Posted on May 11, 2017 01:20pm
Sierra Says Sarah Played Her "Like A Fiddle" On Survivor: Game Changers
Here's what the Season 30 returner had to say about giving Sarah her Legacy Advantage.

The all-new episode of Survivor: Game Changers entitled "It Is Not A High Without A Low" was particularly rough for Sierra Dawn-Thomas, who was essentially stabbed in the back by Sarah.

Not only did the White, Blue, No Collar alum think Sarah had her back at the latest Tribal Council (she didn't), but, in the heat of the moment, she ended up giving her Legacy Advantage to Officer Sarah as well.

We caught up with Sierra to talk about that decision, whether she regrets trusting Sarah, and how she drastically changed her gameplay this season.

What was going through your head when your name was first called at Tribal?

Sierra Dawn-Thomas: Aw, man! Honestly, I went in thinking that it was probably going to be me, because a couple people hadn't spoken to me all day—and you know because people don't talk to you, they don't even care how you're voting. So, I had a feeling it was going to be me, but I was just hoping that I could plead the case: Andrea is a bigger threat—like, hello? She's won Immunity Challenges; she's great socially, strategically. I was just hoping they could see that as the big picture.

In retrospect, was there anything else you could have done, you think, to sway more people to vote Andrea instead of you?

Sierra: I mean, maybe I could have kept my mouth closed about my secret advantage. That would have solved the whole problem. I feel like if I wouldn't have said that, then, absolutely, I feel like it would have been Andrea last night.

I don't know, me and Sarah had had an hour-long conversation sitting there. We were connecting—I don't know. Going into it, I never thought I was going to tell anybody once I found the secret advantage. I was like, "I'm not going to tell anyone this whole game." Then, out of nowhere, it just slipped out of my mouth, and I regretted it immediately—especially that I said, "Hey, if you want me out, then I'm gonna give it to you." Like, who does that? I don't know what was going through my mind. [Laughs]

What made you decide to give your Legacy Advantage to Sarah after the fact?

Sierra: So, it's so crazy. I think of the whole game and I don't why it all relied on this moment. But the moment my name was read and I was going home, I looked at Brad, and he had no reaction. There was no shock, nothing. I looked at Sarah, and she looked at me, and she was almost crying. She was shaking her head like she was in absolute shock.

For that moment, I had forgotten about the relationship I had with Brad this whole game, and I was like, "Holy cow, he just voted me out." When in all reality he was just shocked and had no idea that I was going home.

And I did, I had a connection with Sarah. Y'all didn't see a lot of it, but we did. I talked to her every night, every morning. We were good friends, so I just didn't think she voted me out. Little did I know...

Do you think that reaction Sarah had was genuine at all, or do you think she was maybe still playing the game in that moment?

Sierra: She was playing me like a fiddle! Let's be honest. No, she was working! That girl was working and I fell for it.

So do you regret giving her the advantage knowing that she wrote your name down?

Sierra: Absolutely! I'm such an idiot. Yeah, I regret it. I do. She voted me out and I handed her my secret advantage. So, a lot of regret there.

Having seen the episode now, who would you have given the Legacy Advantage to?

Sierra: To Culpepper. I mean, it shouldn't have even been a question. I don't know why I questioned it for a second. Like, he had me the whole time, and I should have given it to him.

Looking back at the whole season, what surprised you the most about your time on the show?

Sierra: You know, I really shocked myself strategically; what I did this time around. I played a completely different game from my first season. I went in, as I've said multiple times, guns blazing. I heard the theme of the season and, you know, questioned if I even deserved to be there.

The moment I found my secret advantage, I literally was like, "This is it. This is my sign. I deserve to be here. Let's go surprise everybody."

So, I think my first time, strategically, I wasn't telling people what to do—when in all reality that's kind of why I went home this time, a little bit earlier—but I was proud that I stepped out of my comfort zone and didn't just rely on my social game.

How did this time differ in terms of gameplay for you?

Sierra: I played harder. I didn't just rely on being friends with people. I was like, "You know what? At the end of this game, I want to stand up in front of all of these game-changers, all of these people that I admire, and give them a million reasons why I deserve a million dollars. I don't want to be the goat that someone takes to the end." I wanted to be able to stand up there, proud, and say, "Hey, here are the reasons why I made it to this point and why you should vote for me to win this game."

I was much more aggressive and passionate this time around. I learned my first time and just did the best I could this time.

Looking back, aside from the Legacy Advantage of it all, would you have done anything else differently—maybe earlier in the game?

Sierra: I maybe wouldn't have been such a sassy monster and not told people what to do. I liked that I was in charge a lot of the time... It was super awesome, but playing Survivor, you can't really have that role, because you put a target on your back, and as you saw there was a target on my back for a really long time.

So, I maybe would have been slyer coming up with ideas, you know what I mean?

Definitely. Well, what did you learn about yourself this time around?

Sierra: I learned that—I mean, I'm outgoing, but I don't really tell people what to do, I'm not in charge—and I learned that I can have an opinion. I can say things and people will listen.

I learned that, physically, I can keep up with some of the greatest Survivor players. I questioned it from the day I was going—and going out there like, "You know, what, Sierra? You do deserve to be here." Like, I tried hard and gave it everything I had. I don't know, I learned a lot about me—emotionally, physically, mentally. I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was.

What advice do you have for future castaways, now that you've played this game multiple times?

Sierra: I would just reiterate how important the social aspect is, to let people be heard. I think a lot of times we have our opinions and want to get them across and don't let people feel like they're heard—and that's very important.

Make genuine relationships with people. Help out around camp. I mean, just all of the little simple things—but mostly, don't be too in charge. Make people feel like their opinions matter, because that's when you get in trouble. When you start hushing people.

Would you come back for another go-round at some point?

Sierra: You know what? I would. Like, put me in, coach. I feel like I grew so much from my first to my second season. I can't even imagine the player I would be a third time around. As hard as the second time was, I'm such a competitor, I think I would play again if given the opportunity.

Watch all-new episodes of Survivor: Game Changers on Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access.