I’m not sure I realized until seconds before it was time for her exit interview that “Dawson” was actually “Survivor: Philippines” contestant Sarah Dawson’s last name.
I did, however, know two things for sure about Dawson:
1) She was the only player so far this season able to identify future baseball Hall of Famer Jeff Kent in the wilderness, but she was voted off on Wednesday’s (October 17) episode without ever revealing that information.
2) She had a bit of a crush on “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and when she was voted out, rather than using that last moment as a chance to spread the truth about Jeff Kent, she used it to give Probst a huge hug and kiss on the cheek.
Both of those facts, plus her announcement that if Jeff Kent wins he owes her a number of gifts including a pink gun, came up in my exit interview with Dawson, a conversation that proves that she could have been one of the most amusing, quotable players of the season, if only she’d been given any screentime.
Click through for the full interview.
HitFix: You definitely seemed a bit blindsided at the Tribal Council on Wednesday. Did you go in completely unaware that votes might be going your way?
Sarah Dawson: No. No way. I probably seemed blindsided because I was just so shocked. So much happened in that episode with Dana going home and then we had a challenge and we got Denise and we lost our first challenge and everything happened so quickly. I was having a hard time mentally keeping up with it considering the starvation. At this point in the game, everyone’s busy all the time, just from their bodily needs not being met. So I actually knew that I was leaving and I fought hard to try to get some people to to work with me, but I just couldn’t move fast enough. I couldn’t recover fast enough from losing Dana to rebuild an alliance and I should have made an alliance Plan B, but I didn’t.
HitFix: What were the pieces you were trying to move around? What was the move you were trying to make happen?
Dawson: Well, Dana, Katie and I, we had a strong women’s alliance and then once we got Denise, Katie was in charge of pulling Denise in and I was supposed to kinda keep the guys busy and we were solidifying the alliance. If Dana had stayed and we had the majority, I am convinced that Denise would have voted with us, so there were so many variables that played in this episode that affected the rest of the game and that will affect.
HitFix: You seemed shocked at the end, but you still had enough composure and determination to give Jeff Probst a big hug and a kiss. What was the motivation for that as your last move?
Dawson: Oh my gosh. The Jeff Probst! So when he’s explaining all the challenges and our interactions with him, he’s standing farther away. There are so many people and and he’s standing farther away from us. So I really couldn’t get my hands on him indiscreetly under those conditions, so I was just holding and waiting. I can wait. And then once he ASKED me to walk up to him and bring him my torch. It’s like, “No problem. I can’t believe I’m being voted out. I can’t believe I’m voted out.” All these things are going through my head and as soon as I get in front of him, I drop that torch and both of my hands were free and where are they going to anywhere beside on his body? I’ve imagined kissing him for years. He’s actually on my “freebie” list. My 5 Freebie List, one day when I get married? He’s on there. So standing in front of him, fire all around us, it was just so romantic. So yeah, I stole a kiss and it was amazing.
HitFix: Did you get the impression that he also thought it was a magical moment?
Dawson: Oh yeah, I did!
HitFix: And what is it about Jeff Probst that brings that side out in you?
Dawson: I like his swagger. I love “Survivor” so much and he is a phenomenal host for this show. He’s such a great host and between the two, him just being hot — those crater dimples in his cheeks! — and his confidence, his smile and the fact that he’s on favorite TV show hosting every Wednesday night? Oh my gosh. That’s like just a sandwich. Ate it up! I just absolutely… Everything just kinda threw me over the moon and the next thing I knew, I was attacking him… With my lips.
HitFix: So that was what you chose to do in that last moment in the game. You didn’t choose to lob a grenade in Jeff Kent’s direction. Did you give any consideration to that?
Dawson: Oh no. No. I’m not that petty. I’d been watching Jeff Kent play the game for the past 12 games. He doesn’t need any help from me. I figured he’d probably take himself down and it would make the game fair for him. He could have an honest shot at playing the game as a normal game. He had an honest shot. But I didn’t need to help take him down. That’s the way I felt at the time. If he didn’t want to make a smart alliance… I talked this really smart alliance with him and he didn’t want to play with me, but you have to consider that he’s gonna do what’s best for him. I wasn’t in his best interests, but hopefully I gave him a leg up and hopefully he can use it and continue to play without the hinderance of everyone knowing he’s a millionaire. I had bigger things to worry about than Jeff Kent. I have Jeff Probst in front of me. It’s time to focus on what really matters in life. Bucket list!
