Going into the “Survivor: Worlds Apart” finale, we really felt like there was at least a solid chance that Sierra Dawn Thomas could be the winner. If Mike and Carolyn went out before the final three, this left her in a spot against Will and Rodney. While not guaranteed, she would have been able to make at least a pretty solid case for herself and why she should win the game in the end.
Unfortunately for her, that did not happen and we were speaking with her in an exit interview on Thursday with her as the fifth-place finisher. We talked a little bit in here about her being seen as a threat, whether she could win in the end, and also why she feels like she had a relatively quieter edit than some other people on the season.
CarterMatt – Let’s just start by diving into last night. Were you surprised that almost winning immunity challenges is what made you into such a target?
Sierra Dawn Thomas – I’m such an idiot! I don’t know why I went to tribal and Jeff [Probst] was like ‘Sierra, tell them why you’re supposed to be here,’ and I’m like ‘because Jeff, I’m nice, I help out in challenges.’ That’s like the worst thing you can say! I’m going to blame it on starving and being exhausted. It’s not a game based on who deserves to be there, but I thought it was the only case I had to play. I was like ‘you guys are going to miss me, right?’
I knew it was coming, because I was close on just about every challenge, but there’s no way to hide that.
Let’s talk about the exhaustion for a minute. You made it to day 37, so over five weeks into the game. What are you feeling like at that time? Do you even recognize yourself?
No, I didn’t. You can’t prepare yourself for what your body goes through, and not just physically. I lost a lot of weight, weight I didn’t think I was capable of losing! I almost had to get medically pulled because my heart rate and blood pressure were abnormally low. I would stand up and everything would go black for like fifteen seconds. I felt physically like s**t, and then just mentally and emotionally. I like people and I’m super-personable, but I deal with horses. They don’t talk back to me. (Laughs.) Having to deal with people every single day was exhausting.
I want to ask about this because I just found it funny. When you did the reward challenge where you end up actually racing on a barrel, did you get people stopping you thinking that this was actually what you did for a living?
Yea, people were like ‘now you’ve really confused me, what do you do with your life? Do you take barrels and race them?’ (Laughs.) … When I’m out back and I do move them around and get on them like that, but I’m like ‘no that is not my career. I do not dance on barrels.’
Throughout the game you had several different opportunities to flip on your alliance and go with different groups, but you always decided not to and you stayed with the Blue Collars. It got you pretty far in retrospect, so are you happy that you did that?
Absolutely. There were several different alliances that I had, and I could have chose to go with [them]. But, I would have been at the bottom of those. People are like ‘Sierra, you were at the bottom of your alliance,’ but I didn’t see it like that. I made big moves to prove to my alliance that I was with them, like doing the Joaquin vote and doing the Tyler vote. I was proving to them that I was there, and while I could switch up and go with these other people, who sure they’re fun and I love to spend time with them, that doesn’t help me in the long run. I have to look at the big picture, where the numbers were, and also who I wanted to play with in the end. I didn’t want to go with Joe and Hali to the end. I wanted to win a million dollars, and I had to look at the big picture and that was staying with my Blue Collar tribe.
Were you frustrated at all that come the merge until around the final six or so, we didn’t see that much of you on the show? It was hard to know where your head was at.
It’s so weird to watch myself, because I am so loud and giggly and annoying 90% of the time, but I look like this quiet and mute girl, it was so weird. I wasn’t like that out there. The only thing I can fall back on is that I’m kind, I’m not loud or argumentative and I don’t do those things. But kind on TV, people don’t want to see kind! I think me being me I guess isn’t giving everyone good TV. It was frustrating, because I was having people ask me ‘are you alive out there,’ and I’m like ‘yeah, I was there.’
If you had gotten to the end against say, Mike, do you think you would’ve won?
I don’t think I would have won against Mike, if I’d won immunity I would have voted him out [anyway]. I did have a couple of people say to me that [I would get their vote]. Shirin said to me ‘you had my vote. You played a hell of a social game and nobody saw it.’ It’s really frustrating how hard I worked and nobody saw it. And I was working hard around camp and in challenges! I didn’t win anything, but I was always there. Always there.
What surprised me last night is that you were the only person to vote for Carolyn, and yet it felt during the final tribal council like other people voted for her, as well. Are you surprised you were the only one?
Absolutely I was. I knew a lot of people were going to vote for Mike. I spent a lot of time with him and had my views on how he played the game, and I thought Carolyn played more of a controllable strategic game, and that deserved my vote. I thought Tyler without a doubt was going to vote for Carolyn, and I thought maybe a few other people would.
Were you shocked that Carolyn didn’t get on for ‘Second Chance’?
Yeah. I think my face in the green room was like ‘what?’ She’s not going? I obviously voted for her, I would have loved to see her play again and loved her gameplay. I was completely shocked.
What are you taking away from this game overall?
It was really hard on me emotionally, but if anything I think it made me stronger. Being away from my family and my life, it lit a fire under me that was uncontrollable. After I got home I went to rodeo like I had never done it before. I’m a firm believer, and this is a prime example of it, that when you get pushed to your limits, that is when great things happen and that is when you realize how strong you are. That is what ‘Survivor’ did. It makes me realize that I’m pretty damn strong! For that I am forever grateful since it has helped me remember that in my life, I can do anything.
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