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Cook Islands Interview: Brad Virata

Written by Tashi from the blog Survivor Cook Islands: Interviews on 11 Oct 2007
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Despite Candice and Jonathan proving themselves to be mutinous traitors on Tuesday night's Survivor, it was fashion designer Brad Virata who got voted out instead.

After making a comment about every man needing to look out for himself, Raro decided to make him the ninth victim of Cook Islands and the first member of the Jury.

I caught up with him for us to get the goss and as you'll see if you've caught the interview with JP, Brad gave a very different answer to the same question about their relationship. Here's what he had to outwit, outsay, outjuice:

Tashi: Why did you enter Survivor instead of Project Runway?
Brad: (Laughs) I entered Survivor to break stereotypes - to break stereotypes about the gay community, the Asian community - especially being an Asian male. I think the media portrays a typical Asian male in a negative light and I wanted to break the stereotyping and also step out of my comfort one. If I’d done Project Runway I would have been contributing to the stereotype and I wanted to do the polar opposite.

Tashi: Do you feel you succeeded?
Brad: Absolutely, I think going onto the show and just proving to the viewing audience, my athletic ability and my ability to get along with both genders and succeeding in the different challenges and making it to the first member of the journey was an incredible accomplishment for me.

Tashi: Do you wish the show had been edited you in such a way to highlight the fact that you’re gay more?
Brad: Yes I do. I think the reason CBS didn’t want to make it into a big issue was to appeal to a larger demographic of people, women maybe (laughs).

Tashi: Yes with your body and everything.
Brad: Well I don’t know, (laughs). I came out on the show very early, when we separated from the Asian tribe and we actually had a round table when we merged and we kinda told everyone our story and who we are and where we were coming from why we wanted to part of the show. T wasn’t aired so I was kinda bummed about that.

Tashi: It’s very strange ‘cos I imagine the show has got a large gay audience.
Brad: Yeah absolutely – it’s got a big gay following. If you think about it it’s got a bunch of half naked guys running around on an island.

Tashi: True! Why did you shoot yourself in the kahoonas the way you did? Surely you knew that your comment would have made everyone think you weren’t on their side?
Brad: I think the comment was blown out of proportion. I think it was miscontrinued and people looked at it in a different light than they should have. It was just a comment, I was speaking in terms of :”Oh well, it is Survivor, it is an individual strategy game. “

Tashi: Yes but you should have know that everyone always blows things out of proportion, especially in a Survivor context.
Brad: Absolutely.

Tashi: Would you say it was your biggest mistake?
Brad: Yes it was the turning point for me.

Tashi: What about the mutiny - don’t you think you should have crossed over when Candice and Jonathan mutinied?
Brad: Yeah, looking back, hindsight’s 20/20 and if I were to do it again I would have definitely stepped off the map so that I could have been a trio with Yul and Becky ‘cos Yul and I made a pact very early on in the game to make sure that we’d help each other out.

Tashi: What was your thinking that you didn’t do it?
Brad: My thinking was: “Okay, if I stepped off the mat, I’m going to have however many members vying against me at the end of the day ‘cos they’re gonna think I was a traitor,” and I didn’t want my original tribe out for my head.

Tashi: Cao Bui’s crazy headache remedy - you said it got rid of your headache but how long did it actually take to go away?
Brad: Oh it was horrible ‘cos it took a week and a half to go away -

Tashi: A week and a half??
Brad: Yes, a week and a half.

Tashi: So it didn’t help at all?
Brad: It helped with my headache that day - ‘cos I was throwing up all day -– but I mean it took a week and a half for the red mark to go away.

Tashi: Okay but the actual headache - how long did it take to go away?
Brad: Oh it took like literally fifteen minutes to go away. I lay down just a little while and it worked great.

Tashi: I was convinced they’d edited it so you said your headache was gone and it was actually two days after he did that it went away. So what is that red thing?
Brad: It’s like a hickey (laughs).

