Brad Virata, who became the first Survivor: Cook Islands jury member when the tribe spoke and he was eliminated last week, says he was “excited” about the prospect of becoming a “gay role model”– but missed his big chance because the producers didn’t make a big deal out of his sexuality.
So Brad says he’ll make a big deal out of it, with a big surprise for the season finale.
The 29-year-old fashion director from the original Asian tribe also had a shot at becoming the buff poster boy for tolerance after Nate called him a “Nancy Boy.” But producers let the homophobic remark slide, and Brad again got the short end, labeled a stereotype–an Asian stereotype– for claiming he’s good at puzzles.
Brad addresses all that and more in an interview with the AfterElton website. It’s a great read– right up there with hometown Kentucky paper’s talk with the The Amazing Race‘s coalminer couple– as Brad lets it all, um, hang out:
“Everyone knew,” he says. “I’m surprised that CBS didn’t show my whole coming out story. We had a powwow, sort of a roundtable campfire discussion when we merged, and that’s when I told my story. I told the story about the tattoo I have on my arm. It means ‘love’ in Chinese, and I had gotten it with my father, who has the same exact tattoo, after I came out to him…
“I came out when I was in my early twenties and I’m completely comfortable living as a gay man. But I think other people… I mean, half of Hollywood is gay. In LA, you’re gay until proven straight if you’re in the public eye. I could tell you some stories that would knock your socks off. [laughs]“
Nate’s slur? Brad insists it was a “total isolated incident. “Let me start off by saying Nate is a good guy and it was a game. I don’t think he meant to call me nancy boy in a bad way. I think it was a stress factor, and it was pissing rain, you know? You take everything with a grain of salt. He apologized to me after the fact, and it is what it is, but I know a lot of people are pissed off about it.”
Nate’s slur was sparked by Brad’s decision to forego a physical challenge in favor of something more… cerebral. “Well, it’s a twofold answer for that one. First and foremost, I do creative things for a living and get puzzles like the back of my hand, like I told the people on my tribe. At the end of the day, we had lost every single challenge in the final homestretch, and I was like, ‘I’m not going to lose this challenge because I’m going to kick ass at this puzzle and this is how we’re going to win.’ And above and beyond that, Rebecca… said, ‘Oh, I’ve been swimming. Let me do this. I can do this.’
“The second part of the equation was that it was a reward challenge, and I had wanted potatoes and peanut butter. That’s the obvious decision, right? But a couple of the younger members had wanted bread. Do we have a freakin’ bread box on this island? It’ll last for 40 minutes then spoil. You have to think about the longevity of the tribe, the carbohydrates that we’ll need for future challenges down the road. And you know what? We lost. So it is what it is.”
Brad dishes about which competitor he liked least– “Jenny. Hands down, Jenny… I think she’s a great mom and a nice person, but on the island, she was a bit conniving– but who did he like best? He laughs when asked about rumours he’s been dating J.P., the Hispanic tribester who reportedly works as a part-time bartender at a gay bar in Long Beach, California:
“Um, it’s all about timing in life. I can’t answer that. JP is a great guy. You’ll have to wait for the finale.”
Hmm. Producers were preoccupied with the racial angle this season. Then they were preoccupied with dumping it. Along the way, could they have actually ignored a budding romance between two players? We guess we’ll have to wait til the big finale to find out.
(In the meantime, find some good insight into the players and the game in the AfterElton interview. They do tabloid right…)