Name: Jessica Lewis
Current residence: Voorheesville, NY
Occupation: Assistant district attorney
Tribe designation: Takali (Gen-X)
Three words to describe you: Unique, unconventional, and intriguing.
Hobbies: Painting, baking, and photography.
Pet peeves: People who blame others for their own misery.
What does it mean to be a Gen-Xer?
My parents were farmers and they worked harder than anyone I have ever known. There were no vacations, days off, or breaks. No matter the weather, their health, or lack of money, they never gave up. They never stopped.
That lesson has never left me. No one will live my life for me. No one is going to give me a break. If I want something, I have to get up and do it, regardless of how I may feel or how hard it may be. My life was decided by no one but myself. I saw the struggle my parents endured and I made a promise to myself to never stop trying to achieve any goal I set out to achieve. Nothing I have was handed to me. I had to earn it and I continue to do so every day.
Personal claim to fame:
Getting into law school, making it through, passing the bar and excelling as a prosecutor. I did all of this while also getting married and starting a family. Within a six-year time span, I was married, graduated undergrad, started law school, had my first child, passed the bar, was hired as a prosecutor, and had my second child.
I recently had a trial in which the jury gave me a round of applause when it was completed. The presiding judge later told me he had never seen a prosecutor get a round of applause—and he has been on the bench for over 20 years. That moment was confirmation that the lack of sleep, long hours, hard work, and mental strain were all truly worth enduring.
Inspiration in life:
My dad. He was born to be a farm hand and his upbringing was extremely difficult. He is truly dedicated to his family and has a spirit and will that’s indescribable.
If you could have three things on the island, what would they be and why?
Lip balm because it travels everywhere with me. Champagne and salt and vinegar chips, which I am lumping into one item because they always go together. Pictures of my family for inspiration and a reminder of what truly matters.
Survivor contestant you're most like:
Cirie Fields (Panama, Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains). Her early life struggles are very similar to my own. This caused both of us to develop a resilient personality, the ability to push ourselves, and never give up. This, along with our strong desire to help our families, gave us what many people lack—drive.
Reason for being on Survivor:
My life is like that set of stairs in the movie Labyrinth: the directions don't make sense nor does the order, but I always manage to find my way through and get where I want to go. For me, those stairs never stop. My motivation comes from within and I will never be done or satisfied.
Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
My job requires me to be a great storyteller and I have the burden to prove my case to a jury, which I welcome every time. That burden comes with a significant amount of responsibility and pressure. I must convince a jury of 12 people that the evidence presented and the case I put forth proves the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. No matter the situation or circumstances, I must maintain my composure, all the while focusing on obtaining the right result. That is the essence of Survivor.