‘Survivor’ Castoff Desi Williams Admits She Knew Voting for Joe Would Have Saved Her — Why She Still Refused To

Jeff Probst extinguishes Desi Williams torch at Tribal Council on the eighth episode of Survivor themed Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers
Jeff Probst extinguishes Desi Williams torch at Tribal Council on the eighth episode of Survivor themed Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers CBS

One of, if not the strongest competitor on Survivor: Heroes Vs. Healers Vs. Hustlers, met her demise on the Wednesday, November 15, episode, becoming the first member of the jury.

Desi Williams, a 27-year-old physical therapist from Georgia, was sent home after a tribal that actually went to a second vote — the first vote, she and her ally, Joe Mena tied.

So, what went wrong? What mistakes did she make? Read Us Weekly’s exclusive Q&A with Desi below:

Us: You were really upset! Was that shock?
DW: I was a blabbering mess. I kind of saw it coming. Why I was so emotional was that I knew I could have prevented it by voting for Joe. I was having a really true moral dilemma at that moment. I know it’s a game, but I was having hard time with the lying and depiction. I felt that if I voted against the one person in the game I trusted, who I knew wasn’t lying to me, that I would never be able to trust anyone again. It was clear that if I wrote Joe’s name down, I would stay in the game, but I thought it would be worse for me in the long term, in terms of moving on in my life.

Us: So you had an idea this was coming?
DW: I had an inkling that they were splitting the votes and if I voted Joe, I would be safe. I didn’t know that the healers were not going to vote together. I thought we were going to vote for Lauren, which explains my decision, but I did know I was on the chopping block.

John "JP" Hilsabeck, Joe Mena, Desiree Williams, Devon Pinto, Ashley Nolan, Cole Medders, Chrissy Hofbeck, Ben Driebergen, Mike Zahalsky, Ryan Ulrich and Lauren Rimmer at Tribal Council on Survivor themed Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers
John “JP” Hilsabeck, Joe Mena, Desiree Williams, Devon Pinto, Ashley Nolan, Cole Medders, Chrissy Hofbeck, Ben Driebergen, Mike Zahalsky, Ryan Ulrich and Lauren Rimmer at Tribal Council on Survivor themed Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers CBS

Us: Were you the only one who really trusted Joe?
DW: I was one of the only people who could tolerate him. It would be dumb not to trust Joe. He wears his cards on his sleeves. It doesn’t put on a fake face about who he likes or doesn’t like, so it’s foolish not to trust him. He can have an abrasive personality and that can certainly rub people in the wrong way. Joe gets under people’s skin but he has amazing instincts. I was literally with him from day one; he was the only person that I spent that much time with. I got Joe. I understood Joe and I trusted his instincts as much as he trusted his own. One funny thing that nobody saw was pre-merge, we were having this conversation about the merge feast. He said, “I have a feeling that it’s not going to be a normal feast with a picnic basket, I have a feeling it’s going to be like Outback. I can’t wait to have a lava cake!” The next day we merge, we have Outback, and we have the cake! If you look back, I have this really big reaction to Outback — that’s why! He has the crazy instincts about him that work.

Us: Did you consider trying to change votes at tribal?
DW: Tribal can last for HOURS so yeah, there was more said at tribal. I knew going into tribal, literally I could write down Joe’s name and I could stay in the game. Morally, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. There were bigger moral implications for me that I was having a hard time reckoning with.

Us: Let’s talk about that missing vote that nobody noticed!
DW: Now that I know, I feel so dumb in this moment! Until somebody else came to Pandorosa and explained it to me, I still didn’t realize! In the moment, we’re sleep deprived, we’re food deprived, we’re paranoid, all of these things. We’re not think about how many votes were read! I don’t know that anybody did [realize]. I certainly didn’t catch on.

Us: Who do you think is the biggest competition left in the game?
DW: At this point, probably Chrissy and Ben are the biggest threats. Chrissy is able to play all of these guys. To me, it’s crazy, they just follow along with everything she says. Also Ben, he’s a marine. If he goes to final tribal, he’s winning. That’s who I’ve always felt like were the biggest threats in the game, not the physical threats. We’ve watched for 35 season; a physical threat hardly ever wins the game. It’s always a strategic threat.

Us: Would you play the game again?
DW: I’ve compared it to childbirth. Like in the moment, I was like, “Who the hell signed me up for this s—t? How did I get here? This is the most ridiculous thing ever.” But reflecting back, I’m like, “I could totally do that again. I’d love to do that again.”

Survivor airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET

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