‘Survivor’ Gen-Xer Jessica Lewis: ‘I’ve Struggled My Entire Life to Get Where I Am’

Jessica Lewis (CBS)

Jessica Lewis (CBS)










XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X” needs. We’ll have interviews with all twenty of the new players to hold you over until the season starts. Then we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the players after they’ve been eliminated, and the return of the ever-popular “Survivor” Power Rankings. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.

Name (Age): Jessica Lewis (37)
Current Residence: Voorheesville, NY
Occupation: Assistant District Attorney
Hobbies: Painting, baking, and photography.
Pet Peeves: People who blame others for their own misery.
Three Words to Describe You: Unique, unconventional, and intriguing.

NOTE: Usually I get a good thirty minutes with each contestant before the game starts. However, this season I had to get through all 20 players in only two-and-a-half hours. So, these pieces will be short and hopefully sweet.

Gordon Holmes: What on Earth did you do to make a jury give you a standing ovation?
Jessica Lewis: Apparently I did a fantastic job with my trial. I had a case where a woman with dementia had her house stolen by three people and they tried to sell it to a mill across the street. She testified, and also her 94-year-old brother-in-law testified. And the jury was blown away with my advocacy and how I dealt with my elderly witnesses. And they were just really impressed.
Holmes: I’m picturing a pissed-off defense attorney throwing his paper work in the air after that.
Lewis: (Laughs) Almost.

Holmes: You refer to yourself as “unconventional.” Now, does that refer to how you go about your job or your everyday life?
Lewis: I think it’s all of me.  I don’t think I’ve traveled a path that many people have traveled. I was pregnant my first year in law school. And I managed to have two children, move multiple times, get married, and go to law school in six years. That’s something not that many people have accomplished. I’ve been like that my whole life. I grew up on a dairy farm, now I’m a lawyer. I’m 37 now and I’ve done so much in such short period of time. So, I’m very unconventional.
Holmes: And after all that you won “Survivor.”
Lewis: Yes! (Laughs) It’s one more thing that’s unconventional. I’ve struggled my entire life to get where I am and this will be a great opportunity to show what I’ve learned.

Holmes: Do you have any problems being deceitful?
Lewis: I don’t have problems lying. I’m very good at choosing what I should say and when I should say it. That really comes with my job. I have to know how to deal with defendants. I have to know how to deal with witnesses. I have to know how to deal with judges. So, you’re always having to choose how you speak to those individuals. I’ve learned how to deal with different personalities in different ways.
Holmes: Are you comfortable flirting to get ahead?
Lewis: I don’t necessarily want to flirt, but I’ve said, “If pretty gets me in the door, my brain will help me stay there.” If someone wants to give me five more minutes because they think I’m pretty or are interested in me because I’m a female? That’s fine. But I’m not going to use that as my sole way of getting there.

Holmes: How do you deal with being lied to?
Lewis: I don’t let them know that I’m on to them. Then I try to get more information from them in order to find out how to deal with them.
Holmes: How well do you deal with hunger?
Lewis: I’m actually really good with hunger.
Holmes: I’m not.
Lewis: (Laughs)
Holmes: I’m hungry right now.
Lewis: Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat. I think when I’m stressed I don’t tend to eat. When I’m on trial I usually lose ten pounds. I think stress helps me not think about food.
Holmes: I think some stress is headed your way.
Lewis: (Laughs) I think so.
Holmes: How about sleep deprivation?
Lewis: I haven’t slept an entire night since I had my first child.
Holmes: How about heat?
Lewis: I love the heat. I love being warm, I hate being cold.
Holmes: How about paranoia?
Lewis: I’ve actually dealt with it quite a bit in my profession. It’s something I’m always aware of. When you’re a prosecutor you constantly have to think ahead. You’re always having to be as paranoid about your case as possible so you can be prepared for it.

Holmes: Have you seen any of the other contestants yet?
Lewis: I’ve seen maybe two here. I don’t know if any of the people I saw before made it.
Holmes: Any early thoughts on them?
Lewis: One of them smiled at me in the elevator. That was nice.

Holmes: If there is a twist to this season, what do you think it could be?
Lewis: Gordon, there’s always a twist. I think it’s Exile Island again.

Holmes: If you could align with any past player, who would it be?
Lewis: I’d say Joe (Anglim). He was so good at getting food and he was likable. I think he’d take the pressure off of me because they’d be gunning for him. But, he’s also very trustworthy and would keep me fed.

Holmes: Lightning round time.
Lewis: (Laughs) I’m going to do so bad at this.
Holmes: Believe in yourself. Cats or dogs?
Lewis: Dogs.
Holmes: Beer or wine?
Lewis: Wine.
Holmes: Superman or Batman?
Lewis: Superman.
Holmes: Meat or vegetables?
Lewis: Meat.
Holmes: Republican or Democrat?
Lewis: Democrat.
Holmes: Books or TV?
Lewis: Books.
Holmes: Swimming or sunbathing?
Lewis: Sunbathing.
Holmes: Many casual friends or one good friend?
Lewis: One good friend.
Holmes: A nice car or a nice home?
Lewis: A nice home.
Holmes: Smart or funny?
Lewis: Funny.
Holmes: Parvati or Boston Rob?
Lewis: Boston Rob.
Holmes: A big vacation or a big TV?
Lewis: A big vacation.
Holmes: Working alone or with a team?
Lewis: Alone.
Holmes: Dragons or unicorns?
Lewis: Ooooo! Unicorns!
Holmes: Careful planning or fly by the seat of your pants?
Lewis: Fly by the seat of my pants.
Holmes: And finally, Jeff Probst or Ryan Seacrest?
Lewis: Jeff Probst.
Holmes: See, you killed that!
Lewis: (Laughs) I hope so!

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X,” Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 8pm ET.

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