relationships, but we're all going to screw each other over, and we just have to anticipate that. But no epiphanies for me, as sad as that sounds. Maybe I'm heartless (laughs). It was nothing major.

Part of my thinking, because you know when people are in the closet, we always say you're not letting people know the real you. In a game like Survivor, although it is a game, since you do have your defenses up about that, is there a risk that people sense that you're hiding something?

I've read where I have some serious psychological issues, I'm unstable and uncomfortable with myself. If you talk to me in every day life, all my friends know I have no problem. Everyone I know knows I'm gay. I could not care less what some people say. My friends are totally there for me. It was a game. A social game about not giving a reason for someone to vote you off. When you're in a tribe, and they're from the South, and I'm from a very conservative area, and I'm used to people who might be closed-minded or not as open-minded as you would like, I didn't want to give them any subconscious reason to get rid of me. That was the whole thing. When people act like, oh I'm just insecure with myself, it's like 'Get over it, that's not the case at all.' Come meet me, and then you can form an opinion, but don't go on 40 minutes a week of what they show. That's ridiculous.