A week ago I was watching the finale of Survivor: Micronesia Fans vs. Favorites in a screening room at CBS Blackrock in New York City. With me were two former castaways from Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: China, media representatives from Canada and media reps from California. This last week has flown by and I have written five or six posts about that night. This final post will be a wrap up of the evening and will include a sneak peak at where you can see some of your favorite Survivor castaways in the future.
First, I have to say thank you to Lynn DeVries (www.tvrealitywatch.com) who allowed me to cover the Survivor: Micronesia press event in her absence. I know Lynn wishes she could have been there to experience it all for herself, but next time she will, I’m sure! I hope that the posts I have contributed have met your expectations – and if they have, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to be a guest correspondent one day again!
I had a blast! What better way can I say it? It was exciting, overwhelming, tiring and totally worth the blisters I got standing in those heels all night long! I would have to say that my only disappointment was that I didn’t get a chance to see or meet Jeff Probst, even though we were told we’d have that opportunity. I had lots of questions prepared for him, so I was pretty bummed about that! But…that was the only disappointment of the night because in the end I got to be my own part of Survivor history!
As I previously reported, I got to meet one of my all-time favorite castaways, Ozzy Lusth, I flirted with James Clement (yes, I admit it!), I stood next to Survivor: China winner Todd Herzog (HUGE surprise!), I interviewed and developed a new respect for this year’s winner Parvati Shallow, and I got to meet Amanda Kimmel, who is such a sweetie!
Now here’s a bit of a wrap up of who else I saw and got to meet!
I didn’t get a chance to interview Cirie, but did take some photos as she was interviewed by the two reporters on either side of me. She ‘cackled’ her now-famous laugh and I couldn’t help but giggle!
I also didn’t interview Natalie, but listened in while Dennis Luciano (Average Joe) interviewed her. First, I must say, she very pretty in person all dolled up. She wasn’t my favorite on the show, for sure, but she seemed very sweet on the red carpet. Her dress was thrown together with this and that – according to her. As she described it, I have to admit that I was reminded of the old Carol Burnett skit where she comes out wearing the green drapes (imitating Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind). Natalie was wearing black leggings underneath the dress, and had recently purchased some leather wrist cuffs (for lack of a better description), and frankly, I thought she looked pretty good.
A group of people stood in front of the Survivor board and they were all holding up the flag from Gabon, which is where the next Survivor will be filmed. I can only assume that the group was representing Gabon.
At the After Party
At the after party, I saw a number of Survivor: Micronesia castaways. As reported earlier, I had an opportunity to meet and interview Jonathan Penner, and here’s the clip:
I met Yau-Man Chan and he was very polite, introducing his wife to everyone. He didn’t stay long at the party, but it was kind of cool to talk to him for a few minutes.
I said hello to Mikey B (Bortone) and got a photo. He’s from Boston too!
I had a fun chat with Erik Reichenbach. If you look at our photo together, I think I look like I’m about 12 years old and have curly hair. In fact, I have straight hair, but with Erik’s head pressed into mine, it looks like his curls are mine! I think it looks pretty funny. When I showed him the photo, he didn’t like his smile. He said that it was his ‘drunk smile’ and that he smiles better when he’s more sober. We laughed about that. He seems very sweet and he said he had a wonderful time on the show.
Ami Cusack looked very different to me in person than she did on the show. Maybe she has lost weight, but she just looked very different — prettier. When I asked her if I could have a photo with her, she said she would take it because she has long arms. We stood there and kept trying to take it and realized the camera was set to ‘video’ and kept taping us posing for a photo. Ah…we fixed that and got a pretty decent shot. I also met Ami’s mom who said that this after party was very different than the first one which was a sit-down dinner. She seemed to be enjoying herself and was a very nice lady.
Jason Siska was a cutie in person, but he wasn’t as fan-friendly as other castaways I have met. I did like his new haircut and I briefly talked about his Ponderosa video clips and how he was balancing on the string. He said he loves to do that!
