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Exclusive: Jessica Lewis talks 'Survivor' -- Sunday Burquest left me out to dry, Zeke Smith is the biggest threat to win


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/30/2016 

Jessica Lewis was eliminated from Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X during the latest broadcast on CBS.

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Jessica, a 37-year-old assistant district attorney from Voorheesville, NY, was ousted from the game because the merged Vinaka tribe couldn't agree on a person to vote out so Tribal Council came down to drawing rocks at random on Night 30 of Season 33.

Jessica just so happened to pick the one unfortunate black rock in the bunch of white rocks which all signified safety. Her torch was therefore snuffed by Survivor host Jeff Probst and she cried tears of disappointment and shock on her way out.

During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Jessica talked about her Survivor experience. Below is the concluding portion. Click here to read the first half.

Reality TV World: Sunday Burquest was desperate to get rid of you, seemingly only because she thought you were gunning for her. But viewers didn't really see you going after her, so what's your reaction to that? Was the rift between you girls obvious while you were playing the game? And if so, did you ever try to fix things?

Jessica Lewis: I knew there was an issue between [Chris Hammons], [Bret LaBelle], Sunday and myself because of the whole [Paul Wachter] situation. But the problem I had with all of that was the decision to vote out Paul was a group decision. That was Sunday and [Lucy Huang] and myself making a decision and then other people being brought in on the vote.

So to me, Sunday and I were playing the game together, and we had talked about that vote a lot, whether or not we should do it. Sunday was actually quite giddy about voting out Paul, and in my mind, she and I were playing the game together.

So, I thought we would be solid moving forward, and she had assured me that she could get Bret and Chris back on our side. And I think that could have happened had she actually done that, which she didn't. Instead, she kind of left me out to dry and let everyone blame me for the Paul vote and then ultimately turn her back on me.

And during the follow-up episode where I was saved by an idol, she had been assuring me up until Tribal Council -- even at Tribal Council -- that I wasn't getting voted for and that it was [Ciandre "CeCe" Taylor]. And so, I put my faith in Sunday because she and I had been playing the game together up to that point since Day 1.

And then to actually see what happened and how she wasn't playing the game with me, and had clearly picked Chris and Bret, I knew that I was going to have an issue with those three, just because of what had already gone down and that their plan hadn't worked out. I was not gunning for Sunday.

In my mind, those three were a very strong three. So Chris was the top and then it was Bret and then it was Sunday. So I certainly was not gunning for Sunday. She was not a threatening player in the game, so in my mind, Chris needed to go in order to take down that three, which ultimately happened. But as far as my gunning for Sunday, I was not gunning for Sunday.

Reality TV World: In the last episode, Zeke Smith seemed to think he was running the show, and since you voted for him, I'm assuming you agreed. But watching the season play out on TV, would you stand by that or say David Wright was actually the bigger threat to win and maybe you didn't realize it while you were out there?

Jessica Lewis: No, it's interesting because I was asked in my previous interviews who, at that point, I thought was the threat to win. And I did say Zeke. Even though David -- he's a huge threat to win the game at that moment -- I know that Zeke was doing a very interesting job of manipulating people to believe him and like him regardless of what he was ultimately doing to them in the end, if that makes sense.

He managed to vote out Chris and then immediately got Bret and Sunday back on his side. Like, he hadn't even done anything to them and they were right in his corner. He was really good at getting people to like him and getting people to not hold any ill will towards him for things that he did even though he was very strategic and he was flipping and doing all of these things.

Whereas I think David was more emotional about what he did and presented it differently. And so, when he talked to Bret and Sunday about Zeke, the response from Bret was immediate, "I'm going to be very angry with David because now he's going after Zeke."

But Zeke had just gone after Chris, (laughs) and Bret wasn't mad at Zeke for that. So I think it's all about past relationships that you have with people obviously, and I think David played that game phenomenally well and is certainly a threat to win, as is Zeke.

But I think their gameplay is just a little bit different where David might have offended people or upset people, whereas Zeke -- even though he was doing the same thing -- had a way of doing it without really offending people or upsetting them.

Reality TV World: In an ideal world, who would've been in your Final 3 and why? I'm guessing Adam Klein and Ken McNickle based on what you've said?

Jessica Lewis: You're really good! Yeah! (Laughs) Adam and Ken were definitely two that I wanted. I definitely wanted Ken, and otherwise, it would've been Adam or [Hannah Shapiro].

So I think those would've been my -- it wouldn't been a combination of that. So yes, I would say Ken, Adam, Hannah and maybe an Adam, Hannah. But yeah, that would definitely have been what I'd be working towards.

Reality TV World: Seven of the first eight castaways voted out of the game were women, with the exception of Paul, who was older and almost had a heart attack. Do you think that was just a coincidence or there was more to it than that?

Jessica Lewis: Honestly, I didn't -- and I don't know if this will make sense -- but I didn't realize just how few women were left in the game until, like, well into the merge. I think there were four of us when I finally went, "Huh, look at that, there are a lot of guys."

Because in my mind, I wasn't focusing on male/female. I was only concerned about male/female when I was told that there might be an all-guys thing going on, and that was my only concern with it. But I think it just really turned into gameplay, and that was ultimately what led to people getting voted out.

It wasn't necessarily male/female. It was really how they were playing the game and what, if any, long-term threat were they, what effect would they have on my gameplay or someone else's game? So I don't really think it was a male/female thing. I really think it just boiled down to the game they were playing.

Reality TV World: Tell me a little bit about the eye infection you suffered out there, because after the cyclone hit, you mentioned it once or twice but then it seemed to never come up again. How serious was it? What did you have to go through to clear it up?

Jessica Lewis: It was just annoying and painful and awful. (Laughs) I was given some drops and some gel to put in my eyes before I went to bed at night, but other than that, I was really just kind of hoping that it would clear up.

Because I couldn't wash my face or my eyes the way that you would when you're at home. I have dirty clothes, obviously, so I'm not wiping them with my sleeves and whatnot.

But it was just more of an annoyance because I obviously couldn't wear my contacts, so that made vision issues in particular challenges and whatnot when I couldn't wear glasses. But on the whole, I was extremely relieved that it wasn't as serious as they initially thought.

Because there was a real concern that I was going to get [medically evacuated] just because they thought I was extremely contagious, and it was ultimately up to Dr. Joe to make that decision, so I was heartbroken and beside myself going into our first challenge.

I was going to see Dr. Joe and I was expecting him to say, "I'm sorry, you've got to go home." So that was really, really difficult. So once I got over that hurdle, I was like, "Whatever! I'll deal with the painful, goopy eyes," and I couldn't see them when I was out there. So I couldn't really appreciate what they looked like until now, watching it on television.

But yeah, it was just really an annoyance more than anything, because it was something I had to deal with every single day, morning and at night, trying to make sure my eyes were being treated in some fashion.

To read the first half of Reality TV World's exclusive Survivor interview with Jessica Lewis, click here.



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