The first time she played on Survivor: China way back on the show’s 15th season, Peih-Gee Law made it all the way to fifth place. Her time on Survivor: Second Chance was cut short very early as the newly formed Angkor tribe made her the third person eliminated. In our one-on-one interview with Law, she gave us plenty of behind-the-scenes explanations on what actually went down on the show.
SheKnows: What was going through your mind when you were voted off Survivor: Second Chance 3rd?
Peih-Gee Law: Well, of course, when I was first voted out, the very first thing was shock. I guess I should’ve seen it coming. But really, everybody was saying they were voting Abi. “I swear to you on a handshake. It’s Abi.” I really thought it was gonna be Abi. I was totally shocked about it. Now, in hindsight, you’re just bummed. I’m really bummed I didn’t get to have a storyline outside of fighting with Abi-Maria because that’s not what I was there to do.
SK: Give us the behind-the-scenes backstory of what caused your elimination.
PL: So, here is what really happened. From the beginning [after the tribal swap], we had always thought us four Ta Keo members [were] going to stick together to vote out Savage and Tasha. As time went on [and] we were talking to them, I was like, these guys seem like pretty solid players. Abi-Maria is driving me nuts. I love Jeff Varner to death, but he was also kind of being a little erratic in his gameplay. It was worrying. It culminated when he had his meltdown after the challenge and suddenly started throwing what seemed like accusations at us. “Tasha, you want to call me a rat. Here’s a rat. Woo’s making deals. Peih-Gee is making deals. Everybody is making deals.” After that, everybody felt a little bit attacked by him. They were like, “Maybe we should just vote out Jeff.” That should have been the plan, to just vote out Jeff Varner. They made it seem like he didn’t scramble, but he did come up to me and was like, “Abi-Maria is gunning for you.” I thought he was making up, but it turned out to be true. I went to Abi-Maria. I said, “What’s up? What’s going on?” She was like, “I’m voting however Tasha tells me to vote. You’re not in my alliance. I’m not with you.” When she said that, I knew I couldn’t vote out Jeff. I had lost her. We had worked together before, but when she flat-out said she wasn’t going to work with me at all, I was like, Jeff still has a chance to work with me. I can’t let him go because if he gets voted out then I will be next. Tasha is not a dummy. She knew that she needed to protect her allies, so she threw my name out there instead. Abi was willing to vote for me. So was Savage. Jeff, obviously, when he heard there was a possibility of someone being voted out besides him, he jumped on it right away.
SK: Viewers have had a very strong reaction to Abi-Maria. How bad was it living with her at camp?
PL: Oh, man. I’m going to try really hard not to say anything too cruel right now. Let’s put it this way. She is much worse than the edits show. I don’t have any idea what she’s like in her personal life, but I will say the person that she is on Survivor is a nightmare to deal with [laughs]. It is really bad. It’s also like little things, too, that are just so toxic. Everything that I would say to her, she would take it wrong… It’s hard to feel like everything you feel gets twisted. She was super paranoid to the point where she turned to Shirin at one point and said, “Look at Peih-Gee and Wiglesworth. They’re working hard just to make us look bad.” How do you deal with somebody who has that type of bizarre thought process? I just really couldn’t understand it. But, I will say, all that crazy behavior getting her through tribal after tribal is because people think she’ll never win. They think she’s an easy goat and is always willing to use herself as a number. She’s able to take this terrible personality that she has and use it to her advantage to get further in the game. I also think that she will never be able to win. I don’t think people would be willing to vote for somebody like that to win.
SK: What was the deal with Abi-Maria’s missing bracelet that ended up being in your bag? What exactly went down there?
PL: Braceletgate. Oh, man. [Laughs] One small thing can totally screw you up on Survivor. Basically, how it happened was we were given bags on the beach and we all agreed everybody would take an empty bag and put your nametag on it to claim it as your own. I did that to a bag that I thought was empty, but I guess she had put her bracelet in it but she didn’t put her nametag on it. I just assumed it was up for grabs. While we’re all busy building the shelter, she goes around to everybody saying, “I can’t find my bag. Can you help me look for my bracelet?” Everybody was busy trying to build a shelter and you’re asking people to stop working to help you look for your stupid bracelet? I remembered that I specifically told her, too, “Your bag was hanging on that branch? I think that’s where I got my bag from. Why don’t you go look inside the bag that has my tag on it. Maybe you’ll find it there.” That was the last that I even thought about it until people came up to me and were like, “Abi’s going around saying you took her bracelet.” In normal life, something like that wouldn’t have happened. The people would have just been like, “Oh, yeah, it was an honest mistake.” She decided to try and go around and tell everyone that I took it. That put a really bad taste in my mouth toward her. That was Braceletgate [laughs].
