I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.
Name: Edward “Eddie” Fox
Hometown: East Brunswick, NJ
Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Fans” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the returning players. They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.
Gordon Holmes: You mentioned in your bio that your inspiration in your life is your father and you respect him for his honesty. “Survivor” is a game that is notorious for lying and backstabbing. Is that going to be a problem for you?
Edward Fox: Without a doubt. That’s why I was nervous and hesitant to tell people about my career because obviously when you look at a fireman or a policeman or an EMT, you want someone who’s trustworthy and loyal. Someone who will do the right thing no matter what. And that’s not really how you can play “Survivor.” I want to win, ultimately. I came here to win and I’m going to do everything that’s necessary to win.
Holmes: What are you going to tell people you do?
Fox: It’s going to come out eventually. People are going to know.
Holmes: It doesn’t have to come out unless you let it out. Do you not want to lie about it?
Fox: Yeah. I’m proud of what I do.
Holmes: As you should be.
Fox: It’s just a slippery slope with which way you’re going to go. I don’t want to be portrayed as someone who’s disloyal and dishonest.
Holmes: We live in a post 9/11 world where firefighters are rightfully seen as being pretty bad ass.
Fox: (Laughs) Yeah.
Holmes: So, I’m a dorky writer for a XFINITY TV and I don’t want to go to the end with some heroic fireman. Does thinking like that concern you at all?
Fox: It does a little bit I guess. I’m very likable in general anyway because I have a very good outlook on life. I have a very good personality. I’m never really down, I don’t bully people. I don’t make fun of other people a lot. I definitely bust balls, but I’m always in a good mood. People are receptive to me.
Holmes: One of your pet peeves is when people talk about things they know nothing about. Are you prepared to deal with it when some guy who lives in the city is trying to tell you how to put up a shelter in the jungle?
Fox: I’ve been working on that…selective listening. My biggest thing is if you’re a lawyer, don’t tell me how to put out a fire. You know nothing about it. So if we’re going to be on this island and a construction worker wants to build our shelter? Guess what, he’s going to build our shelter. It always gets me a little bit irritated when people talk about matters they know nothing about.
Holmes: As a firefighter, I’m sure you’re used to some intense situations. And while “Survivor” is a game, it is a game that will change your life if you win. Do you think your background has prepared you for the upcoming stressful situations?
Fox: Oh, definitely. We’re in the firehouse doing nothing and then it’s zero to sixty just like that. You’re going balls to the walls. Being out there unaware of what’s happening, it’s a nervous waiting. I kind of deal with that.
Holmes: Now, I’m going on assumptions, but I’d assume trust has to be huge for a firefighter. If someone doesn’t do their job, people lose their lives.
Fox: Yeah, somebody gets hurt or somebody dies. That’s a huge thing. People’s wives, their kids, everybody depends on me to make sure I’m doing my job just like I rely on them to do their jobs. And if one person messes up, that does screw up the whole thing.
Holmes: On a lesser level, that’s like an alliance. One person messes up and it can sink the whole thing. Are you at all concerned that you might be too trusting?
Fox: I’m not really that trusting of others. The people I work with are my family. Literally my second family, holidays…everything. But, complete strangers? I’ll give anyone the benefit of the doubt, and I’ll even be friends with you. But that doesn’t mean I trust you. And in this game you can’t trust anybody.
Holmes: Why do you think you were cast?
Fox: I think because of my attitude. I always want to have fun. I’m always down for an adventure. This game is like a huge test. So, I’m really prepared for that. I think they were excited to see how ready I was for this.
Holmes: You are a handsome young man, if you don’t mind me saying so.
Fox: Why, thank you.
Holmes: People have been known to flirt to get ahead. There have been some showmances. Is that something you’re willing to do?
Fox: I’m a huge flirt by nature. A pretty girl can’t pass me on the street without me turning around and saying hello to her. Because you never know unless you try.
Holmes: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Fox: That’s true. And what’s the worst that happens? You get told off? You get punched by someone’s boyfriend? That’s the way I look at everything; what’s the worst that could happen?
Holmes: Are you a “Survivor” fan?
Fox: I am a “Survivor” fan. I used to watch religiously the first few seasons, and then with school and everything I tried to watch as often possible, but missed a little bit.
Holmes: C’mon, school is a little important, but missing “Survivor”?
Fox: (Laughs) But now I’ve been watching a lot the past couple of years. But, my dad is a super fan.
Holmes: Is he psyched that you’re here?
Fox: He’s pumped. He’s super pumped. It was getting to the point in my house that I was ready to leave because I couldn’t take any more opinions.
Holmes: In your everyday life do you get along with men, women, older people, younger people?
Fox: Everybody. I talk to everybody the same way for the most part.
Holmes: What’re you going to do with that million-dollar check?
Fox: Pay off some school loans. Invest in my future, maybe buy a house. Down the road I think the coolest thing I could possibly do, I’m already really happy with my job, but I’d like to open up a bar with a vet, like a veterinarian place attached.
Fox: You know what I mean? Like a place for dogs. Cause I love dogs. I want a place where dogs can hang out and then a bar because who doesn’t love a bar?
Holmes: OK, so my dog needs to get some shots. I take him to your bar/vet establishment. He gets his shots, I get my beer, everyone’s happy.
Fox: Yeah, just hang out. Like a shelter almost. We could do healthcare too.
Holmes: I’m on board. I like this idea.
Fox: I just like dogs a lot.
Holmes: Do you have any experience in the wilderness?
Fox: I’ve camped, I’ve hiked. I’ve free-climbed. As far as not eating for a couple of days, I’ve never done that.
Holmes: “A couple” is putting it mildly.
Fox: I’ll try anything once.
Holmes: Lack of food would be my biggest concern. I become a jerk when I don’t eat. I’d be the first one out.
Fox: You know, I feel that way a lot too, but it’s not going to be just me. You know how when you’re interacting with a person and one person is much madder than the other? If someone’s having a much worse time than me I’ll easily be able to overcome that.
Holmes: And your work ethic around camp?
Fox: I’m a hard worker no matter what. I’m not the kind to sit around and do nothing.
Holmes: Can you bite your tongue if you’re working like crazy and someone else is slacking off?
Fox: To each his own. It would bother me a little bit, but I wouldn’t let it get to me.
Holmes: I think I’d be mad at them, but glad to see it so others would have someone to target.
Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it will be?
Fox: I don’t know. The Redemption Island screws me up. That could just change the entire game.
Holmes: Did you like that twist?
Fox: If I was there I’d like it, but otherwise no.
Holmes: Any first impressions of the cast?
Fox: We’ve all seen each other from finals and today. Everyone looks happy, looks nervous. A lot of pretty girls here. I think as far as the guys go I’m in better shape than a lot of people. Physically I’m really ready. It’s going to be exciting.
Holmes: What do you think their first impression of you is?
Fox: I guess handsome, funny. You can’t help but look at them and smile. So, I put my first up sometimes for a pound and everybody laughs.
Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.