‘Survivor’ Castaway James – “(Kellyn) Stonewalled My Move, and Yet I Can’t Bring Myself to Hate Her”


“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

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Gordon Holmes: Heading in to last night’s Tribal, were you thinking you had Angela and Michael locked down?
James Lim: Yeah. That’s why I reacted to the blindside. I knew I was on the bottom of the tribe as far as numbers. But, the impression that I got over the course of the afternoon was that I had done a reasonably good job flipping Angela to our side. In the whole me and Michael vs. Kellyn and Desiree dynamic, Angela was going to come with us. They didn’t show much, but we had some really deep conversations. Both on Naviti 2.0 and Malolo 3.0. There was a time where we talked about loyalty and what that means to me. And I used that to pitch to her, that I realize I’m on the bottom. If you repay to me what we did for you, we can become tight allies and I’ll never write your name down. I thought she was moved by it, so I was a little shocked by the 4-1 result.

Holmes: It looked like Laurel and Donathan were going to start working with Wendell and Domenick before the second swap. Did you know that was going on?
Lim: Yeah, the backstory to all of that was; the Malolo four, we were a rock-solid bunch. Basically what was happening was me and Libby were working the Chris/Angela angle and Laurel and Donathan were working the Domenick/Wendell angle. Then we’d get together as a foursome and debrief. It was a way to see which pair would be a better pair to side with.
Holmes: So, a little divide and conquer action there.
Lim: Yes. One of my biggest regrets was not throwing one or both of the challenges. If we had an absolute upper-hand, we should have capitalized on it more.

Holmes: Morgan said you suck in challenges. However, you beat Kellyn in a puzzle, so you can’t be that bad. During that Morgan vote, was your goal to break up a potential Morgan/Libby alliance?
Lim: Partially, yes. Laurel did a good job pitching for Morgan over Wendell. But from my point of view, it was a good spot for us to sever the bond Libby was building with Morgan. It was only three days, but it was very impressive how tight those two got. I think day nine was the right time to draw Libby back into the Malolo circle. I’m glad that is the path she chose to take.
Holmes: How hard did Libby fight to keep Morgan?
Lim: Harder than what was shown. The conversation I had with her at the well was a lot longer and a lot more emotional than what was shown. It came down to us four sticking as a group and having the exact same target. And when she saw the three of us were locked in on Morgan, it came down to her. I’ll never forget the moment when the final vote came out and I really thought, “Is it going to be Angela? Is it going to be Morgan?” It was personally awesome to see that that entire strategic plan had come to fruition that night.
Holmes: Domenick is trying to put the target on Libby’s back now. He’s calling her a “devil in an angel’s body.” Is he overselling it or is there a more conniving side we’re not seeing of Libby?
Lim: Coming from his perspective, I wouldn’t blame him. From Naviti’s point of view, Libby is the cute blonde that slit Morgan’s throat. I think the impression Wendell and Domenick has was, “These four people kicked out asses, but Libby is the one who really did it.” And I was more that happy to let them have that impression. I wanted to call the shots from under the radar. But, Domenick has a great point. She’s a great player and someone to look out for.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with…Donathan.
Heart of gold. One of the brightest people I’ve met. He was my day-one ride-or-die.
Holmes: Stephanie Johnson?
Lim: One of a kind. I’m blessed that I got to meet her. She’s a role model for women, all women watching “Survivor.” We’ll be family and friends for life.
Holmes: Kellyn?
Lim: She stonewalled my move, and yet I can’t bring myself to hate her. We really bonded deeply and shared some personal stories. I can’t say enough good things about her as a person.
Holmes: Desiree?
Lim: We come from such different backgrounds. It was tough to connect on the island. But, her story is so powerful and unique. I really respect her for that.
Holmes: Morgan?
Lim: (Laughs) She came at me in her exit press. But, we bonded well at Ponderosa. She’s positive, energetic, it was amazing to bond with her.
Holmes: Brendan?
Lim: One of the most quality people that I’ve ever met in my life.
Holmes: Laurel?
Lim: She is calm, she is genuine, she’s one of my best friends from the cast. It was nice to put together “Survivor’s” first Harvard/Yale alliance with her.
Holmes: Libby?
Lim: She’s a cute blonde and I trust her. She’s an amazing human being.
Holmes: Gonzalez?
Lim: Strong, persevering woman. She deserved better.
Holmes: Jacob?
Lim: We’ve hung out a lot post-game and he’s just so real. He’s a nice guy to be around.
Holmes: Jenna?
Lim: She’s real. If we were friends in college we would have had a great time together.
Holmes: Angela?
Lim: She has such a different background from the rest of us. It’s hard to read her as a person. But, she really opened up to me in the later stages. That bond, despite the fact that she backstabbed me, I truly respect her for her life’s journey and her service to the country.
Holmes: Domenick?
Lim: What you see is what you get. He’s loud, he’s passionate. He’s a schemer, he’s a hustler. And he’s a fun guy to be around. He’s an amazing friend to have.
Holmes: Wendell?
Lim: The most likable guy on this season. He’s one of the types that, he’s playing an under-the-radar game. He just makes you like him so much. He’s like your bro out there.
Holmes: Chris?
Lim: Over-the-top, huge personality. He’s a fun guy to hang out with. I loved every second with him. He’s such an entertainer.
Holmes: And let’s finish with Michael.
Lim: The savviest eighteen-year-old I’ve ever met. There was nobody like him in my high school senior class.

Holmes: Jacob knew you were a Harvard-educated track star before the season began. Did that ever come out while he was in the game?
Lim: Oh yes, we went on a walk one-on-one. And he said, “I want to play with you, but I think you’re lying about everything.” And I basically was like, what is this guy trying to get at? I think he had only told Stephanie Johnson that he really knew who I was.

Holmes: Your farewell last night was very classy and thoughtful. Was it important to you to tip your cap on your way out?
Lim: I think going in I wanted to portray the person I am in real life. And that meant I was going to play a game that had respect for other players. Honestly, when you hear your name come up at Tribal Council and you get voted out, you kind of blackout. And so, my turnaround farewell to the tribe, I think it was the right thing to say. It feels good to know that I left “Survivor” with a classy gesture to the rest of my cast and the entire “Survivor” community.

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