Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Peter Baggenstos says his biggest regret still hurts
"Bombastic, cocky, and clueless." That's how Peter Baggenstos says he was portrayed on Survivor: Kaoh Rong. But if you think he's upset and bitter about that portrayal… think again.
"I am totally fine with it," Peter tells EW. "Reality TV has a job, and that is to tell a story. I have never believed that Survivor the institution is trying to railroad anybody, but it is their duty to magnify certain personality traits for entertainment value."
Peter's personality traits were certainly magnified during his 16 days in the game. The ER doctor was never on firm footing after his alliance partner Liz Markham was voted out first by the Brains on the Chan Lo tribe. While the Brains had a majority after a tribe swap, Aubry Brocco's last second change of heart – she originally wrote Julia Sokolowski's name down before crossing it out — sent Peter to Torch Snuffing Central.
Now, in his Quarantine Questionnaire, Peter looks back at the good and bad of his Survivor journey, while noting the regret and angst he still feels from his performance in the game.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
PETER BAGGENSTOS: Since appearing on Survivor: Kaoh Rong, I got married and had a child. Life has been amazing post-Survivor, but there is still angst and likely a component of regret for some of my Survivor "in-game" moves, but this is life.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
There is no proud moment. That is a hard question. I would say winning the first few challenges — which definitely had a "non-brains" lean to them. We somehow all teamed up and came through. Nothing more exhilarating than winning those.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
The challenge I lost on. I had the tallest member and the thinnest member, and for some reason I convinced everyone to stack blocks like donkeys. It was totally my fault and my sword to fall on. It still hurts.
What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
Aubry had an anxiety attack and considered leaving in the first few hours. Other Brains tribe members and I talked her into staying and provided comfort.
Also, I had a major hand infection that resulted with surgery in the United States shortly after being voted off. I am left hand dominant and for five-to-six days I couldn't grip anything due to the swelling, not to mention the fevers and malaise I was feeling.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
I am totally fine with it. Reality TV has a job, and that is to tell a story. I have never believed that Survivor the institution is trying to railroad anybody, but it is their duty to magnify certain personality traits for entertainment value. Mine apparently is bombastic, cocky, and clueless.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
It was difficult. You go from being important "all cameras are on me" to.... all the negative opinions of your show conduct. My work was concerned for their appearance, thus I felt like my real job and my professional life was starting to be at risk. Also, all the patients that I see (at the time) would love to just talk about Survivor! I'm like, "Hey, man, you're dying... let's talk about that instead."
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
No, not once.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
Nobody. After the pandemic, priorities change as an ER physician. Life just got real. Being "landlocked" in the Midwest there are few people in this area. The last Survivor I've seen in person is Sunday Burquest, and unfortunately, I just received news that she passed away.
Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
I actually don't watch Survivor because I'm still burned. I feel like I had more in me and it's difficult knowing that I fizzled out so fast. Watching episodes just reminds me of what I didn't do. Survivor: Cagayan is my favorite season. Great characters, engaging episodes all the way to the end.
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Francesca Hogi. So I don't get voted out first.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
Every cast member who has been selected for the show are special and have a unique set of personality characteristics, hence getting on the show. Rather than focusing on all the winners, I would recommend casting new episodes with some of the more dynamic characters that didn't make it far in the past (obviously self-promotion).
Finally, would you play again if asked?
Yes, I would absolutely play. The invitation to do it without resources and without food seems like a vacation from the stress involved with the pandemic as an ER physician.
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