On Sunday, May 17th, I was fortunate enough to find myself in New York City covering the Survivor Tocantins Finale Red Carpet Interviews on behalf of Lynn DeVries of Reality Exploits. Sadly, Lynn couldn’t make it and she asked me to fill in for her. I also attended last year’s Survivor Micronesia Finale for Lynn, and I never thought I’d be lucky enough to get this gig twice! Thanks Lynn!
Last year was a bit crazy. It was my first live event and I was definitely a newbie to the scene. When I got to the Red Carpet, I was completely shocked to find that I was flanked by two Reality TV experts: Survivor China winner Todd Herzog, and Beauty and the Geek alum Dennis Luciani. Both were entirely gracious and definitely loads of fun!
I learned a lot from the Micronesia Red Carpet event and knew I’d be better prepared for future events and interviews. For the Tocantins Red Carpet event, I invited Survivor alum Cook Island’s Billy Garcia to co-host the interviews with me. As an insider I knew that Billy would have great questions for the Final 4 and I knew he’d be very comfortable on the Red Carpet. We were all looking forward to great interviews of J.T., Stephen, Erinn and Taj – we were pretty excited!
Tamara “Taj” George-Johnson and her husband football legend Eddie George were first to speak with us on the Red Carpet. Taj placed fourth on Survivor Tocantins, and she was definitely favored to win – obviously, they had to take her out before she got to the top!
We spoke with Taj and Billy Garcia asked her about the bug bites she had complained about while in Brazil. Taj said that her skin is one of the things she prizes dearly, and to be eaten up by nearly every bug possible just killed her! Billy asked if they had palm fronds to sleep on and Taj said they did, but that they were infested with bugs too! Taj said that the bugs attacked her everywhere, whether she was walking in the grass, on the beach, or just at camp. They loved her and she just tasted good and the bugs just tore her to shreds…her arms, her legs, her back. According to hubby Eddie George, the bugs have excellent taste.
As I stood there and looked at her bug bites, I couldn’t help but notice how white her teeth truly were. And she said that she did love her white teeth too! Billy then asked if she was able to brush her teeth with the ashes from the fire, and she said that she used branches and tried to clean her teeth any way she could because she hates “sweaters” on her teeth.
We then talked about the bad breath and body odor that no one seems to ever talk about! She said that after 30 days your nose becomes immune to the body odor, but that breath is definitely rancid. When husband Eddie visited Taj on the show, he told her she smelled pretty bad, and she didn’t think it was so awful! But Eddie said that the smell burns your nostrils straight off!
Billy asked Taj if her husband, being the career athlete that he is, was able to give her some great strategy advice for playing the game, but she said the best thing he taught her was how to “stiff arm” someone.
I asked Taj if she was happy with how everything turned out. She said she was very proud of herself for being a city girl and learning how to build fires, gather wood and fish, and do it all well! She wished that she could have won the fan favorite, and that she deserved it (she said laughing) but was really happy for J.T., who she says is a really good guy.
Taj lost 28 pounds while on the show and has kept all but 4 of it off. She has a new ‘me’ she said, and she couldn’t be happier. Billy said that there is nothing better than the Survivor diet — that it’s priceless!
Taj is a real sweetheart. On the show we always saw her playing the game. In person she is very bubbly, really kind, and incredibly personable. Her husband Eddie is a real trooper. He stood by her the whole time while she was on the Red Carpet and he was just as nice as can be. They make a great team, and I definitely wouldn’t want to be up against the two of them on a ‘couples’ Survivor! The Amazing Race might want to give these two a call!
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