Survivor’s Darnell Hamilton on Being the First Out

Survivor has returned for its 32nd season, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng AKA Survivor: Beauty vs. Brains vs. Brawn 2 AKA  Survivor: BBB2. After the success of the original Blood vs. Water season, Survivor is hoping to capitalize on the momentum gained by the original Survivor: BBB, one of its best seasons in recent years, by quickly turning out a sequel. If Episode 1 is anything to go by (a tie on the FIRST vote?!?!) we are in for another season of big players and even bigger personalities.

Unfortunately for Darnell Hamilton, he won’t be around to be one of those impact players, as he fell victim at the game’s first tribal council. In an exclusive interview with The TV Junkies, Hamilton dishes out advice to first time players, explains how the Brawn label influenced his tribe and gives us more insight into Jenn’s horrific bug experience.

The TV Junkies: At what point did you realize you were the one going home?

Darnell Hamilton: Not until the 2nd vote. I don’t know it was weird. I was just like “What’s going on?”

TTVJ: Why do you believe your tribe mates chose to keep Alecia over you?

DH: They chose to keep Alecia over me because they feel like they can control Alecia. Whereas with me for instance, I’m better and more likely to win.

TTVJ: During the challenge. How deep was the water where the boat was, and did you ever consider going in for the goggles?

DH: It was super deep, I couldn’t see the bottom. So there was no way I could go down there, the water was very murky.

TTVJ: How much time did you spend looking for an immunity idol?

DH: We all looked a little bit but not too much.

TTVJ: Did the Brawn label suit you, or do you feel you may have done better on another tribe?

DH: I feel like if I was on the beauty tribe, I would have been set up in a better position. Whereas on the brawn, it was like, “We’re the brawn, no brains.” You expect stuff like that from the Brawns right?

TTVJ: How much do you feel the Brawn label influenced your tribemates’ behavior?

DH: At first we kind of wanted to live up to the expectations. When we arrived at the beach, we wanted to build a nice shelter and show that we were the brawn, we were strong. We wanted to go into challenges and dominate because we are the brawn. Myself, I just wanted to win, I could care less about titles because that was going to change.

TTVJ: What was your strategy going into the game? Were you able to implement it at all?

DH: I lost weight. I wanted to slim down a little bit. I didn’t want people to look at me and be like “There’s a physical threat. We need to get rid of him at the merge.” I wanted to build bonds and be likable and I think I did that.

TTVJ: Tell me about Jennifer’s bug incident from your perspective. How long did it last? 

DH: That lasted probably about two days. After that first night, we all thought “Come on now, a bug?” and Alecia said something about Jenn having a fish in her ear and I was like “Alecia that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life.” She was like “why don’t you go in the water,” and I said, “What is it suppose to swim out?” [laughs]

Jenn is a tough woman. She was out there swinging and cutting up wood and there was nothing wrong. So I thought maybe she was faking it, but that second night and going into Day 3 she was down and you could tell something was wrong. You could see the blood coming out, it was tough.

TTVJ: I read online that you prepped for Survivor by watching old episodes. What info were you able to pick up on from past seasons?

DH: A lot of these seasons, especially in a three tribe formation, you have to come in ready to play Day 1. It’s not like two tribes when you can sit back, relax and you have options. With three tribes you have to make bonds Day 1 because there aren’t many people and if you don’t, you could be on the outs.

TTVJ: What one piece of advice would you give to a first time Survivor player?

DH: I would say to play like you are the one that’s going to be voted out. I don’t think anyone should go out there and say “What if?” Play your own game, don’t try to emulate anybody. Don’t try to play like Cass or Boston Rob because you may not be in a similar situations. So be yourself and go where the game takes you because there is really no way to prepare .

TTVJ: Do you feel there was any part of your game that didn’t make the edit?

DH: Just me trying to form bonds with these players. For example, I told Sid I wanted to go to the end with him and it was a genuine promise. If Sid were there at the end, I would have took him because that’s what I told him. That’s what I would have pitched at the final tribal council if I would have made it. That I did what I said I was going to do, and this was solidified on Day 1.

TTVJ: How did you get cast on Survivor?

DH: I applied after the original Beauty vs. Brains vs. Brawn , which was an insane season. I thought now was time for me to try and go out and play because people were playing the game now.

TTVJ: Would you play again?

DH: Absolutely! People complain about the elements but there is a Survivor high you can’t ever replace. You want to go out there and enjoy every moment of it and being a fan of the show, it was amazing to experience.

TTVJ: Post Survivor, what’s next for you?

DH: Right now, I’m going to sit back and relax, go back to regular life. If you had asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing I would have had no idea that Survivor was in my future. Things that happened in my life led to that, so you never know. You just go with things and take the opportunity when it comes.


What did you think of the Brawn tribe’s decision to vote our Darnell? Should they have gone with Alecia instead? Sound off in the comments below!

Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS and Global

One Comment