By Dalton Ross
September 10, 2015 at 02:01 PM EDT
Monty Brinton/CBS
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Shirin Oskooi was living the dream when Survivor: Worlds Apart began. She was playing her favorite game on her favorite show in the world! She was walking around without pants! She was logging first-hand accounts of monkey sex! What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. First off, people started calling her annoying. Then Dan belittled her to her face and talked openly about wanting to hit her. And then Will unloaded on her by telling her she had no family and nobody cared for her back home. And then she got voted out.

What started out as the adventure of a lifetime became something of a nightmare. And therein lies the beauty of a second chance — and one Shirin plans to to take full advantage of on Survivor: Cambodia—Second Chance. Especially with a more strategic, enlightened cast. “The first half of my season you got to see me being goofy and enjoying Survivor and monkey sex and I did get to go on some pretty cool rewards,” Shirin told us out on location the day before filming began. “And then the end kind of got overwritten by some of the nastiness. What I’m looking forward to here — in addition to a second chance at actually winning the game — is playing with smarter, more strategic people who are actually willing to make moves in spite of this stubborn strong six business. And people who are actually a lot more open to having fun out here; people who actually love everything about this game.”

Of course, since this is a season full of returning contestants, players are likely to judge Shirin by what they saw on their TV screens last season. Does she think having everyone talk about how annoying she was out on the island hurts her going into this competition? “I actually think it works to my advantage,” she says. “As you can see from my season is when people did give me a chance, they warmed up to me and we became quite close.… I think what will happen is these people will get to know me.… Not everyone is going to like me and I’m okay with that. But I think a lot of these people are going to be pleasantly surprised by how much fun I can be and how pleasant I can be around because I’m generally a positive person.”

And here is where she thinks the advantage comes in from a strategic standpoint. “But they’re still going to think I rub other people the wrong way, and as a result they’ll want to sit next to me at the end. I think a lot of people will want to align with me for that reason. I’m not actually going to annoy them so much that they’ll want to get rid me, but cognitive dissonance — they’ll think that they can beat me.”

To hear more from Shirin (including what she considers her biggest mistake last time) and to see her trying to make fire on the upcoming season, watch the video at the top of the post. And for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

Monty Brinton/CBS

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