This ‘Crazy’ ‘Survivor’ Castaway Claims His Behavior Was Just an Act

Survivor brings together people of all backgrounds and lifestyles to compete for the title of sole survivor, alongside the hefty cash prize of $1 million. With that kind of money in the running, it’s no surprise that folks from all walks of life are auditioning or being scouted for the show. For fans, that’s great news — it means they get to see some dynamic personalities clash in dramatic and exciting ways.

Over the last 19 years of the show’s successful run, fans have been treated to many such instances of conflict and bizarre behavior, but one castaway in particular stands out. Survivor castaway Phillip Sheppard is known for his wild and crazy antics during his time on the show. However, this notable castaway is claiming that his behavior was nothing more than an act for the cameras.

Who is Phillip Sheppard?

Phillip Sheppard
Phillip Sheppard | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Phillip Sheppard has appeared on two seasons of Survivor, specifically Survivor: Redemption Island and Survivor: Caramoan. While Phillip never won the title of sole survivor, he was able to earn himself a place as runner-up during his time on Survivor: Redemption Island.

Due to some truly bizarre behavior, Phillip Sheppard was considered incredibly eccentric by his teammates. His antics varied quite a bit. As a result, his teammates were never entirely sure what portions of his backstory were true, and which were not. Even the CBS editors seemed unsure, which was visible when they listed his occupation as “Former Feder Agent?”

In his CBS biography, Phillip says he believes he will win because, “I am a go-getter. As a former Special Agent with the former Defense Investigation Services, I honed my interview and investigative skills to persevere when others are being evasive or less than forthcoming.”

During a live reunion show for Survivor: Redemption Island, Jeff Probst introduced a special guest named Diane Hardy. Hardy was a certified federal agent and revealed that Phillip Sheppard had indeed served as a federal agent in the past.

Pink underwear and crispy rice

Phillip Sheppard
Phillip Sheppard | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Phillip Sheppard’s eccentric behavior ranged far and wide. Right off the bat, he unnerved some of his fellow castaways by walking around in nothing other than his bright pink briefs. Phillip also went out of his way to purposefully mispronounce a castaway’s name, or so it seemed to his teammates.

Beyond that, he also complained to his teammates when there wasn’t enough crispy rice — it seems he’s a big fan. He also took to wearing feathers on his head at times, among other odd behaviors. This often put his castmates off, but others saw it as a reason to take him to the finale.

It’s all just an act

Phillip Sheppard and Brenda Lowe
Phillip Sheppard and Brenda Lowe | Greg Gayne/CBS via Getty Images

According to Phillip Sheppard none of his “craziness” was real. Rather, he claims, it was a sound strategic ploy that helped him get to the final three. Sheppard claims that, in behaving this way, he was able to convince others that he was not a threat, and an easy companion to bring to the end, as he wouldn’t earn any votes.

Fellow castaway Ralph Kiser told Digital Spy, “I don’t think he’s crazy, I just thought he was playing a game, really.”

Phillip told Entertainment Weekly he played a masterful ruse on everyone. “And then I just started acting that way and you could see that everyone would start talking about me and point fingers and laugh and they would giggle about my underwear. And every time I saw the girls in their little spa mode I would come over and ‘GRRRRRRRRRRR!’ And they’d be like “You’re psycho!” It worked brilliantly. No one’s giving me credit.”

Phillip added, “So for me, I played a brilliant ruse on everybody. People come up to me and they tell me I deserved to win. I don’t agree with that assessment, by the way. I don’t think I deserved to win. I felt that I played a very, very, very good game, but Rob played a better game.”

However, there are fans who disagree, positing that Phillip never had a chance, and he served as a goat for Rob.