XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X” needs. We’ll have interviews with all twenty of the new players to hold you over until the season starts. Then we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the players after they’ve been eliminated, and the return of the ever-popular “Survivor” Power Rankings. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.
Name (Age): Zeke Smith (28)
Current Residence: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: Asset Manager
Hobbies: Writing, improv, gym and cooking.
Pet Peeves: Sniffling. Chewing with one’s mouth open. Black shoes with brown belts. Children who don’t listen to their mothers.
Three Words to Describe You: Sharp, devilish, and unstoppable.
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.
Zeke Smith: Do you know who’s doing Power Rankings for this season yet?
Gordon Holmes: I don’t know what I’m having for lunch yet. I take it you’re a reader?
Smith: I read the Power Rankings every week.
Holmes: That’s what I like to hear. So win this thing, then come back and do the Power Rankings with me.
Smith: Oh, I’m counting on it. I’ve already made time in my schedule for the spring.
Holmes: You have debate experience. How is that going to help you in the next 39 days?
Smith: A lot of good debate techniques are psychological intimidation. A lot of times you aren’t going to have a good answer to an argument. But you want people to think you have an argument that they can’t anticipate. Also, a lot of it is just delivering with confidence, even if it’s the biggest (expletive deleted) you can imagine.
Holmes: Are you trying to psychologically intimidate me right now?
Smith: I can’t tell you that, Gordon.
Holmes: Darn it. It’s working.
Holmes: You also have a background in improv comedy.
Smith: Yes, I’ve done some improv.
Holmes: One of the keys to improv comedy is saying, “Yes, and…” to keep the flow going. What if you’re out there and somebody is negating your plans?
Smith: You still have to work with them. Gosh…I don’t know. This is a stupid question.
Holmes: (Laughs) You’re negating my question!
Smith: (Laughs) I’ll find a way to get to yes.
Holmes: Don’t think this is the only stupid question you’re getting today.
Smith: That’s fair.
Holmes: Here’s another one. Do you have a problem lying?
Smith: No problem. I’m a very talented liar, I always have been. When I was four I convinced my grandmother that I went to Sea World and rode Shamu the whale. And not only did I not ride Shamu the whale, I never (expletive deleted) went to Sea World.
Holmes: Why would you do such a terrible thing?
Smith: I didn’t have a moral compass at four. And I’ve only grown slightly more of a moral compass as I’ve gotten older.
Holmes: How do you feel about flirting?
Smith: I don’t have a problem flirting. I doubt anyone is going to want to flirt with me.
Holmes: Is there anyone back home who’d get annoyed if they saw you flirting?
Smith: Not in the least.
Holmes: I’m going to list some things you’re going to be experiencing soon. Let me know how you deal with them. Let’s start with people lying to you.
Smith: I deal with it well. For me, if I didn’t pick up on the fact that I was being lied to…I’d have to forgive myself for that. It would fuel my fire to destroy whoever lied to me.
Holmes: How well do you deal with hunger?
Smith: Pretty well, I do a lot of meditation and breathing exercises.
Holmes: Same thing for sleep deprivation?
Holmes: Extreme temperatures?
Smith: I think I should be fine. The temperatures I deal with in New York are freezing, but I did grow up in the southwest, so I’m used to being hot.
Holmes: Here’s one most people don’t appreciate until they’re out there; how well do you deal with paranoia?
Smith: A lot better since I stopped smoking weed. (Laughs) I think I handle paranoia fine because I can recognize that it’s paranoia. If I feel it creeping in I can check myself.
Holmes: So, I should drop Jeff Probst a line and make sure that marijuana isn’t one of the rewards?
Smith: Oh, most definitely.
Holmes: Have you seen any of the other players yet?
Smith: I’ve seen a couple of people floating around the hallway.
Holmes: Any thoughts?
Smith: I’m a small guy, and I was a little intimidated about the physical stuff and all of these huge, ripped dudes being on my tribe. Thus far I haven’t seen any big dudes. In fact, they don’t seem much bigger or athletic than myself. So, that’s a relief.
Holmes: Are you going to take their lunch money?
Smith: Oh yeah.
Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it will be?
Smith: There’s been a lot of tomfoolery with the idols lately. I think the idols are going to be hidden back at challenges. But, part of me wonders if we’re going to start with four tribes of five.
Holmes: If you could align with any past player, who would it be?
Smith: Oh, that’s a good question.
Holmes: I was due.
Smith: (Laughs) I think I would align with Jeremy (Collins). Our game styles are complementary. We like to make relationships with a lot of people. I could leverage my relationships to ultimately make the move that gets rid of him and puts me in a position to win in the end.
Holmes: Lightning round time. Cats or dogs?
Holmes: Beer or wine?
Holmes: Superman or Batman?
Holmes: Meat or vegetables?
Holmes: Republican or Democrat?
Holmes: Books or TV?
Holmes: Swimming or sunbathing?
Holmes: Many casual friends or one good friend?
Smith: One good friend.
Holmes: A nice car or a nice home?
Smith: A nice home.
Holmes: Smart or funny?
Holmes: Parvati or Boston Rob?
Smith: Boston Rob.
Holmes: A big vacation or a big TV?
Smith: A big vacation.
Holmes: Working alone or with a team?
Smith: Working alone.
Holmes: Dragons or unicorns?
Holmes: Careful planning or fly by the seat of your pants?
Smith: Careful planning.
Holmes: Jeff Probst or Ryan Seacrest?
Smith: Jeff Probst!
Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X,” Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 8pm ET.