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‘Survivor’ Winner Ben Driebergen: ‘The Game’s Evolving And It’s Changing And It’s Fair To Everyone.’

CBS Local – We have a winner of “Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers.” Call him what you want – Dictator Ben, Hero Ben – Ben Driebergen outwit, outplayed and outlasted his fellow castoffs and was crowned the ultimate survivor. But he wouldn’t have gotten to the finals – or even won – without the game’s newly created twist for the final-three vote. Here’s his unique perspective (as told by CBS Local’s Samantha Bennet) on that crazy final twist, if he really ever slept on the island and what he’ll do with his winnings. 

SB: Congratulations! What a win! What was going through your head when you realized the chances that you were going to be in the final three went from “Hero” to 50/50?

B: I was overjoyed! I got anxious, and it was like game day that you had no clue about! To have that last bit of hope was an awesome feeling.

SB: If you could take yourself out of the final vote situation – what do you think of that final twist for the final three at tribal council? Good move or too much?

B: Fortunately, I liked it. Traditionally in “Survivor,” you have your big threats and the people who are controlling the game are knocked out at your four and five spot. This way it gives the numbers to not overrun and just do a 3-1 at a final four or at a 3-2 where you’re on the wrong side of the numbers even though you played an amazing game and you might have not won in the immunity and that’s how you get taken out. This way, it gives the players and the people who are making moves a better chance. But going into this, we had no clue. The game’s evolving and it’s changing and it’s fair to everyone. Everyone has a chance to find idols and Devin had a 50/50. And in reality, he practiced all day long before tribals. I would say I was at a disadvantage going into that. But I think it’s a great twist.

SB: You seemed to be at a position of power for a long time and then at some point your back was against the wall. How did that affect how your strategy changed throughout the game?

B: At the merge and the whole “Dictator Ben” happened and after Cole left, I thought, “I need to step back and relax.” That’s when the undercover thing with Devin couldn’t have been at a better time because I was being perceived as a dictator and I just didn’t want to do that. So that’s why I laid back and said, “Let’s do this. This is your guys’ shot and let’s make this happen.” So I laid back and it was easy for me to play this double agent and trust that, but I knew what they were going to do. It made it easier for me because all I had to do was worry about finding idols or winning immunity. I knew what they were going to do – they made it clear that they wanted me gone so it made it easier for me knowing where my enemies were at and maneuver around it.

SB: You played a fabulous game – you put yourself out there and did a lot for yourself and worked hard for that. But were you concerned at your final tribal council about getting your story and your point across? Chrissy is an eloquent speaker.

B: Yeah. Not only Chrissy though. Sitting next to Ryan – the way he talks working in politics – so going into final tribal, I was worried. I didn’t want to sit next to Ryan because of the way he talks and I didn’t want to sit next to Chrissy because of her immunities and the way she could talk – but I did. But I don’t know – it’s crazy.

SB: Also – side note – did you ever sleep on that island? Because I don’t think you did!

B: I did and I didn’t. I never had a full night sleep. I’d wake up and go get water and go to the bathroom because I was always hydrating. I didn’t sleep out there much, ever.

SB: What are your plans with your winnings?

B: I’m going to figure out how to save it instead of spend it. I’m going to make the money work for us. I’m going to set some money aside for my kids – college and stuff like that. I’m still able to work so I’m going to stay working. I want to be able to set this up for later on in life so we don’t have to work.

SB: Not even a vacation?

B: This [being in LA] is kind of a vacation for us! The kids are at home with grandma. It’s been fun, but I’m not saying no.

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