SK: What went through your head when Jeff Probst announced the twist that your two tribes would be divided into three?
PL: We kind of anticipated that there was a possibility that would happen. I was super bummed, of course, because you just spent the last six days building bonds with everybody in your tribe. You’re feeling pretty comfortable. You’re in a good position. Then, suddenly, everything gets changed up. That’s the name of the game. That’s Survivor. I was happy to be on my new tribe at first because we had the majority. But then I knew we had Abi-Maria. That sucks.
SK: Going into the game, what was the biggest difference you noticed right off the bat compared to your first experience on Season 15 (Survivor: China)?
PL: Going into the game this time around, the strategizing goes at lightning speed. People almost didn’t bother to get to know each other first before already forming pacts and alliances. The first time around, you kind of chatted first to see who you would naturally fall in with. Now, the dynamics change constantly. It’s not necessarily about loyalty anymore. Everybody is strategizing. On these all-star seasons, you’re playing with the best of the best. Everybody is out there to win and to play. It’s not like before, where you [had] a couple randoms because they [looked] pretty. Everybody there is a gamer, and that really brings it up a notch.
SK: Take us back to May when Probst revealed the cast of Second Chance on live TV. You looked very surprised that he announced you had been voted in by the fans. Walk us through that moment. What was going through your mind?
PL: I was totally surprised and shocked that I had got on. I kind of thought that maybe my season was so long ago. It wasn’t early enough that a lot of people would know, like, Varner, because he was on the super-iconic second season. People are gonna remember Shirin because she was just on television. I thought it might be a long shot, but I’m pretty lucky that I have a really good fan base. I think that really helped. I will say that even people like Spencer, you look at Spencer and you know he’s getting on for sure. Even he looked super nervous in the Green Room before we went out there to get the votes announced. I think everybody was feeling pretty nervous. It’s hard not knowing whether you’re gonna make it or not on live television.
SK: Was there any hesitation from you when considering going back?
PL: No. Zero hesitation. I’ve been wanting to come back for such a long time now.
SK: So I take it you’ve been a constant fan of the show?
PL: Um, yeah. I haven’t always had a chance to watch every single season. I’ve always been a fan and I love being on Survivor. It is the most challenging thing you’ve ever done in your life. It tests every single life skill that you have. It’s so interesting. I’m a gamer. I love playing in games. I love seeing how interactions between people work out. There’s nothing like the experience of actually going out there and having this crazy game built around you.
SK: Was there anybody in particular you were really hoping to work with and go to the end of the game with?
PL: When I was out there, I really enjoyed working with Jeff Varner and Woo. They were both really good allies of mine out there for totally different reasons. Jeff was a great schemer who was coming up with all these plots. Woo was just super, super loyal. I felt really comfortable with him. I felt like he was a really solid ally. He always had my back. I would have really liked to go to the end with both of them.
SK: There has been some discussion online that you had hidden survival tools in your jewelry. Is any of that true?
PL: Oh. My Survivor jewelry [laughs]. Yes. As you know, I’m a jeweler. Ever since my first season, I always thought it would be really fun to make some things to bring out with me on the show. I got the idea on my first season back when they used to allow luxury items. We didn’t actually get our luxury items, but they did have them. Back then, my luxury item was a jewelry-making kit, which is basically a toolbox. I had talked to production about it. They said anything that gets approved, you can use all of that. That’s where I got the idea from. I was bummed that I didn’t get my jewelry-making kit. This time, I had taken fishhooks that I gold-plated and made them with gemstones and stuff like that. I had fishhook earrings. Then I had a piece of flint that I had sewed onto my cardigan as a button. It was actually what I was using to fasten the cardigan. That one got taken away by production, unfortunately. But it did give me a great idea for a new jewelry line, which I’m gonna be designing and making soon. It will be like emergency and survival gear designed for women that’s stylish. It’s great that I actually got inspired by those things to create this line. Yep, look for that in the future.
SK: Did you ever even get to make fire using that flint?
PL: No. It got taken away very fast [laughs].
SK: Did anybody from your first season reach out to you regarding your time on Second Chance?
PL: Yeah. They’ve all been really supportive… A bunch of them reached out to me right before I went on during the voting process. Especially people like Amanda and Courtney. They had a lot of advice for me as well.