Dawn Meehan discusses her 'Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites' experience (Part 1)
By Reality TV World staff, 05/14/2013
Dawn Meehan finished tied for second place with Sherri Biethman during the live portion of Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites' Sunday night finale broadcast on CBS from CBS Studio Center in Studio City, CA.
Dawn, a 42-year-old English professor from South Jordan, UT, and Sherri, a 41-year-old fast food franchisee from Boise, ID, finished behind winnerJohn Cochran -- who, with Dawn, previously competed on Survivor: South Pacific and returned this season as "Favorites" -- in the season's final jury voting results. Sherri entered the game as a "Fan" and newbie player.
Cochran received every single vote from the jury members comprised of previously-eliminated castaways and therefore won Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites and walked away with the $1 million grand prize.
During a Monday conference call with reporters, Dawn talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor experience. Below is what she had to say. Check back with us soon for more highlights from the call and interviews with the other Final 5 castaways.
Reality TV World: So how had you gone into the final jury vote expecting things to play out?
Dawn Meehan: (Laughs) You know, I felt like my best case scenario was to go with Cochran. We had made all of our decisions together as far as who we voted out and when.
And so, you know, having both been on the same swap tribe, I just felt like that was the person that I was most alike in the game and that I could somehow distinguish myself from the rest of the group -- my gameplay from his gameplay by saying, "Hey, I'm the one that established these relationships that allowed us to vote out [Corinne Kaplan] and later allowed us to vote out [Malcolm Freberg], which later allowed us to -- you know.
So I felt like that was my best case scenario. The jury was a lot more frustrated with my approach to the game. I think I just played a more feminine game. I obviously play a game where I cry a lot more because it's just exhausting (laughs) to play. But yeah, so it didn't go as I planned, but I thought I had a fighting shot.
Reality TV World: Who did you think you were going to get votes from in your "fighting shot?" How close did you think it was going to be?
Dawn Meehan: I thought I might get [Michael Snow]. I was actually very close with Michael in the game, so I thought I might get Michael. I thought I might get [Andrea Boehlke] because I felt that Andrea was more betrayed by Cochran than myself in that vote.
I thought I might get [Edward "Eddie" Fox], because to be honest, when we voted out Andrea, I negotiated with Eddie to drop off of that doghouse in that challenge so that he could stay for the family visit, and he got that family visit.
So I kind of felt like I had orchestrated that for him, like, "Hey, you know what? We'll keep you around. I promise you." And I kept that promise. So I was thinking, you know, "Ehh, there's a possibility I've got three," but the [Brenda Lowe] vote definitely affected the whole jury.
I never thought I'd have [Phillip Sheppard]'s vote. Phillip is a huge Cochran fan. They were very close. They're good friends. I never expected to have Malcolm's vote. He and Cochran kind of played off each other as like a ying and yang. So it was kind of up in the air for me until I sat down on the stump. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: What do you think was your downfall then? The Brenda situation, which probably influenced everybody else?
Dawn Meehan: I think that, you know, I think that I developed genuine ties and relationships out there. And I think that people were conflicted. They weren't sure if they were legitimate. They felt like it was maybe not honest, that they were just -- I was using those relationships entirely to exploit people.
And I kind of jokingly told my family now, "I think my approach was I'm going to be like I was in the South Pacific. I'm going to be like a free-range farmer. I'm going to -- I know how this is going to end. We're going to have chicken for dinner." (Laughs)
"But I'm going to be kind and let everybody roam around and I'm going to get to know them, but ultimately, I'm still going to be a farmer." And I think I was telling Malcolm that, and he's like, "That's disturbing." (Laughs)
He's like, "I would much rather know that you played hardcore, that you don't cry when you make decisions." It's almost a masculine versus a feminine approach or like maybe a mother versus college.
Reality TV World: I'm not sure if that's what [Reynold Toepfer] was trying to get at, but obviously when he addressed you at the jury questioning, he said he thought you were a "fake character" during the game...
Dawn Meehan: Yeah, I think he -- I didn't get to know Reynold as well. I mean, I wasn't on the swap tribe with him and he was kind of fairly upset when I didn't vote with him after he showed me his [hidden] Immunity Idol. So, you know for him, the game I think really became -- he was so stunned that people would be duplicitous.
Reality TV World: Reynold seemed to suggest your emotional breakdowns and attempt at personal relationships were kind of insincere from his perspective...
Dawn Meehan: He thought it was insincere! Right, exactly. And I'm like, "No, it's not insincere! It's just I'm still going to vote you out." (Laughs) Like, "No, you're really a great guy. You got to go."
Reality TV World: You and Cochran told each other you guys were "locked in" going to the Final 3. I know you said there was no scenario in which you'd vote each other off, but the finale broadcast showed Cochran saying he didn't actually mean it and he strongly considered ditching you. Watching that footage, did that surprise you?
Dawn Meehan: [It doesn't], because I really believe that he was like narrating that, like I think he was rounding out that episode. I think he's like a pretty thoughtful narrator. So, I love Cochran, and not to blow anybody's buzz, but I think he was just trying to be like -- give all possible scenarios and yeah.
Reality TV World: At jury questioning, Cochran basically insisted you never would've made it to the end if he hadn't acted as your therapist at times, convincing you to stay in the game or calm down...
Dawn Meehan: Yeah, I don't doubt that I wouldn't have gotten to the end without Cochran, so I don't know if it was because he was my therapist, but I love him dearly. I couldn't be happier for someone and, you know, out of that Final 6 people at that stage, I made my choice knowing that I would be super, super grateful losing to -- like literally grateful -- losing to Sherri or Cochran.
And so that for me is where my decisions came in at the end, where kind of who I am as a human being played a factor and it was not just, "Okay, who can I cream?" But, "If I'm going to lose, who am I okay losing to?" And I'm great. He did help me. No question.
Above is what Dawn had to say to Reality TV World during a Monday conference call with reporters. Check back with us soon for more highlights from the call and interviews with the other Final 5 castaways.