updated 05/13/2014 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/14/2014 AT 5:15 PM ET
For a while, it looked like Tasha Fox could win Survivor: Cagayan. Even though she was down in numbers, the 37-year-old accountant from St. Louis proved to be a likable strategist, surviving until the final 6.
After winning three immunity challenges in a row, Fox was considered a threat and voted out as soon as she lost a challenge on day 33.
It was a painful vote off, but Fox has taken it in stride.
“I’m not at all bitter,” she tells PEOPLE. “I had an amazing time.”
Fox breaks down what went wrong – and who is playing a surprisingly strong game.
Watching the season, it seemed like you were smiling all the time. Why?
I was having the time of my life. There was nothing about this experience I didn’t love.
But when Kass flipped at the merge, you lost your numbers – and ultimately your game. Yet you were smiling.
I was like, ‘All right, so this is how it’s going to be. Game on.’ I was thinking how much I used to sit on the couch and scream when people would make moves like this. And now I was a part of it. It was just so exciting.
This season seems to have a lot of people who really love the game.
Everyone in the final 6 really loved the game and had watched it for years. None of us were recruited, we all applied to play the game. I was there to play! We all were.
So who did you want as your Final 3?
At the merge, I wanted it to be me, Kass and Morgan. I think I could have won with them.
But wait – Kass said she was on the bottom of your six-person alliance, which is why she flipped?
She was never on the bottom of the 6, she was in everyone’s plans. I think that she said she was on the bottom, because she wanted to explain her bad, emotional decision. She wanted to get rid of Sarah, period, and wasn’t willing to wait. It’s easier to say, ‘I was on the bottom of the 6’ than to say, ‘I flipped unnecessarily because I wanted the five-minute satisfaction of getting rid of Sarah.’ Don’t use us as a scapegoat. Even if she makes the final 3 now, she has made the road much tougher for herself because she could have gotten there without betraying anyone.
So once you lost the numbers, what did you do to keep yourself in the game?
I noticed that the majority tribe was full of worker bees, so I began to work very hard. I gave them a reason to want to keep me in the game. In Survivor, if you can stay for just a few more days, you never know how you can squeeze yourself into an alliance.