Survivor's John Gets Bucked
by Angel Cohn
Survivor: Vanuatu has not been a friendly environment for strapping young men. In fact, the Lopevi tribe has ousted their strongest male members at every opportunity. Male model John Kenney was the last of their hot-lookin' fellas to go — unless husky Sarge is your type. Last week, John's tribemates booted the 22-year-old for slacking off work. Here, Kenney rings up TV Guide Online to (kinda sorta) defend his laid-back ways and discuss his odd profession.
TV Guide Online: Your job is listed as a mechanical bull operator. Huh? Do you ride them?
John Kenney: No, I don't ride them. I don't even have that job anymore, I just put that as a joke. I do it, but it is not my primary job.
TVGO: What exactly does it entail — just turning on the machine and letting people go?
John: No. I go around and get people to ride. Once I get people to ride, I operate them. It is a good job. I just do that a couple nights a week for fun.
TVGO: So what is your main occupation?
John: I've been modeling for the last five years.
TVGO: Think you'll get more modeling gigs because of Survivor?
John: I'll probably get less gigs off the show.
TVGO: Really? Seems like the exposure would help.
John: Not too many designers want a "Survivor" in their line.
TVGO: Were you unfairly portrayed as a slacker?
John: Well... no. In that last episode, I knew I was going to get voted off, so I was totally slacking. I knew what was coming. Up to that moment, I was holding my own. It was just those last three days I knew I was going, so I didn't care.
TVGO: Wasn't that putting the nail in your own coffin? Your exit didn't look like a sure thing from where I was sitting.
John: Of course not. They need to make the show somewhat interesting. I was the next target from the moment the teams got split.
TVGO: Why were all the cute guys targeted in the first place?
John: Numbers. More of them. I was blindsided. Bubba had originally said he was going to be voting with us. So did Sarge. Even when the teams mixed up a little bit, [Lopevi] was still all the guys who wanted to vote me off and two girls. So I was still outnumbered.
TVGO: Would you have had an easier time in a coed tribe?
John: Incredibly easier. [It wasn't] only an age thing, it was an experience and education thing. The women had older women who are very intellectual and intelligent. Like Scout is amazing, and there were so many interesting people on that [Yasur] team. For us, the guys just happened to be guys that weren't the wittiest. I mean, it would hurt to have a conversation with some of them, like Sarge. It was ridiculous. He'd talk all day long about nothing. It was awful.
TVGO: Would you do anything like this again?
John: Hell, yeah. Why not?
TVGO: Before Survivor, what was the craziest thing you'd ever done?
John: I lived in Paris, Korea, Italy and different states with absolutely no money. I moved to L.A. with $1000 and stayed in a hostel because I had no car. I just like to travel, so I kind of like to get up and go.
TVGO: In your audition tape, what made you stand out?
John: I didn't do an audition tape. I'd never seen Survivor before. I didn't know who Jeff Probst was when he interviewed me.
TVGO: So how'd you get cast then?
John: I was doing bull rides for a table full of casting directors for CBS. They liked the way I was schmoozing with them and they asked me to audition for a show the next day. I didn't really want to do it, but I did it anyway. It all worked out.
TVGO: Do you regret going on Survivor?
John: No. I turned down another show they wanted me for because I didn't want to be on that show.
TVGO: Since you hadn't seen the show before, did you have any strategy going in?
John: I met with Mark Burnett and everything, they told me I got it, and I was like, "Sweet." Then I bought the first season and watched that. It is the only one I've ever seen.http://www.tvguide.com/news/insider/041104b.asp