At last, Phillip’s scene-stealing time on Money Hungry has come to a close. Below, he talks to us about running the house and his team, why he doesn’t talk about his sexuality and how cutting out reality TV led to his weight loss…
How was your time on the show?
It was good. I had a fun time on the show. I would’ve had more fun if I would’ve won, but, you know.
From the beginning, you were the standout. Was that your plan all along: to be the star?
Fat people have a lot of personality to kind of make up for being fat, so I didn’t know it would be that easy to be the star. But when I walked on the steps on the house and they said, “This is I Love Money for fat people,” I was like oh s***, I’m not gonna be good at challenges. I knew if I couldn’t excel in that way, I could a act a fool and get remembered and hopefully lose weight and win the hundred thousand dollars.
And were you happy with your portrayal?
Yeah, I think I was portrayed pretty accurately except that I did work out. In the one episode where they showed me just trying to fish for immunity the whole time, I did actually work out that week. But I also did fish for immunity because I wanted it. Everybody wanted it but the difference was that I was upfront with it. Everyone else would go have secret meetings with the regulators like the Slenderellas and Josh.
Do you think your openness was the secret to your lasting as long as you did?
Yeah I think so. Even when I was playing both sides, both sides knew what I was doing. It wasn’t a secret. That was a way to cover myself and help me play the game. Some people got so offended when I betrayed the Family alliance, but really it was just about doing whatever it took to keep me there. Because this wasn’t The Biggest Loser. The person who wins the show doesn’t have to lose 250 pounds. The person who wins the show could lose 50 pounds. If I was aligned in the final two with the right team, like the Slenderellas, we could’ve possibly still won.
Both now and on the show you referred to your gameplay in the first person instead of as “we.” What’s up with not including Stephanie when you were talking about what your machinations?
I would always ask Stephanie her idea on something, but she never wanted to go along with what I was doing. They kind of play Stephanie as a mute, but she actually has a huge personality and talks a lot. I think it’s just because I was her partner that she kind of got overshadowed. Since she never wanted to go along with what I was doing, I just would always say “I” so other people in the house wouldn’t be mad at her when it came down to it.
But the bigger point is that you were doing what she wanted despite her opinion. Why was that? Why did your words supersede hers?
They didn’t, but I think Stephanie felt inclined sometimes to just go along with what I did because my grandfather gave us all the money. I told her that it was a team effort, I couldn’t win without her and I couldn’t have been successful without her. Yeah, I could lose some weight but she definitely was a contender in all the challenges. We would’ve never done anything if it wasn’t for her.
She said at the end that she felt like it was her fault that you were leaving. I know that you were very nice to her on screen about that but did you agree with her at all?
No, because it was her time of the month, and so she got bloated that week. And I had only lost two pounds, and I feel like I was so much bigger than Stephanie that if I would’ve lost more weight that week, maybe just 3 or 4 lbs. more then we could’ve stayed. Tt was on the both of us, it wasn’t just her. If I felt that way, I would’ve said it.
Did you say you lost 40 lbs. on the show?
Have you lost any since the show?
Yes, I’m down 70 lbs. now. Overall, it’s a personal total of 100 because my heaviest around March/April of this year I was 470 lbs. And now I’m 370.
Do you have a goal?
Two hundred sixty. So I want lose another hundred pounds. And I’m not diabetic anymore! After just losing 42 pounds, I came back from the show and I went and visited my home doctor and they were saying that I had broke the record at the health center for my blood sugar lowering. And they took me off injection and now I’m on an oral pill…I’m pre-diabetic so once I lose probably another 40 lbs. or so, they said I probably won’t be diabetic at all.
On the show you made some coy comments — or maybe less than coy comments — about things like balls and you called your hair a “Queen Bee slickback” at one point. You seemed to be hinting about your sexuality without confirming or denying. I wondered if that was intentional or if that’s just something that you don’t talk about?
You can either love me or hate me. What my sexual preference is shouldn’t matter to people based on that opinion. It’s something that I don’t talk about and I’ll just keep people guessing. They can think whatever they wanna think about me. I really don’t care.
Regardless, I do get the feeling from watching you that you’re very comfortable with yourself.
I feel like if I can’t be comfortable with me then how can I expect other people to? I’ve always been uncomfortable in the sense that I wanted to lose weight, but I figure if I’m 470 lbs., I’m not gonna be sad with who I am I’m gonna be confident, I’m gonna be outspoken, I’m gonna live my life to the best of the ability that I can. Now after losing so much weight, I realize that I really wasn’t living when I was that big and with each pound that I lose, I get more and more excited about the possibility of what else I can do.
I also thought it was bold of you to go shirtless during the pool challenge. You opened yourself up so nakedly — literally.
I didn’t want the shirt tying me down because I knew that some people were really fast swimmers like Missy of Grading Curves. I knew I had to be a competitor in that challenge because I knew that they were gonna get me out. I figured I had already been naked in the hot tub the first day and showed my body to everyone, so I might as well just stand here and be gutsy. If you can come on TV to lose weight and open up yourself and your life and your illness — because being obese is an illness, it’s not just eating it’s all the psychological and mental things that go with why you eat — then why can’t you take your shirt off in front of people?
You used a lot of props on the show – your microphone, a bubble wand, etc. What was with all the accessories?
That was all stuff that Stephanie had. Because there’s no TV or access to the outside world, I had to find some way to entertain myself. And it just so happened that entertaining myself started to annoy other people. I would’ve stopped being so obnoxious on my microphone and accessories, but it was the fact that other people in the house were so vocal about not liking it and I don’t like it when anybody tells me what to do. That’s why I really play it up. And now it’s become like a trademark, people love that microphone. They ask me to bring it so they can take pictures with it. It’s really exciting.
What do you think about reality TV in general? It seems like the medium for you.
I don’t know. Reality TV is awkward. It’s one of those things that you can never really explain, and it’s also one of those things you can never fully grasp until you go through the experience. I definitely enjoyed the experience and would love to do it again, possibly on The Phillip Show? You know?
Is there anything else that you wanted to talk about?
I was shocked that [the trainers] Rich and Jen didn’t get a lot of time because they were really influential in pushing me and motivating me to lose weight. The trainers were amazing. I have a new awesome trainer at home Brittany, and she’s great.
How often do you work out with her?
She trains me six days a week. We train once a day with her for an hour and then I do a morning cardio for 30 minutes and then I do 30 minutes to an hour in the evening, just trying to find some consistency. I still work, so I cut out of my schedule watching reality TV just because I have to work out. And I realize that now I’m setting the face for all these people who send me Facebook messages and Twitters that I inspire them. So now, not only am I holding myself accountable but it’s thousands of people who are looking to me for motivation and holding me accountable as well. So I definitely have to lose the weight to let them know that they can lose the weight as well.
It’s ironic that cutting out reality TV helps you lose weight when you were on a reality show to lose weight.
Otherwise, I have no time to work out, with as much TV I used to watch. It kinda pisses me off sometimes too.