“I did not give up, I was forced to stop”

Jean-Philippe (Koh Lanta): "I didn't give up, I was forced to quit"


Placed under observation in the infirmary in episode 5 of Koh Lanta, the cursed totem, Jean-Philippe could not return to the adventure due to concerns about his state of health. He comes back to us on his journey. Interview.

Arrived in the adventure Koh Lanta to compete with the best but also to prove to himself that he was capable of it, Jean-Philippe won the first event of the season with Alexandra, which enabled him to create the green team according to his wishes. He then joined the red team and became one of its executives. His strong character may have annoyed some, but his goodwill and sympathy ended up making him a popular candidate. Unfortunately, in Episode 5, Jean-Philippe was moved to the show’s infirmary due to concerns about his swollen feet. At the start of episode 6, he learns that he will not be able to return to the adventure. In an interview, Jean-Philippe agreed to come back for us on his journey in Koh Lanta.

Why did you choose to participate in Koh Lanta?

I’m going to be a little boat in my answer but, a bit like all the others, I think we want to test ourselves, to challenge ourselves, to measure ourselves against ourselves, against the elements, to get out a little of our daily lives, to end up doing violence to ourselves.

In what state of mind did you arrive in the adventure when you first discovered the other adventurers?

I arrived in a bubble, in a glass sphere where I had put myself on my own. I said to myself “you have to accept, you have to endure. It’s going to be incredibly difficult.” I had understood that it was raining a lot, from the start. I didn’t know how long it was going to last. I can assure you that we took full face during the whole show, you saw it this year. Seeing them, I said to myself “Wow, there’s something heavy. There’s Yannick, François, Fouzi… There’s something tough in the adventure and we’ll have to deal with that because OK, I’m think strong, I know I am morally tough but what are these guys going to be! And then I was lucky enough to be named the first man to win the first event. Have the chance to be able to compose the team with strong elements physically but also morally. I had understood by having been able to discuss with the women on the boat that there were strong tempers. And I wanted to do battle with all these people.

You are forced to abandon by the medical team. How did you react to the sudden end of your adventure?

I was offended, of course. I was frustrated, sad that I couldn’t go and challenge myself even further. Not being able to prove once again to my sons that I still had it under my belt. You will forgive me the expression, but with feet like that, I still had enough underfoot to be able to go physically and morally much, much further. I am sure of it.

When you arrived at the infirmary, were you worried or did you tell yourself that it was a matter of two or three days before catching up?

Not even. In my head, two or three days was not even possible. I told myself that Jean-Charles had suffered a big cut two or three days before. It was huge for me as an injury. I said to myself “if they perk it up after 6-7 hours, it will be the same idea for me”. I was thinking of spending the night in the infirmary, that they would give me two, three pills because I thought I had been bitten by a spider. I thought I would come back to the comfort test the next morning. I saw that it lasted a bit, I said to myself “OK, I’ll be there for the immunity” and so on. They did blood tests and other various tests. It turned out that I was staying more and more so it started to worry me but, at first, I wasn’t worried at all. I said to myself “the production will immediately find what I have and that will do it.”

Is everything back to normal for you when you return to France?

Yes, completely. I was transferred for further examinations to the hospital in Manila for about three, four days following my departure from the island. In all, I spent a short week in the hospital abroad. Then, once everything was back to normal and I could fly, I came back to mainland France. I had two, three more exams to put everything back in order and voila, now everything is fine. I left like in 40.

Apart from giving up, what was the hardest thing for you in the adventure?

I’ll cut you off right away, I’m sorry to be so unpleasant, but for me abandonment is not part of my vocabulary. I would say rather a technical constraint which made that I do not continue the adventure. I almost banish the word because it disgusts me. For me, abandonment is when you voluntarily choose to stop something to which you had made a basic commitment, like Franck for example. But for me, it’s not an abandonment. I was forced to quit, but I didn’t give up. In any case, not voluntarily, that’s for sure.

