The Yak’s Interview with Survivor Cast-Off’s Dawn and Whitney

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.

[singlepic id=689 w=200 h=150 float=left]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!

[singlepic id=690 w=200 h=150 float=left]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?

Dawn: Yeah!

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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The Yak’s Interview with CBS Survivor Jim Rice and Keith Tollefson

Today the Yak was double lucky to interview both Jim Rice and Keith Tolleson. In Wednesday’s episode they became Jurors #1 and #2 after being bested by Ozzy in the Redemption Island Challenge. Both Jim and Keiths evictions were basically at the hands of their former tribemate Cochran who flipped to Upolu tribe after the merge, leaving only devastation for Savaii tribe. There bios are listed below:

[singlepic id=682 w=280 h=200 float=left]Name (Age): Jim Rice (35)
Tribe Designation: Savaii
Current Residence: Denver
Occupation: Medical Marijuana Dispenser
Personal Claim to Fame: I’ve worked on Wall Street, won over 40 poker tournaments, started several successful businesses and earned my MBA at a top five school from the University of Michigan.
Inspiration in Life: My dad. The guy rocks and is responsible for who I am.
Hobbies: Playing guitar, playing poker and anything outdoors.
Pet Peeves: Close-mindedness and disingenuous people.
3 Words to Describe You: Ambitious, magnanimous and competitive.

[singlepic id=683 w=280 h=200 float=left]Name (Age): Keith Tollefson (26)
Tribe designation: Savaii
Current residence: Edina, Minn.
Occupation: Water Treatment Tech
Personal claim to fame: I graduated college and moved to Hawaii for two years because that was my dream.
Inspiration in Life: My mom. She raised me and my sister with little help and eventually bought a house for us after saving for years. She taught me how to be a gentleman even while I was causing trouble when I was young. She instilled great morals, values and love for all those around me.
Hobbies: Surfing, swimming and long-boarding.


The Yak: Hi guys, thanks for speaking with us today. This question is for both of you. Looking back Jim do you think that you created a monster by saving Cochran and soliciting Keith and Whitney’s vote to blindside Elyse? Do you regret your decision?

Jim: The move to get rid of Elyse was a sound decision. Ozzy and Elyse were tight. Ozzy could have recruited Cochran and had the numbers, that’s why I chose to get rid of her. On Survivor all you know is what you know at the time, we thought of self preservation moving forward.

Keith: I tried to talk to Elyse about game and strategy. There was nothing there. Whitney also tried to talk to Elyse about the game and she got nothing back. That led us to believe that Elyse was talking game with only one person and that was Ozzy. You could even see it in one of her interviews. She stated that she and Ozzy’s strategy was the same. She basically had no concept of the game so we felt that it was our best bet.

The Yak: This is anti-bullying week and we at Yakkity Yaks want to know if you have any stories, quotes, or thoughts about bullying?

Jim: I find it interesting that it’s anti-bullying week. Yes I do have something to say about that. The theme of bullying comes up a lot in the context of Survivor. Upolu looked at Cochran and assumed that he’d been bullied by our Savaii tribe without even knowing. It bothers me that any one of us could be considered a bully. You saw how upset Whitney was at tribal council when she said we had been “villainized.” This upsets me.

Keith: Coach’s propoganda made us out to be bullies. This was a smart play by Coach. I considered Cochran a friend, well not anymore, lol. They showed no bullying on the show because there was never any bullying!. Cochrane himself said he flipped for self-preservation not because of any supposed bullying.

The Yak: Jim since you’re a fan of the show how do you feel about slamming Cochran by calling him a coward?

Jim: I actually despise name calling, it’s so immature you stupid idiot.. lol.
I meant it when I called him a coward. I think he made his decision based out of fear and to me that’s a coward. I think he deserved it.

The Yak: What’s Ozzy really like?

Keith: Ozzy is just a really nice guy. Very down to earth, a beast in challenges. We became very close friends. He’s a very regular guy. We had a pretty good time on Redemption Island together, we fished every day, had coconuts and fresh fruit.

