SALEM, Ore. -- Is third time a charm?
Salem's Ciera Eastin returns to the hit CBS reality TV series “Survivor” as the show premieres its 34th season in a two-hour episode 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 8.
Easton previously appeared in "Season 27: Blood Vs. Water," alongside her mother, Laura Morett, which took place in the Philippines, and "Season 31: Second Chances," which took place in Cambodia.
In 'Blood Vs. Water, she voted her mother off the island, resulting in fan backlash, but Morett was quick to support her daughter.
This season, called “Game Changers,” features 20 castaways from past seasons competing for a chance at $1 million and the title of “Sole Survivor.”
“The twist of the season is that when you go to a vote in tribal council, normally, if there is a tie vote, you get to revote. There’s no revote. If you tie, it’s straight to rocks. It adds a whole new risk,” Eastin said. “They have only gone to rocks three times in 34 seasons, and I was one of those times.”
Eastin said she was only slightly nervous heading off to Fiji for the potential 39 days of filming.
“This is the third season I’ve filmed in a four-year period,” she said. “It feels like summer camp. It’s kind of funny; I’m always there.”
Still, the mother of two said there was a stigma and a pressure to live up to going into a season titled “Game Changers,” yet nothing that affected her nerves.
“I’m conditioned to go out there and do it,” she said.
When recalling and comparing her past experiences with the latest, Eastin said, “When we were in Cambodia, the conditions there were so terrible that I felt like it really prepared me for anywhere. Weather, health, it can’t get worse than Cambodia. I had to sit in the rain for nine days straight. I know I can do it. I am mentally strong, but some of these people haven’t done that before.”
When she headed out for season 34, Eastin didn’t know whom she would be competing with or against.
“The tribe I was put on for starters, I was pretty excited about, but I was scared of a few players. Aubry (Bracco) was one of them. She came off of ‘Brains, Brawn and Beauty.’ She was a brain and intimidating. We had similar roles in the game. She was kind of a direct threat to me.”
Other players that made Eastin wary include Tony Vlachos of "Season 28: Cagayan," who was known for creating a fake idol, finding hidden immunity idols and winning his season.
“The guy is a huge threat and a huge target,” she said. “I’m such a little target compared to these other players.”
Season 34 was filmed in June and July 2016. Since then, Eastin, who is a student at Johnny Matthew's Hairdressing Training School in downtown Salem, has kept her experience a secret. All that changes with the premiere of her third attempt at becoming the sole survivor.
Carlee Wright is the entertainment reporter for the Statesman Journal. Contact Carlee at cwright2@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6671, or follow her on Twitter @CarleeWrightSJ, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/CarleeWrightSJ.