Exclusive: Desiree Afuye talks 'Survivor: Ghost Island' -- I wasn't as close with Kellyn Bechtold and Chelsea Townsend as it seemed
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/26/2018
Desiree Afuye was voted out of Survivor: Ghost Island's merged Lavita tribe after her alliance members discovered she had been planning to betray them during Wednesday night's episode on CBS.
Desiree, a 21-year-old student from New Jersey who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, was voted out of her tribe on Night 27 of the game through an 8-2 vote at Tribal Council instead of Michael Yerger, an 18-year-old real estate agent from Knoxville, TN. (Angela Perkins lost her vote on Ghost Island).
Desiree was the tenth person voted out of this game, and she became the third jury member of Survivor: Ghost Island.
"They could tell I was lying. Aww man! I gave it my all. I tried to act as real as possible. It's just such a shame because I was right there. [Kellyn Bechtold] was just the first. I had plans, baby," said Desiree, who had attempted to blindside her pal Kellyn but failed because Laurel Johnson spilled the beans of her plan.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Desiree talked about her Survivor experience. Below is the first half of what she had to say.
Reality TV World: Were you blindsided? You knew you were caught between the two sides of the tribe, but had you actually predicted everyone would turn against you and vote for you?
Desiree Afuye: It was 50/50. I was 50 percent blindsided and 50 percent of me was like, "Okay, yes, I knew this was coming." (Laughs) I kind of knew. I kind of saw a little bit on people's faces. People were like, "Ehh, I'm not sure if I believe her." So it was 50/50 for me.
Reality TV World: So walking into Tribal Council, what did you think was going to happen? Whom did you think was voting for Michael with you?
Reality TV World: You said on last night's episode Kellyn was dangerous because she had such a good personality and such. But you seemed really close with her, as a friend and ally, so could you elaborate on how your plan to betray Kellyn came about?
Desiree Afuye: After the [Chris Noble] vote, I realized my relationship with Kellyn was not as strong as I thought it was, because I was on the outs of the Chris vote. So that basically told me, okay, well, Kellyn and Chelsea are closer as of right now with each other than they are with you.
So I knew there was kind of a wedge within our relationship because of that, and if you think about it, that told me Dom and Wendell Holland had to be working with Chelsea and Kellyn in some way.
They had to be working together in some way because they all came together and voted out Chris, and I didn't know about it and Angela didn't know about it. So that told me that me and Angela are on the outs.
And then after that, I knew Dom and Wendell had idols! So if they have idols, the last place you want to be is next to them, and the last place you want the idols to be is still in the game, especially with powerful people. And Kellyn is winning challenges.
She's clearly very powerful in the game, and Dom and Wendell are clearly very powerful in the game because they have idols and are strong competitors as well. So you want to get these people out the closer you get to the end, because if they're next to you sitting there in the end, it's going to be very hard for you to put yourself over them.
Reality TV World: I want to dive into what Chelsea was thinking. Did she know about the initial conversation you had with Laurel Johnson, Donathan Hurley and Jenna about your desire to flip on Naviti, or was that conversation a solo effort on your part?
Desiree Afuye: Chelsea didn't know at the time. I didn't want Chelsea to know until Kellyn was actually voted out. Because I felt Chelsea and Kellyn's relationship was pretty close and I was worried about Chelsea actually going back and telling Kellyn as opposed to Laurel going back and telling Dom.
Reality TV World: So did Chelsea ever learn of the plan then, or was she left in the dark right up until the vote?
Desiree Afuye: She was never told. She was only going to be told after we voted out Kellyn and then I could tell her because probably wouldn't have ties to anyone else, because I felt Kellyn was her closest ally.
Reality TV World: Chelsea obviously heard both sides of the story though at Tribal about whether or not you tried to betray Naviti. Since she voted for Michael, did you take that as a sign she was on your side, that she believed you?
Desiree Afuye: I was more iffy about Chelsea than I was Kellyn. I think I had gotten a sense Chelsea and Dom were working together and that they were close, so I figured if anybody's not really going to believe me, really, it's probably going to be Chelsea.
Reality TV World: You tried so hard to make Kellyn believe you'd never betray her, and for a while , there was no doubt in her mind you were telling the truth. So did you think at the time you had successfully convinced Kellyn, or was there ever a point -- perhaps during Tribal Council -- when you realized you had lost her as an ally?
Desiree Afuye: I thought I had convinced her. Well, Kellyn, I didn't know what she was going to do, actually. In Tribal, I didn't know if Kellyn had made up her mind yet. So yeah, she was kind of hard to read, like, I knew she really wanted to believe me. It was like she wanted to believe me but she knew she shouldn't at the same time.
Reality TV World: So do you think Kellyn was tipped over the edge simply due to the amount of people who were rallying against you, like they had strength in numbers?
Desiree Afuye: Yeah, there were so many of them! You swat one fly down and then another one comes up saying the same thing. So you swap that one down and then another one comes up saying the same thing. But there were just so many people saying the same story and there were so few people saying my story.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised Kellyn went through with voting for you? Because even if she lost trust in you, she could have pretended everything was fine and voted for Michael with the secret intent of going after you later on.
Desiree Afuye: Right! I don't think I was surprised though. I think whenever your name pops up, it's the scariest feeling ever. And then for your name to pop up and it to be from someone whom you think is your close ally, that's another scary feeling. So I think there was a whole bunch of paranoia and it was very understandable at the time.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you found out Laurel had that secret alliance with Dom and Wendell?
Desiree Afuye: The alliance to me wasn't really a secret. It did play out that way though on TV, but I knew about the alliance! And that was part of my pitch to Laurel on why she should get them out: "Your two so-called alliance members right now are very dangerous and they're very strong."
What I was saying to her is I think she should take a look at who she's aligned with because they're probably the most powerful people in the game right now, and if you take those two people to the end, it's going to be hard for you to beat them.
Reality TV World: So you thought Kellyn, Domenick and Wendell were at the top of the Naviti alliance? What did you think the pecking order was?
Desiree Afuye: I definitely thought Wendell, Dom and Kellyn were at the top of the alliance, and I thought the Naviti pecking order would definitely probably be Angela being the last to be picked off... So, yeah, it would probably be Chelsea, me, Ang, and [Sebastian Noel].
Reality TV World: Were you ever made aware that Angela had "no vote" at Tribal Council due to her stay on Ghost Island?
Desiree Afuye: I was not aware of that at all. She didn't tell anyone, and she didn't tell me that! I was a little surprised she didn't tell me that she didn't have a vote, but yeah, I wasn't aware of it at all.
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of our exclusive Survivor: Ghost Island interview with Desiree Afuye.