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Desiree Explains Why She Couldn't Compromise Her Morals To Play Survivor Plus, this season's first jury member explains how the show taught her to "just be Desi."
Posted on Nov 16, 2017 12:40pm

When the latest Survivor Tribal Council resulted in a tie between Desi and Joe, host Jeff Probst asked the remaining castaways to re-vote and determine who would be the eighth eliminated player of the season.

As the 27-year-old physical therapist learned her unfortunate fate, she grabbed her torch and watched it be extinguished.

STREAM: The Full Survivor Season 35 Episode Entitled "Playing With The Devil"

We caught up with the tough competitor following her elimination from Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers to hear what she had to say about being voted out, freestyling on the beach, and learning to be her authentic self.



When you learned the votes needed to be re-cast because of the tie, how confident were you that you'd be safe?

Desiree Williams: Not confident at all. Actually, going into this Tribal, I had a pretty good inkling that I was going home, and more simply that I could keep myself from going home by just voting for Joe. But at this point in the game, Joe was the only person on the island that I trusted who wouldn't be fake and lie to me.

So, I was having such a hard moral dilemma on what to do. Like, do I betray the one person who I think has my back just to keep myself in the game for one more vote, or do I stay true to who I am as a loyal person and just go home?

What was going through your mind when you learned your fate at Tribal?

Desiree: I was devastated. You know, we give up so much to come out and play the game of Survivor, so obviously I was devastated, but also, I think it was easier for me to make peace being voted out because I don't feel blindsided.

I very much felt like going into this vote there was a pretty high chance that I was going to go home.

So in that, I just had to feel proud of the game I played and realize maybe the game wasn't for me, because truly, the deceiving and the lying, all of that was really starting to get tough for me to deal with.



Looking back, is there anything you think you could have done differently to escape elimination?

Desiree: Oh, absolutely. With this vote specifically, I had a pretty good inkling they were splitting votes and that's all it took. But, I think everything worked out the way it was supposed to. Again, morally I was having a tough time.

I can only imagine how hard it is to go 39 days with lying and deceiving people and being lied to as well. And then having to try to reintegrate into life.

And so that was really my advice to people in the end, like, please just try to learn how to trust again because I was getting to a point, where even at Day 21 in the game, I felt like I couldn't trust anyone, except for this one person, Joe, who is also going to lead to my downfall.

Looking back, I think, maybe I was voted out at the right time. I never had to look ugly on TV, but was still there long enough where I can come back and be on the jury.

Do you have a favorite unaired moment you can share with Survivor fans?

Desiree: There was a challenge where we won coffee and pastries. Well, that night, we actually kind of bonded as the Levu Tribe. We had a drum circle and sat around drumming and freestyle rapping. It was a fun moment amidst being on this tribe with all this turmoil, but we were able to just have fun.

It just felt like hanging out with old friends. Those are some of the best memories I have.



What's your biggest takeaway from Survivor?

Desiree: I think my Ponderosa speaks to this but, on Survivor, I was probably the rawest emotionally I've ever been in my life. If you talk to anyone that knows me they'll say, "I think she’s a robot. She doesn’t have actual feelings."

Survivor very much broke me down emotionally, and that showed with my tears at the end. It really did break me down to the rawest version of myself. There was something also very refreshing about it.

Not hiding under a mask of makeup and not being perfect, and being able to cry in front of people. I've been able to take that back to my everyday life and just be real with people.

STREAM: Desiree Becomes First Castaway Of The Season To Head To Ponderosa

For so long, especially in the pageant world, I had tried to filter out stuff people would see as "bad" and only show them parts of myself that looked "perfect." I had forgotten how to real and just be Desi.

Survivor showed me that I can be authentically me and it won't be the end of the world, and people will accept me.

Would you ever come back to compete a second time?

Desiree: Absolutely. I tell people, I've never had a kid but when people describe childbirth they're like, "It was awful in the moment but I wanted to have another." I think that's how Survivor was.

In the moment I was like, "Who the hell signed me up for this ****? Why am I here?" But now that I'm reflecting on it, I'm like, absolutely, I would do it again, without even thinking twice.



Watch all-new episodes of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers on Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access.