Survivor is off and running and we have our first tribal council elimination of season 37. Episode one saw Pat Cusack forced to leave due to injury and now 19- year-old Jessica Peet has also had her flame snuffed out.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss caught up with Jessica after last night’s episode to discuss her experience on the island, why she decided to hide her age from her fellow players and what she believes she can do differently if given another chance to play the game.
MW- Good morning Jessica, pleasure to talk to you today. Obviously very unfortunate you weren’t able to stay on the island for too long but what did you think of the experience as a super fan who got to be on Survivor?
JP- It was amazing. I’ve been dreaming of this opportunity ever since I’ve been watching Survivor and have been able to comprehend the show. Being out there, even though it was only for six days, I think I got a very good Survivor experience and feel for what it’s like – thank you rain [laughs]. I’m really thankful for it and even though it was only six days I wouldn’t take it back for the world.
MW- All that rain was absurd, was that the most surprising obstacle on the island?
JP- Yea, I definitely think that the weather was the hardest thing. Just being wet and cold and not having any type of dry around us for three days was a little bit of a challenge. We were running off of little to no sleep and it was hard to deal with that. The weather was the worst of it all.
MW- And now this isn’t exactly breaking news by any stretch but you were 19 years old while you were on the show, what was the strategy behind keeping that from people and leading them to believe you were a few years older?
JP- I didn’t want to go in and have people automatically think I was just some young girl who couldn’t hold her weight. I just really didn’t want people to underestimate me. I put a lot of thought and consideration into if I was going to lie about it and if so what I would say. I didn’t actually make the final decision to lie about it until we were all back at camp after that first little challenge. We were going around in a circle basically saying our names, our ages, what we did, where we’re from and it was just right then and there like word vomit it came out and I said, “I’m Jessica, I’m 22.” After I said it I knew I committed myself to a huge lie for the rest of the time I’m here so…
MW- Then at the end of episode two we found out you were voted off, did you have a sense that there was a plan to vote you out or were you totally caught off guard?
JP- I don’t think I had any type of idea until I got to tribal. I could tell based off Lyrsa and Elizabeth, some of the things they were saying, I knew in my head that my name would come up at least twice. Then I remember being nervous when they were tallying the votes because I was looking around at my alliance members, or what I thought were my alliance members, looking for some type of confirmation that they voted the way they were supposed to.
It’s nerve wracking, that time where Jeff (Probst) is tallying the votes, it’s all a big question and you have no idea. I started to get a little bit nervous then when none of them would really make eye contact with me. When they started to read all the names and I saw mine more than twice I said, “Oh crap, I’m about to get voted out.” It was a huge shock.
I remember before Jeff read the votes he explained where he was going to bring the torch and then snuff it, blah, blah, blah – and I thought I didn’t really need to listen to that part because I really did feel confident it wouldn’t be me. In my head it didn’t make sense for them to get rid of me over Lyrsa so it was a shock, it was a genuine blindside. I had no idea until I was sitting there and there was nothing I could do about it.
MW- Now that you’ve had time to think it over and you’ve been able to watch it back have you realized some thing you’d like to change or things you could have done better?
JP- Yea, I think I kind of did it to myself. When we got back from the second challenge it shows Bi having that conversation with the tribe where she’s talking about her profession and it was almost like she was trying to tell us what we’re doing and the mindset we’re going into challenges with that we’re never going to win with that type of mindset. Bi was upset and mad and I went into this game saying I was going to be selfish and only play for myself but in that moment seeing someone that you care about upset and hurting – I wanted to be there for her.
I could have been out having conversations and being a part of conversations so I would know and I wouldn’t have been so lost. Looking back at it I wish that I would have played more for myself and not been so concerned about Bi. But that’s just in my nature, I couldn’t help it.
MW- Given the opportunity would you want to get right back on the horse and go back to the island on another season?
JP- They could literally call me today they want me to come back out and I’d be on a plane in a heartbeat. This was truly the most exhilarating, giving experience that I’ve ever had in my life. I’m very thankful for it even though it was short I know there’s thousands and thousands of people that apply for this show so to even be a selected one that gets to go out and experience a little taste of the game – I’m incredibly thankful for that.
But yes, I would be willing to play again in a heartbeat. I really do hope that I get the opportunity to play again just so I can go in and hopefully make it a little bit further than what I did. Winning a million dollars wouldn’t be too shabby either!
MW- An extra million dollars in your pocket would be a nice incentive for sure. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me today Jessica, and hopefully we get to see you again really soon!
JP- Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. Great talking to you!
Catch an all-new episode of Survivor Wednesday nights at 8:00PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.