‘Survivor’: Ben Admits He ‘Hated’ Making Fire & Was ‘Zero Percent Confident’ He’d Win

After his win on 'Survivor,' Ben told us EXCLUSIVELY why he thought he had no chance of beating Chrissy and Ryan. Plus, he revealed why the final 4, fire-making twist was his 'so scary' for him!

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Ben Driebergen was THIS close to not making the final four on Survivor — had it not been for a brand new twist in the game, his fate was sealed. However, this season, the final 4 immunity winner, Chrissy, was given a secret advantage, allowing her to choose one person to take to the final 3, and forcing the other two to duke it out in a fire-making duel. She chose Ryan, pitting Devon and Ben against each other. Ben beat Devon and went on to win the game…but making fire was NOT his forte. “I HATED making fire!” he told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY. “Lauren and I would stay up together at night tending the fire because I did NOT like making fire. The fear of being on-camera and not being able to make fire was scary for me, and then this twist, where you HAVE to make fire in the main spotlight, when I didn’t even like doing it at camp, was ironic.”

He pulled it off, though, and was able to plead his case against Chrissy and Ryan in the final 3. “I was zero percent confident [I’d win],” he admitted. “All three of us had a shot to win, in my eyes. Sitting next to Ryan and Chrissy, who could articulate and describe how they played in words I couldn’t even pronounce or spell, was really intimidating. It was an equal horse race. Yeah, I had no confidence.” In the end, the jury voted for Ben’s down-to-the-wire gameplay — he found three immunity idols and built that fire when his back was against the wall — over Chrissy’s immunity wins and Ryan’s social skills.

Of course, with his incredible story about being in the marine corps, Ben was a threat to win throughout the entire game. His past was a storyline throughout the season, but before coming on the show, that wasn’t what he planned. “I didn’t even want the marine corps thing to be brought out,” he explained. “My game plan was to be a husband, not even a father. I didn’t know the theme. So being on the boat, day one, Jeff [Probst] says it’s Heroes, Healers, Hustlers, I looked at my tribe and I was like…oh s***. I’m screwed. I’m done. 30 seconds into the game, I had to change my game plan. But the way they handled some of those situations and portrayed [my story] on the show…I think they handled it with sensitivity and it’s near that they brought it to life. So I commend them.”

Aside from finding idols and winning that fire challenge, what do you think your most important move in the game was? Probably taking Lauren out. She was my closest ally, she was my best friend out there. And she just got too powerful. Being able to separate my personal feelings for Lauren, whom I love, and the gameplay…I’m glad I was able to do that.

How did you feel about the controversial twist and what do you have to say in defense of people who say it was unfair you made the final 3? Here’s the thing…the game is always evolving and one of the most common things that happens is…at 4 and 5, your big, strong players, and people who dominated the game, always get voted out because it’s a numbers thing. So it encourages people not to play hard, so adding this twist gives those people a fighting chance. That being said, it’s going to be known that there’s a fire-making at 4 now, so people might adjust their gameplay in the future. But we had no clue what was going on — it was a 50/50 shot either way you look at it. Devon had just as much of an opportunity as I did. In reality, Devon probably had a better chance to make a fire. I’m 100 percent on-board for it, obviously, as a fan and player because the game changes. You kind of predict the game and they have to change it up. I’m glad they’re doing things like this because it creates more drama, and it gives people a chance to make the end.

Had it been Devon, Chrissy and Ryan in the final 3, who would you have voted for? It would’ve been an eventual blowup between Ryan and Devon and what moves they made individual. It would’ve been a very interesting conversation and argument to witness. Chrissy played an amazing game, won the challenges, tied records. It would’ve been a game-time decision. It would’ve really depended on the final tribal and how all those three interacted and owned their game. I think owning your game is the biggest part of Survivor — you have to make these moves and blindside and backstab, but if you don’t own it, they won’t respect it. They’ll respect it if you tell them what you did. If you try to sugarcoat it, you’re going to lose votes.

Would you play again? 100 percent. My wife said I get the green light if I get the chance. I think my fate in the game would be on the theme though. I would go regardless, but ideally I’d like to go in on an all-winners season. If an all winners season happened, I think that’d level out the playing field and I’d have a chance.

HollywoodLifers, do you think Ben was the right person to win Survivor?

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