Exclusive: James Lim talks 'Survivor: Ghost Island' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/29/2018
James Lim was eliminated from Survivor: Ghost Island after a tribal swap that separated the remaining castaways into three small tribes during Wednesday night's episode on CBS.
James, a 24-year-old business analyst from Los Angeles, CA, was voted out of his new Malolo tribe on Night 17 of the game at Tribal Council through a unanimous vote. James had cast his sole vote for Desiree Afuye, a 21-year-old student from Brooklyn, NY.
The tribal swap left James and his ally, Michael Yerger, on the outs against three original Naviti members; however, the two guys had anticipated Angela Perkins flipping since original Naviti previously betrayed her once and voted for her.
"That was a great blindside and I honestly didn't really see it coming, so hats off to them," James noted following his ouster.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, James talked about his Survivor: Ghost Island experience. Below is the first half of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: I'm sorry things didn't work out better for you, James.
James Lim: I know, I know. It's so disappointing, but I'm looking at all the love and support that poured out over these last 12 hours.
Reality TV World: You said you were blindsided in your final words, so what made you so certain that you had gotten Angela on your side? What did she say to give you that impression?
James Lim: Yes, so that whole blindside reaction was more about the fact that I knew that I was one of the main targets... but the 4-1 outcome was unexpected. I thought at Tribal Council that I'd at least have Michael and Angela.
So with Angela, it obviously wasn't shown, but not only did we bond on Naviti 2.0-post saving her from the [Morgan Ricke] Tribal Council, but also, she opened up to me as a person and she finally got to speak about her service and her family, her divorce, and we had some really great bonding moments throughout our time together.
And I shared with her my story as well, and I thought my pitch to her in terms of loyalty and respecting her service and all that did a good enough job of swaying her opinion. Obviously it didn't in retrospect, but I really meant everything I told her about, wanting to take her deep in the game and becoming allies.
I think that's why I was a little bit shocked. And that look that I gave after hearing my name come out was towards Michael based on that he wrote my name down as well. I didn't really expect that.
Reality TV World: What was going through your mind when you were giving Michael that serious look, and did you get the reaction you were hoping for? (Laughs)
James Lim: (Laughs) it was more of a -- like, I blacked out. A lot of castaways, you'll hear, that they black out when you realize, "I'm out. I'm done," and that look was more of a look of disappointment and shock.
And I didn't receive a particularly notable reaction from Michael, but I'm glad I'm already seeing memes being made up of that look. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: It sounds like you were a little hurt or offended Michael didn't have your back in voting for Desiree Afuye. So why do you think Michael voted for you? Do you think Michael feared votes were coming his way and he wanted to protect himself -- or maybe he just didn't want to make waves with the people he'd have to continue working with?
James Lim: I think it was because, from his point of view, he was coming out of, like, a nightmarish nine days on Malolo, right? So he was completely outnumbered, and basically he felt after the Stephanie Johnson vote, him and [Jenna Bowman] were basically begging [Kellyn Bechtold] and Naviti, like, "We'll do whatever if you save us."
And so his mentality took over after the swap where he was outnumbered and just like, "Wow, this really sucks." And there was a conversation that happened where Kellyn basically told Michael, "You're in the minority again. You should flip on James and come with us," and I think he obliged.
It hurts, but there was nothing personal to this at all, you know, he just wants to survive. So yeah, that reaction was more towards [the idea] my little brother voted for me! You know?
Reality TV World: Since Michael voted for you, I'm assuming he was certain Angela wasn't going to flip on original Naviti. Do you have any idea how far back Michael learned of that plan, like before or during Tribal Council?
James Lim: I'm not sure. But from my perspective, Michael didn't really know for sure what Angela thought. But from his point of view, he knew that if he flips, Desiree and Kellyn end up having the majority anyway.
And so I don't think they would've been there for Michael. But my perspective was that Michael and I had a good bond. I was Malolo Strong, and I told him I had a good thing going on with Angela.
I told him about saving her life at Tribal Council and all that. And so that was my gameplan, and I think my gameplan and Kellyn's gameplan clashed head-to-head. It just turns out that Kellyn was able to throw another Malolo out of the game.
Reality TV World: So leaving the game, did you have any hard feelings toward either Angela or Michael that lingered?
James Lim: I don't think so. Yes, it hurts and was bitterly disappointing, but from a personal level, you know, not at all. I think the speech that I gave when I turned around to them -- and also my final words -- sort of speak for themselves, where I respect game, and while it hurts on a personal level, I respect the hell out of both Angela and Michael.
And now we're lifelong friends and we regularly stay in touch, so I just wanted to be that kind of person, the person I am in real life. So I wanted to keep it classy and have respect for everyone.
Reality TV World: Could you elaborate on why you think original Naviti went after you instead of Michael? We heard them talking about how none of them really had a chance to connect with you yet, but was there more to it? Do you think the tribe worried Michael had an idol?
James Lim: So I think there are two things to that story. One is that Michael did get to bond with Des and Kellyn for nine days on Malolo Beach, and that's it essentially.
I think it was quite obvious watching the group's social [interactions] that those two were just gabbing together in the shelter all day long while myself, Kellyn and Angela were just looking at each other dumbfounded and all that. So she had something against me in terms of her bonds with Kellyn and Desiree.
I think they also viewed me as kind of the Malolo-Strong guy, and so they told Michael, "You will survive, but if you want to make it to the merge, you've got to flip." And if they had made me a deal as well, I probably would have taken it. But it just turns out they used Michael as a prime target for flipping.
Reality TV World: Why was Desiree your target? Was it just because she was an easy pick after taking responsibility for losing the Immunity Challenge?
James Lim: Yeah! Yes, definitely. For me, I viewed Des as being at the bottom of the totem pole on the tribe, and whatever gave people a reason to target someone else was a welcome gift for me.
And Desiree blew -- her challenge performance was -- it was even worse than what was shown, but at some point in time, she was screaming profanities at Kellyn, and then Kellyn was crying during the challenge.
After all that, I thought, "Wow, Kellyn must have heard that at the challenge performance as well. She's a puzzle mastermind, and being treated like that by her own former allies must've sucked," which is why I thought, "Okay, if I can leverage the situation to switch the target off my back and onto Desiree's back," and that was kind of my plan all afternoon.
Reality TV World: Putting yourself in Angela's shoes at the time, do you think she made the right choice to stick with original Naviti? Because we saw her admitting to you she thought was on the bottom of Kellyn and Desiree's alliance.
James Lim: I'm biased obviously, because I think it would've been a better call for her to come with us. I mean, you really only saw Kellyn tell Angela, "Look, I was a part of this five-tight Naviti alliance that you are not a part of."
Furthermore, I think I was able to convey to Angela that I was sincere in my offer of an olive branch, like, "Come with us and you will not be on the bottom, and I will stay loyal to you -- and you value loyalty!" So I think it would've been the right choice for her to come with me and Michael, but we'll see what happens.
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for the rest of our exclusive Survivor: Ghost Island interview with James Lim.