Malcolm Freberg ’09 competes on this season of ‘Survivor’
By Julian Danziger, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Now in its 25th season and 12th year on the air, CBS’ reality television staple “Survivor,” premiering tonight at 8 p.m. will feature Dartmouth’s own Malcolm Freberg ’09.
“Survivor” is a game show based series in which a number of diverse contestants travel to an exotic location to compete for $1 million. Each week, a contestant is eliminated from the show, with the last man or woman standing earning the cash prize.
Freberg, a former Big Green football player and member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity, traveled to Caramoan and Camamines Sur in the Philippines last spring for the show. He already knows the outcome of the season, but is legally unable to comment on any specifics of the show until they unfold throughout the season, he said.
Although he cannot yet discuss the show’s specifics, the confident, comfortable and lovably arrogant Freberg does not seem to be at a loss for words when it comes to his success or edge during the show.
“Going into it, I was probably on cloud nine thinking the world was mine for the taking,” Freberg said. “Knowing I did everything I could to prepare for it along with some previous knowledge [of ‘Survivor’] made me super confident.”
Freberg said he has watched the show since he was very young.
“I’m not a big TV guy — it’s the only show I watched growing up,” he said. “[Being on the show] was something I really wanted to do. I got the opportunity, and how can you say no to that?”
Freberg was asked to participate in the 25th season of the show after his second application was accepted.
The first time he applied was during his senior winter break while still a student at the College.
“I was 21 the first time I applied,” he said. “My mom was giving me grief about not having a job, so as a joke I applied to ‘Survivor.’ I got called back and didn’t end up getting it. The chance came up to apply late last year, and I was lucky enough to get it.”
Although Freberg does not directly attribute his aspirations of being on the show to Dartmouth, it is his love for the outdoors that drew him to both Dartmouth and “Survivor” alike, he said.
“Part of the reason I chose Dartmouth was because I was a big outdoors guy,” Freberg said. “That inclination to do something outdoorsy in the middle of nowhere has always been there.”
Freberg said that his days and nights spent at Theta Delt taught him a lot of valuable lessons for “Survivor.”
“The amount of times guys are trying to pull pranks [at a fraternity] — you learn a little about people [working behind your back],” he said.
Although his Dartmouth degree brings him pride, Freberg said he didn’t plan on revealing his college’s prestigious name on the island in hopes that other players would underestimate his tactical potential.
Since graduation, Freberg, originally from Texas, has been living in Hermosa Beach, Calif., and working nights as a club promoter and bartender. He also volunteered at a teaching program in the Marshall Islands for a year, teaching elementary school English to local children.
Although he lives quite the lavish lifestyle in California — playing beach volleyball, working out by day and working bars and clubs at night — he said that preparing for the show was no simple task.
“From a physical standpoint, I have always been in shape, so I wasn’t too worried about that,” he said. “Mentally, I had quite the reading list. I was reading ‘Art of War’ and Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince.’ I wanted to go in there and play kind of ruthless and bloodthirsty.”
His relentless mentality is in part inspired by participants from earlier seasons who played the game with a purpose.
“If you go way, way back to 2002 or 2003, there’s a guy named Brian Heidik,” he said. “He went about it sociopathically, like it’s just a game and you’re out there to do a job and come back rich.”
In his interview with CBS for their “Meet the Characters” YouTube series, Freberg revealed his true intentions for the show — to win.
“The only reason I’m out here is to win,” he said. “I don’t care what I look like, what happens, as long as I get a $1 million check — oversized, preferably.”
The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Freberg taught in the Marshal Highlands, when in fact he taught in the Marshall Islands. A former "Survivor" contestant named Brian Heidik was misidentified as Brandt Highland.