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Name (Age): Ken McNickle (33)
Current Residence: Denver, CO via Hana, Maui
Hobbies: Anything outdoors (hiking, camping and fishing), music (playing and watching) and dancing.
Pet Peeves: Superficial connections and communication.
Three Words to Describe You: Driven, mindful, and perceptive.
NOTE: Usually I get a good thirty minutes with each contestant before the game starts. However, this season I had to get through all 20 players in only two-and-a-half hours. So, these pieces will be short and hopefully sweet.
Gordon Holmes: You’re a community activist, that seems like it would have a lot of applications in a game like this.
Ken McNickle: I spend six to eight hours every Saturday working with homeless people. A lot of them addicts, a lot of them people you have to be on your toes with. I don’t have any judgment toward them and I love working for them. It works toward my social strengths. I can read people and I’ll be able to confidently have eyes in the back of my head so I’ll always know what’s going on.
Holmes: Do you have any issues lying in the game?
McNickle: I was really competitive growing up. I was the youngest and the smallest in my family. So, you learn to tweak and bend the rules to make things work in your favor. You do what you have to do to get an edge over people who are above you.
Holmes: What about flirting?
McNickle: There are two kinds of flirts. There’s the type that consciously does it to manipulate or to get what they want. And, there are those who it’s their nature. And for me, it’s just my nature. So, I guess it’s inevitable that it’s going to happen.
Holmes: Is there anyone back home who’s going to be upset if they see you flirting?
McNickle: (Laughs) Everyone in my life knows that I’m a flirt by nature. Nobody is going to be surprised by it.
Holmes: How well do you deal with being lied to?
McNickle: It’s context. Nothing is black and white, there’s always a grey area. You have to understand where someone is coming from. I think that’s more important than the action itself.
Holmes: How well do you do with hunger?
McNickle: I’ve done five-day water fasts. I’ve done juice fasts. Hunger is a thought just like pain or frustration. If you learn to control your thoughts, then just about anything is possible.
Holmes: So you’d say the same thing for lack of sleep or extreme temperatures?
Holmes: Nice, that’ll save us some time. How about paranoia?
McNickle: The best way to deal with paranoia, anger, frustration, any of these things you come across is to breathe. Breathe and remember this is why I’m here. This is what the game is about. This is not out of the ordinary. Keep your center calm.
Holmes: What are your thoughts on the other players?
McNickle: You watch people’s body language. You watch how they engage. You watch how they smile to the support and the producers. Are their smiles genuine and warm? Are they forced and contrived?
Holmes: Is there anyone you’re wary of?
McNickle: Not yet. (Laughs)
Holmes: If there is a twist, any guesses as to what it could be?
McNickle: The last few seasons I’ve been watching, the Beauty/Brains/Brawn seems very consistant. A lot of the questions they’ve asked me are about my modeling career. So, I’m wondering if that is going to be part of it.
Holmes: If you could align with any past player, who would it be?
McNickle: I’d probably say Ozzy (Lusth) or Yul (Kwon). They’re both strong, respectable men. They didn’t have to lie a lot to get to the end of the game. They got there by being physically strong and by manipulating the game and the situation around them. But not in the way that other more quick-to-lie people did. Tony Vlachos swore on his wife and his child to get ahead. You can do that, but in Yul and Ozzy’s case they didn’t have to do that. I think I’d work well with either one of those guys.
Holmes: Alright, lightning round time. Cats or dogs?
Holmes: Beer or wine?
Holmes: Superman or Batman?
Holmes: Meat or vegetable?
Holmes: Republican or Democrat?
Holmes: Books or TV?
Holmes: Swimming or sunbathing?
Holmes: Many casual friends or one good friend?
McNickle: One good.
Holmes: A nice car or a nice home?
Holmes: Smart or funny?
Holmes: Parvati or Boston Rob?
McNickle: Boston Rob.
Holmes: A big vacation or a big TV?
McNickle: Big vacation.
Holmes: Working alone or with a team?
Holmes: Dragons or unicorns?
McNickle: (Laughs) Dragons.
Holmes: Careful planning or fly by the seat of your pants?
McNickle: Seat of pants.
Holmes: Jeff Probst or Ryan Seacrest?
Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X,” Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 8pm ET.