‘Survivor’ Troyzan: “This Has Been My Dream to Play and to Win Since the Day I Saw the First Episode”

Troy “Troyzan” Robertson (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Game Changers.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire 20-person cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Name: Troy “Troyzan” Robertson
Age:  54
Hometown: Miami, FL
Previously Played On:
“Survivor: One World” – Finished 8th and Jury Member
Best Known For: The only player to own the island he was competing on.

Gordon Holmes: You’re a swimsuit photographer, correct?
Troy “Troyzan” Robertson: Yes, but that’s not all I do.
Holmes: And you’re going to take me on one of these shoots, correct?
Robertson: (Laughs) Of course! When I win I’m not sure if I’ll stop working.
Holmes: That’s not a job I would ever retire from.
Robertson: (Laughs) Yeah, I can take you on one.

Holmes: You’re famous for saying, “This is my island.”
Robertson: Yes.
Holmes: What are you going to do with two islands when this is all over?
Robertson: (Laughs) I know!
Holmes: Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely.
Robertson: I’m going to change it to “These.” “These are my islands!” That could be the game changer right there.
Holmes: Speaking of game changing, how did you change the game?
Robertson: I changed it, not in one particular way. I didn’t do some special thing like make a great idol. I think it was overall. I’m a scraper. When my back was against a wall, I wasn’t going to just lay down like the girls thought I was going to. “It’s just a game, Troyzan. We’re going to vote you out next, so just take it like a man. You be a good boy.” Are you serious? There’s no way I’m doing that. I’ll go 1000% to win. In my mind, I’m winning everything from this moment on. I’ll find an idol. I’ll pretend that I found an idol. I’ll stir the pot. I’ll do whatever possible. That’s why when I yelled in that challenge, “This is my island. Do not (expletive deleted) with me. You can’t beat me.” I was trying to send a signal to their heads. And maybe put it into their heads that I’m so disliked now, maybe they should take me to the end. But, I was playing with a bunch of kooks who didn’t know the game.

Holmes: What’ve you been up to since “One World”?
Robertson: Just traveling, photographing around the world. Doing some stuff with Sports Illustrated swimsuit, but I do travel photography. Some boring stuff too that pays the bills. I still live on ten acres south of Miami in the middle of nowhere. My marmosets have all passed away since I played last time.
Holmes: I’m sorry to hear that.
Robertson: Well, they only live fifteen to twenty years. I have one dog, Taylor, he’s like my son. Still unmarried. I just travel too much to settle down. I’m to the point now where I’m 54 and I’m like, “Am I really going to get married?”
Holmes: Never too late. I was 39.
Robertson: If it comes, it comes. And I don’t mind dating.

Holmes: In your bio you mention that you wish you had done a better job of calling out top dogs. Take me back to “One World,” what was that in reference to?
Robertson: In general, I had my core group, people I thought I trusted. Then you had people who would say rumors or someone that was like, on an opposite alliance. I thought, “I don’t like them. I’m not even going to deal with them.” That was stupid. I should’ve confronted my enemies to make sure that they’re on the page that I’m hearing them on instead of taking it for granted. Kim or Chelsea or whoever is saying, “This person is saying this thing about you.” I didn’t even confront them. Like Mike, everyone was saying he was talking about me. Why didn’t I just walk up to him and say, “Mike, what’s your story, bro? Why do you have a problem with me?” I just didn’t do that.
Holmes: Aside from confronting people, are you going to do anything differently this time around?
Robertson: I like the way I played last time. Last time I made a good alliance right away. But people who have played many times know that’s key off the bat. But, I think I have a big advantage because there are a lot bigger targets than me this time.

