Exclusive: Jacob Derwin talks 'Survivor: Ghost Island' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/07/2018
Jacob Derwin was voted out of Survivor: Ghost Island during the second half of the two-hour premiere episode on CBS.
Jacob, a 22-year-old music teacher from Merrick, NY, was the second castaway eliminated from the game. He was voted out of his Malolo Tribe on Night 6 through a 5-2-1 vote at Survivor: Ghost Island's second Tribal Council session of the season.
James Lim, a 24-year-old business analyst from Los Angeles, CA, received two votes at Tribal, while Michael Yerger, an 18-year-old real estate agent from Knoxville, TN, earned himself one vote from Jacob.
"I put so much work into getting here and the first Tribal I attended, I was voted out," Jacob said in his final words. "I am embarrassed and don't even know if I have a game to be proud of."
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Jacob talked about his short-lived Survivor experience. Below is the concluding portion of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: You quickly assumed you were a target during the first couple days of the game. Was that just paranoia setting in, or did your tribemates do or say something in particular to make you feel you were in trouble? Maybe you believe you did play too hard too early after all?
Jacob Derwin: (Laughs) I think the show -- I won't say that. I think the show, I mean, you only see an hour-and-a-half to two hours. The narrative here is, "Jacob was looking sketchy. He was looking for an idol. He was playing too hard." And maybe I was!
But I believe I would have gone home first had I not looked for an idol, had I just sat around camp. I wasn't meshing. I wasn't meshing the way I wanted to. I had a whole plan coming in about how I wanted to set myself up socially, and it just wasn't working.
And also, for the first several days, I was -- this is the modern game of Survivor; people make alliances on Day 1. And I'm walking around with people and nobody's talking to me. I'd be like, "Oh, so what are you considering and talking about? What are you thinking about and what's on your radar?"
Every single person I talked to -- and this was most of my tribe -- was just saying, "I don't really know yet. I haven't really thought about it," for days. So I knew it. Anyone who knowsSurvivor knows that's code for, "You," right?
So, on Days 1 and 2 after I heard that enough times, I'm like, "Alright, fine, I'm dead. I'm going to go try to save myself." And that's what it came down to, and was I little too obvious about it? I don't know, but yeah.
Reality TV World: Do you regret volunteering to go to Ghost Island to begin with, or maybe you wish you hadn't played the Game of Chance while there?
Jacob Derwin: I had to play it, I mean look, there was no other way. I don't know if -- actually, no, I feel fine about my decision. I feel bad about what I ended up getting out of it, because the Legacy Advantage was useless and Sierra Dawn Thomas ruined my game -- fan-favorite Game ChangersSierra Dawn Thomas. (Laughs)
But look, I needed anything. I needed literally [anything]. An idol would've been best, clearly, or any advantage that manipulates votes -- anything I actually could have surprised them with. Instead I got something that I didn't even get to keep.
Honestly, if I lost my vote, it wouldn't have made a difference. What would've happened? My one vote wasn't going to change anything. The vote was never going to come down to a 50/50 with this tribe.
It was either going to be, like, 5-3 or 7-1. It was never going to be 4-4 or something like that. It wasn't going to happen and my one vote wasn't going to affect it, so it was absolutely worth the gamble.
Reality TV World: Are you surprised you were the one chosen to go to Ghost Island for any reason?
Jacob Derwin: I think I was the obvious choice. I definitely wanted them to send me and I wanted them to focus on me so they would definitely send me. That was the whole idea behind me being a jerk, smack-talker. But no, I'm not surprised they sent me to Ghost Island.
I'm big, I'm not as fast, but I was pretty good in challenges. The puzzle was hard, but up until that point, I was fine. I kept up. I was pulling the sled, you know? But I'm not [Michael Yerger] or [Brendan Shapiro], and that's fine. I get it. I just wished they sent me back again. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Looking back, do you think there was a better way to tell your fake idol story to everyone, or maybe you wish you came up with an entirely different story about what you saw on Ghost Island?
Jacob Derwin: I wish I had been a little more forward. The thing I would've done -- and it's a big move, and it probably wouldn't have worked -- but the weird idea I had in the months following this was, "What if I kept the Legacy Advantage on me for an extra day?"
Because I didn't have to give it away. I could've kept it but it would've had no power. If I held onto it, it just would've been a piece of paper, right? So what if I had held onto it and I bluffed?
If I had gone to Tribal Council that night and said, "Hey guys, if I go home, I'm giving this Legacy Advantage to someone on Naviti and I'm not telling you who." What if I scared them a little?
What if I said, "You want to know what's going on in this game? You've got to keep me around because I know more than you do." But I didn't have the balls. (Laughs) And in my situation, I was worried about coming off even more paranoid.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you found out Michael is actually 18 years old, not 23? Do you think your tribe might've gone along with the plan to vote him off instead of you had they known about his young age?
Jacob Derwin: No, no. Him actually being 18, in my opinion, as someone just watching the show now, if someone like him got to the end and I was on the jury and an 18 year old comes up to me and says, "By the way, I'm 18 and I've been lying to you this entire time," that's points in my book! That's impressive.
Because I wanted to do that -- I applied when I was 18. I wanted to do that. I didn't look like Michael, obviously (laughs), but I wanted to be that. Do I have a lot of respect for that? Yeah. And if he can pull that off, he's really something else. So, no, I don't think it would've changed anything.
Reality TV World: How many times have you applied to get on Survivor?
Jacob Derwin: I applied when I was 18, 19, 21, and I turned 22 right before the game started.