HitFix: You say that you talked with Jeff Kent about a smart alliance of some kind. Did you tell him what you knew or not?
Dawson: This is what I told him: I said, “Listen. You need some allies. You’re not making any allies.” Our tribe, it didn’t show, but I think it’s pretty obvious because it didn’t show that we weren’t making a ton of alliances in the first two days of the game. So I went to him and talked to him and said, “Listen. You and I, we need to make an alliance of two. You are a physical player. I’m a social player. This is mutually beneficial.” I said to him, I said, “If you’re looking for loyalty, I have been loyal to you since the moment that I saw your face, Jeff. I’ve been loyal to you and I want to continue to do that, despite who you are.” I said that to him. And he didn’t… He just didn’t want to play with me. And I was the last kid picked in the sandbox, but I really, really tried on a daily basis to form something with him, but I think he just really wanted to play with boys.
HitFix: What do you think would have been the impact if you had just announced around the fire one night, “He played in the major leagues. He’s a multi-millionaire. Isn’t that cool?” What do you think would have happened?
Dawson: I think there would have been silence and confusion and then he would have started damage control and immediately started attacking me. Recognizing him, I also recognized his bad boy traits, so the last thing I wanted to do was poke the dragon. If I had done that, I know he would have started a campaign against me that probably was a little dirty, so I didn’t want to go about it that way. I wanted us to form an alliance based on loyalty and mutual respect, but I guess that wasn’t in his best interests. But I really wanted to play with him, not at his expense.
HitFix: I completely understand wanting the motorcycle, but why the pink gun?
Dawson: I just love things that are pink. I love the color pink and I love to accessorize. I have moped. I have a python. I just love badass things that just so happen to be in the right color. So a pink gun? Yeah, I could put that in my holster. And, who knows? Maybe I’d make a stronger alliance if I had one. It scares some people, but my intent wasn’t to imply that I would shoot him. There are much more interesting ways that I could get to him without violence.
HitFix: I did not interpret it that way. Don’t worry!
Dawson: Oh good! Because once I saw it, I was like, “Oooh. That could look bad.”
HitFix: You’ve hinted around a couple of these things, but by losing so much, Matsing kinda dominated the screentime for the season’s first month of episodes.
Dawson: [Sighs.] Yeah.
HitFix: Was there anything from your camp and your game that you particular wish that viewers had been able to see?
Dawson: So many things! There were a lot of moves made behind the scenes. Of course, those could be played in the future, so I can’t get too specific on them, but our tribe, we were making subtle game moves. We were making subtle game moves. We weren’t attacking each other. I don’t think that’s a particularly winning strategy, but mentally we were making huge, huge moves on each other that were going to play long-term in the game. Once we lost numbers, that really did change everything. Our tribe was doing a lot of things and hopefully Kalabaw will get some more airtime, but having three tribes initially just completely affected how much exposure each tribe can get, of course. And then with three returning players, of course they’re going to get a certain amount of time to discuss their relationships with the newbies. It was unfortunate that Kalabaw, we couldn’t really find our way, all the time, into each episode, but moves were being made and, as we saw last night, there are definitely things happening at Kalabaw that, unfortunately, didn’t make the air. But who knows? Hopefully in the future they’ll be there.
HitFix: In the Reward challenge that we saw, you had a bit of a tussle with Abi and there were some words exchanged. In future challenges do you think revenge would have come into play?
Dawson: Oh no. I don’t think she’d take her revenge against me. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I, of course, didn’t mean to rip her hair out and then laugh about it. But it happened. Some things happen in “Survivor.” Now that I’ve seen her play within her tribe on the show, she probably would have tried to come after me. We both apologized to each other after challenge and… ummm… I have put her hair on eBay now, so we’ll see if it goes for 50 cents or 75.