Cook Islands Interview: JP Calderon

Written by Tashi from the blog Survivor Cook Islands: Interviews on 08 Sep 2007
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On Tuesday night actor-model type JP Calderon got voted out of the fourth episode of Survivor Cook Islands when the chicks rightly turned on him for ordering them around.

Between the show being on in the US and here, JP's been up to all sorts of things. He's landed a modelling role on the latest two seasons of the reality show Janice Dickenson Modelling Agency and he's stepped boldly forth from the closet.

I caught up with him for us to quiz him about what he thought he was doing lazing around the show and his rumoured lurve-affair with his fellow Survivor Brad Virata.

As per, you can both check it out and listen to what he had to say:

Outwit. Outlast. Click Play!

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Tashi: All that lazing around and bossy booting you did as if you owned the place - what do you have to say for yourself?
JP: Well I do have to say that they choose to show everything in certain ways but, that’s the thing that bugged me, is I did so much work out there and they chose to show the moments I was sitting down.

Tashi: Ah, everyone always says that - “It was the editing”.
JP: I hate to say the editing, I think that’s a copout sometimes ‘cos I did sit around you know, I did sit around and I did ask people for certain things and I did ask people to do things for me but everybody sat around and if somebody was standing up, people were like: “Oh, can you hand me something,” so everyone did it, I just thought they chose to show it in a way that could fit the storyline.

Tashi: I thought it was hysterical that were so overly confident in your dudehood that you didn’t see your elimination coming. Did you think it was excellent too?
JP: Oh my God, I did. Actually my words when I got voted off, I turned and I said: “That was pretty good.” I was like, “Wow.” I thought that was brilliant. I mean that’s Survivor for you. You can’t rest one bit ‘cos you don’t know what’s gonna come at you, you don’t know what people are thinking. I truly did not think that was gonna happen.

Tashi: If you’d stayed, which one Survivor would you have aligned yourself with?
JP: I probably would have tried to get back together - God, at that early in the game, I probably would have tried to get back together with Ozzy specifically ‘cos it was so early in the game and he was somebody I’d made a bond with early, when they divided us amongst races.

He’s somebody that I thought: “You know, if we could ..., “ ‘cos we both knew we were pretty strong as far as physical ability in the game and we had a Latin connection. In that moment, without knowing anybody else, probably Ozzy at the time.

Tashi: So those bonds of ethnicity were there.
JP: Yeah, of course, because that’s how they started the game and it was so early in the game that you couldn’t help but bond in that way.

Tashi: A couple of months ago, at the beginning of this year, after Survivor was finished in the US, you came out as being gay. Can you talk about that a bit.
JP: Yeah sure, I think that kind of played a hard part in my life, it distracted me. Kinda a weird point in my life, these last few years have been weird - my dad passed away in 2005 and then shortly after Survivor came my way out of the blue.

I was struggling playing on the pro Beach Volleyball tour, my mind was very distracted with my fathers illness and I think at that point I was just very fedup with me and my sexuality.

Then Survivor came out of blue and then playing the game - I think that might have been a deterent for me, you know a distraction for me ‘cos I had an image to maintain and then when Survivor was over the Janice Dickenson modeling agency approached me to be on their show.

After Survivor, a lot of rumours, you know the blogs and the websites and rumours goes out and so this magazine, Instinct Magazine (gay mag) tried contacting but I never ever returned their phonecalls ‘cos I wasn’t ready and I was scared and I knew what they were trying to do.

Then when they found out I was doing the Janice Dickenson show and asked her if I was interested so when a magazine is asking you, and Janice Dickenson’s asking and you have all these websites making rumours and then I was on Perez Hilton and all this weird stuff started going on, it just makes you say, “You know what, you might as well come out.” I think I was just ready at tat point and I did, so that’s me.

Tashi: So nobody else knew before that point?
JP: No, only close, close friends knew.

Tashi: I’ve read rumours that you and Project Runway aka Brad secretly dated.
JP: No, no we were just really good friends. After Survivor we had made friends and I actually came out to him, after the show and so we hung out but no, we didn’t date.

Tashi: Your interview with Instinct was very candid, ‘spesh what you said about about your dad and how he disapproved of you and prevented you from being who you are. Do you still feel that way?
JP: Yeah because that’s what had happened. He passed away so we never had that moment of closure, like a moment of like - I never came out to him - he passed away without me being honest, completely honest. Of course he knew, parents know those things - I knew he knew but we were never close enough to disclose that kind of information to each other.