I also met and chatted with Joel Anderson. He is from the Phoenix area, which is where all of my family lives, so we talked a little about ‘back home’. He is the only castaway I have met who believes in and speaks freely about his ‘failure’ on Survivor. He flat out says he failed and the only reason he would do it again is to go back and win. He said it was a good experience overall, but that it was a failure. Tough words!
The last person I met and got a photo of was Eliza Orlins. She was just a bundle of energy and she actually introduced herself to me as I was talking with Jonathan Penner. I got a great photo of her and Jonathan.
Jonathan Penner & Eliza Orlins
Other castaways I saw at the after party, but did not meet, included Mary Sartain and Ryan Oprey of Survivor: Pearl Islands (who are now engaged) and Alexis Jones. I did not see Chet Welch, Kathleen Sleckman or Tracy Hughes – but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there! I did see and briefly speak with Jon Dalton (Fairplay), and that was about as fun as it was the first time I met him (or not).
There were a few other former castaways at the after party, including Brian Corridan from Survivor: Guatemala. He remembered me from a Survivor event last year, which I thought was kind of sweet!
Betsy Hijazi & Brian Corridan
Here’s Rupert Boneham, Winner of the Fan Favorite Survivor $1 million.
I also saw Denise Martin from Survivor: China, and I THINK, I saw Ashley Massaro from Survivor: China as well. Sometimes I get people confused, but I think that’s who that was! Representing Survivor: Fiji were Stacy Kimball and Michelle Yi who were so, so sweet! Also at the after party was Big Brother 8’s ‘America’s Player’ Eric Stein. I spoke with him for a few minutes too and also got a photo.
Eric Stein & Betsy Hijazi
Last but not least, I cannot forget Survivor: Cook Islands‘ very own Billy Garcia. I spent the afternoon with Billy where we dined at not one, but three places! We first got a slice of New York pizza around noon in Times Square, and after talking for 3 hours (everything Survivor!), I was once again hungry so we set out to find somewhere else to eat! We found a very nice Cuban restaurant, also in Times Square. The food and atmosphere were wonderful! After that, we went our separate ways, planning to meet up at the after party, but when I got to the CBS building, I was allowed to call Billy to have him come over to screen the finale with the press. So there, we ate yet once again (all kinds of goodies that CBS had put out for us!). Billy has been kind enough to share his stories with me and for the most part, I take it all in as really cool information. Billy’s a very nice guy and if you ever get a chance to meet him, I’m sure he’ll be kind enough to sign an autograph or take a photo with you. I can’t thank him enough for his generosity.
Now – How would YOU like to meet many of your favorite Survivor castaways? It’s very, very easy! You’ll have loads of fun and will take home memories to last you a life time! How can I do this, you ask??? Read on…
This November marks the 2nd annual Castaways Weekend event for charity. Last year, more than 30 Survivor castaways and other Reality TV celebs made their way to New York to participate in a day of Dodgeball – yes, taking each other out! – all for a great cause. This year, more than 30 (so far) Reality TV celebs, mostly from Survivor, have signed up for the 2008 Castaways Weekend, which runs from Thursday night through Sunday. It starts off with a Survivor: Gabon viewing, has a full day of Dodgeball on Saturday, and culminates with a New York Giants football game and tailgate party on Sunday. Events can be purchased separately or as a package and I can guarantee that not only will you get to meet and talk with your favorite Survivors, you’ll have the time of your life! Check out the ‘who’s coming‘ link to see if your favorite castaway will be there.
Last year, Lynn and I were there and we took lots of photos and video. If you’d like to see what fun it was, Here’s a clip.
Lynn and I will be there again this year, and hope to see you there this November!
Here is all the information you need to learn more about the event and to sign up. Also, listed on the agenda is a ‘Reality Rumble’ event, which is going to be changed. At this time, the organizers are planning a concert with the possibility of some castaway musicians! Again – subject to change!
The Sports Center of Lake Grove
http://www.thesportscenterinc.com/castawaysweekend2008/whoscoming.html (subject to change)
Thanks again to Lynn DeVries for giving me the great opportunity to cover the Survivor: Micronesia press event. It was truly an event I’ll never forget!
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