Coby Dishes on Surviving Survivor
By Bryan Buss
Coby Archa, an out 32-year-old hairstylist from Athens, Texas, was a valuable member of the unstoppable Koror tribe on Survivor: Palau, but after destroying their opposing team, Ulong, Coby's teammates quickly dispatched him to the jury. Outspoken, bitchy, but ultimately vulnerable and accessible, Coby found a way to put his past as an outsider behind him as he made a place for himself within his tribe.
I'm sure you've been asked this a thousand times, but do you regret bailing on that immunity challenge so early on just for a couple of doughnuts'especially when it ended up leading to your being voted off?
I really don't, and I'm tired of defending it. It was my plan before we even went to that challenge to jump first. It really wasn't about the doughnuts, it was about a 'fuck you' to my teammates. 'Cause I had been trying so hard to shake those numbers up. I was like, We're gonna shake this up, or we're not. I'm not going to stand here all damn day, you know, begging for immunity just to stay in the game. But really for me, it was kind of an F-you to them. Whether or not they got that, I don't know.
You said in your exit interview that every single other player got rid of you because you were a threat. Did you know you were going? Had they told you something beforehand?
Well, you know, tribal councils last like two hours. And so a lot of stuff gets said at tribal council. Now, right before I got the vote, they all started saying really nice things about me, about me being a threat, and that's when it first hit me: Oh, God, I think it might be me. And once I got voted out, what they didn't show on the show, is that as I was walking out, they handed me an oar from Koror as a sign of respect for voting me out. And so that's when I turned around and said, 'Thanks for the compliment.' It wasn't just a self-delusional state of thinking I was fabulous. Even though I was the world's biggest bitch at that point. Don't get me wrong. I am delusional and I do think I'm fabulous.
You are fabulous.
I wish they would have showed just that one little second of them handing me the paddle because I look like a total delusional bitch.
All right, going way back to the beginning, do you think Jonathan did not get chosen when the two tribes were originally formed because you had suggested to so many people that he should be booted?
I'm glad you're addressing this, because in the gay community there's been a lot of confusion. I actually read an article saying I had it in for the jocks for being mean to me when I was a kid and was taking it out on Jonathan. But really, when we stepped on that beach, and six of the 10 guys were all like 25 and built like a brick house, I thought we better get rid of some of these young studs or they're gonna overpower us. And so Jonathan was just the easiest target, because Jonathan was not working the social aspects of the game at that point. So I knew I could make him a target.
It never occurred to me that it might be a straight-hating thing'
Well, I was surprised too, but I've read that a lot on the Internet, actually. A lot of people thought I was getting rid of the young, best-looking guy 'cause I had some kind of vengeance against guys like him at school, but that wasn't it at all. He just wasn't working it socially the first three days. I knew I could aim at him.
Well, it worked! So how was Wanda? Her singing was sorta overwhelming on the TV. But how was it in person?
You know, looking back on that pick I made, it was actually really hard for me, because in the beginning there were lots of people to pick from, but by the time it got to me, I had the choices of three girls, being Caryn, Angie, and Wanda. And it was actually very hard, because I liked things about all of them. Wanda may be psycho in a way, but she had 100% passion for that game. She just made it impossible for me to pick her by standing up in the first part of the game, singing and such. She just put such a huge target on her back. I couldn't have played with her if I wanted to, and I actually did want to. She had such a strong passion for that game, she was crushed. But quite honestly, it was her fatal move. She's the one who stood up in that boat before we even knew each other and sang everybody songs. I thought jumping out of the boat was a huge target! No-o-o, write a song and sing it when nobody knows who the fuck you are. It's a much bigger target!
I'm sure you've been asked this question a million times, too, but everyone's wanted me to ask'
You're so sweet to even care that you're asking me things I've been asked a million times. You can just ask me anything, I don't care, go ahead.
Well, back at the beginning it seemed you bonded with Angie. Then you ended up not choosing her for your team. It could have been the editing'
No, that's the way it was. [Laughs] That's exactly the way it played out. The reason I didn't pick Angie is because I knew she had a target on her back that was huge, just because she was different, and so did I. So I thought, two wrongs don't make a right. I was afraid if I picked her, it would make our target bigger. That was my motivation at the time. Looking back, do I wish maybe I would have picked Angie over Caryn? Of course. There's lots of coulda, woulda, shouldas in this game. I think Angie would have been a phenomenal player on my team. I mean, look at the rest of my team. I had pretty average, kinda everyday folks, and I think me and Angie together would have been too much of a strong alliance. It would have been obvious.
Then she ended up shining through when she was with all of the plastic, younger people.
She sent me a thank-you card because I gave her a storyline.
I'm kidding [Laughs]
Oh.' Well, how strong was your alliance with Caryn and Janu? It seemed like you had one, but it never seemed to really come together.
Well, the problem is that Survivor is a numbers game, right? So there was that alliance of five against our alliance of four, which was with Willard, Caryn, and Janu. So our alliance was very strong, but it doesn't matter how strong it is, four against five don't cut it. You know, once they started dicing into our numbers, all we could do was hope and pray that their alliance would break up or that there would be a merge. I knew if we had a merge, my game would be totally different, but it just never happened.
Who would you have taken to the Final Four, if you'd been able to manipulate that into happening?
That's a good one. If I really had my druthers, I think it probably would have been me, Stephenie, Greg, and probably Bobby Jon. I like all their work ethics. Those are all very hard-working people.' I would have taken really strong competition to the end.