At least Charlton Heston wouldn’t have cast a vote against him. After a rant against gun control left his teammates scowling into their gruel, telephone technician Frank Garrison became the 10th contestant to get the boot on this week’s ”Survivor.” EW.com talked to the 43-year-old New Yorker about Teresa’s tearful vote, why he isn’t such a lousy archer after all, and why Lex isn’t the jerk we think he is (no, really).
So, what was going on with that pro-NRA speech you gave ?
It was just an everyday conversation. I was doing nothing different than I did any other day, so it wasn’t as if I suddenly started talking about my beliefs. In fact, I didn’t even bring up the subject. My opinion was asked, and I gave it. Everyone else expressed their opinion in different conversation points, but the editors just happened to show that one. It really wasn’t the major turning point it seemed to be on the show.
Are you doing ads for the NRA yet?
Not yet, but I absolutely would. I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment and what it stands for. I’ve had a gun in my hand since I was 5 years old, and I haven’t killed another human being in 43 years. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. Scissors can kill people, fishing line, automobiles — all of those things. I think we’ve lost track of what this country was founded on. If I had won the million, I would have donated some of it to NRA education.
Why do you think Lex was gunning for you?
Lex is a good guy. He just saw me as a threat. It was a case of two alpha dogs in the same litter box. You can’t have it. But he had distanced himself from some of his own tribe members and that foundation was crumbling, so it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if I had won the immunity challenge.
Were you surprised that your old buddy Teresa turned on you?
Teresa is absolutely a beautiful woman, and I love her like a sister. The truth is, we had planned it. At the time of the first merge, I said, ”Look, when the bull’s eye is on me, I want you to keep your distance from me and don’t hesitate in writing my name down.” And she kept saying, ”Frankie, I’m never going to write your name down.” And I said, ”You are, because you’re going to survive and go all the way to the end.” It was damage control. I didn’t want to see her go down right after me.
Why the heck would you choose antlers for your luxury item?
For several reasons. For one I thought they were a reflection of my character. Two, I knew I was going into Africa, this wild continent, and I thought they might be morale picker-uppers for the team. And it was just a unique item to bring. I absolutely had some plans to use them for hunting, but once it was explained to me that there was no hunting on the preserve, all that fell by the wayside.
By the time you left, everyone was looking pretty lousy. Did you get sick?
I didn’t get sick. I did shed 10 to 15 pounds. The combination of the heat, your water being limited, and your food intake being so low, let’s just say you’re not going to look on your Sunday’s best, that’s for sure.
What was the biggest hardship you experienced in Africa? Was it the flies or the food?
It was the people. Not all of them, believe me. Carl, Linda, and Teresa are like a new family to me. We e-mail and talk all the time. And I’m so happy to have met all of those other contestants, really. They’re all unique individuals in their own ways. But there’s a majority I wouldn’t even coexist with in normal life. They’d be in my way.
Speaking of in the way, was it at least a thrill to outlast Brandon and Lindsey?
Not really. But we’re all fine now. I put my best foot forward with all of them. It’s just a game. Unfortunately some of them take it a little more seriously. Brandon said it best: If we were neighbors, we’d probably never talk.
Your bio says you have a third daughter on the way. When is she due?
Hopefully, Feb. 20 Tassia Jo will be on her way. The name Tassia comes from Africa. It’s a place where the Masai people run a lodge. Its exact meaning I’m not sure. I’m still working on that. I discovered the name while I was there and mentioned it to my wife, and she liked it, fortunately.
So after showing your teammates how to use a bow and arrow, you couldn’t hit a target. Was that a case of those who can’t do, coach?
I just wanted to make sure my team could excel at this one thing. Unfortunately, I didn’t hit a target, but my team did do well. You could say I had a bad day, but other people might look at it another way, that maybe it was planned on my part. But I’m not saying anything.