Friday, July 2, 2021

INTERVIEW. Aftercare teacher Paul Cupido on his Survivor SA exit: 'I just had this feeling that something's up.'

by Thinus Ferreira

The aftercare teacher Paul Cupido (29) from Johannesburg raised the resentment of his tribemates when he ate all the food and didn't seem to listen during teamwork challenges - which led to him getting ousted as the fourth castaway who got his torch snuffed in the 8th season of Survivor South Africa: Immunity island on M-Net (DStv 101).

Why did you enter Survivor SA: Immunity Island?
Paul Cupido: So I decided to enter I guess, you know, because I'm an adventurous person. Yeah, I like to put myself in challenging positions and you know, Survivor SA actually just looked like a hell of a lot of fun from the last season. It just looked like something that I had to be a part of.

Were you scared that it happened during a Covid pandemic?
Paul Cupido: No, no, I wasn't because they briefed us and you know, all the necessary protocols were taking place, so you know, I had no doubt that if they were still going to go ahead with it that the producers would definitely be taking care of us.

What surprised you about the experience? I presume you watched Survivor before you became a castaway - how was it different from what you imagined?
Paul Cupido: Definitely, the hunger factor. Back home you just go open the fridge and grab a snack. On the island when you are feeling hungry, and you've got to ration your food and figure out "okay, we can only eat once a day, you know", that. That's definitely a surprising factor when you're actually in, when you're actually in that situation. Ha ha ha.

And your fellow tribemates complained that you ate too much - ate all the food. What do you make of that accusation?
Paul Cupido: Yes, now look, I mean, I guess, I guess it is what it is. We must also not forget you're on an island for that many days, eventually, after a while, you start making a mountain out of small things. You know, so yeah, we all threw some accusations at each other but it is what it is.

Some of your tribemates who happen to be women said that you didn't listen to them - I don't know if it was because they were female. But they said that you didn't listen when they spoke. I'm wondering if you might want to address that.
Paul Cupido: Yeah. So I think, I mean, as Chappies also put it perfectly that, you know, within the game there were aspects that maybe were a little bit frantic. Maybe there might have been situations where they did say something to me and I didn't hear it, but at the same time, there was certain points where you could have gotten our attention, and we definitely would have listened and tried to move forward. But I guess you know, it didn't happen.

What in your own gameplay and time during the all experience, looking back, do you think you maybe could have done differently?
Paul Cupido: I mean, look. If anything, I don't think there's much I could have done differently, because the reality is that you resort back to your natural self; your natural ways. I think the one thing that I would add on to that is that I would definitely say that I would trust my gut feeling going forward.

Did you think that your head was on the chopping block and a contender to be voted out? Or did it come as a shock to you? Did it feel like a blindside?
Paul Cupido: Look, I think, I mean, when I was chatting on the beach when I mentioned that I felt that "you guys are pulling a fast one over my eye" - so definitely there was an inkling that I may be going home. That's why I said if there's something I could have done differently it would be listening to my gut-feel because I think at that moment, when I started having a few doubts, then it was like, "okay, something's a little bit suspicious. Yeah".
It was just like my mind telling me this; I just had this feeling that something's up. So yeah, I did. I did kind of expect it. But also, it's an "expected surprise" - if that makes sense.

And why do you think they voted for you?
Paul Cupido: I would maybe say, I'd like to say because I'm a bloody good player, you know. I would like to see it as they saw that you have a good plan. And it's either going to be me or it's going to be Chappies because the reality is, if you kept me longer on in the game, then there's no telling what I could do, which is very true. And yeah, I guess maybe I was just too good man. Ha ha ha.

I know it's difficult to try answering "what if, what if" questions but looking back at the episode in which you left, do you think you could have spoken up more at tribal council to make your own case and what would you have said?
Paul Cupido: No, I don't think so. I said what I needed to say. I was very happy with what I said. Because, yeah, I think the one thing that I definitely wanted to address was the accusation coming from Wardah. But outside of that, you know, I couldn't, I don't think I could have said anything better or anything more.

You had one of the more colourful outfits. How did you decide what clothing to take?
Paul Cupido: So I basically decided that based on my personality, I feel like my clothes actually represent the type of person that I am, which is very well, what do you say - a lively and a fun person; easy to approach. So I like my clothes actually to reflect my personality. And it's also my favourite shirt.

What did you enjoy the most about the whole experience?
Paul Cupido: I think that what I enjoyed about the whole experience is the ability to put yourself in the situation of being hungry, and then waking up in the morning after not many hours of sleep and then still, you know, going there and giving your all the challenge when your body had very few nutrients - other than like, sugar cane or pap and rice, you know. 

So it is fascinating for me to actually understand how the body can still function at its optimal level with very little sustenance, or sleep, or things like that.

Is there a moment or interaction or experience or something that really stands out for you - that viewers might not have even seen?
Paul Cupido: I think a standout moment is my first challenge. Yeah, when I dived into that water and literally just went in and out. That was definitely a number one great moment for me right there!