QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Game Changers.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire 20-person cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.
Name: Sierra Dawn Thomas
Hometown: Roy, UT
Previously Played On:
“Survivor: Worlds Apart” – Finished 5th and Jury Member
Best Known For: Receiving the worst apology ever from Dan Foley.
Gordon Holmes: You’re a professional barrel racer.
Sierra Dawn Thomas: Yes.
Holmes: What do you do with the barrels once you catch them?
Thomas: (Laughs) Funny.
Holmes: And is that the first time you’ve heard that joke or like the hundredth?
Thomas: The hundredth. (Laughs)
Holmes: You are a member of the Dirty 30. (That’s the nickname for the “Worlds Apart” cast.)
Thomas: Yes I am.
Holmes: They are the worst.
Thomas: What?! They’re the best ever! My friends!
Holmes: What advice did they give you?
Thomas: Max, Tyler, Joe, and Mike…they all gave me really good advice. They said to play the same game I played before, but I need to make a move. People are going to love you, they’re going to want to keep you around. But, you’re going to have to do something if you want to win. I learned a lot about myself the first time. I learned what I’m capable of and what I can do. So, I’m really excited to do something big.
Holmes: Now, I’m told that Jeff Probst already told everyone that the theme is Game Changers.
Holmes: How did you change the game?
Thomas: I think I changed the game in “Worlds Apart” because I wasn’t a loud player. I wasn’t rambunctious and all over the place. Sometimes the people who sit back are the ones you have to worry about. I played more of a quiet game. And the things that I did do went unseen. And I’m OK with that because it got me far. Now I’m going to have to do something…
Note: At this point in the interview a giant bug dive bombed Sierra’s head.
Thomas: I lost my train of thought.
Holmes: Now you’re going to have to do something…
Thomas: Oh, that people will appreciate.
Holmes: That thing was the size of a golf ball.
Thomas: (Laughs) Oh man.
Holmes: What are your thoughts on this cast?
Thomas: I think they’re amazing. When I first saw them I started giggling. I have no idea. I’m scared of them. I’m excited. I want to play with them. There are so many different emotions. And they’re gamers. I’m going to have to come out playing from day one.
Holmes: Is there anyone you’re looking forward to working with?
Thomas: There are a lot of guys I’m looking forward to working with. Granted, I get along with guys better than girls usually. But Troyzan, Ozzy, Malcolm, those big players…I want to play with them.
Holmes: Malcolm dated So from your season. Have you and he had any interactions prior to this?
Thomas: Like game talk? No. I know Malcolm from him dating So. I spent a lot of time with those two. But, we’ve never really talked the game.
Holmes: What’s your relationship like with Hali?
Thomas: Pretty much like it was in the game; non-existent. (Laughs) I love the girl. I think she’s gorgeous, sweet, all of the above, but we don’t communicate.
Holmes: Do you have any early targets?
Thomas: No, honestly. There are people that I don’t want to make it to the end, but I might need them in the beginning.
Holmes: Alright, I put together an exercise to help you out. Cause you’re part of the Dirty 30 and that’s one of my seasons.
Thomas: Aww…that’s so sweet.
Holmes: Like, super sweet. OK, we’re going to play a game called, “The Best Defense.” I’m going to give you a reason that someone might use to get rid of you, and you have to defend against it.
Thomas: Got it.
Holmes: OK, Sierra was always on the verge of making a switch in “Worlds Apart” but she never did. So, I’m worried that she’s a little wishy-washy and we can’t trust her.
Thomas: But I was loyal. I could’ve stepped away from people who treated me like (expletive deleted), who were awful to be around, who almost sent me home. I stuck to my tribe, I stuck with the people I was first with all the way to the end. That says a lot about my loyalty.
Holmes: Sierra is very likable. I don’t want to sit with her at final Tribal. We’ve got to get her gone.
Holmes: Get her gone. That just came out of my face.
Thomas: (Laughs) That’s something I would say. Yeah, but the nice person usually doesn’t win “Survivor.” If I get there just by being nice, I’m not going to win. Usually it’s people who do these big things and are kind of mean.
Holmes: Sierra flew under the radar last time. I don’t want her flying under the radar and winning this thing because she didn’t get any blood on her hands.
Thomas: It’s better to have somebody there that you can rely on and trust than somebody who is wild and out of control and causing a scene and making you nervous. You can confide in me and feel comfortable.
Holmes: OK, I’ll keep her around.
Holmes: How do you feel? Prepared?
Thomas: I do now! But, I feel so weird defending myself. I’m never good at it and I know I need to be.
Holmes: You’re about to face seventeen people you know and two people you don’t. When you have unknown commodities like the two people from Season 33, how do you handle them?
Thomas: I know how everybody plays, but they’re probably going to play differently. So, those two are no different than anyone else. I’d love to have seen how they played, but your true character comes out really quickly when you’re out there.
Holmes: There’s always talk of pre-game alliance in returnee seasons. Are you a part of one? Have you heard of anyone else starting one?
Thomas: I have one. I wish I had more. Although, I think when you get out there they can fall apart. But, me and Troyzan have…from what I would like to believe…a very good alliance.
Holmes: You’re in lockdown now. You’re not allowed to talk, but there is smiling, winking, etc. Have you been doing any of this?
