December 02, 2011 08:00 AM by Ryan Haidet
Just a few days into Survivor: South Pacific, Dawn Meehan found herself struggling with adjusting to the entire game. Despite her early signs of weakness, Dawn really proved to be a strong competitor throughout her time on the show. After her loss in the latest Redemption Island duel, Dawn is now the third member of the jury. In a conference call with reporters, Dawn explained her thoughts on Cochran’s decision to flip sides, revealed who her final three alliance was with and discussed how she was initially selected to compete on Survivor: Nicaragua. Read on to see everything Dawn had to say about her time on the show!
Question: What was your opinion of Coach?
Dawn Meehan: I’ve had a hard time knowing how to explain what I think. I am impressed, based on his day one reception from Upolu to see how he has been able to completely turn around his position in the game with his tribe. It’s remarkable. His strategy, the ability he really has to outwit, when I’m around him it seemed so transparent. When we were in the game, at the merge I’m surprised every is listening and following. He’s so convincing and persuasive, but I’m not sure anyone on Savaii would have been as influenced — outside of Cochran. I think that’s why Christine left. I think that’s why Mikayla leaves. After seeing the recap episode, I got a better sense of she really wasn’t buying it from Coach. I think he’s done a great job playing the game. Definitely.
Question: If Savaii had been able to keep the numbers, what was your final three scenario?
Dawn Meehan: I know my final three was with Jim and Cochran. I think since the game has been over, Jim has said, “Ha ha ha, I would not have kept you to the end, Dawn.” That was my plan. Jim kind of jokingly said, “I’m not going to go against a Mormon mother with six adopted kids.” I think my best shot really was to be with Jim and Cochran. I think the three of us trusted each other a great deal from probably about day 11 on. That was the plan. Kick out Ozzy and we talked about taking out Whitney.
Question: Any regrets on not outing Cochran’s plan to flip?
Dawn Meehan: Looking at it now, I can see that it would make sense to talk a lot more about everybody with everyone and be really specific. I did actually approach Ozzy and let him know that trust had been broken for Cochran. I kind of re-explained the chicken awkwardness and the Jack and Jill challenge, because that was pretty pivotal for Cochran. All of the weight of that challenge came down on him when we had that loss. So I did approach Ozzy and tell him, “I’m worried he’s gonna waffle.” And asked Ozzy to please go speak to him. What was our best option? Ozzy did spend about 15 minutes with Cochran and came back and said, “You know what, I think we’re great. He’s fine. It doesn’t make sense for him to flip. I think he just might be a little bit too sensitive. You’re worrying about something that’s not gonna happen.” I think, in Ozzy’s defense, I began the game on day one like, “The sky is falling!” I think that Ozzy probably felt like, “She’s just being maybe a little too emotional.” The truth is, I really did have a good read on what was happening with him.
Question: We saw that you were considering switching sides and going along with Cochran. What changed your mind?
Dawn Meehan: I think there’s two things. One, that I won Immunity. By having Immunity I’m not gonna have to draw a rock that night. It’s better odds for me to stay with my tribe at that point. I’m not going to be one of the people potentially going out. I really did believe those odds would have worked in our favor had we gone to rocks. The second reason, I was approached in the same way that Cochran was by Coach, and given a final four scenario and a final three scenario. I didn’t feel like it was a genuine or a legitimate offer. I felt like it was just what it was to advance their game. For me, part of what was frustrating in the game, and I think we see that in the episode, is I’m trying to tell Cochran, “There is no way this is genuine. This is all about strategy and using you.” He still really believed it. So that’s what’s hard, he really does believe that’s in his best interest. It was a difference of opinion at that point.
Question: We saw a lot of emotion from you throughout your time in the game, especially at the very end. What was that moment like when you had to burn your buff and say goodbye.
Dawn Meehan: That was my Olympics. That was the dream I had. When I turned 30 I auditioned for season two and I worked really hard over the 10 years. Several auditions, lots of close calls — even being cast once for Nicaragua and then cut. For me to keep pursuing and enduring that dream and preparing myself — I prepared for about 10 months physically for the game. It was unbelievable to think that it was gonna be over. I really felt myself as we got deeper into the game, I felt myself like, “This is gonna happen.” It was also a feeling of I really did accomplish something. I set my heart out to do something and it happened. I met Jeff Probst. I went on the show. I rowed in on a raft. So it was emotional because it was the recognition of something I had done that was incredible (and) it’s the chapter kind of closing.
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Photos courtesy: CBS