CBS Local – After a stunning double-elimination episode, he man almost always looking for a hidden immunity idol, Joe Mena, is now the fourth member of the jury ‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers v. Hustlers.’ Here’s his unique perspective (as told by CBS Local’s Adam Bloom and Samantha Bennet) on how he was portrayed on the show and who his game play most emulates.
AB: After watching the show, what was your feelings now knowing that Ben was playing this double agent?
J: Kudos to him for playing double agent. I don’t think that would have changed anything with the outcome. I was completely surprised with him playing double agent. I was more surprised that Lauren, Ashley and Devin would allow anybody to play double agent – something I would never allow or think anyone would allow someone to do. It goes along with the theme of the season which is mistake after mistake so kudos to Ben for playing the role.
AB: It is risky because he could have told them misinformation – you never know that he could be trusted.
J: Yeah, especially someone as dangerous as Ben – you’re just handing him more ammo. It’s good for Ben but I don’t think that benefits the three at all. I don’t see how they would benefit from that but let’s see how that plays out.
SB: The big thing with you playing on “Survivor” was always looking for an idol – were you looking for an idol before the last immunity challenge as well?
J: Where Ben found the clue – I would [go to the bathroom] there every single day and I would look in that area every day. That was my go-to spot and kudos to Ben for finding that clue because I never found it and I would go there literally everyday. I would look for coconuts and that’s where the name coconuts came up. Mike and I would go around looking for coconuts and we would knock them from the tree. So once again – we missed a base on a tree. I would look for idols pretty often but I never had an hour to look – it would be like a minute or two. They definitely had the eyes on me. I’m not sure how previous players were able to look for idols for hours because no one was allowed to look for more than maybe five minutes at a time.
AB: You mentioned coconuts – that was a really fun part of the show. You and Mike need to tour the country as the coconuts group. Did you think that was actually going to be highlighted on the show?
J: They had to highlight it! This went on for quite some time – it wasn’t just three days. Our bond was formed maybe after Desi and coconuts emerged as far as the name after Cole’s vote out. Our relationship was pretty dynamic – it was an odd combo but it really did work out. Mike is overall a good solid guy and he’s hilarious. I don’t think things serious and he doesn’t so we played off of that.
SB: Do you have any regrets about the way you may have been portrayed on the show? When you watch yourself – are you surprised?
J: I love it – I love my portrayal for so many reasons. I gave it my all – 120 percent. I’m imperfect. I make errors. I get angry at times. I think my portrayal was great because it shows different sides of the game. In the game currently – some people portray as if they’re angels and they’re not. I’m not concerned about my edit. My friends and family know who I am and if you look at the edit it’s like “Joe’s playing the game.” The rest of players respect me. They may not like me necessarily but they definitely respect me.
AB: Does your real live experience help you to determine if people were lying and if so, who would you say is the best liar out there?
J: I spent enough time with Devin. Devin, Mike and myself would always sleep in the same area so I had some really deep conversations with Devin – he would strategize a lot. Obviously I wasn’t a part of his strategy – he’s very open about it. He said, “At the end of the day, we’ll probably vote for you. You played a really good game. You’re strategic and playing one hundred percent.” So I knew Devin was playing this role but I knew he was playing a good game as well. So I think he convinced everyone else that he was dumb but I knew he wasn’t. Everyone lied. Chrissy lied about her age – we all knew she wasn’t 38 or 39 years old. Ryan lied about being a community college kid – we all knew something was up with that. I think we were all horrible liars. I lied about being a PO. I don’t think anyone picked up on that. I think horrible and great liars. I don’t think I can answer that. Ben maybe – he played a good role being the spy that he was. I had no idea but I knew he had a relationship with Lauren because of Yawa. I knew he had a relationship with Ashley from the Heroes.
SB: Which one of the players from “Survivor” do you think you modeled your game after or strategy or did you just play it as your own?
J: My strategy was to go in there and not have a strategy to be honest. But once you’re in the game – you have to figure it out. I absolutely wanted to look for idols like Tony. I definitely wanted to do that. I went out there and played aggressive like Tony – I found the two idols and then I decided to piss everybody off and hopefully drag me to the end but that didn’t work in my favor at all.