'Survivor' 46: Eliminated Canadian castaway, Jess Chong, says the island was like a 'middle school cafeteria'

"I'm smiling because it's over," the 37-year-old software engineer said.

Jess Chong on Survivor 46 (CBS)
Jess Chong on Survivor 46 (CBS)

For Survivor Season 46 castaway, Canadian Jessica “Jess” Chong, being on the island proved particularly difficult, filled with tears and harsh criticism from other members of the Yanu Tribe, leading to her elimination.

"I'm smiling because it's over," Chong told Yahoo Canada.

"For the longest time I was blaming myself for not sleeping, but honestly I don't think that would have helped anything. I probably would have just felt physically better in the game, but I don't think it would have changed anything about the social dynamics on that tribe. People think Survivor's like a meritocracy, it's a middle school cafeteria. I was like, 'This is like Lord of the Flies. What is going on here?'"

Watch Survivor Season 46 by adding the STACKTV channel to your Prime Video subscription. 14-day free trial then $12.99/month

$13 at Prime Video

In this week's episode, Tiffany Nicole Ervin called Chong "socially awkward," seemingly on the outskirts of an alliance between Ervin, Kenzie Petty and Q Burdette.

Chong said in the episode that she's been a bit more "reserved" on the island, but looking back at her time on the show, Chong said that's something that developed.

"I was not reserved on the first day because the very first thing that I did when I got there, I was obsessed with Kenzie pregame, I grabbed her hand and I was like, 'I'm so excited to work with you. I love you. I want to work with you,'" Chong explained. "And then she ... ran off and made alliances and whatever."

But Chong wants to clear the air about what happened in Fiji: She did in fact have a social game.

"I was doing stuff socially, like during Sweat challenge I was talking to the girls and Bhanu for a really long time, and we all learned so much about each other and about all their weird little neuroses and about winning," Chong said. "So it's a little strange they didn't show that because it made it seem like I didn't even try to talk to them."

"But I was just trying to get to know people and see if there could be a personal connection, because I don't want to be making alliances willy-nilly."

While Chong said she had the most real, emotional connection with Bhanu Gopal, the first person she felt had her back was Q.

"We were so pissed off at [David] Jelinsky quitting the Sweat challenge and for not helping with our shelter," she said. "I wish they had shown my alliance with Q, because he is so funny and I really enjoyed our secret alliance."

'I did not have an amazing time'

That alliance was seemingly broken when we saw Q, Petty and Ervin create a fake idol for Chong to find, so she wouldn't use her Shot in the Dark. While Chong had some suspicions that the idol she received from Q wasn't real, she learned the truth during the Tribal Council.

"I was mostly flummoxed," Chong said.

"You could have just voted me out, I would have been fine with that. Everyone thinks that everyone else thinks like them, I guess that's just the nature of like being a human and having arrogance, every human is so arrogant as to think that everyone else thinks like them, including myself. I was just like, ... this is overkill. It's not going to look good, but it is a good strategic move. So we'll just let it happen and see how people respond to it, and that's not my problem anymore."

When Chong returned home, currently living in San Francisco, Calif., and was able to share what happened with her friends and family, the Survivor star said she was "defensive."

"They're like, 'what's your strategy?' I was like, it doesn't matter what my frickin' strategy is if the other people don't want to work with me," Chong said.

"I just have myself, and my jokes. That's all."

Chong watched her exit confessional in Wednesday night's episode, and has a different perspective now that she's off the island.

"I'm like, 'I had an amazing time,' I did not have an amazing time," Chong said, getting emotional. "I had some amazing moments, but it's not fun to feel so alone out there."