Jim: He was a real nice regular guy. I was only at Redemption Island for one night.

The Yak: How did you view Coach?

Keith: From my basic knowledge he was running the show. He was making his presence known as the leader. He was saying if you don’t listen to me or do what I say there will be consequences. I was completely creeped out by Coach. The honor, integrity and the shoulder rubbing just creeped me out.

The Yak: Why do you think Cochran flipped at the merge?

Jim: As a team we should have made a bigger effort to solidify our team. We should have stressed that we were all sticking together. We had the advantage. We had two immunities AND an immunity idol. It makes no sense whatsoever that Cochran would want to flip. Cochran basically had the best spot in our tribe. He had a final 3 deal with every person on our tribe. As a fan Cochran should know that you can piss off one person and still get jury votes in the end. By flipping and screwing over 5 people it’s 100% lose. I just don’t see how you can flip if you’re playing for the end game. it’s amazing to see someone so smart, going to Harvard, do something so stupid.

*(ed note: Don’t think Cochran will get Keith or Jim’s vote. lol)

The Yak: Keith what did you think when you found out Jim’s true profession? (Medical marijuana dispenser)

Keith: (laughing) I was shocked that he lied about it! It actually made me like him more! It doesn’t really matter, Jim was a real hard worker. I thought “why didn’t you tell us???”

The Yak: Keith can you tell us about your relationship with Whitney?

Keith: We became very close. I can’t answer anymore questions because she’s still playing the game. Hopefully at the finale we can talk about more things and give everyone answers they want to know.

The Yak: Any thoughts about the final challenge against Ozzy?

Keith: Well we thought it was one person going home so to find out it was two, that caught me off guard. During an endurance challenge like that one mental lapse and you’re done!

Jim: As a fan of the show I knew many of the challenges that I hoped to compete in and many that I was hoping not to compete in. As soon as I saw it I realized it was one of the ones I was hoping against.

The Yak: If Jeff Probst called you and asked you to play Survivor again, would you?

Keith: I don’t know (laughing)

Jim: Anyone would love to play again. Who would say no? You get to take off and forget everything, go to a beautiful place and compete for a million dollars!!

To see more Keith and Jim go to and view their time on the “Ponderosa”!
The Yak: Thanks so much guys. It was great talking to you, see you on finale night!!


Can you tell you they will be voting for by their interviews? Let us know what you think below, then come on into the forum HERE where we are discussing all our favorite reality shows!

The Yak’s Interview with Survivor’s Christine Shields

Today the Yak had the opportunity to interview Christine Shields Markoski, the 39 year old teacher and Mom from Merrick, NY. Christine valued her 19 days on Survivor although she spent the majority of it alone on Redemption Island. Christine’s fans have dubbed her a “warrior” due to her ability to win 5 straight duels before being ousted by Ozzy prior to the tribal merge. Christine was the first person to be voted out of her Upolu tribe.


The Yak: Christine, congratulations on winning so many duels. You spent so much time on Redemption Island can you tell us how you handled that?

Christine: I tried to keep busy. I had a hard time for a while. I started thinking about my family; my husband, my children, so that was difficult. I sewed my clothes with fishing line. I fished and hunted for food. I journaled and wrote “Redemption Island Sucks!” out of seashells on the beach. (laughs). i picked fresh flowers every day to spruce things up.

The Yak: When Ozzy came to Redemption Island did you buy his story about Cochran and the idol?

Christine: Well yes, it was totally plausible. This is Survivor and being blindsided is nothing new to Ozzy. Who would be asked to be voted off to come to Redemption Island? From what the previous castaways had told me it didn’t surprise me about Cochran?

The Yak: After seeing what Cochran did, if you had beaten Ozzy in the duel would you have stayed with Upolu and would you have taken the chance of picking rocks at Tribal Council?

Christine: I think I would have stayed with Upolu for a little bit and then maybe switched. I wouldn’t be comfortable picking a rock to decide my fate after all that time I spent on Redemption Island.

