The Yak had the opportunity to interview our last two Survivor castoffs this week. Both declare that they are huge fans of Survivor prior to being cast.
Dawn Meehan is a 41-year-old mother of six adopted children from South Jordan, Utah.
She is an English professor at Brigham Young University. Her hobbies include swimming with her children, writing/blogging and baking bread. Another passion of Dawns for the last 11 years was to become a contestant on Survivor! Dawn was actually cast for the Nicaragua season but was cut just prior to filming. She is ecstatic that she was able to meet Jeff Probst and relishes her “Survivor experience”. Dawn admits that she was out of her element on day one. “I was overwhelmed! The sky is falling!” She laughs when thinking about how that first day went. She’s rightfully proud in her ability to shake that off and become an extremely strong competitor and Survivor!
Whitney Duncan is a 27-year-old Country Western singer from Nashville, Tennessee. Her inspirations are Jesus and Elvis. “Jesus saved me and Elvis is the reason I started singing and performing.” Whitney was also set to star in the Nicaragua season ironically, however at the time she was under contract to Warner Brothers and it didn’t work out.
Another passion of Whitney’s is a tragic event that has happened to her family. In April of 2011 her beautiful, blonde 20-year-old cousin Hollie Bobo was abducted from her home in Tennessee and hasn’t been seen since. Whitney wants to bring this to light and wears a pink “Bring Hollie home” bracelet in honor of her missing cousin. Under scrutiny right now, Whitney says that she wants to keep her private life private however she was forthcoming with the information that prior to Survivor she was in an unhappy and unhealthy relationship. She definitely fell in love with Keith on Survivor and they are now a couple. “Who would have thought I would fall in love on Survivor?” she exclaimed. “We have a lot in common, we come from similar families and we have similar values. He’s just a great guy!”
The Yak: What did you think about Cochran flipping on your Savaii tribe and being voted off?
Whitney: Cochran said it best. If the debt is not repaid it goes down as one of the most idiotic moves in Survivor history. Well, that’s how I saw it. I saw that it was not a smart move and he even admitted that he was humiliated. I really hate that Cochran was that gullible to believe Coach’s line of B.S honestly. We knew he was going 7th. I wasn’t shocked when his torch was snuffed.
The Yak: What was your strategy if the merge had resulted in Savaii taking out Upolu instead?
Whitney: Well the great thing, I think the whole tribe would agree that Ozzy would have gone sixth. For sure we would have had to get him out because of individual immunity and all that. You need to take out the biggest threats. In my mind it would have been Ozzy, Jim. Cochran was actually the perfect person. In my mind I had him going to final 3 with me. Of course because of individual immunity I didn’t think he would beat me. I had a great alliance with Dawn and with Keith and I felt very secure in that.
Dawn: Jim and Cochran would have been my final 3. I know since the show has aired Jim has laughingly said “I’m not going to take the Mormon mother of 6 adopted children to the end with me, but Jim and Cochran were definitely my final 3. The 3 of us trusted each other a great deal since day 11.
The Yak: Dawn, after Papa Bear was voted out who were you closest to?
Dawn: Oh, P Bear, you know for me I’m really close to Whitney throughout the whole game. I guess that’s not something we see a lot of (on the episodes). It doesn’t show that we have tension either. Again, I was really close to Whitney in the game, Jim, Cochran, and Keith. We all had a good relationship. I think “Sliding Rocks” typifies for me what the game was like for us. We all had a lot of mutual respect for each other. We all wanted to play the game hard. We were all in it for ourselves but we wanted to work with each other as much as we could for as long as we could.
The Yak: What is your honest opinion of Coach?
Dawn: You know I’ve had a hard time knowing how to explain what I think. You know I am impressed based on his day one reception from Upolu to see how he has been able to turn around his position in his tribe from day one, it’s remarkable. I mean his strategy, his ability to outwit when I’m around him, it seems so transparent. When we were in the game at the merge, I’m surprised that everyone is listening and following it. He’s so convincing and persuasive. I don’t think that anyone on Savaii would have been influenced by him outside of Cochran; he’s just so transparent. I think that’s why Christine and Mikayla left is because they weren’t buying it. I do think he’s doing a great job of playing the game though.
The Yak: Did you try to find any chink in the armor at Upolu prior to being voted out?
Dawn: Had we had Sophie we would have at the very least gotten rid of Edna. We had Cochran, we had Albert. The goal was Coach. To me that was the goal. Whitney and I tried to make the argument to Albert and Cochran that Coach is going to win this. A jury is going to vote for him.
Whitney: These people are smart people; I don’t understand how they don’t see this coming. It’s shocking! They were not bold enough to make that move.
The Yak: Dawn any regrets on not outing Cochran to your tribe?
Dawn: I did approach Ozzy and told him I thought Cochran might waffle. Ozzy talked to him for about 15 minutes and said he thought we were ok, that I was worrying too much. It didn’t make any sense for him to flip. I did have a good handle on how Cochran was thinking though.
The Yak: Dawn we did see you considering switching sides with Cochran, what changed your mind?
Dawn: One, I won immunity. By having immunity I didn’t have to draw a rock that night. There were better odds staying loyal to our tribe. The second reason though, I was approached with a final 3 or 4 scenario by Coach. I never felt like it was a genuine or legitimate offer. I felt like it was just what it was; a way to advance their game. It was frustrating for me to see Cochran believe Coach and I spent a lot of time trying to tell him, “There is no way! They are just using you.” But Cochran really believed Coach, so that was hard and frustrating for me.
The Yak: You’re both so tiny, were you surprised at your strength?
Whitney: Dawn’s amazing. She pulled off that weight challenge. I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I’m really proud of what we accomplished. I think we both played an impressive physical game.
Dawn: No question. This game makes you push beyond your limits. After a while you start thinking. Hey, why not me?
The Yak: Are you both looking forward to the reunion?
Whitney: Of course!
Dawn: Absolutely, it’s like family and we’re also excited to see the outcome!
The Yak: Do you consider yourselves bitter jury members? What will you base your vote on?
Whitney: Definitely not bitter. It’s who outwitted, outplayed in 39 days.
I took that job of giving someone a million dollars very seriously. I would never vote off emotion. It’s not about one aspect; it’s the overall best player.
Dawn: Personally for me it’s not bitter. For me it’s who outwitted, outplayed and outlasted in 39 days. I took that literally. Who best met the definition of sole Survivor.
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