Yup, that was really dumb!

By admin
23 September 2010

He joined Survivor: Micronesia with high hopes of winning the $1 million (about R7 million) and becoming one of the best players ever to compete in the reality TV show.

Instead Erik Reichenbach slunk home with his tail between his legs as fans accused him of making the dumbest mistake in the history of the American game.

It’s all South African fans of the show have been talking about after seeing the episode in which one of his conniving female tribe members tricked him into giving away his immunity necklace.

Although South African fans got to see Erik’s big blunder only now it has been three years since he competed in this particular show.

So of course we’re dying to know: with his 15 minutes of fame long gone has he returned to his job as an ice-cream scooper in Hell, Michigan, bitter and twisted about the way things panned out?

Hardly. When we phone him his excitement is obvious as he tells us about the changes in his life. Since his humiliating Survivor exit Erik (now 24) has graduated from university, cut his trademark mop of hair and moved to the Michigan city of Ann Arbor to work as a graphic designer, comic creator and illustrator.

But the biggest change is he now has a girlfriend, Zoë van Gyseghem, whom he clearly dotes on.

“We met on a blind date while Survivor was on TV. She didn’t watch the show, which I kind of preferred.”

As he speaks to us he and Zoë are packing up their apartment and getting ready to move to the Caribbean.

“We are going without any set plans. After we land we’re going to camp and live off the land for a month or so while we look for a place to live and work. I can’t wait. I just want to get back to island life - it’s so warm and laid-back.”

He was shocked when he watched the show and saw how his so-called friends were laughing behind his back and baying for his blood.

“Face it, I made a huge mistake on international TV – but that’s what I signed up for and I have to live with it.”

Although winning the $1 million would have been nice he says his Survivor experience gave him something more valuable.

“It taught me you can’t trust everyone who crosses your path,” he says. “But more importantly it opened me up to the world and the complexities of life.

Read the full article in YOU, 30 September 2010.

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