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They say you have to make big moves to win Survivor. But big moves can also get you voted out of the game, and that’s exactly what happened to Desiree Afuye on this week’s episode of Survivor: Ghost Island.
Desiree plotted a Naviti mutiny with her sights set on taking out Kellyn, Wendell, and Domenick, but little did she know that two of the people she was pitching it to (Laurel and Donathan) were secretly in an alliance with Dom and Wendell the entire time, so once they reported back, the jig was up — even though Desiree stuck to her story to the bitter end.
Did she know she was done after her lie was revealed? What was it like having to keep doubling-down on the lie? And why did she want to enter an alliance with the Malolos where the Navitis would then be in a minority to begin with? We asked Desiree all that and more when she called into EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105). Here are some highlights from that chat.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you know by the time you got to Tribal that your number was probably up?
DESIREE AFUYE: I was kind of 50-50. I was going into it like, okay, yes, this just blew up at camp, but honestly, I thought my acting skills were on point. I’m, like, okay, if anybody deserves an award for performance it would be me. So I’m like, okay, maybe that might hold me over. So it was 50-50.
What was your take on Laurel, who ultimately gave you up?
I definitely knew she had strong ties with Wendell. Every time I would talk to her, I would throw a jab at Wendell, like, “Oh, yeah, Wendell thinks he has this power over you.” Or, “Wendell thinks he has you in the bag, but he doesn’t. You’re playing your own game.” I would try to throw shots at Wendell to make her be like, “What? Wendell feels this way about me?” But it didn’t really work. She doesn’t give a lot away.
What was your initial reaction once you realized you had been caught in trying to get Kellyn and company out?
I was trying to piece together why Laurel would say that. I was trying to understand it from her perspective and look at it from her gameplay. Because for my plan, I pictured everybody’s point of view, like: “This plan would work out for Laurel. This plan would work out for Michael. This plan would work out for Jenna. It’s in their best interest right now.” So when I heard that I was like, “Why would Laurel say that? And is there a way to come back from that? Whatever reason that is, is there a way to change her mind about that?” That was my first reaction.
I don’t see how it puts Laurel above the guys right now. I don’t see how it is a power move for her. And I feel like at this point in the game after the merge, you need power moves! You need to be making a move! So I don’t really see how that was a power move for her.
And the plan was to form this alliance with you, Angela, Chelsea, Michael, Jenna, Laurel, and Donathan to take out Kellyn, Wendell, and Domenick. Were you worried at all that even if that had worked, you and the Naviti folks would now be in the minority in the alliance with Malolo?
I knew we would be in the minority, but also you have to realize that by that time, Michael was probably going to be the first pick-off if we were going to start picking off from our group. One of the guys was going to be the pick-off because I hadn’t won a challenge. Angela won a challenge, but that was one challenge, and it was an eating challenge. It wasn’t physical. Chelsea had been winning challenges, but Chelsea was going to be a target regardless. And nobody would put her as a person to go first before Michael or a Dom or a Wendell. These guys had to go because they are powerful. They are making moves without winning challenges. And those are what are really, really important at the end of the day.
You told us on day 1 that you were terrible at puzzles after Chris picked you for the marooning challenge, but then you asked to take on the role of caller and puzzle-solver in the blindfold challenge, which you all then lost. Why did you want to take on that position if you didn’t feel strongly about your puzzle-solving abilities?
At that point, I felt like I had to redeem myself and prove to myself that I could do it, that I was strong enough to win these challenges. Whether it’s not my strong suit — and it is kind of a weakness of mine to do puzzles — I knew the calling part of it I had down pat. You need me to scream? Listen, that is something I can easily do. As for the puzzle part, I just wanted to redeem myself and prove to myself that I kind of had it, that I might not be the best at it, but when push comes to shove, I’m going to get it done. But I couldn’t get it done. But I’m glad I tried at it.
Is it true you made Kellyn cry during that challenge?
I made Kellyn cry?
That’s what James told us.
I don’t recall that. I don’t recall making Kellyn cry. Kellyn has cried a few times on the season, so maybe that was one of the times. I’m not sure. Everybody cried. I cried, and I’m not a crier.
Who was your dream final 3?
I had different variations. My dream final 3 would probably be myself, Donathan, and Laurel. Or me, Chelsea, and Donathan or something.
What’s something that happened out there that didn’t make it to TV but you wish they would have shown?
I don’t think they showed the emphasis on how much I put into really trying to build a relationship with Donathan and Laurel to make sure that I had them. And I think that would have given the viewers a better perspective on why I was so convinced that I had Laurel in the bag with Donathan, and the whole plan was going to work out fully. Because I would spend days and nights just talking to Laurel and Donathan and throw jabs and Dom and Wendell and say, “These guys are really dangerous. There should be no reason you are siding with them because it’s so dangerous to do that.”
So then off to Ponderosa you went. And I have to know: Have you seen and what are your thoughts on Chris Noble’s rap video?
[Laughs] What did Wendell say at that one Tribal?
No bars! Yeah, man. I don’t know if rapping is really for Chris. He should stick to the modeling. Maybe that’s what best for him. He does pretty decently with the modeling. But the rapping I’m not so sure about. At all. At all.
If you could go back and change one thing about your game, what would it be?
I don’t like to go back, but when I first left the game, I remember thinking maybe I should have tried to regroup after everything hit the fan. Maybe I should have gone back to Laurel and said, “Okay, why did you do that?” And then try to go back and be like, “Let’s still go with the plan because I think it’s the better plan for you.” I should have maybe gone back and pitched it to Laurel again because she would have been able to bring back everybody that was supposed to be in the plan and they would have been for it, because I’m pretty sure they still wanted to get out somebody that was making move and had been making moves and was a clear target at that point.