(CBS) - Ready, set, go! Survivor 41 is only a few hours in and we already have two castaways out of the game. Leading up to this season Jeff Probst described the latest version of Survivor as a monster and unfortunately for Eric Abraham, he was the monster's first victim; followed shortly by 23-year-old Sara Wilson.
CBS' Matt Weiss spoke to Abraham about his Survivor preparation and the prospect of returning to the game someday.
MW- Hi Abraham, sorry we're having this conversation so early in the season but it's nice to see you!
EA- [Laughs] I know, good to see you too though, Matt.
MW- Going back to the start when you first stepped foot on the island, you're a Survivor fan for life, what was that moment like?
EA- It was surreal. I mean, to watch this show throughout the years and actually be there, it's almost like you're watching yourself. I was like No, I'm not really here, I'm still back home. But I was actually on the island about start off one of the greatest adventures that you have no control over. Survivor is going to go the way it's going to go but I had a blast.
MW- And you got thrown right into it the thick of things with that immunity challenge, what was the hardest part of that for you?
EA- Know what, it's just a matter of can I move fast enough? Am I in the right place? Am I doing the right things? Am I drawing attention to myself? Or should I just have fun?
I had blast though, ask JD about his two ribs. I had a blast.
MW- [Laughs] When I talk to him I'll be sure to mention it. What kind of preparation went into getting ready for the island?
EA- So what I did was I went into what I call my "Survivor Lab." I would go look at different episodes of Survivor and I would physically work out. Like okay, that's a stamina thing and I'll need strength in my arms for this or that.
I just kind of looked at it and enjoyed reliving some of the episodes I hadn't seen in a while. I looked at some of the challenges that have happened in the past and I was ready. I really put in the work.
MW- Were there any former Survivor players in particular you wanted to model your game after?
EA- Well, you know what I like the swagger of Boston Rob because he was like, 'I'm from Boston. I'm doing what I'm doing.' Jane's physicality, Jane was like, 'Look, I'm tearing up everything. I'm here to be physical.'
My game plan was also a little Richard Hatch because that was my very first season watching. He just didn't care, he was like, 'Hey, I'm Richard and I'm gonna do what I do.' I also wanted to build relationships like Rudy and bring different types of people together. I think that's what Survivor is all about.
MW- That's a solid group to take inspiration from. You seemed like a real natural leader out there as well, did you plan on playing things that way or did that just develop based on who you were out there with?
EA- Well, I spent 22 years in the military, so it's is there. Do I want to use it, that's a different story. [laughs]. That can get you voted off so you kind of walk a fine line. How much of my real personality do I want to show? Am I going to really let them see me? What am I going to hold back?
So I wanted to bring everyone together, let's all work together and be a team. Let's try to stay away from voting and make it more of an inclusive type thing.
MW- Your plan going into tribal was to vote out Tiffany, clearly things didn't go that way. What's going through your mind when you realize things hadn't gone to plan?
EA- It was too late. I had painted Tiffany because Tiffany gave me enough paint to paint away. When we did the first challenge, I was like hey Tiffany didn't pull her away. We did the next challenge.
When you play Survivor you've got to get the target off your back, even if there isn't a target on your back. You've got to get people to say, you know what, I see what what he's looking at. Then when I got the votes; I just didn't see it coming.
MW- As you reflect on your experience now, what are you going to take away from Survivor?
EA- You know what, it's twofold in the in the sense that I was out there and not just representing me but my family. I dedicated my show to my mom. She raised three boys and now one of her boys is on one of the top shows on CBS.
She just called me and said they cheated me out of the show [laughs] and my mom is 70, she doesn't play. Just to have an opportunity to be with this cast this season too, I part of a diverse cast of individuals that lived out a dream that we all had together. It was a great experience.
MW- I think I know the answer this last question, but just to get it on record. If you have the chance to go back out there again are you taking it?
EA- They just showed a snippet of me this season. They didn't want to give you a full Abraham experience just yet. They said, you know what, we'll give you a snippet and next time I'm on the show. I'll be there much longer. I'm coming back. Survivor fans, that's not the last you'll see of me!
MW- I'm looking forward to that. Next time we talk it'll be much deeper in the season I hope! Thank you so much Abraham been a pleasure talking to you. You did a great job representing yourself and your family out there and hope I see you soon!
EA- Hey, thanks Matt!
Tune in for new episodes of Survivor 41 every Wednesday at 8:00PM ET/PT on CBS or streaming with Paramount+. Check your local listings for more information.
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