TARA Pitt has finally emerged as a serious contender for the Australian Survivor crown.
The mum-of-three from Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast is one of just four castaways remaining on the reality series after betraying her long-time ally Locky Gilbert tonight.
"It's literally like we were breaking up," she said.
"Getting out someone you've built quite a strong friendship with does feel like you're kicking him in the back.
"He did say if anyone was to get him out he hoped it would be me, which is nice."
Die-hard Survivor fans have taken to social media over the past month to vent their frustrations with Tara's strategy. She understands why she has critics, but still believes she deserves her finals berth.
"Anyone in the top four is deserving to win," she said. "We may not be the smartest or the best at winning challenges but we still got the big fellas out.
"Survivor fans are the hardest judges. They just love the show so much and you've just got to take it."
The 32-year-old, who lost 11kg during her time in Samoa, believes she's made the most of her second chance. After being eliminated by her original tribe Samatau, she was saved in a twist and sent to Exile Island.
"I went out quite strong at the start and that's why they voted me out. A lot of people hated that I was saved," she said. "I was more than happy to come back in the game... I'm trying to win money for my family.
"I made sure I used my second chance by sitting back a bit more and using Locky as my shield. I had to change my game play."
One more challenge and tribal council elimination stand in Tara's way before Tuesday's grand final. If she makes the final three then she has a shot at winning the show's $500,000 prize.
"If I was to make it to the top two then I need to show the jury that I am the deserving person to get it," she said. "You could say I'm a bit of a late bloomer. If my only move in the game was to get out Locky then I'm pretty proud of that."
Win or lose, rising to the challenge of such a gruelling show has given Tara bragging rights with her three sons.
"I'm now the new show and tell at school," she said. "They love it when I walk them all the way to their classrooms and the other kids want to talk about Survivor."
Australian Survivor continues on Sunday at 7.30pm on Channel 10.
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