Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Jaime Dugan stopped watching Survivor: China due to 'bulls--- edit'
With Survivor filming for seasons 41 and 42 indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show’s past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they’ve been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.
She may not have taken home the million dollars and title of Sole Survivor, but Jaime Dugan won big time coming out of Survivor: China. That’s because it was in the sweltering mud pit that was the Zhan Hu tribe camp where Jaime met her future husband Erik Huffman. (We can confirm that Huffman is no longer a virgin thanks to the existence of the couple’s 9-year-old son, Harper.)
While Jaime’s Survivor adventure led the then-University of South Carolina student to her soulmate, that was one of the few things that did go right for her during season 15. Jaime ended up stuck on a not-so-great tribe in a not-so-great location with a not-so-great chance to win, so it’s no wonder she went M.I.A. and “literally hopped on a canoe and tried to escape the island.”
That’s just one of the juicy nuggets Jaime reveals in her Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire. The woman who hilariously threw a challenge by throwing one of the puzzle pieces out of sight and also became the first player in Survivor history to mistakenly play what she hoped was a hidden immunity idol gives up the goods and tells it like it is — including the startling admission that she never even finished watching her season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you’ve been up to since appearing on Survivor.
JAIME DUGAN: My life has been quite the wild ride since I appeared on the show. Erik and I got engaged about a year later, then we won a free Charleston wedding. He went back to school to become a physician assistant and I started my own marketing agency, Charleston Blonde Social Media. We have one son, Harper. He is 9 years old. We still love adventure and travel. This past year we took Harper to London, Rome, Paris, and Maui. We are currently renovating a home. We reside in Charleston, S.C. and Pinehurst, N.C.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
Meeting my husband on the show! There’s only a handful of us that can say that and now we’ve been married for over 11 years.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
They put me on the crappy tribe (no offense, Zhan Hu), but the odds were not stacked in our favor. I think once I realized that, I never really felt like I had a fair chance to win so I stopped thinking in a winner’s mindset and just focused on making the best of a bad situation. I wish I would have had tried to focus more on figuring out a way to overcome that situation and still trying to win.
What’s something that will blow fans’ minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
I ran away. Jean Robert and I literally hopped on a canoe and tried to escape the island and find the other campsite. The camera men chased us down and even ruined one of their cameras during the process. We never found the other island, but it was pretty hysterical. I wish they would share that footage. I think we just pissed them off.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
It was bulls---. Am I allowed to say that? I had an alliance with every single person on my tribe (they never showed that) and I was very strategic in the moves I made. I feel like that was lost in the editing room. I actually stopped watching my season after a few episodes because I was so mad at the way it was edited. I’ve never watched my entire season.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
Totally weird. I didn’t like being around large groups. I remember I went to eat at a fancy sushi restaurant in L.A. I dropped a piece of my roll on the ground, picked it up, popped it in my mouth. I was in survival mode for a few weeks after I came home.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
I’ve never regretted it. In fact, I’m grateful for the once in a lifetime opportunity. I do kind of wish I had a more tropical location, China was rough. And I wish our tribes would have been a little more even. But I’m still really glad I went on the show.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
Ha, I guess my husband, Erik, is the easy answer to this question, for obvious reasons. I also keep in touch with Sherea, Leslie, Todd, Courtney, and Frosti. I adore them, and wish I got to see them more often.
Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what’s your favorite season you were not on and why?
I do not. I need to start watching again. Honestly, I don’t watch much television unless I’m watching with Harper. That’s usually Nick Junior and the Disney Channel.
Who’s one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Amber and Rob. I hung out with them at a charity event and we had an absolute blast. I love the way they played the game and I admire them so much.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
I’d make it so the tribes were picked totally at random. I’m not sure how to do that and make it fair, but when they are pre-selected, it seems like the odds can be stacked against you from the very beginning. I’d like an even playing field.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
Maybe once Harper was a little older. It would be hard to leave him for over a month. But I would love to experience Survivor on an island with coconuts, fish, and more vegetation.