05/15/2012 at 09:00 AM EDT
Survivor: One World
winner Kim Spradlin
has over a million reasons to celebrate. Not only did Spradlin, 29, take home the $1 million prize, she was also voted the Sprint Fan Favorite, earning an additional $100,000.
The bridal dress shop owner from San Antonio, Texas, was given the title of sole survivor Sunday despite – or because of – choosing to take allies Chelsea Meissner and Sabrina Thompson to the final tribal council over weaker players. Spradlin spoke to PEOPLE Monday about her strategy, what she plans to do with her winnings, getting a fresh start after her divorce and controversial contestant Colton Cumbie
Did you think you had won?
It was crazy waiting eight months to hear those votes read out loud. You come back thinking, "I might have won." But you're not actually sure since no one tells you who they actually voted for. You watch the show and you have all these different ideas, "Is it too obvious?" I started to really second guess it. I guess you do that if you have too much time to think about anything. It was such a huge relief to know. You were recently divorced when you started the season, does this feel like the beginning of a new chapter?
It definitely is. It feels incredible. The whole year has felt so awesome. It's hard to explain – even from just finding out I'm going on the show and having the experience and now finding out that I actually won, it has been fantastic. I feel so excited and I love my life the way it is so this is just icing on the cake.
Were you confident you could beat Sabrina and Chelsea?
They were definitely bigger threats to get jury votes. But as it got down to the end, I felt it was safer to sit there with the two people I had been aligned with from the beginning and had made all those decisions with me and to be the strongest player of the three versus sitting with people that were a little bit of a wild card. Even if they didn't look like they had played as impressive of a game I just wondered if Alicia or Christina could get votes more so as a vote against
Were you surprised Chelsea received no votes?
I had a feeling she wasn't getting any votes but walking in to tribal council I thought if anyone was going to beat me it was going to be Chelsea. If they were mad at me, they were going to vote for the good ol' country girl who had shot 'em straight and told it like it was. It quickly it became clear that Sabrina was going to take the other votes, which surprised me.
Colton was a big topic during the finale.
I think Colton is very young and hasn't had a lot of life experience outside of his hometown. I do think he is sorrier than he came across [at the finale]. I have had a lot of conversations with him and I know he hates the way this looks and he hates the way he came across and I'm not sure why he wasn't able to articulate that well.
Any plans for the winnings?
I own two bridesmaids dress boutiques and so it will be nice to invest in those and just have some money in the bank to take some trips and use it wisely to start a little different of a lifestyle. I want to be really generous with my friends and family and enjoy it and have fun.
The only thing I'm buying when I get home is a dog – a Boston terrier. I'm really excited to get a dog and just love it forever.