We never really had like a father/son relationship, it was more you know, he provided, he gave me what I needed to survive. He never really took the time to know who my friends were, never took the time to know who I was, what I was interested in, what kinda music I listened to, he never asked me how school was today - those little things make such a dfference in a kids relationship so I had to grow up being this jock, this man, this stud, this image, just to make everybody else happy as a shield of who I really was.

And my family, I mean come from a Hispanic family with a machismo attitude where you have to be tough. The men in the culture are the providers, the protectors where the women stay at home and the rules are made and every male needs to follow those types of rules.

And then it didn’t help growing up in sports the whole time, where I excelled highly where I excelled and was revered highy as a top athlete in volleyball. Volleyball, especially along the beach, people think the guys are studs, you’re always with your shirt off - it’s just a different type of sport and you have to follow those roles and it puts a lot of pressure on you after a while.

Tashi: In terms of Survivor - are you a fan of the show?
JP: I love Survivor, definitely, definitely a huge fan. Mark Burnett is a brilliant, brilliant man. All the aspects of the show, it’s amazing - the psychological, the social, the physical aspects of the show, it’s amazing, it’s brilliant.

Tashi: If it wasn’t for Survivor you wouldn’t have come out would you?
JP: If it wasn’t for my dad dying I wouldn’t have come out - I wouldn’t have done Survivor if my dad hadn’t passed away. Anthing that was entertainment - TV, modelling, anything that wasn’t a good old fashioned, hard working job wasn’t respectable in his eyes.

Tashi: By way of strategy, which Survivor’s knocked your socks off most?
JP: That’s a tough one … Amber from The All Stars who was pretty good in her technique.

Tashi: Ja, she was: find a husband and you’re sorted.
JP: It’s not so much find a husband, it was find somebody else to use as kind of a scapegoat.

Tashi: They pretty much had an implicit trust between them.
JP: Oh yeah yeah and she managed to gain his trust and use him at the same time and everyone knew what she was doing but still they could not help not put their attention on him.

Tashi: The cool thing was that at the end of the day they got married so in a way she didn’t use him.
JP: It was nice, it was like she kept her word so really she was pretty commendable in moral aspect, in true life aspect.

Tashi: Where are you off to now?
JP: I’m actually getting ready to go do some photoshoots.

Tashi: For like a magazine?
JP: I’ve been doing a lot of modeling, thanks to Survivor ‘cos I got picked up by the Janice Dickenson show and also we’re filming for another season of Janice Dickenson, Season 3.



07 Sep 2007 01:34

Thanks for the great interview Tashi.  He actually comes across as a decent type of person (:

07 Sep 2007 02:05

Thanks Tashi for the interview. I wish him all the best - he went off the show wayyy too soon.  Still it is so sad that one has to lose a parent to find personal fulfillment. So very sad.

07 Sep 2007 06:28

I always say one's childhood determines one's future.

Thanks for the interview Tash, wonder if we will get to see this particular season of Janice Dickenson, he does come across a a nice guy but they all generally do.

Btw, did you do an interview with Cecilia already or did I miss that?

07 Sep 2007 11:27

Thanks for the interview.  It irritates me when they say "that was editing" and don't give an alternative viewpoint.  If he thinks he wasn't voted out for his bossiness, then what does he think was the reason?  Because the tribe seemed to be complaining about his bossiness, or arrogance, in the show clips.
("Project Runway aka Brad"??)

07 Sep 2007 12:38

Plez guys! It irritates me madly too Lingo/Fingo (hehe) - it's why I said everyone always says that. As far as I'm concerned the way something's put together is the storyline the director saw and those things happened no matter how it was edited together.

Re-Cecilia, unfortunately the interview didn't come out Shirms - I did it but it was too quiet - we had a very bad line - so I couldn't hear properly to share the interview.

The key things she said was how difficult she'd found it getting back into work and life after being on the show. She said she went straight back to work about two days after getting back and should have taken some time off to finish the experience more.

She seemed to find getting back to different priorities  - like general material ambitions - difficult. She lives in California and said she'd been thinking about moving - from the sounds of it it all made her feel quite unsettled.

She also said she didn't do the show for any sort of fame or because of wanting to be in TV and said that the most interesting thing she'd discovered was that when things come down to the crunch when it comes to survival she was surpirsed and encouraged by how people look out for each other. We also had spoke about how ridiculous it is that it needs to be a specific situation that it happens in instead of just happening in everyday life.

(Re -Project Runway - Brad, Fashion Boy, Project Runway:).)

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