The ex-con-turned reality TV badass says he regrets his decision to be the first pioneer to quit Fox’s big budget “social experiment” UTOPIA.
“I definitely miss being there,” he confessed during a conference call this morning.
“I feel like I kind of jumped the gun and acted within my emotion and I made the wrong decision in leaving.”
The events leading up to Dave departure have already been seen by thousands of rabid UTOPIA fans, who watch the drama unfold each day via a live internet stream.
TV audiences will get to watch it all go down when TV’s most talked-about reality series returns at 8:00 PM on Fox.
Dave — who stormed out of the compound on Friday night (see video below) — says he was permitted to briefly return to be baptized by pentecostal preacher Jonathan, with whom he developed a strong bond during the first few days.
“The pastor was trying to talk to me before I left and Red was trying to talk to me,” he explained. “I would have kinda pulled me back. If I could have spoke to myself, I would have grabbed me, stopped me and said, ‘Dave, think about it,’ you know?”
While Dave, 32, would love to take back his decision to bail — (and probably that first day hissy fit as well) — he has no regrets about the choice to join the cast of 15 Americans, who will attempt to form their own society and live together for one year.
“Regardless of the little discrepancies or bickering, it was a new experience,” he says. “When you do something that is totally new in life, it can only help you grow.”
Here, the the barber from Queens, New York shares more about his experience and departure:
Can you describe what finally led up to you deciding to leave? Your side of it…
Well, I was only in Utopia for 10 days. I don’t think 10 days is a long enough time to actually generate that bond that [overshadows] the misunderstandings that we had. It was just a cumulative thing…
You had a challenged life before joining the show. Do you think this experience will help or hurt you moving forward?
There is no way possible that this experience can hurt me. I met great people not only on the show, but outside the show — the people who actually took notice in me. So many people applied and they actually chose me! So it does wonders for my confidence and my ability to make an impact. Being around people that are “more positive” than you or “more grounded” than you. It is kind of like a switchboard. I was constantly looking in the mirror [while I was] on the show. When there are several people in the group who see something wrong with you, you kinda gotta look at yourself. I am so embedded in my ways after 32 years of living a certain way and having to struggle all the time that it is just a bit difficult to not be a reactor. But overall I took everything positive out of the show. I really had a good time with Pastor John. I didn’t come on the show expecting to get back into Christ like that, but because he was such a standup man of God and he was so genuine… He told me a little bit about his background before Christ and he let me know that it wouldn’t be easy, but if I did I would have that extra spiritual help that I needed. In my past, I did accept Christ at one point and it really did produce positivity in my life. So anything that produces positivity is worth giving it another shot.
What was the moment of your baptism like?
The moment of baptism wasn’t as, you know, religious as it would be for somebody else. It was a spiritual decision from inside, mixed with a conscious decision to accept something that I believed could generate positivity in my life. I smiled. After I came out of the water I was smiling. I feel good about it. I am not a perfect man. I have got my faults in my character and I smiled. It felt good. It felt like I accepted something higher than me in my life. I am not afraid. When I first came in there, I didn’t see myself doin’ that, but in life people inspire you to do things.
What is next for you?
Whatever the day brings. I am like a leaf in the ocean. I will go wherever the wind blows just to find my destiny, to find a place where I belong. I am always open to new things. I am a barber. I plan to continue doing some barbering. And hopefully if somebody else can use me out there in this world to do something else, if there is another project, or if I could go back to Utopia I would love it. I am open minded. I come from a ghetto environment where by 25 whatever you are doing, you are stuck. I came to California not knowing what I would do here… I am still open minded. I can’t beat myself up. I just have to keep going.
What plans do you have to make yourself a better person after this experience?
Pastor John definitely gave me some information on the church that I could probably contact. I am definitely going to be talking to a few counselors and working on my control and my emotions. And for the most part, just enjoy California. There is no concrete plan. I am a free spirit. I am ok. I just have to grab hold of controlling my emotions a bit more. And work on my deliver and how I deliver my messages to people.
So you are not going back to Queens?
I would love to take a trip to Queens, but I think I have a little more work to do in LA. Queens is the kind of environment where it is one way. California is a creative place. New York is like a machine. Everybody is born and bred to be a capitalist. I spent 30 years of my life in New York City chasing one thing, that is looking for income. So I think I need to stay in California a little longer.
UTOPIA returns Tuesday and Friday nights on Fox.
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