And here we have Mr. Ben Henry, the 24 year old club promoter who had many of us Googling the term "dirt squirrel" a few weeks ago. Boot number fourteen, he is totally unapologetic about using that term to describe Alina and is totally clueless as to why Chase didn't like him. Read on in this conference call interview to get his take on the game:
Why do you think you were blindsided over Fabio?
Ah, man, last night was definitely a blindside, I didnít see it coming. I think Sash and Chase and Holly and Jane, I think those four sort of set us side by side and assessed what each of our potentials were and how big of a threat we were going to be, and I think they thought I was going to be a bigger threat, ultimately. I think they saw me perform better than Fabio in challenges and that I could easily win individual immunity and win my way into the top three, as well as (the fact that) I didnít piss many people on the jury off at all and it would be dangerous to sit next to me in the top three. I think they might have also factored in that maybe I was a little more aware, and intelligent of what was going on in this game, I might have been a little closer...I think Sash thought I may have been a little closer with Chase and Holly than Fabio was. So I think that all those factors sort of weighed in to their decision to vote me out last night.
When Sash came to you after the others won the reward, were you really going to trust him or did you have a choice?
When those three went on the reward and we came back to camp with Sash, part of me wanted to put some faith and trust in Sash. Which is probably my biggest mistake, is putting any faith and trust in him, as late in the game as it was. But another part of me told me that he already had his mind made up. I could see through Sash, and like, I donít know if you could see when he was talking to Jane, heís got this shifty smile. Heís super deceiving. So thereís always a part of me in the back of my head that thought, that was sure of, Sash being set in stone with Chase, Holly, and Jane. Therefore, that led to me turning on one of the members of my alliance to vote Fabio, because I was just looking out for number one and needed to further myself one more tribal council, one more night in the game. Then it would have been six, it would have been an even number of people.
At the time, I felt I had the trust of Chase, which I obviously donít. At the time I thought that I had Chase and Holly in my back pocket. Holly constantly reiterated how I had preserved her time in the game and sort of helped her out, because she would have been the next to go when the tribe switch happened. She was always praising me for that, and Chase, I thought was always my boy.
You seemed to be the only one of those three who was playing the game 100% in every aspect. Do you think that put a bigger target on your back?
Yes. Absolutely. I think that might be my demise. The whole time I thought I had Chase and Holly in my back pocket, so it really happened pretty fast. They blindsided me.
When NaOnka and Kelly quit, how much did that change the dynamic of the game?
You know, I donít think it really hurt me. Obviously, Nay gave her idol to Chase, and I think that Nay and Kelly were ultimately closer with the alliance of Chase and Sash and Jane and Holly, as opposed to me and Fabio and Ben. They were obviously closer to them, so I donít think it hurt me, them quitting. It may have hurt Sash, and their alliance. When it came about that they were gonna quit, they started talking about it around camp, and Iím sitting there like, looking at it from the standpoint of ďLet them go home, thatís two less people we gotta beat to get to the million dollars.Ē And then youíve got Chase and Sash in the shelter, comforting them, and convincing them that itís okay, donít quit, you gotta stay. Obviously strategic. So you know, I really donít think it was a factor because Sash obviously remained in control.
Were you surprised when Purple Kelly and NaOnka both quit?
Um, you know what? Not really. They had both been in talks of quitting since the very beginning of the game. But I could see them getting weaker and weaker as the days went on. But I thought once we won that reward, the Gulliverís Travels reward, we got to go watch that movie and Holly had brought back a huge cup of rice and a new tarp, I thought for sure their decisions would have been swayed and maybe were going to stick around. But obviously they had had enough, and like I said, winners never quit and quitters never win, and I would never even contemplate quitting. I think it shows a lot of their character and who they are deep down inside that they donít regret anything.
When you guys won that reward, you actually encouraged NaOnka to step down and give up the reward for the rice and tarp. What was it like going on the reward with her after that?
It really didnít sit well with me, it really bothered me. It was one of the most ignorant, selfish moves Iíve seen. Itís not even about the game, itís showing a lot about your character. Itís just...I donít know, itís such a sign of weakness. It was tough going on that reward with her knowing she was going to go sleep in a comfy bed and stuff her face and be at Ponderosa that night.
In hindsight, is there anyone you wish you had kept in the game?
Well, I was frustrated when Marty got voted off, I was in the process of aligning myself with him after the zipline reward, then we had that conversation during the barbeque. It would have been really interesting to see what would have happened if Chase would have not played with his heart and voted out Brenda at the beginning, because you saw how dangerous she was. And if Shannon stayed in the game it would have been really interesting. Thereís such a lot of variables, you know? But I would have liked to play with Shannon, too.
We didnít really see a lot in the way of plotting by members of your alliance. Was there more going on behind the scenes?
