Desiree Afuye had been Naviti strong for 25 days of “Survivor: Ghost Island,” but got caught in a lie and voted out of the show’s 36th season by her former Naviti allies on Wednesday night.
Realizing that she needed to make a move against the stronger members of her tribe, Desiree approached the four remaining Malolo members — Michael, Jenna, Donathan and Laurel — and tried to cut a deal. But her conspiring was exposed when Laurel told other Naviti members about the plan.
When confronted, Desiree attempted to convince her old tribemates that she had not turned against them. But it wasn’t enough, and she became the third member of the jury.
Desiree spoke with CBS Local’s Phil Stauskas about her plan, her lie and more.
The first part of your story last night was your plan. You had been with Naviti for 25 days, why did you think that this was the time to make your big move?
I figured this was the time because it was the last effort. If you don’t flip now, the Malolo’s gonna be like, way down. They’re not gonna have any numbers. There would be no numbers to flip. If you were not going to flip then, it was going to be way harder for you to flip anytime later than that, because you wouldn’t have the numbers. You would have to convince even more people. So, I figured, if there was anytime to flip, it would be that time.
Then, the second part of it is the lie. By all accounts, at least on the show, it seemed like you put up a pretty good lie. They were kind of second guessing. Should we trust Des? Should we trust Malolo? What do you think is what convinced everybody? Kellyn had been with you since the very first day and had never left your side. Why do you think they decided to trust the Malolo four instead of you?
I think it was just all of them against me that made it even worse, or made it harder to believe me. Like, if you have four people telling you the same story, and then you have one person telling you their story that’s different from the other four, you’re most likely going to believe the majority of the people, and not me. I think that’s what made it hard for Kellyn to believe it.
I think also, at some point, Kellyn had a conversation with me where she asked me “Did you say this?” and I completely denied everything. I think had I just been like, “Oh, no, Laurel came to me with this plan and I don’t want it. I don’t want to work with her,” then I think maybe she would have believed me more. That’s more believable than me saying Laurel just completely made this up.
Had you been able to sniff out any kind of alliance that they had going between Laurel and Donathan and Dom and Wendell?
I definitely knew that Dom and Laurel and Donathan and Wendell… I knew they were working together. Yeah, I pretty much knew that. Ever since the merge, Ang had just been talking about how close Laurel was with Wendell. So, anytime I would talk to Laurel, I would try to build my own relationship with her and build a strong bond with her, and at the same time I would try to build a wedge in between her relationship with Wendell and Dom by telling her things like, “Oh, you know Wendell and Dom said that they think they control you, basically. Like, they have you under their wing. Like, anything they say, you’ll do.” That was my pitch the whole time to Laurel. It was like, “Laurel, don’t let them think they’re controlling you, because you can make a big move right now.”
Our theme of Ghost Island — you never got to go. Were you a part of this decision? Did you feel okay with the “Hey, we’re just going to have people draw rocks.” Or were you ever trying to advocate for “I want to go. I want to see what Ghost Island is all about.”
I was okay with the drawing rocks. I felt like fate would decide, and I feel like fate is the best decision maker. So, I was okay with the rocks. If I didn’t see Ghost Island, I heard it’s a pretty scary place anyway. And, if I did, then hopefully when I did go, I would get something from it.
Last night, you mentioned that you had been homeless for a period of time. How does one go from homeless to Survivor? Were you a fan of the show beforehand? Why did you think that you were going to be a good fit for Survivor?
I definitely was a fan of the show beforehand, and I think that’s what helped me decide that I wanted to do Survivor.
How I went from being homeless to being on Survivor is just by surviving, by understanding that my pain and my suffering was only momentary, and it was temporary, and it wasn’t going to last long. Once I convinced myself of that, when the opportunity came to audition for Survivor, I was pretty exicted about it, and I knew it was a possibility, just because I had hope while it wasn’t an opportunity or a possibility at the time.
Did you ever think about burning the Lavita flag?
I felt like burning everything. (Laughs) But no, burning the flag did work. Maybe I should have thought of that before I left for Tribal that day.
Watch “Survivor: Ghost Island” Wednesdays at 8:00 PM EST/PST on CBS.