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‘I’ve Got Big Shoes To Fill And They’re My Own’: Why Phoebe Decided To Put Her ‘Survivor’ Legacy On The Line

Even though she didn't win Season 1 of 'Australian Survivor', lawyer Phoebe Timmins left the game with a reputation as a master strategist.

Phoebe probably would have lasted longer than 31 days in Samoa if it wasn't for the continual failures of her Aganoa tribe at both reward and immunity challenges, but she nonetheless showed off her natural flair for the kind of manipulation that pays off in 'Survivor'.

Speaking to 10 daily ahead of 'All Stars', Phoebe said that even though she believes the most skilled game players should be able to adapt to any situation, she hadn't factored in the capricious nature of the Survivor Gods.

"I was one of the most strategic players in my season, arguably still one of the most strategic players to have played 'Australian Survivor' -- but you can be the best player and be really, really unlucky.

"I totally underestimated the luck component to this game, you get a bad twist or a bad swap and it’s really tricky to turn those situations around," she explained. 

When you find an immunity idol without a clue. Image: Network 10.

While Phoebe exhausted every possible avenue to stay in the game, she said "there’s only so much you can do and so many idols you can find and people you can manipulate before you run out of luck". 

Before her eventual elimination, the then 27-year-old convinced her Aganoa tribemate Rohan to play his hidden immunity idol for her (in the same tribal that saw him voted out) and she later found her own idol after watching Craig hunting around the beach.

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It was knowing that her first round in the game would set expectations sky-high, that made Phoebe hesitate when she got the invitation to return for another crack at becoming Sole Survivor.

"I immediately sat down and felt anxiety through my entire body," Phoebe told 10 daily of the afternoon she received the 'All Stars' call at work. 

"In one way, it’s such an advantage to know what you’re signing yourself up for --  the first time we were guinea pigs, no one had any idea what we were getting ourselves into.

"Whereas I think when you know what it is you’re signing up for, it’s a much bigger consideration," she added. 

How will Phoebe fare in a tribe of 'All Stars'? Image: Network 10.

Four years after her first 'Australian Survivor' experience, Phoebe said she was aware that she's transformed in many ways since 2016.

"I’m not the same person -- I’m in my thirties now, a lot has changed for me, I’m coming from an entirely different context, " she said. "Since the last time I played, I moved from the UK back to Australia, my family has been through quite a lot since then, I’ve had a very serious relationship end.

"It’s been a whirlwind few years so it was a big call to go back."

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'Australian Survivor' fans have always bemoaned Phoebe's bad run of luck in Season 1 and have been eagerly awaiting her 'All Stars' appearance to see her at work with the best of the best.

But for Phoebe, playing with the big dogs (like David Genat, Mat Rogers and Lydia Lassila) comes with the concern that everyone will be wary of her skilled social game.

"It would be very stupid for anyone to give me enough rope in a game like 'All Stars' having witnessed me play so well the first time," she said. 

The Aganoa tribe was good at one thing -- losing challenges. Image: Network 10.

"I think that the problem for me is, in the 'Survivor' community, there is a lot of ego -- there is so much ego in this community it would blow your mind.

"For me, going into a returning season as one of the more celebrated players is a huge problem because I’m going to have a lot of people who are going to want my blood, people want to have a big name on their resume for the end of the game."

We just hope that, whatever happens this season, Phoebe at least gets to win a reward challenge and avoids an entire month living off just rice and beans.

'Australian Survivor: All Stars' premieres on February 3. Only on 10 and WIN Network.