Student of the Game: Carter Williams, a true athlete and student of the game, was a contestant this year on Survivor: Philippines. And, he’s the son of one of our valued ZOOM partners! As a follow-up to our September post about Carter, here’s a Q & A about his experience.
How did you become a Survivor Contestant?
Carter: I’ve been a long time fan, and when Danni Boatwright won I became a super fan! I had wanted my mom to try out, but it came down to me and I was selected out of 10,000 to interview in LA with 50 other contestants.
What do you remember most about the experience?
Inspired by Jeff Kent, I kept my focus on the game, not the prize. When it came to the last two challenges, I didn’t see all the “behind the scenes” arrangements. If I had, I would have played the game differently. But at that point you’re at your lowest of lows and I’d been stripped of food, shelter, everything.
(Interestingly, in an the earlier interview with Gordon Holmes, Carter expressed his admiration for Yul Kwon because of his integrity, and how he played the game from a strategic, intellectual standpoint.)
They packed 3 days, including the tribal council, into 44 minutes of screen time! The few crazy things that happened got airtime, and my dialog was cut in the edit, so it looked like I didn’t say much.
What would we be surprised to hear?
I bid on a second food item that wasn’t aired. Host Jeff Probst asked me if I believed in karma, what would be the item? I said steak, but I got chicken heads and feet, and I ate them! Also, as a cross-trainer, I eat around 3,000 calories a day. But in the Philippines I ate about 200 calories a day and lost 18 pounds. I was skin and bones.
How did your faith affect you?
I made a decision early on to keep my faith personal. There was a contestant who talked about her faith and it was used against her. Of course, your behavior is held to different standard when you proclaim righteousness.
What type of public attention did you receive?
The people of Kansas City were very supportive of me. I got a letter from a parent saying that her 6-year old daughter was crazy about me and at one point had even stopped talking. Her mom shot a video of her opening the letter I sent thanking her for her support!
(And TV-star Lisa Whelchel said if she had the choice she would have played like Carter and looked like Malcolm!)
told me the experience did not leave Carter quickly. He was preoccupied with some of his decisions and went through a “mini” depression. He sees Survivor as having been a real growing experience for Carter; who, though naturally quite, is much more assertive now. And he’d formed relationships with people like Penner and the retired SF Giants Baseball player Jeff Kent.
The finale was great. They flew the family to LA, and met contestants and celebrities at Johnathan Penner’s home before the final show. Carter’s dad thinks that, if asked, he would return for another challenge.