Tashi: When you left you said Survivor was the best and the worst experience of your life - why did you say it was the worst?
Brad: It was the worst ‘cos you’re literally starving on an island, trying to provide for eight to ten other people on your tribe looking for food, you’re on the coral reef three and a half hours a day fishing, you’re sleeping on dirt, there are mosquito’s everywhere - it was horrible physically. The best part being that you’re breaking all these stereotypes, you can be a role model to younger kids and you’re doing things you’ve never done before which is amazing.

Tashi: Did you have any issues with the way the tribes were divided?
Brad: No I didn’t - the reason why was because I thought it would be really interesting to be set in within a tribe that share the same type of upbringing and background growing up and so Yul and I had a lot of common ground in that respect, like the different stereotypes of Asian American males in a light society, just growing up and being different and then to top it off being gay.

Tashi: All Cao Bui’s jokes that irritated you so much - why did he keep making them?
Brad: I think he just doesn’t get it. What he views as funny for himself, a lot of other people - and I said it on this show, “We get it but a lot of other people won’t.” Cao Bui’s an example of someone that contributes to the stereotypes rather than trying to prevent them.

Tashi: I imagine he would argue otherwise.
Brad: Yes he would but he’s not - he’s not all there in his uh …(laughs).

Tashi:
(laughs) He had a lot of jokes - it looked like he’d actually researched them.
Brad: He’s very witty is that one, he’s quick, he lives in the Mid West and he doesn’t understand like a lot of … maybe he does understand, maybe he just doesn’t care.

Tashi: At the very beginning of the show he did say he doesn’t care what people think of him or think generally.
Brad: Well good for him, he did say that.

Tashi: You said you should have mutinied to join Yul and Becky - do you think that had anything to do with ethnicity or was it the fact that you started off as a team?
Brad: A couple of things: a) we share that common ground with all being Asian and b) I mean they’re just cool people, they just get it. Yul’s an amazing guy, he continues to be one of my best friends and they’re different to the other castaways - just a different mindset and different level of maturity Ithink that both Becky and Yul have. I think we share the same common ground and values.

Tashi: The rumours about you and JP secretly dating - are they true?
Brad: JP and I did date for a while.

Tashi: Oh really, after the show?
Brad: Yeah we’d met and hung out for a while and now we’re just really good friends. JP’s an amazing guy - I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him - he’s definitely a good catch (laughs).

Tashi: In terms of the other Survivors - I take it you’re still in touch with some of them?
Brad: Yeah absolutely - I love Sundra, I see her like weekly. I love Yul, I love Becky - those are the main people I’m contact with still and I see JP every now and again too.

Tashi: What are you up to now?
Brad: I started on my own men’s clothing line and I’m really working on that. We’re designing into Spring/Summer 2008 so we’re about a year ahead, working on the spring/summer collection and just trying to make it happen - really loving life.

Tashi: I still think you should do Project Runway.
Brad: I know you know, I’ve thought about that - it might be something to think about in the next couple of months or years.



4 Comments

six
11 Oct 2007 00:43

I'd love to see him on Project Runway as well.  He comes across as a really nice guy.

Shirmell
11 Oct 2007 03:21

Yeah wouldn't mind watching him on Project Runway, why not?

Toxic
12 Oct 2007 08:19

what is project runway? thanks tashi for interview......didn't know until 16.16pm on 12/OCt/2007 that this guy is gay!!!

Are there any other gay members left?

Tashi
13 Oct 2007 07:35

No they're all gayed-out now Tox. I still can't work out why they didn't include him speaking about it - the only thing I can think is that had something to do with the whole stereotype theme - like if they had he might have been steroetyped in viewers minds before getting to know him type thing.

Sorry about not being clearer about Project Runway - I meant to put a link into the story but forgot: Project Runway.

It's a fashion design reality show on Series with Heidi Klum at the helm - it's very cool, they all live together and their relationships have an impact on things but the focus is strongly on fashion and each of their individual design styles. At the end the final three put together a collection for a big New York fashion show and the winners gets chosen from that.


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