The Yak: Did you have the opportunity to look for the idol when you knew you were a target in your tribe?

Christine: I did look for the idol as you could see it was unsuccessful, but yes, I did look for it.

The Yak: Do you think you made yourself an early target with Coach by calling him a temporary player:

Christine: I think he took that comment and ran with it. I was calling him out on all his baloney. He said, “she’s calling me lazy and I’m doing a disappearing act, etc.” Stacey and I didn’t listen to his stories. We were not enthralled by his stories.

The Yak: Christine if you hadn’t been voted off your tribe how would you have reacted to Coach’s mandatory prayers and being told to get on your knees.

Christine: It would not have been good. If Coach had grabbed my arm and told me to get on my knees and pray it would not have been a pretty sight! I find it extremely offensive! You do not ever tell anyone that they should pray or not pray!! No, that wouldn’t have happened. That would have been a problem!

The Yak: All of the castaways that we’ve interviewed have stated that they wanted you to win after spending time with you on Redemption Island. Do you have any favorites?

Christine: Oh that’s so nice. I learned something valuable with every single person. I respected and cared for everyone that came through Redemption Island. Of course, I have to say I had so much fun with Stacey. I told her I’m going to write a book called “Staceyisms”. We just laughed so much and drank our coconut milk. It was like having a slumber party. I love the stuff she comes up with like calling Coach “ChuckytheCheese!”

The Yak: Since you were so highly regarded by the others do you think that you would have had a shot at winning if you returned to the game?

Christine: I absolutely would have had a shot at winning. Each person that came through gave me snippets of information that was happening in their tribes so I really felt like I knew what was going on in both tribes.

The Yak: Would you ever see yourself being friends with Coach?

Christine: No, he was my biggest rival. If I had returned to the game he would still be my biggest rival. Everyone else there I respected as a human being. I found Coach arrogant and omnipotent. He acts like he’s King Farouk, like everyone should bow down to him. I don’t see us being BFF’s anytime soon.

The Yak: In one episode during a Redemption Island Duel it looked like you flipped the bird to an Upolu tribe member, Rick specifically. Did you?

Christine: (laughing) I did give someone the finger but it wasn’t Rick.

The Yak: Who did you flip off?

Christine: Jeff! (laughs) This is what happened. I had been on Redemption Island for some time so I missed my manicure appointment lol. My fingernails were really dirty. Jeff Probst made a comment that my fingernails were filthy so I put my middle finger up and said, “Which finger Jeff, this one?” So i basically flipped him off! When my kids watched it they said “Mom, you can’t do that!”. I said, “No, YOU can’t do that!”

The Yak: Jeff Probst said that you were becoming a legitimate force to be reckoned with at some point. You responded that you’ve always been a force to be reckoned with. Tell us about that.

Christine: I’ve always been a very strong personality. I don’t back down from challenges. I say what I think. My mother said she never had to worry about me being bullied or standing up for myself. I’ve always had self-confidence.

The Yak: Would you consider doing Survivor again?

Christine: Absolutely, I’d like to play the Social game this time.

The Yak: Are you going to call Coach “Coach” at the finale, or are you going to call him Benjamin?

Christine: (laughing) I think I’m going to call him “Benjie!”

The Yak: Why Benjie?

Christine: Because he will absolutely despise that name even worse than Benjamin! (laughing)

The Yak: Who do you want to win? Not Coach I imagine.

Christine: Actually if Coach won it would validate me. It would mean that he should have been a temporary player and one of us could have been sitting there.

I think Dawn, she’s strong and she’s a mom, we have that in common.
Or Cochran, he’s been hanging in there and going through a lot.

The Yak: Thank you Christine! You are definitely a force to be reckoned with and we look forward to seeing you again on Survivor! Many Survivor fans are pushing CBS for a season of castaways that got voted off before the merge.


So what did you think of what Christine had to say? What do you think about the way this season’s Survivor is going all together? Let us know below, then come on in and join us is the forum HERE for all the chat about your favorite shows!