Her efforts to make a big move on Survivor: Ghost Island were cut short when Desiree Afuye got caught in a lie. Although her attempts to cover up the lie were extremely convincing, it didn’t pay off, as the tribe turned against her. In our one-on-one interview with Desiree, she revealed the game’s biggest threats and explained why Chelsea Townsend is playing a better game than anybody actually realizes.
SheKnows: Did you have any idea the votes were going to fall against you or was it a true blindside?
Desiree Afuye: I had an idea. Going into it, I already knew Laurel had talked to Dom and Wendell, so I kinda figured it was going to be 50-50 either way. I wasn’t really surprised. I was edgy about Chelsea and Kellyn, but I didn’t know where everybody stood until the very end.
SK: You tried to make a big game move by telling several people that you were ready to flip on the Naviti tribe. Why was that moment the perfect time for you to try and make that move?
DA: I knew the closer we got, the stronger Dom and Wendell would be to persuade everybody to keep them around. I also knew that it would probably be an advantage to use the Idols they had against them. Kellyn was winning a lot at the time, so I figured, “Let me put an end to this while they still don’t have the most power.”
SK: But then you got caught lying to the tribe about your desire to flip. Was there any moment you actually admitted the truth or did you lie about it the whole time?
DA: I was planning to lie to the very end, and that’s exactly what I did. They wouldn’t go with the plan either way.
SK: Your lie was so convincing, though. Did you start to believe your own lie?
DA: I did. I started believing my own lie. I was like, hopefully I lied good enough. Even if people think it’s a lie, they’re just gonna have to go with it because I just put on such a good performance.
SK: We didn’t get to see too much of your game this season. Tell us a bit about the game strategy you had in place and who your allies were.
DA: Before the Chris vote, my allies were Kellyn and Chelsea. After the Chris vote, I realized I didn’t have them as allies anymore because I was left out of it. I started building relationships with Laurel and Donathan. That’s why I was so convinced to make the plan with them. It would’ve been beneficial for them because they were already at the bottom. They had a relationship and a friend in me. We would all vote together, and also I had a strong relationship with Michael. I spent most of my game with him as well.
SK: You said you had a bond with Chelsea, but the viewers know nothing about her. Her time on the show has been nearly invisible, almost as if she’s not even there. Is her edit accurate in that appears she’s not doing anything?
DA: I think she really was playing the game. She had ties to Dom. She had a strong relationship with Dom, and that’s what got Bradley out of the game. People didn’t really see that as being a move by her, but it was one of her moves. She spent a lot of time trying to build relationships with me and Kellyn, making us feel comfortable. She was trying to convince us that she was a strong competitor and with us. I think a lot of her game is not really making it on the screen, but she is playing. I thought her edit was going to be for somebody else on the cast, but I guess not. It’s the edit she got, but I’m not sure why.
SK: Just to clarify, you said you believe Chelsea’s edit was going to be given to somebody else? Who did you think was going to get the lack-of-story edit?
DA: I don’t want to say [laughs.] There are other storylines that aren’t as dramatic as Chelsea’s.
SK: Michael seems to be one of the most likely candidates to win. He’s playing hard and appears to be well-liked by nearly everybody. How does he keep escaping the vote?
DA: I’m not sure how he’s made it that far, but I think he’s just kind of played his cards right thus far. There’s always been a target ahead of him, and if there wasn’t a target ahead of him, he had an Idol for it. I think he’s saved his tail a lot by having an Idol at times. I think that’s what kept him in the game this long. He’s totally a hard player. He almost seems like the perfect guy. There’s nothing bad I can really say about him.
SK: Tell us about Domenick. He’s been a big player this season who seems like he could win. What’s your take on him?
DA: Out on the island, I knew Domenick was dangerous from day one. I knew he was going to be a problem if he got far along in the game, and I think he’s doing exactly what I thought he was gonna do on day one. He’s convincing. He’s so persuasive, and I think he has a lot of people fooled into thinking they can beat them. Dom, right now, the way he’s looking is kind of unbeatable. Wendell is the same. He’s the guy that everybody likes. Nobody can say anything bad about Wendell, really. He’s kind of playing a similar game to Dom. I think Wendell and Dom, probably from my perspective, they were the most dangerous.
SK: What was your end-game plan? Who did you want to take to the final Tribal Council?
DA: I had a lot of different people I thought of, like Laurel, Donathan, Angela or Chelsea. Any of them would’ve been good with me. I felt like they haven’t really made a whole lot of moves. I felt like they wouldn’t have an easy argument against me because they didn’t make a whole lot of strategic moves that got them ahead in the game.
SK: How did you get on the show?
DA: I auditioned for it and got through. It just went from there. I auditioned with a lot of people. I wasn’t convinced that I would make it, but I did. It was my first time auditioning ever for anything.