Exclusive: Sarah Dawson talks about 'Survivor: Philippines' (Part 1)
By Reality TV World staff, 10/18/2012
"Dawson" Sarah Dawson was voted out of her Survivor: Philippines' Kalabaw tribe during Wednesday night's fifth episode of the CBS reality series' 25th edition.
Dawson, a 28-year-old insurance saleswoman from Silver Spring, MD, was voted out of her tribe at the season's fifth Tribal Council, which was also the first elimination vote for Kalabaw. She was ousted via a 5-1 vote after her male tribemates deemed her a weaker link than fellow female tribe members Katie Hanson and Denise Stapley.
In an exclusive interview on Thursday, Dawson talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: Philippines experience.
Below is the first half of Dawson's interview. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: So Jeff Probst presented your vote-off as the season's first blindside -- was that actually the case, had you gone into that Tribal Council session believing Denise was going home, given that's who you voted for?
Sarah Dawson: I knew it was me, but I tried to make some really big moves before we went to Tribal -- make some new alliances, convince people to -- I told Katie, "If I'm going home tonight, you're going home tomorrow. So let's [force a tie and] pull rocks. Let's go out on fire. Let's make this show what it is."
And unfortunately, yeah, it was me. But I did know. It just sucked anyway. That's why I was like, "Wow, wow," because I didn't know how much it would hurt. And then my third "wow" was, "Wow, Jeff Probst."
Reality TV World: So how did you think you could get to the point where there was going to be a [3-3] tie to pull rocks? Did you think Denise was also going to be with you?
Sarah Dawson: Well, Denise -- we actually had a strong four-women alliance with Denise, Katie, myself, and [Dana Lambert]. We had a very strong four-women majority. And once Dana wasn't feeling well and she left the game, we lost that number. So then it was three on three.
So I'm fighting to keep our women's alliance together, and [Jonathan Penner] on the other hand, Penner is thinking to himself, "Why would I take these two strong guys into a merge when there's only one challenge left? Why would I take them there?" So I had a little bit of an ear with him, but there just wasn't enough time and enough courage.
It takes a lot of courage. That's asking Katie for a lot. I told her, "If I go now, you go next. Let's gamble and go deep in the game or you can have two more days on the island. Which do you prefer?" And she went and chose the safer route that was best for her gameplay. But I do think Penner definitely considered voting with us. Denise considered it also, but I just could not recover and pull it all back together after Dana left.
So much went up in the air, and then we go straight to a challenge, and I just couldn't recover. But I had options. I just wasn't able to -- they just didn't germinate.
Reality TV World: Why do you think they opted to vote you off instead of Katie. Do you think it was because, as Jonathan was shown saying, they felt your puzzle performance hadn't been great and that was why your tribe lost the Immunity Challenge?
Sarah Dawson: Well, it's so interesting. Did you see me fighting with him on the puzzle?
Reality TV World: Yes. What was that all about?
Sarah Dawson: We had the answer right, but he spelt the word wrong. So I was trying to push him out of the way and spell the word correctly. It was spelt wrong, and he put his hands in the air. And he's like, "Yeah, we won!" And I'm looking at the puzzle and I'm like, "You can't spell 'another?' Seriously?! You're a writer!"
So I was trying to push him out of the way and spell it correctly. And they got it just seconds before we did. That was the most frustrating thing, because if that word had been spelled right and if Jeff Kent didn't take eight minutes to try to chop through that block, if each of us slacked in some areas, Katie could've gotten over those hurdles -- we just lost by a few seconds. So, I mean, in every area of that challenge, there was fault. I don't know how I got blamed for it, but.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode seemed to show Jeff Probst repeating that your tribe was in trouble because Katie had struggled in the beginning of the Immunity Challenge a bunch of times during the challenge. Did he actually repeat it that much while you guys were out there, and if so, what are your thoughts on that type of commentary and play-by-play. Do you think it's legitimate or kind of an unfair attempt to influence what everybody's thinking?
Sarah Dawson: During that challenge, I knew it was make or break. I knew whichever tribe lost was probably going to have the smallest numbers going into the merge. I figured whoever lost this one was going to lose the next one, and then it's over. So, I was going into it full force. I was running and I would get to the top of the cargo net and get to the bottom of it and turn around and Katie was not there.
And then we get to the top of the other net, come down, and Katie's not there. So you can't hear it, but we're all screaming, "Katie, Katie, Katie!" But that was just one leg. That was just one leg of everything that happened. She and I talked openly about it during the episode. It was a pretty funny scene. "I sucked at the challenge," [said Katie]. [Then I said], "You were not good!" (Laughs) But it was unfortunate.
Reality TV World: Do you think Jeff Kent's concern that you would out him as a former baseball player played a big role in why they ended up voting for you instead of Katie?
Sarah Dawson: Absolutely, but Jeff Kent doesn't realize he voted for his own ally. I don't know how you vote out your own ally. The fact that I didn't put him on blast everywhere or ratted him out! I knew stats on him. I knew teams he played for. I knew how much money he gave to the gay-marriage prevention.
Reality TV World: How are you such a big Jeff Kent stalker, Dawson? (Laughs) That sounds like much more than [like you said on the show] you'd find out by just watching some baseball games with a guy. (Laughs)
Sarah Dawson: I know! (Laughs) I'm actually a huge fan of entertainment news, so when he hurt his hand, you know, with the motorcycle, that was huge in the news. So I started following him then. I was like, "Who is this sports badass?!" So I actually followed him.
I was a huge fan of him, and when I saw him on the show, the last thing I wanted to do was expose him. I wanted him to have a fair shot at the game and I wanted him to play with me.
And when he voted me out, he voted out an ally. I was protecting him the entire time I was out there, and I'm not sure how he's made sense of this -- or if he even realizes -- that I was being loyal to him. But I guess he just wanted to get rid of one of his supporters. So we'll see how that plays [out].
Reality TV World: So based upon everything you're saying, you were kind of an ally or a supporter but it was all unspoken? It doesn't sound like, just to clarify, you ever actually told him that you knew what was going on but you would keep it a secret? Right?
Sarah Dawson: Yeah, I actually told him several times. I said, "Jeff Kent." We were going through all this stuff. "What's your last name?" All this stuff, and I pulled him to the side, and I was like, "Jeff Kent. Do you see? I'm being completely loyal to you right now. You've had my loyalty. I recognize you. Let's play together." I said that to him. I said, "If you can get me through the physical part of this game, I can help get you through the social part and we can work together."
And he just did not want to work with me, which was so frustrating because that's a great alliance. Him aligning with Carter Williams? That's not an awesome alliance just because they're both physical players, and once it comes down to the merge, they're both targets. How much can one target help another target? Those are compliments. He needs somebody else. So I really, really tried to communicate that to him, but I'm not sure if he really got it.