Season two was the first one I really followed. Then when I was thinking of playing obviously I paid very close attention to season three and of course to Shane’s game – as the winner you want to
really watch her gameplay and learn and adapt things.
I think her social game is dangerous. She had a very good way of just integrating, where she fitted in but she didn’t threaten people too much. She played a really big role in the camp in terms of being busy and making sure things were working. She wasn’t domineering, forcing people to do moves, but when it came down to it she probably made the biggest move of her season which was to get rid of Lydia. I was concerned about that. I wanted to make sure I was seeing exactly what she was doing because she had a way of masking, of getting other people to look like they were the ones doing what she was actually masterminding. Very sneaky!
I think in the physical challenge stuff I have an advantage over Shane. But other than that I think she has a pretty good grasp of the game of Survivor. I mean, she’s won before, she’s sat at a final Tribal Council. I was only in the game 34 days and she lasted the full 50 days so those extra 16 days teach a lot about the end game, and the end game is probably the most important part of Australian Survivor.
It was tricky because obviously people coming back in had seen a fair bit of my game. I wanted to make sure that I was trying to take a little bit more of a backseat on some things but still be a little bit more manipulative behind the scenes this time. I wanted to play my style of game because I still think there’s room for someone to win who plays that aggressive style of Survivor. I wanted to prove a point the second time round – that you can play like and that still, potentially, win.
I actually didn’t have much time for preparation. The first time I had about three months. This time I think the turnaround for me was a little over a month. So I really just went on a hard-core bulking regime – last time I came out pretty skinny – so I just ate as much as I could and tried to put on as much weight as possible.
I definitely expected to win. I was nervous, because I felt like I went in with a really big target on my back. But I really believe in a positive mindset so going in to All Stars I was like, I am going to win this time. That was my mantra.
I swore after I’d won it once I wouldn’t play again, but when I got the call I was: “Oh no! I don’t want to miss out!” I like the strategising and the social interactions and trying to read people. The camping! Collecting firewood, keeping the fire going. Paring life right back to bare basics.
I had watched David’s game pretty carefully because he’s quite a threat. He was annoying, but he was smart. So going into All Stars I knew he was big competition. He’s very charismatic. He’s very
charming. He’s able to be duplicitous. He utilises that aspect of the game really well, which is why he’s dangerous. He’s able to manipulate alliances and voting blocks and relationships and people’s self doubts.
But David is also vain and he believed in his own good looks and ability to the point where he’s looking in the mirror when people are sneaking up behind him and undermining him. I think his hubris is a weak point. Mistakes were made because of what he’s known for – his beauty, his athleticism, his charm. They’re great strengths in some situations but they can be exploited as a weakness.
Before going back I re-watched all the episodes, all the Australian episodes, and studied how people created strategies. And then I watched the American games as well. The game matures. For each season, if you’re a fan and if you do your homework, then you see the game is played harder and is more complex. So I was looking for that complexity in the game. I felt I was more attuned to the power of relationships, voting blocks, and just the words and phrases that you use.
I had thought through how I could win this again. It’s a rare thing – only one other person, in all the Survivors, has ever won twice: Sandra Diaz-Twine. I was thinking, I’m an Australian champion, I’m a world champion, I’m used to breaking records. Maybe I could have a go at equalling a world record. I set the bar pretty high for myself, like I would at the Olympics. But at the same time being aware there were so many random things that could come at you – and being prepared for those random things.
Australian Survivor: All Stars premieres 7.30pm, Monday, February 3 on channel 10.