Yeah, you know, they werenít. And that alliance sort of just fell into place, I think it fell into place when we went on the ziplining reward, and the barbeque after. Thatís when Fabio and I really sort of stuck to each other. But all through the game, Fabio and I had this little subliminal alliance, we both sort of had the same strategy. We had eyes and ears everywhere, we were talking to everybody. We didnít really have a solid alliance until later in the game.
Is there anything you did during the game that you regret?
Yeah, I mean...thereís so many coulda, shoulda, wouldas. Thereís no reason that all of a sudden I got complacent, I had put a lot of faith in those guys, as much as I did it was stupid so late in the game. I should have somehow scrambled and persuaded Jane to be voted out, get rid of Jane. Because yeah, you voted me out because Iím a huge threat you say, but I never once wore that immunity necklace around my neck. I never once had that immunity necklace on. And like I said before, Janeís got this superhuman strength, sheís had that necklace on three times! And you know from what Marty said in tribal, you donít want to sit next to her in final three, everybody knows that. So why not get rid of Jane now? That way I could have broken up that alliance. That was probably one regret Iíve had more recently.
Were you aware when you were still in the game that NaOnka had given Chase her hidden immunity idol?
Yes, NaOnka had actually told me prior to that, she told me she had given her immunity idol to Chase.
If you had made it to the end, who would you want sitting next to you at the final tribal council?
It probably would have been Sash and Dan, would have been an ideal two sitting next to me. I think I would have had a nice million dollar check if that were the case.
Why is that?
Just because I know a lot of people on the jury were offended by Sash and were stabbed in the back by Sash, and Dan was constantly talking about his Ferraris, his mansions, his millions, and I donít think anybodyís gonna give a millionaire the million dollar vote. I would have deserved it, I would have probably physically won my way in there with immunity idols and individual immunity, and I think that I didnít make that many enemies on the jury to where I think that I would have easily gotten the million dollar vote between those two.
What have you seen on tv that surprised you the most?
Itís so interesting to see what they show, they crammed 72 hours of your life into one hour of television, a lot goes on. Itís been interesting to see the interviews, see what people had to say and what people had to say about me. I thought Chase and I had mutual trust, and we had numerous conversations about not writing each otherís name down, swearing on it, and so it was for a million dollars and...itís been interesting to watch, itís a game, outwit, outlast, outplay. I was definitely outwitted, outlasted, and outplayed. [laughs] So, if he wasnít gunning for me, I was gonna gun for him. It was interesting to see what he had to say about me when I thought something completely different.
Were you surprised by your edit?
No, not really. To be honest, Iím very content with my edit. It could have been worse. I obviously would have liked more screen time earlier on, but itís the real Ben Henry, and when I went into the game my strategy was to lay low and not say much. And it showed on tv.
Why did you call Alina a ďdirt squirrelĒ? Do you regret doing that?
No, I donít. I donít regret it at all. Sheís a dirt squirrel, and unfortunately I caught a lot of heat for it. Thereís a lot that the viewer doesnít get to see, and thereís a lot that went on between Alina and I. I think the rest of the tribe would 100% agree with me and tell you that Alina is a dirt squirrel. She was just...shifty. She knew what she was doing and I could see through her the entire time. Thereís a lot that happened, stuff you guys didnít get to see. For instance, the night she went home, she knew she was going home. She knew she was about to get voted off, so scrambling, she goes into everybodyís ear, saying ďOh, well Benry stole bananas during the first week and you guys just didnít know!Ē Heís a liar, physical threat, stole bananas, etc. Talking to numerous people (asking) ďWe still voting Alina?Ē And everybodyís saying yeah, man, but she wants you out.
That was prior to that tribal council where I voted that I called her a dirt squirrel, so I think it was heat of the moment as well, it was right before we went into tribal. It just wasnít sitting well with me, I knew she was scrambling and trying to get me voted out, telling people I was stealing bananas, so...it was heat of the moment. Itís a term my friends and I use up in Hollywood, thereís many dirt squirrels out here. Alina is a dirt squirrel in my book, nothing against her, sheís a great girl, sheís got a great heart, and she was playing the game as a little dirt squirrel.
Can you tell us how you got on the show? Were you a fan before?
Yeah, Iíve always been a fan of Survivor. I can remember watching Survivor back in middle school with my family on Thursday nights before I had to go to bed. But yeah, I was in a place of work, and I met a casting director who was involved with casting season 21 at the time. I submitted an audition tape which kicked ass, and one thing led to another. It happened pretty quick, and I ended up with a plane ticket to Nicaragua.
From a personal standpoint, what do you think you took from this experience?
Man, it was truly above and beyond anything I expected. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, Iím 23 years old, I do well where I live, freaking Blackberry is glued to my hand, and it couldnít have come at a better time in my life. To go out there and really learn a lot about myself, and how important the little things in life are, man! And Iíve met a lot of really, really cool people. Everybody was so different and had their own unique story, and it was great to meet some people that Iíll probably remain in contact with for a very long time.
*Thanks to Mariner for sitting in on this drivel!