Maxwell "Max" Dawson is a contestant from Survivor: Worlds Apart.

Known as the "Survivor professor" in various circles of the fanbase, Max was known for his over-enthusiasm and love for the game, as well as his in-game friendship with Shirin Oskooi, both of which caused his elimination.


Retrieved from

Name (Age): Max Dawson, Ph.D., 37
Tribe Designation: White Collar (Masaya)
Current Residence: Topanga, Calif.
Occupation: Media Consultant
Personal Claim to Fame: I taught a college class on Survivor at Northwestern University.
Inspiration in Life: My father, who has survived Vietnam, heart disease, cancer, botched surgeries, MRSA and more than 40 years of living with my mom and grandmother.
Hobbies: Going to the beach, swinging kettlebells and collecting vinyl records.
Pet Peeves: Waiting.
3 Words to Describe You: Outspoken, brilliant and bearded.
If You Could Have 3 Things on The Island What Would They Be and Why? 1. A black cat. No matter how rough things get, petting a black cat always makes me feel better. 2. A bunch of kale. Kale is the food of the gods. 3. A tin of beard wax. Just because I'm starving on an island doesn't mean I can't look fresh.
Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like: Jonathan Penner. We are both opinionated, outspoken, truth-telling Jews who make our livings with our words. Like him, I love Survivor and all that it stands for. I believe that the game deserves to be honored by the individuals who are fortunate enough to play it.
Reason for Being on Survivor: First and foremost, I am playing to win. That said, I'm also strongly motivated by the prospect of hearing Probst say, "All the fixins."
Why You'll "Survive" Survivor: I'll survive because of my laser-like focus, confidence, conviction and level-headedness. Oh, and did I mention that I taught a college class on Survivor?
Why Will You Be the Sole Survivor: I am a natural salesperson, and the product I am best at selling is myself. I've aced every interview I've been in, received every job I've applied for and sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of research to major corporations. In recent years, I have consciously worked to hone my abilities to read, understand and influence others, learning and refining new techniques that I've employed to great effect in my career and personal life. I have no doubt whatsoever that I will enjoy an equal level of success in Survivor.[2]


Max arrived in the game on the Masaya tribe. Coming into this game as a super fan, he tried to play a subtle game at the beginning by avoiding the leadership position. In the aftermath of So and Joaquin's decision from the first impressions twist, Shirin, Max, and Carolyn aligned thinking that they couldn't trust that pair. When they lost the first Immunity Challenge, he went along with the majority in voting out So Kim. Max's subtle approach would soon end as he would pay tribute to Richard Hatch by walking around camp naked, much to Tyler and Joaquin's annoyance. While Masaya avoided the following three Tribal Councils, Max made himself a target by suggesting to Carolyn that she sit out the Day 11 Immunity Challenge so Shirin wouldn't feel left out. Carolyn was appalled by that idea, and pitched to Tyler and Joaquin that Max needed to go before Shirin. Luckily for Max, they would not get that chance as they won and he reached the swap.

On the new Nagarote tribe, he formed a more closer relationship and alliance with Shirin Oskooi, thinking the two of them had Kelly and Carolyn on their side should Nagarote lose the next challenge. That would be the case due to the sheer difference in strength between the two tribes. Max's antics around camp and constant chatter about trivial Survivor details annoyed the rest of the tribe. Max and Shirin also unknowingly isolated themselves, allowing Carolyn and Kelly to jump to the No Collar alliance. At Tribal Council, Max admitted that his fandom, or perhaps obsession, with Survivor was at an unhealthy level to the point in which he remembered those facts more easily than his mom's phone number. Despite his strength in challenges relative to the other target Shirin, the tribe took Max out in a 5-2 vote but not without Max feigning an idol play and referencing a quote from Malcolm Freberg in the process.

Voting History

Max's Voting History
Episode Max's
Voted Against
1 So -
2 Masaya Tribe Immune
3 Masaya Tribe Immune
4 Masaya Tribe Immune
5 Will Carolyn, Hali,
Jenn, Kelly, Will
Voted Out, Day 14



Max's publicity photo for the voting of the Cambodia cast.


Survivor: Worlds Apart Castaways
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