Thomas: Absolutely. I can’t help but be giggling. I look at people and I can’t stop laughing. There’s winks, there’s smiles. There are little whispers. We all know each other, so it’s hard not to interact. The bumps, Malcolm has been bumping into me.
Holmes: You need to knock that (expletive deleted) over.
Thomas: I’m going to. Stick my foot out next time and trip him.
Holmes: Have you caught anyone interacting with anyone else?
Thomas: Yeah, but when I do hear them talking, it’s not about the game.
Holmes: There are four people from “Kaoh Rong.” Is that a concern?
Thomas: Absolutely. They can say, like I say with Hali, that they have no relationship, but four people? That’s scary. We need to look at that.
Holmes: If there is a twist, any predictions as to what it could be?
Thomas: Oh my gosh, I think there is going to be a (expletive deleted) ton of twists. I feel like there might be a challenge on day one. I think it’ll be full of twists.
Holmes: Alright, I’m going to name a twist. You tell me if it’s awesome or awful. Hidden immunity idols.
Holmes: Redemption Island?
Holmes: Exile Island?
Holmes: The Medallion of Power.
Holmes: Extra votes?
Thomas: I don’t like that one. Awful.
Holmes: Stolen votes?
Holmes: Eliminate a juror?
Thomas: I think that’s awesome.
Holmes: You were on Dan Foley’s season where he had that trainwreck of a reunion with Probst.
Thomas: Oh, My…lanta.
Holmes: The way they were able to call him on something he claimed never happened, does that make you a little more wary of the cameras?
Thomas: You know, in life I try to do that. I try not to upset too many people. It’s unfortunate what happened with Dan. He’s a great guy, but you have to watch what you say and do. You have to take some responsibility for your actions.
Holmes: Alright, I have a deck of cards with eighteen faces on them. The two players from Season 33 are not included because we don’t know anything about them. I’m also going to take this barrel racer out of the deck…
Thomas: Aww…she’s so cute.
Holmes: She’s adorable.
Holmes: Because that’s how a grown adult wants to be described.
Thomas: (Laughs) No, that means you’re semi-ugly.
Holmes: So cute.
Thomas: So cute.
Holmes: I’m going to hand you three cards at random. You tell me who is first out, who will you work with but eventually eliminate, and who will you take to the end?
Thomas: So, it’s kind of like (expletive deleted), marry, kill?
Holmes: Just like that.
Thomas: (Laughs) I thought that’s what we were doing!
Holmes: It’s a PG version of that.
Round One: Tai, Debbie, and Malcolm
Thomas: First out…(expletive deleted) (expletive deleted) (expletive deleted) is Malcolm. He’s such a competitor. Can I take it back?
Holmes: Do what you’ve got to do.
Thomas: OK, first out is Debbie because I don’t think she’s going to like me. I just don’t think as women we would get along and I don’t think I could trust her and her many occupations. I’ll work with Tai. He’ll love me and we’ll get along. And I’ll take Malcolm to then end because I love him. He’d probably win. (Expletive deleted)
Holmes: You’re very bad at this.
Thomas: (Laughs) I am!
Holmes: Malcolm went from, “First out! That guy shoved me!” To, “Aww…I’ll let him win.”
Round Two: Caleb, Cirie, and Ciera
Thomas: First out…Cirie. She’s a good gamer. She’s very manipulative. I’m worried about what she could talk me into doing. I’ll work with Ciera. She’s also very good at this game. I think she could help my game a lot and she could take the focus off of me because she’s loud. And I’d take Caleb to the end because all he has to offer is the physical aspect and that won’t win it for you.
Round Three: Tony, JT, and Jeff
Thomas: I’m going to get rid of Tony first. He terrifies me. He’s already been jumping out of bushes at Ponderosa and scared the (expletive deleted) out of me. And for that I want him gone. I screamed. I’ll work with JT. I feel like he’s my kind of people. I really like him. I’d take Jeff to the end because I don’t feel like he’s going to do much and he might piss off a lot of people.
Round Four: Hali, Ozzy, and Troyzan
Thomas: First out is Ozzy because he’s a bad ass and I don’t know if I could trust him. I’m going to work with my man Troyzan all the way, but I’m not going to take him to the end. I’m going to take Hali to the end because she is a space cadet. I don’t feel like people will think she played a good game.
Round Five: Sandra, Sarah, and Brad.
Thomas: First out…I’d get rid of Brad because he’s loud and I don’t want to be associated with that. I would work with Sandra, probably. But, then I’d get rid of her because that’d be a big move.
Holmes: You’d be the person to finally get rid of the most dominant player ever.
Thomas: I would. And then I’d take Sarah to the end. She awesome, but I don’t feel like she’d do much.
Round Six: Andrea and Aubry
Holmes: Alright, only two cards left. Work with one and boot the other.
Thomas: Oh my gosh. I think I’d have to get rid of Andrea because she’s very good at this game and very manipulative. And I’d work with Aubry because she’s smart. She reminds me of Shirin. She’s geeky, she’s smart, but she might get herself out because of her actions.
Don’t miss the two-hour season premiere of “Survivor: Game Changers,” Wednesday March 8, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes