By: John Powell – GlobalTV.com
The first hurdle any Survivor player has to overcome is they don’t always get to pick who they are aligned with. The producers usually assign the preliminary tribes and twists like tribal swaps force Castaways to adapt to the ever-changing game.
In the tribal swap on Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers Desiree “Desi” Williams was sent to the new Levu Tribe with fellow Healer, Joe Mena, and from that point forward he was her partner by circumstance and then by choice.
“He was literally the only person I trusted. I had conversations with so many people that weren’t shown. We talked about things like who we voted for and I was lied right to my face. Joe, therefore, was the only person I trusted on the entire island. It became more than just the game. I actually felt if I betrayed the one person I trusted that I wouldn’t be able to trust anyone inside or outside the game of Survivor again. It became this really huge moral dilemma I was having in my head,” Desi said.
Despite working so closely with Joe, Desi had prepared herself to not only play the game without Joe but also to turn on him if need be.
“I trusted Joe very much but post-merge, I was okay flipping on Joe. Joe and I had played the game with each other up to that point and clearly we had no choice but to play together. In my head, I knew Joe was the person I trusted but I knew he was a wild card. I knew what to expect from him but I was open to other opportunities. Those were the conversations I was having with other people but in the back of mind Joe was without a doubt my closest alliance because he was the only person who was telling the truth to me. He rubbed people the wrong way because he is so abrasive but he wears his heart on his sleeve. He lays out all of his cards. You are not left guessing with Joe. You know if Joe likes you or doesn’t like you,” Desi said defending her decision not to turn on Joe and going on to explain that she was indeed strategizing with others as well.
John Powell: I have spoken to others such as Alan Ball who said they were willing to play the game with you. If you had known that would you have changed your mind?
Desiree “Desi” Williams: “What they didn’t show was at the second Levu Tribe it looked like we were all enemies but we had a lot of moments talking about being our own alliance as a four and me, Devon [Pinto] and Ashley [Nolan] separate from Joe. We had a ton of conversations about what is going to be good for our game when we merged back together. I had a lot of conversations with Lauren [Rimmer] about the same things. I was certainly exploring other avenues.”
John Powell: Now that you are able to watch the episodes is there anything you wish the editors would have showed either about your game or your experiences on the island?
Desiree “Desi” Williams: “I wish they would have shown me actually playing the game and having those conversations with other people and trying to build alliances outside of mine with Joe. As a viewer it seems like I am just following Joe around and doing whatever he says. I was having my own independent conversations. It just didn’t add to the narrative so it wasn’t shown.”
John Powell: If Joe had been targeted and voted out, what would your strategy have been?
Desiree “Desi” Williams: “It was clear to me that Cole [Medders] and Mike [Zahalsky] were all over the place. I would have gone back to having conversations with Lauren and Devon and Ashley. Even Ben [Driebergen] and I had talks about working together. Those are people I had planned to reach out to. I would have been a free agent because everyone knew Joe was the only person I was working with. I was willing to vote however they wanted me to vote.”
John Powell: You seemed to not only be a strong competitor but also a centered personality and player. I don’t think we got to see your full story or potential on Survivor. Would you play again if asked and if so would you play any differently?
Desiree “Desi” Williams: “I would definitely play again. It is like how people describe child birth. It is the most pain they have ever been in but…then they have four kids. (Laughs) Now, I want to play Survivor five more times. I would absolutely play again and because I knew I was a huge physical threat to some people, more than I even anticipated being, I tried to downplay my intelligence to make myself less of a target. That wasn’t too effective so I would probably be a lot more outspoken about what I thought was best for the greater good of the people I was working with because I think people out there were making dumb moves but I was trying not to reveal all of my cards.”
John Powell: Now that you are part of the jury what is your criteria for voting for a winner?
Desiree “Desi” Williams: “I think it is really easy in the game of Survivor to get really personal because there is so much backstabbing. When I decided who to vote for it was important for me to not to think about who I liked as a person, it was more important for me that the person played a good game. They had to be able to own up their game as well.”
Watch Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers Wednesdays at 8 et/pt on Global.
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