Lucy Huang never saw it coming.
“I honestly wasn’t thinking about immunity idols. I never thought someone would play one this early on in the game — especially for someone else!” the dietician, 42, tells PEOPLE of being eliminated on Wednesday’s episode of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.
Now back home in Diamond Bar, California, the businesswoman and mother of four reflects on her Survivor journey, being portrayed as practically silent for the first three episodes of the season and how her demeanor was her downfall.
Viewers basically didn’t get to hear you speak until Wednesday’s episode. What did we miss about your gameplay?
In group settings I can be an introvert who sits back for a while assessing the situation before jumping in. But I really was developing individual relationships with everyone. I was helping the guys with the shelter and getting the fire going. I caught some crab and helped with the cooking. I made sure I was a physical presence in the challenges. My strategy for the early days was to prove my worth to the tribe. Bret and Chris appreciated that. Ken didn’t. I felt he thought, “You’re a girl. Be a girl.”
You mentioned you like to be in control. Was it hard being more of a follower during the first few votes?
I know I can be stubborn and controlling, so I went into this trying to keep that in check. But I think after a few days out there, you can’t help but be yourself. I aligned with Chris and Bret because I’ve always been able to get along better with men. I like to deal in facts. If I have a problem, I’m going to bring it to you and I want you to do the same. I have no time for excuses or being over-emotional.
Were you surprised Ken felt you were being controlling when you told him the plan was to vote out Jessica?
My husband warned me that I sound bossy. He tells me all the time that I sound bossy and he tried to tell me to address people differently out here. I think my downfall was not being able to do that. But that’s who I’ve been for 42 years, I guess because of my upbringing. I failed to see how Ken perceived that conversation. He’s someone who plays emotionally and I didn’t realize how close he felt to Jessica. If I’d known that, I would have done things very differently and probably still be in the game.
Watching that conversation back, do you feel Ken misinterpreted your tone?
I was focusing on conveying the information, not the manner in which I was conveying it. I see that. But my thought was, “Hey. We just need to do whatever we can to make it to the swap. This is what the majority is doing. It’s set. We’re good.” I run a business with over 200 employees, I know how to compromise and be mindful of feelings. I wasn’t saying he couldn’t talk to anyone else. I was just saying, “You don’t have to start any chaos.” But, of course, he went straight to Jess and chaos was what we got.
Did you have any clue David had an idol, or that he would play it for Jessica?
I honestly wasn’t thinking about immunity idols. I never thought someone would play one this early on in the game – especially for someone else! There was just no strategic benefit. I know David was probably just trying to be loyal to Ken, who was originally going to vote me out. David knew Ken was close with Jess and I guess he wanted to save her for him. And he wanted the underdogs to become the majority. But we all knew a swap or merge was coming, so those numbers wouldn’t matter! I really can’t see any strategic benefit to him saving Jess that early in the game.
What did your children say after watching you on the show?
They appreciated the game I played. They didn’t get to see me much in the beginning and I was afraid to watch last night because I didn’t know if they would have me come out as this crazy person. But I definitely can say I’m proud of how I played. I wasn’t afraid to make moves. I never wanted to be carried to the end by being quiet. My kids had a lot of thoughts about Ken, since he was the one that started things in motion that led to me being eliminated. He was a sensitive… jerk, I guess would be a nice way to say it. I hope I get the chance to play again — I at least want to see how I’d do in the individual challenges.
Survivor: Millenials vs. Gen-X airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.