'Survivor' Castaway Desi Williams on Not Noticing the Missing Vote and Learning to 'Trust Again' (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
Desi Williams might be one of the sincerest people to play Survivor.
The Virginia native was voted out on Wednesday's episode of Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers after a tie and a missing vote -- but has no regrets about not voting for Joe.
"We got to the point in the game where Joe was the only one left in the game who I felt like I could trust," Desi told ET over the phone on Thursday. "At that point in time, Joe was the only person who wasn't lying to me. So I was having this really hard dilemma about whether I vote out the one person I trust in this game... And I felt like if I wrote his name down, that there were larger implications, that I might not ever trust anybody in life again."
"I was having a tough time separating what's happening in the game from who I am as a person in real life," she confessed.
Amid Desi's personal struggle, she didn't notice that Lauren played her advantage and one vote was missing.
"It's embarrassing, but I didn't realize there was a vote missing until other people came to Ponderosa after getting voted off and told me," she revealed. "I'm just naturally not the person to ruminate over things over and over again. So once it was over, it was over."
"And while it's frustrating, I also don't think it changed the outcome of last night. I was more shocked at the fact that as a Healer tribe, I thought we were all voting together and all voting Lauren, and we didn't," she continued. "That's what I was so stuck on. The fact that only 10 votes were read didn't even cross my mind, because I was still trying to figure out like, 'Why did other people not vote for who they were supposed to vote for?'"
Desi, who said it was part of her strategy to downplay her intelligence because she knew she would be a physical threat from the get-go, doesn't regret not voting for Joe.
"I actually wouldn't, because I've had conversations with these people post-Survivor, and people have a hard time transitioning back to life. I remember saying to another player, 'Please, just learn to trust again. I know you've been playing this game where you've been able to trust no one, for all this time, so please know when you return to the world, please learn to trust again,'" she shared. "The fans at home don't see how tough it is as a player to then return to everyday life, to people you love and care about and feel like they're maybe trying to deceive you."
"I think I got out in just enough time that I was able to stay sane, I was able to stay true to who I was, and able to transition back into life and not be paranoid, and not feel like the world is against me," she said. "I think that's a real struggle that people have post-Survivor, that fans don't get to see, because all you're seeing is what's shown on TV."
As for what she's looking for in the next winner, Desi said she wants the Sole Survivor to "own" their gameplay.
"Everybody, once you get to know them, has a pretty good story. So it's hard to name one player, because I think everybody has their own reasons for wanting to win this game, and what it will do for them or their family or their confidence," she expressed. "I'm looking for someone who not only plays a good game, but will own up to their game, and can articulate why their gameplay was better than the person sitting next to them."