A GoPride Interview

Jonny Fairplay

Jonny Fairplay visits Chicago to talk about Villains

Tue. November 14, 2023  by Jerry Nunn

At our core we are all human beings, but there are some of us that have darker souls than others.
Jonny Fairplay

jonny fairplay

photo credit // jerry nunn

Jonny Fairplay spills the tea at brunch

Jon Dalton went from art consultant to reality star after being cast on Survivor: Pearl Island in 2003. He came in third place on the seventh season of the hit CBS show and viewers will remember him from a planned lie to discover his grandmother had passed away to create sympathy during the game. The name Jonny Fairplay was born and multiple endeavors into the world of reality television have happened over the years, including a return on the 16th season titled Survivor: Micronesia “Fans vs. Favorites.”

He also appeared on Celebrity Poker Showdown, Celebrity Fear Factor and Camp Reality, among others.

The Virginia native is currently stirring the pot on E!’s House of Villains and traveling the world to promote it. Fairplay chatted over a delicious brunch at The Goddess and Grocer’s West Loop location before his Chicago Bounce Sporting Club viewing party appearance.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Talk about this podcast you are currently working on.

JF: (Jonny Fairplay) Sure, it’s a podcast called Reality After Show with Jonny Fairplay. We are covering Survivor 45 right now and it’s a doozy. We also cover The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion - Season 39 and of course, we are covering House of Villains, the number one show on cable TV and the highest premiere in over three years of E!

We are doing Kardashian numbers and it is insane. Look at the concept of the show with 10 villains from various networks. There’s me from CBS’ Survivor, Johnny from MTV’s The Challenge, Omarosa from NBC’s The Apprentice, Tanisha from Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club, Anfisa is also Oxygen with 90 Day Fiancé Jax from Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules, VH1’s Flavor of Love Tiffany Pollard, Bobby Lytes is from Vh1’ Love & Hip Hop Atlanta and Corrine from ABC’s The Bachelor and Netflix’s Love is Blind Shake.

Some people won’t recognize everyone but this show does an incredible job of explaining who all of the characters are. After one episode audiences will know their motives and some backstory.

The show is my dream come true and I love it!

JN: Who is the baddest of them all?

JF: I wondered if it would work because if there are 10 bad guys who do the audience root for? If people watch there’s so much bravado in the room, which by definition is false confidence. When we see that red light on, we villains all puff out their chests and when the red light is off we exhale and show vulnerability. Sometimes on this show, we think the red light is off when it actually isn’t!

It gives layers to these characters. When it is all said and done there may only be one actual villain. The rest of us could just be antiheroes!

JN: Omarosa could be that one villain.

JF: Based on what we have seen so far that could be…

JN: I was backstage at Wendy Williams one time and Omarosa walked past me. I got a bad vibe from her.

JF: I have been friends with Omarosa for 19 years. I consider myself to be the first villain in the history of reality television because Richard Hatch doesn’t accept he’s a bad guy.

I went on season seven of Survivor and claimed the title!

When I saw Omarosa in the House of Villains we didn’t exchange a single word about being in an alliance, but after 19 years who is better to work with? [laughs]

JN: I had lunch with Tiffany Pollard and we talked about her separating the persona of New York from herself. Viewers may not understand that she is acting.

JF: That is the same with most of us. At our core, we are all human beings, but there are some of us who have darker souls than others.

JN: Do fans have trouble separating your television persona from real life?

JF: After my first season of Survivor and I did the lie about my grandmother it was the same time that Saddam Hussein was captured. The front page of the New York Post had me as the hated man in the world and Hussein was on page two! I didn’t kill anyone and only lied about someone being deceased.

In the past, I have woken up in three different emergency rooms in three different states from sucker punches from behind where I was knocked unconscious.

People have sent feces in the mail to CBS to my attention and I have changed my number many times to avoid death threats.

JN: People don’t see that side to it.

JF: These days there are a lot of keyboard cowards who say the meanest things possible sometimes, but at least they don’t leave their basement and sucker punch me from behind.

I won’t be hurt with words and there is a block button to not hear another word from them.

JN: Is it confusing to have a Johnny and a Jonny on the same set for House of Villains?

JF: Prior to filming the show I was in Florida for an event in Florida called Give Kids The World Village where reality stars meet to raise money every year for housing. I have worked with them for six years so far and the organization is incredible. I was there talking to someone about my availability and Bananas overheard the conversation and knew I was on House of Villains.

We did not make a pregame alliance because that is not allowed, but we talked about not fighting over the name. We decided to be known as Fairplay and Bananas, not our first names.

You may notice I wear a speedo a lot to be obnoxious on the show. I tried to wear swim trunks in the hot tub but production told me to switch to a speedo. It was the one time I heard him say, “Jonathan, you forgot your ass, go back and get it!”

JN: Have you seen his banana?

JF: According to Bananas, we are both seven and a half inches. [both laugh] He calls himself “The Italian Scallion.”

JN: He seems to be having a good time on Villains so far. Jax Taylor seemed to be confused about what show he was on.

JF: In the pitch for the show we were asked if we wanted to be the ultimate villain or find redemption. Jax was there to show how different he was from his time on Vanderpump Rules.

JN: How is your grandmother these days?

JF: I don’t know. The last I heard she is alive, but a relative of mine has turned her against me so we haven’t spoken in a while.

JN: I’m sorry to hear that. What advice do you give people on how to sustain a long reality show career?

JF: Keep raising your hand. If you want to fade away people will let you. Send emails, send texts, make podcasts and do interviews like this one. A casting person might hear or see you to put you in a new show.

For House of Villains, the first two phone calls were me and New York. Production told us that they couldn’t have imagined a show like this without both of us. We are the original gangsters. We didn’t stop being evil, stop being funny or stop making good TV. We aren’t old. We have good Botox and look younger than we did then!

I have never been complacent and will continue to raise my hand.


Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.