Even though she was eliminated in the second episode of Survivor: David vs. Goliath, Jessica Peet was technically the first contestant voted out from the game — and it was quite an eventful way for her to go. The 19-year old was blindsided at Tribal Council after being led to believe that Lyrsa Torres was leaving the game instead. It was the classic case of some players getting wind of a plan and finding a way to shake things up on the other side of it. The move to eliminate Jessica doesn’t guarantee that Bi, Carl, and Davie stay on the outside of the numbers, but it does put them in more of a pickle moving into episode 3.
In this week’s exit interview, Jessica discusses her elimination from the game plus also her closest allies, the mistake she made, and also how badly her game was hurt by Pat being medically evacuated back in the premiere.
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CarterMatt – Is it a weird sort of thing to have to go through your entire game one day after watching it?
Jessica Peet – Yeah, it’s a lot. The first episode, I got to watch it over and over and over again, like obsessively. This isn’t necessarily an episode that I want to watch over again. It’s hard, but it’s okay.
I know you’ve had a little bit of time since you were out there to process everything. As you’re looking back on your game, what do you think was your biggest mistake?
I think the number one thing that I needed to do was have a more extensive conversation with Gabby. I wasn’t aware that she was feeling the way that she felt. I thought that we had already established that Lyrsa would be the vote-out so I didn’t want to continue to talk about it and risk her getting some weird sense that it was going to be her so she would have time to scramble or find an idol. That’s why I approached the situation the way that I did.
In watching it back and seeing that Gabby didn’t get the information that she needed, it is obviously frustrating to me.
In my interview with Pat last week he said that you were one of the people he was working with. How big of a blow was losing him to your game?
It was a really big blow. As he was sitting on the stretcher, of course I was really concerned about him. I care about him, but I also remember thinking ‘oh crap, that was one of my numbers.’ I feel like Tribal would have gone completely different had Pat been there. I know that Pat thinks that it would’ve been Nick, but it was between Nick and Lyrsa. If it was up to me, I would have ultimately gone with Lyrsa just because I think we would have needed Nick for challenges and strength. I think it makes more sense to get rid of weaker players than it does our stronger players just because he’s not helping out at camp.
It felt like in episode 1 the big target was Nick, but it seemed like in episode 2 it shifted over to Lyrsa. Was it always either/or, and it was just the editing presenting things this way?
It was always either/or. The main thing that made it switch for us was that during the second challenge, they didn’t show this but Lyrsa sat down on the deck while we were trying to put together the puzzle. We were all really frustrated and were like ‘girl, why are you sitting down? We’re all tired, we’re all hot. We can’t give up.’ That was really frustrating, and then my name came out of Lyrsa’s mouth in a conversation where they were discussing who they would vote out. That got back to me and she apologized, but in a game that is so much around deceit, it is really hard to accept an apology. As soon as I heard that [she was targeting me], her name was automatically on the chopping block. I was very sure that she was going to be the first boot.
Did you end up being successful in keeping your age under wraps?
I think I was successful. I did tell Carl and Pat that I actually was 19; I had a separate conversation with them, and I felt like offering them that information would bond us closer together to where they would feel tied to me and they would want to protect me. I felt like that would be good for my social game, and they were both very supportive.
It’s funny, because I feel like a lot of Survivor seasons have people in their early twenties, and then on your tribe you were actually six years younger than anyone else. Was it hard finding other people there to relate to?
Whenever we were going through and telling everyone our ages and where we were from, I was still undecided as to whether or not I was going to tell everyone about my age. As soon as I heard everybody’s age, I realized that I was going to have to lie because everybody was so much older. I know that was a concern, not being able to connect with people because they were so much older than me, but I don’t think I ran into that issue at all. Carl is 41, and we hit it off. We had a great relationship. I don’t think I had a problem connecting with those people on my tribe.
Can you even put into words what it was like during the cyclone?
It was terrible. I knew that it wasn’t just rain. I live in Florida so I know what it’s like whenever there are hurricanes. Sitting in the shelter and watching the wind and the rain was terrible. Being so cold and so wet for such a long period of time was miserable. There are so many times when you are sitting in that shelter where you think ‘I could leave at any time and quit.’ But, your drive to play that game and basically survive through this storm takes over. As hard as it was, it was worth it. You get to play this amazing game.
What was the thing that held the David Tribe back the most in challenges? Was it that the Goliath Tribe had all of this brawn and athleticism, or is there something else that is there?
That’s a good question. I don’t know. They do have a lot more muscle, but I still feel like even with the second challenge when they were ahead of us, it still took them just as long to do the puzzle as it took us. In the end, they just put it together and got it done, but it took them a really long time. In the very first challenge, they may have been ahead of us a little bit, but we were right on their tails with that puzzle.
I don’t feel like the challenges were blowouts; I do feel like they have some stronger people, but I never viewed it as a reason to feel bad for us.
How much of a crazy idol hunt were you a part of, since I’m assuming you didn’t know that Davie had it?
I don’t think anyone knew Davie had the idol other than him and Carl. I’m pretty sure that there was some idol searching going on, but we weren’t too obvious about it. I searched with Carl and with Davie, seeing if I could find anything — but, I’m pretty sure that Davie already had the idol when we were searching so I kind of feel dumb now (laughs). I’m happy that Davie found it. It was a proud moment for me and I hope that he uses it well.
Are you bummed out that you didn’t get to work with anyone on the Goliath tribe?
Yeah, that’s probably one of the things that I’m the most upset about, that I didn’t get to work with some of those people. It’s really upsetting (laughs).
It feels like you’re someone who is chomping at the bit to come back and play again. Are you thinking about what you would do if they do decide to call you and ask you to go back?
Oh, for sure. I’ve thought about that from the second I was voted out. I would go back and play again in a heartbeat, and I really hope that the opportunity comes for me. This is an amazing game and I only scratched the surface on the type of game I could have. I just hope in the future that I’m asked to come back out; I would literally go on a plane right now and fly out. I am very determined to play this game again.
Who were you the closest to overall out there?
I think it was Carl and Bi. I had great relationships with both of them, but they were different relationships.
I know in pre-game you get little glimpses of everybody or when you’re standing with everybody at the start of the season. Was there someone who was completely different from what your preconceived notion of them was?
I think that the person who was the most different was Carl. I wasn’t expecting him to be as loving and caring as he was. Walking around pre-game, he didn’t have his cowboy hat on and he had a serious look on his face; yet, when we actually met and we talked and connected, he surprised me a lot.
Thanks to Jessica for her time, and of course, we want to hear your thoughts on the interview and the video in the comments! (Photo: CBS.)