Holmes: Speaking of which, what do you think of this cast?
Robertson: Amazing. I’ve been close to playing the last four years.
Holmes: I’ve heard your name come up a bunch of times.
Robertson: I was cast on “Fans vs. Favorites.” And then it didn’t work out. I was called to play on “Blood vs. Water” with my brother Todd. I was a week away from going. I’d sent my clothes in, and I’m like “Dude, we’re going.” But then they said someone else from my cast was cast. I think it was Kat. It was too many. Then last year I’m sitting in the audience for “Second Chance” getting ready to go and they’re like, “Sorry Troy, you’re getting on the loser bus.” (Laughs) If I could’ve picked a season, I would’ve picked this season.
Holmes: Because of Fiji or because of the cast?
Robertson: Because of this cast. I don’t care about the island.
Holmes: Who are you hoping to work with?
Robertson: I think the majority of the people are going to target the winners. But, those winners are going to be nervous as (expletive deleted). And everybody needs somebody. That somebody in the beginning. If I get approached by any of the winners, I’ll be into it. It’ll be fun to play with Ozzy and Malcolm. That new Michaela girl, I don’t know her game. She comes across as kind of OK. It’s hard to read someone when they just smile at you. I like Sierra Thomas because I don’t think people are going to look at her like she’s some threat. Brad Culpepper, Ozzy, Malcolm, those guys are all big shields. Just like Jeremy did last year.
Holmes: You played with Monica Culpepper. Do you and Brad have any kind of relationship?
Robertson: We played, but we never played together. We were never on the same tribe. Brad’s an intense guy. That could be a possibility. But, people are smart in this game. They’re going to wonder if there’s a connection. Like the four from last year. If people aren’t looking at them as a group, then they’re stupid. They are solid and just finished their season. They’re going to act like they’re not tight, but if I was coming out of my season, I wouldn’t care if we didn’t get along. I’d work with those people.
Holmes: So are they automatic targets or do you try to get in with them?
Robertson: Someone’s going to say we have to split them up and get down to one or two of them.
Holmes: Any other early targets?
Robertson: Well, Tony. Just the way he played…what he said…how he can lie so easily, finding idols, making spy shacks. He’s going to do everything in his power to fool you. And you look at his season, and what he did with Sarah? He could do that anyone.

Holmes: I’ve come up with some excuses people might use to try to get rid of you. I’d like you to counter them.
Robertson: Sure.
Holmes: So, Troyzan was really good in challenges in “One World.” Let’s get rid of him before he goes on a run after the merge.
Robertson: I’d go up to people and say, “I’m not sure what you’ve heard, but you’re telling me that I’m going to beat Ozzy and Malcolm? I’m the oldest guy here.”

Holmes: Troyzan had a whole alliance of women trying to take him out, but he was scrappy and fought the whole time. I don’t want someone around with that kind of resilience.
Robertson: Listen, being scrappy…don’t you think I would do that for you? I’d do it for us. Look in my eyes right now and I’ll tell you the truth. I’m 100% here for the adventure. I want to get to the end, but try me out. Show me how we’re going to vote together. I’ll show you.

Holmes: Troyzan is really emotional with his “This is my island!” Can’t trust him. Is he going to be cool when we need him to be cool?
Robertson: You want to base my personality on ten minutes of one episode? I’ll tell you, watch from the beginning to that part, I was a trustworthy guy, I stuck with my alliance. Crazy emotional? Watch me for the next few days.

Holmes: Any time there are returning players there’s talk of pre-season alliances. Are you a part of any?
Robertson: Not really. The thing is, and I’ve heard it from so many past players, the best thing to do if someone calls or texts you, is to say, “Congratulations, I can’t wait to see you out there.” Some people out here are going to get caught. If you’re talking to five people, where do I sit in that? I’ve met some people at different events. Past that, I think it’s a positive that I’ve met them. But, this is “Survivor” and I can’t think we’re best buddies due to just meeting each other. When it comes to “Survivor,” people’s characters change. In real life they try to show you their best self. But on the show, after a few days of starving, their true characters come out.

Holmes: You’re in lockdown now. You’re not allowed to talk to the other players, but people smile and wink and whatnot.
Robertson: Oh yeah, I do that. I smile at everybody, but I do that normally. Is it better to have a straight game face? This is a social game. In football, you can have a I’m-going-to-kick-your-ass face.
Holmes: Have you caught anyone else interacting?
Robertson: Some people you see. Not a ton, though. It’s been pretty quiet. Caleb and Tai sat down together. But they just ate their food, they didn’t do anything. Although, I feel like people are trying to put out their best personality. Even Tony, he wants to be looked at as a non-threat. So, he does little goofy stuff.

Holmes: You’re about to play with seventeen devils you know, and two you don’t. How do you approach Zeke and Michaela?
Robertson: It’s tough. This has been my dream to play and to win since the day I saw the first episode. Whatever that is, I want to do it. When I saw Richard Hatch running around naked, all I wanted to do was have Jeff call me the sole Survivor. The thing about those two is; they’re just two extra people. Thank you very much, you were part of my season. You helped me to win. I have no knowledge of what they’re going to do. Not knowing someone? That’s tough. You’re playing football and some new guy comes off the bench? What’s he going to do? Obviously they’ve done something big to come back. It makes me nervous.

Holmes: Any twist predictions?
Robertson: (Laughs) It’s beyond me. It’s the 34th season. I don’t know if they’ve ever started out with four tribes.
Holmes: They have.
Robertson: Oh yeah. There’s always a twist with an idol. Weird powers. I’m always thinking they’re going to come up with a way to help a certain group of people. Here’s the immunity beast idol. Or it’s like a pick-‘em thing. The ones who don’t get picked, you’re immune for two Tribals. Something crazy. I know these guys, they’re going to throw some serious (expletive deleted) at us.

Holmes: Alright, I’ll give you a twist. You tell me if it’s awesome or awful. We’ll start with hidden immunity idols.
Robertson: Awesome.
Holmes: Redemption Island?
Robertson: Awful.
Holmes: Exile Island?
Robertson: Awful.
Holmes: Medallion of Power?
Robertson: Awful.
Holmes: Extra vote?
Robertson: Awesome.
Holmes: Steal a vote?
Robertson: Awful.
Holmes: Eliminate a juror?
Robertson: (Laughs) I think that’s awesome. I’m in the final three and I say, “That son of a bitch there…you’re out of here!”

Holmes: Alright, I’ve got a deck of cards with your competition in it. Everyone except for Michaela and Zeke because we don’t know how they play. I’ll give you three at random. You tell me who you’ll vote out first, who you’ll align with and eventually eliminate, and who you’ll take to the end.

Round One: Tai, Ciera, and Debbie.
Robertson: First out is Ciera, she scares the crap out of me. She tells good lies. I’ll align with Tai. I think in the beginning he’s going to think I’m trustworthy. We have the nature thing, close to Earth, Mark the chicken, I love that stuff. I’d take Debbie to the end. I think I have a better speech prepared than she does. And the immunities I’d win.

Round Two: Caleb, Malcolm, and Cirie
Robertson: Caleb out first. I don’t think he’s played “Survivor” long enough. Golly, this is a tough one. I would align with Cirie. I can’t beat her at final three. And Malcolm, I’d beat him by saying, “We’re very similar with how we played. But, I’m 25 years older than that guy. And nobody loves this game more or plays it harder.”

Round Three: Ozzy, Tony, and Brad
Robertson: Tony’s out first. (Laughs) He just makes me nervous. He’s like a Russell Hantz. He’s a question mark. I’d align with Brad. He is obviously a bigger target than me. He’s intense. People are going to be like, “What are we going to do with Brad?” And I’ll take Ozzy to the end for the same reason as Malcolm. And he’s been here four times.

Round Four: Sarah, Andrea, and Sandra.
Robertson: I would vote Andrea out first. She’s a crafty little devil. Watching her “Fans vs. Favorites” season, she seemed paranoid. She’s good socially. I think she could stir up some stuff. Sandra I would align with because she’s going to be a huge target. She has to play with somebody. It’d be easy to control her because if she makes a move out of the ordinary, she’ll be gone. And I’ll take Sarah to the end. I think if I’m sitting with her, I don’t think she would have strategized enough and I don’t think she’s as likable as me.

Round Five: Aubry, JT, and Jeff
Robertson: I’d vote out Aubry. Super smart. Too smart. Great at puzzles, great socially. Probably should have won. I’m looking at a winner. I would work with Jeff. It’s his third time playing. He wants to redeem himself. He’s going to look for someone who’s not an alpha male. We’re older guys. I think he wants to make a merge finally. I’d take JT because he’s won. He’s likable, but he didn’t do what I did to get here.

Holmes: Two left, vote out one and work with the other.
Robertson: I’ll vote out Hali and work with Sierra. When Sierra was strategic, I don’t think she did enough to win.

Don’t miss the two-hour season premiere of “Survivor: Game Changers,” Wednesday March 8, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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