BY John Jameson
May 20 2009 12:00 AM ET
Were there any surprises when you watched the episodes on TV? Did you feel any of the teammates were portrayed unfairly?That's a good question. There were some really good moments that weren't shown, and I was surprised that Linda [who competed with husband Steve] used private transportation in the second episode. I would say most team members were portrayed accurately, but remember, I couldn't hear any of their conversations, much less the tone of voice they were using. I was surprised I was made to look like a villain!
In what way?Well, Mike White called me a sinister kid, and there was a lot of focus on the fight between me and Jen [who competed with sister Kisha].
That little skirmish was obviously more a function of everyone being stressed out and fatigued. But I really felt for your mom when she jumped to your defense because she thought Jen was laughing at you.Yeah, it was tough for me growing up, because kids would always make fun of me for being deaf. Sometimes I would feel like an animal in the zoo because of the way people would always stare when I would sign in public. But people don't do that as much now as they did 10 years ago -- they're becoming more aware of ASL and deaf culture.
I guess we can thank Marlee Matlin for that!I'm not sure she's the reason!
You mentioned Mike White. Did you get along with him and his dad, Mel? Did they know you're gay?Oh, yes, we got along. And my mom told them I'm gay on the first day!
They were pegged as the gay team, but your sexual orientation was never mentioned. Did the producers tell you to tone down any discussion of being gay?No, they actually let me talk about it, but I guess that all got cut. I suppose they didn't want to muddle things by giving me two labels -- deaf and gay -- so Mel and Mike had their gay story line, and I had my deaf story line. A lot of people have told me they wished I had had a "gay and deaf" story line, because there aren't many deaf gays on TV. It didn't really bother me, though. I just thought it was funny watching people try to figure out whether I was gay or straight!
And apparently Kisha is lesbian, and that certainly never came up.Yeah, I was surprised to find that out.
Who were your best friends on the show? Cara and Jaime -- I adore them to death! We formed an alliance on day 1. They were the team I could trust the most. They opened up to me right away, writing notes to me and learning some signs and how to finger-spell. I really appreciated the effort they made to communicate with me. It's just amazing that we managed to carry our alliance until the end.