Jessica Lewis’ fate was set in stone — literally. On the shocking, two-hour episode of Survivor Wednesday, November 23, Lewis was sent home without a single vote cast against her.
(Recap: After back-to-back tie votes, the 10 competitors were forced to randomly pick rocks to determine who would stay and who would go.)
Though the 37-year-old had the option to switch her vote to remain in the game, she chose to stick with her strong alliance.
“In that moment, knowing it’s 10 people strong with how they want to see this vote play out, if I was the only person to flip, I have ultimately destroyed any chance at winning in the final three,” Lewis tells Us Weekly. “How am I going to make an argument that I should win the game when the people who would be sitting on the jury were willing to go to rocks because that’s how all-in they wanted to be? I didn’t come into this game wanting to finish second or third. I wanted to win. And I needed to make sure that every argument that I had for the final three was going to lead me to win.”
The New York–based lawyer — who lied to her tribe mates about her profession — shares more with Us.
Us Weekly: David Wright used his idol to save you earlier in the game. During tribal council, did you feel obligated to stick with him?
Jessica Lewis: That was a huge component of it. I knew that I had to keep working with David because of what he had done for me and I had to continue to show that loyalty to him. It all comes down to that final tribal, when someone looks at you and says, “You’re only here because someone saved you with an idol,” and my response would be, “And I showed loyalty to him, so much so I put my hand in a bag of rocks.”
Us: Looking back, do you regret not changing your vote?
JL: I regret not picking a different rock! If I just moved my hand to the left. I picked the first rock that I touched — my dad was telling me I should have swirled the rocks a little bit, never pick the first one.
Us: What went through your mind when you opened your hand and saw the black rock?
JL: Everything just kind of washes out of you because your brain is in so many places all at once, and you’re so emotional realizing that’s it. Game over. And, it’s because of what I’m holding in my hand, as opposed to my name being on a piece of parchment. It was frustrating. I was upset. Honestly, I was quite sad for my family because I wanted so badly to help my parents with all of this, and I was hoping I could win money to help them and that was gone.
Us: The game changes daily, but if you didn’t draw rocks and someone else was voted out, why do you think you’d make it to the final three?
JL: I think I was on a really good course because we were at that point in the game where there were targets much larger than me that people probably would’ve spent more time focusing on. I had Adam [Klein] and Ken [McNickle] and David. That was a very solid group. So I felt like if we survived this, we were going to make it extremely far.
Us: Why did you decide to leave the legacy advantage to Ken?
JL: I promised it to him in order to have him trust me again. I knew that David was going to stay with me because he had saved me. But I needed someone else on my side. And in order to get Ken back on my side, I thought if I tell him about the legacy and I promise it to him, I earn his loyalty and trust again. And it worked.
Us: Why did you lie about your profession?
JL: I knew going into the game that I was going to say "photographer" rather than "lawyer" because people have preconceived notions about lawyers. I wanted to not have to combat that notion of “She’s a lawyer, which means she’s going to be smart. She might be strategic.” I wanted to avoid having people make those decisions about me based solely on what I did. I thought if I say a photographer, that’s more of a creative field, and it’s much more forgiving as far as what people are going to decide about you.
Us: Who is the biggest threat in the game?
JL: I think Zeke [Smith] is the biggest threat because he has relationships with so many people. I didn’t understand why people didn’t want to vote Zeke out because he’s winning. If someone is winning, why are you voting out someone else?
Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
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