updated 05/20/2014 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/20/2014 AT 12:55 PM ET
At 48, Trish Hegarty was the oldest contestant to compete on Survivor: Cagayan. Initially banished from her tribe, the Massachusetts Pilates trainer managed to battle her way into the game’s most dominant power alliance. But it didn’t last.
Three days before the end of the game, her alliance turned on her, opting instead to keep caustic attorney Kass McQuillan.
The outspoken Hegarty pulled no punches when asked about her tribe. (Kass? Not a fan.) She tells PEOPLE what was behind her personal beef with two contestants, and what was in her own bag of tricks.
You played a subtle, social game. Were you a fan of Survivor before you played?
Oh, yeah. I tried out seven different times for the show. I was so excited to play.
So hindsight is 20/20, but what would you do differently?
To start with, I’d put on more weight. I was really skinny out there. I was 105 pounds by the time it was over.
You did look food-deprived. How did that affect your game?
I think being hungry brings out my real personality. I’ve got a very complicated personality. I can’t pretend if I don’t get along with people. I’m not a gossiper; I don’t talk behind your back. If I don’t like you, you know that. And I know I showed that on the show. I tell people I’m like a toasted marshmallow: I’m very hard on the outside, but inside, I’m soft and kind.
You made a lot of moves, but Tony got the credit for them. Was that frustrating?
I wasn’t out there on the island talking about all the moves I made; I was saving them in my own bag of tricks. If I had made it to the end, I would have stood up like a lawyer and told them what I had done. I convinced Kass to flip where Tony wasn’t able to do it. I talked Jefra out of flipping when she had made up her mind to do it.