So, apart from this forced departure – excuse me – what was the hardest part of the adventure?

Clearly, it’s the rain. The show has been around for 20 years and I think it’s the first year it’s been so rainy every day. When the camera is lucky enough to be able to capture a few sunny spells and bits of sunshine, it doesn’t last very long because I can assure you that the elements were against us this year. This is also what I was looking for so it fell very very well.

How did you feel in the red team?

In the green and red team, I felt very supported, supervised, supported, loved, respected and I really found my place. I had understood that I was the leader in the green team but I had the impression of not having lost this common thread which bound us even in the red team.

The red team had many difficulties. How do you analyze them?

It’s always been a mystery to me because, what’s crazy is that physically we had the biggest cattle in the team and our morale was always pumped up. And yet, it did not allow us to win. We must believe that weakening due to lack of food was certainly the key to these constant failures. We never gained comfort and we never ate. You should know that in terms of food, at the beginning we ate the equivalent of a teaspoon and, then, when we gained the rice, we gained a little more human comfort and we had the right to a tablespoon of rice per day. Unfortunately, despite all the goodwill we wanted to put into the events, we couldn’t climb the rungs we wanted to do together. Fortunately, and I insist on this, we had the chance to remain at least united and welded humanly so that was great.

What is your fondest memory of your career?

The best memory I have is during the first event, when I was appointed team leader. I had this chance and this power to build the team with which the first hours would be decisive for the rest of the adventure and the rest of my life because ultimately it is the adventure of a lifetime Koh Lanta. And I had the chance to be the driving force to be able to form this team. I was very proud of it.

There must be a lot of frustration not having been able to experience a complete adventure. Would you go back to Koh Lanta if you were offered it again?

You know, the bag is already packed, the phone is still fully charged because all I’m waiting for is to be able to leave. What I want is to be able to go and confront myself and shut all the mouths of the detractors who have been against me, who have not believed in my potential for victory. I was convinced that I could shine and make my team shine even higher and even stronger than anything. I would have liked to prove that to myself and to prove to others and to my sons. They understood who I was, on a daily basis they know me by heart. They were already proud of me before the start. The fact that I was selected was, for them, a victory in itself. The fact of not having had his name written on the slightest piece of paper is already a victory. Being the first male captain was a victory. Finally, I draw only victories from this adventure. Obviously, from the frustration that it was not possible to wear these colors even higher. The frustration is still severe to live with today and I just want to go back there.

You talk about detractors. Was the broadcast difficult for you on the social media side?

Of course, it would be necessary to be blind, deaf or to play the politics of the ostrich not to see that at the beginning one is almost one of the most hated or most repressed candidates. Like a Matteo who was ultra reserved, shy and not necessarily happy to be there. I said to myself “but shit, I certainly come a little loudly saying that we are going to win and that we are going to do everything to tear everyone apart and that I want to win.” I thought it was candidates like that who were going to be almost idolized by viewers and ultimately it wasn’t. Afterwards, very fortunately for me, viewers and Internet users realized that I had perhaps been a little misjudged and the day when my complete portrait was broadcast and that I was seen there as a daddy hen with a friendlier, funnier and more playful side, they may have said to themselves “well OK, maybe the guy in the end is not to be judged for the first thirty seconds when we say we love him or hate it.” In absolute terms, I think it was easier to hate me from the start because it’s also human. Chefs, we never like them, that’s how it is. Finally, they realized that I had a leadership in me but that I did not need to crush anyone to be able to succeed as an individual or as a team. They may also have seen that I was not bad as they might think and that in the end I was quite nice. And there, the reviews have been the opposite, because the reviews can be good or bad. They were completely overwhelmed because I received so many messages of support, kindness and empathy. It was a pleasure. I was happy to have been all white and all black on this adventure to also be able to give the two facets of my personality and thus be able to say “you judged me badly, you were deceived by yourselves and I don’t I haven’t been bad as you thought and I’m very happy to have done my adventure as I saw fit.”



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