QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Ghost Island.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.
Name: Desiree Afuye
Hometown: Newark, New Jersey
Current residence: Brooklyn, New York
Gordon Holmes: One of your hobbies is debating.
Desiree Afuye: (Laughs) Yes.
Holmes: Is that on a debate team or with random folks?
Afuye: No, I just debate! I will come up to you and debate. I will debate from every different angle, even if I don’t believe in the angle. I just like debating.
Holmes: That could get you in some trouble out here.
Afuye: I know when to debate and when not to debate. (Laughs) I know when to shut up. I’m a pretty good reader of people, so I’ll talk to the person as I see them.
Holmes: You also describe yourself as a YouTube binger. What’s your go-to genre?
Afuye: I love beauty videos. Like Gigi Gorgeous, the black hair beauty videos…even though I have no hair it still fascinates me.
Holmes: So make-up application…
Afuye: Make-up application, hair application…everything to do with beauty.
Holmes: Why do you think you were cast?
Afuye: I’m really fascinating.
Afuye: (Laughs) I have a story that I bring along to this season. I was homeless at one point. I’ve been through a lot at a young age. I’m only 21.
Holmes: You’re 21, but you feel like an old soul.
Afuye: Yes, I get that all the time. And I think it’s because I’ve overcome certain things.
Holmes: How is this show even a challenge after what you’ve been through?
Afuye: Yes! After what I’ve been through, this is nothing.
Holmes: They should have to survive what you’ve been through.
Holmes: Are you going to lie about any part of your backstory?
Afuye: I might lie, people might think I’m older than I am. I might say I have kids. I could be doing this for them. (Cries) This is for my baby. I don’t have any kids, I’m a kid.
Holmes: And how many “kids” do you have?
Afuye: I might have two…or one.
Holmes: You might want to pick a number and stick with it.
Afuye: One would be more believable.
Holmes: Boy or girl?
Afuye: A girl.
Holmes: And what’s her name?
Afuye: My baby girl Christina.
Holmes: Aww…and how old is she?
Afuye: She’s two years old.
Holmes: That’s a rough age because they get into everything and they’re moody.
Afuye: I know…but it was so hard for me to leave her.
Holmes: Who is she with?
Afuye: My boyfriend, he’s taking care of her.
Holmes: I’m picturing you at the finale with that million-dollar check, and some jury member being like, “This is going to do so much for you and Christina.” And you having to be like, “Yeah…about that…”
Holmes: You’re obviously OK lying. But have you set any kind of ethical boundaries for yourself?
Afuye: I know what game I’m playing. In the jungle you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. And I’m here to do what I’ve got to do. If that includes lying? I’m sorry. I don’t lie outside of the game, but a million dollars is on the line.
Holmes: You mentioned a boyfriend…
Afuye: I don’t have a boyfriend.
Afuye: (Laughs) Damn, I got you too!
Holmes: Lie to them, Desiree! I’m the only friend you have out here!
Holmes: I don’t know what to believe.
Afuye: (Laughs) I’m good.
Holmes: Alright, liar. Is flirting on the table?
Afuye: Yeah. I will flirt. I will use anything as leverage. If being a woman gets me ahead? I am the woman of all women. I am her.
Holmes: I was going to ask if your make-believe boyfriend would be upset if you were flirting. Maybe he’ll be make-believe upset.
Afuye: I thought we were going off of fiction!
Holmes: Are you a “Survivor” fan?
Afuye: Kind of, sort of. I’ve seen season 16, jumped to season 20, season 28, 32, 31, 34, all the thirties.
Holmes: They’re keeping you in the dark as far as twists and whatnot. Any guesses?
Afuye: I really think it’s Beauty vs. Brains vs. Brawn. Just by looking at the people.
Holmes: Which one are you?
Afuye: I think I’m beauty.
Holmes: I think I’m all of the above.
Holmes: Alright, I’ll give you a “Survivor” situation. You tell me which one you would rather deal with.
Holmes: Align with a Hillary supporter or a Trump supporter?
Afuye: A Hillary supporter because Trump supporters are idiots.
Holmes: Find a steal a vote advantage or an eliminate a juror advantage?
Afuye: I’d rather steal a vote. I will woo any juror.
Holmes: It’s for Christina.
Afuye: It’s for baby Christina, c’mon!
Holmes: Baby clothes do not grow on trees.
Afuye: She deserves a good future.
Holmes: Endurance challenge or word puzzle?
Afuye: Word puzzle.
Holmes: Align with a racist or a sexist?
Afuye: A sexist…because a racist…I don’t understand how you can be racist. Why would the color of my skin determine who I am as a person? That’s dumb. A sexist deals with your ego. You feel so macho. I can deal with that. I can break you down. I can make you feel miniscule.
Holmes: Sexists get married.
Holmes: They pledge the rest of their lives to a woman.
Holmes: Whereas a racist doesn’t want anything to do with the other race.
Afuye: It’s interesting.
Holmes: Voted out first or voted out before the final Tribal?
Afuye: Voted out before final Tribal. At least I can prove to myself that I can come this far.
Holmes: Align with an adulterer or a tax cheat?
Afuye: An adulterer because a tax cheat is about the money. Some people play to be Sole Survivor, I’m about the money. If your goal is the same as mine, I don’t know if I want to align with you.
Holmes: When I was writing these I was thinking, these are some horrible people I’m making these folks align with.
Afuye: They are!
Holmes: But then you get in front of the final jury and say, “This dude is a racist tax cheat.”
Afuye: (Laughs) I wouldn’t need Christina.
Holmes: Lose the family challenge or win and have to decide who to bring along.
Afuye: Win and have to decide.
Holmes: Get caught stealing food or hunting for an idol?
Afuye: These are hard questions…caught stealing food. Because I can get caught, then everyone’s mad at me. And if I can’t woo them back, I’ll be alone and can go find the idol.
Holmes: Align with a super fan or someone who doesn’t watch the show.
Afuye: Doesn’t watch the show, cause then I’m running you and you’re my pawn.
Holmes: A dance challenge or a karaoke challenge?
Afuye: Karaoke, I like singing.
Holmes: What’s your jam?
Afuye: Oh…right now…has to be this UK artist, Skepta. It’s called “Skepta’s Interlude.”
Holmes: Is that made up? Like your boyfriend?
Afuye: It’s real. I want him to be my boyfriend.
Holmes: When people meet you, what is their first impression?
Afuye: I suffer from resting bitch face.
Holmes: Lemme see.
Afuye: (Sits normally)
Holmes: …I can see it.
Afuye: (Laughs) I have to consciously tell myself to keep a little smirk on my face. So, when people meet me and I have my resting bitch face, they think, “She doesn’t want to talk to me. She doesn’t like me.” To avoid that I’m going to keep a smirk on my face. I want people’s first impression to be, “She’s really nice. She’s my homegirl.” I’m going to be their homegirl.
NOTE: The cast members do not know each other’s names at this point. I showed Desiree a picture of each of the competitors and asked her to share her first impressions.
Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Ghost Island” – Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8 pm ET.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes