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S44: Helen Li

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Helen Li

Age: 29

Hometown: Wayland, Mass.

Current Residence: San Francisco, Calif.

Occupation: Product Manager

Three Words to Describe You: Empathetic, optimistic, self-aware

Why do you want to be part of Survivor? I've been watching Survivor for over a decade and have never ceased to be impressed by how a game built on deception and testing relationships has brought up conversation around society's most pressing issues and how we all get along with each other. It's the ultimate game and the ultimate challenge I can put myself through.

What's one life experience you feel has prepared you for the game? Growing up and in college, I was a part of a number of different communities and learned to adapt to the norms of each of them – often context switching between very different groups, such as my predominantly Chinese dance group and my American high school.

Which previous player do you identify with the most? Who do you think you will play most like? I identify with: Erika (Season 41) because we're both small Asian women who can be underestimated. Play like: Mix of Tina (Season 2) because she was well-liked and underestimated because of it, and Sophie Clarke (South Pacific) for her strategic prowess.

What will you value in an alliance partner? Partnership and loyalty to me and only me.

Favorite Hobbies: Travel, downhill skiing, board games and puzzles, hiking.

Pet Peeves: Toilet paper roll going 'under' instead of 'over,' traffic, disrespectful people.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Growing into someone my parents say they never have to worry about.

What is something we would never know from looking at you?  I can complete an expert level of Minesweeper in under two minutes.

Who in your life is your biggest inspiration and why? My parents – they left China for the U.S. in their early twenties and have worked their asses off since then to give my brother and I every opportunity they could afford us growing up.

Why will you be the Sole Survivor? I'll be underestimated from the get-go and can adapt my game to the dynamics at play at the time. I think I can pull the strings without anyone realizing it's me. By the time they do, it'll be too late!

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  • 3 weeks later...

An exit interview from Helen


-she knew that Sarah didn't have a vote, but still thought she had the votes to stay (she did mention that she knew she was a goner when Jeff read the first vote, for Carolyn, and Helen recognized it as her own writing)

-even though she knew Sarah didn't have a vote, at the time she was blindsided enough to feel like Sarah had turned on her too.  She also knew that Carolyn and Yam saw her and Sarah as duo, so they tried to not be seen together so much 

-says that Yam and Carolyn were both very emotional people, but that Carolyn was doing a good job as pretending she wasn't as self-aware as she really was.  She thinks that her and Sarah were viewed as game bots by those two and that's why they didn't get along

-Carolyn was low on her suspicion list of the person who found the idol (she assumed she'd be screaming with joy if she found it), so Helen assumed Sarah or Carson may have gotten it since they were savvy enough

-she joked that if there were one thing she would do differently, it would be to tell Bruce to duck his head (in all seriousness though she felt like she got lumped in with Carson/Sarah, so she would try to integrate the entire tribe more)

-she left the game feeling so defeated that she didn't feel like she'd recommend the experience to anyone

I feel like we missed out on a potential bitter Helen down the road:



I have to imagine going all the way out there and leaving on day 5 is not fun, so take me through your emotional process of handling that situation.

I'm a huge sore loser. You can ask anyone that's ever played a board game with me. You can ask my boyfriend. I hate losing. I'm a super competitive person.


Edited by LadyChatts
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16 minutes ago, LadyChatts said:

-she left the game feeling so defeated that she didn't feel like she'd recommend the experience to anyone

This is very sad that she felt that way about it, though it does seem like she has gotten over it enough to, at the end of the interview, ask the show to bring her back.

Her comments were interesting about her subverting her usual, more emotional aspects once she saw how out there Carolyn and Yam Yam were, and trying to be more logical/rational to counterbalance that. I know there were some comments in the episode thread about Helen being boring so no great loss, but it seems like she was less boring and more overshadowed by the "colorful" personalities of a couple of her tribemates, and might have been interesting if she had stuck around.

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@tracyscott76 yeah it seems like she got over her bitterness at the experience, so I’m glad for that.  Reading her interview (which has a video if you click on the link) I actually really like her and wish we had seen more of her.  I think she was interesting and had a personality, despite getting next to nothing in the edit.  I really wish Sarah had gone.  

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