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TELEVISION Gay 'Survivor' voted out
by Ross Forman

Images for this article: (click on the thumbnail to see fullsize)

Charlie Herschel on Survivor: Gabon. Photo courtesy of CBS-TV

Charlie Herschel was ousted by a 5-4 vote Nov. 13 from Survivor: Gabon ( CBS Thursdays, 7 p.m. ) in one of the most shocking tribal council votes in the show's history—especially since fellow contestant Crystal received the first four votes announced.

Herschel—the only out contestant—was the 10th person eliminated on the 17th season of the hit reality show and now moves to the jury, along with Marcus, as eight remain in the battle for $1 million.

'I was 100 percent blindsided and disappointed,' said Herschel, 29, of New York City. 'I thought that my strategy to develop relationships and get along with people was going to be an asset. But I think it turned out to be a liability because I think they wanted to get rid of the nice guy and actually kept the people who they despised.

'I knew it might be hard to make it past sixth place, but I didn't think I was going to be the first one of my alliance taken out given that I was very friendly with everyone there.'

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But Kenny ultimately orchestrated Herschel's ouster, and Sugar cast the fatal swing vote.

'It was a life-changing experience; I just wish everyone could have had it,' said Herschel. 'I was so lucky; it was a dream come true. I have been a fan of Survivor for so long, and never thought in a million years that I'd be able to play it. So actually getting the chance the play was incredible.'

He survived 27 of 39 days.

'I liked almost everyone who I met out there. I was very close with Corrine, Randy, Bob and Marcus. I also got along with Matty,' he said. 'Watching the show now, I don't like everyone. I don't think Kenny is playing the nicest game.'

Herschel lost about 15 pounds during the experience and has since returned to his native New York and is back working at his law firm.

'It's impossible to point to just one positive experience from Survivor. Every day, every hour was incredible. This was the best thing to happen in my life,' said Herschel, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has completed eight marathons.

'Survivor was difficult. Obviously, you don't have any food. You don't trust anyone completely. Even [ with ] Marcus, who I was really close with, you still had a little skepticism. Still, it was an incredibly enjoyable experience.'

And, yes, he'd do it again, if asked.

So, Charlie, are you still single?

'Yes; I'm still single, unfortunately,' he said.

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