Exclusive: Lauren Rimmer talks 'Survivor': I regret not taking Ben Driebergen out sooner, Mike Zahalsky was so untrustworthy
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/13/2017
Lauren Rimmer was voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers' merged Solewa tribe during the latest episode on CBS.
Lauren, a 35-year-old fisherman and single mom from Beaufort, NC, became the twelfth person voted out of the game and the fifth member of Survivor's Season 35 jury on Night 33 with only one vote cast against her at Tribal Council.
Ben Driebergen, a 34-year-old U.S. Marine from Boise, ID, earned himself six votes; however, he played a hidden Immunity Idol, and so the votes against him did not count.
"What happened tonight at Tribal was a classic blindside," Lauren admitted following her ouster. "Ben had the upper hand on me, but it is what it is. The only reason I'm pretty much here is because my dumb-dumb self gave [Mike Zahalsky] a piece of a hidden Immunity Idol. So I think it cursed me. I got it. It's a done deal now, and poof, I'm done."
During a recent exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Lauren talked about her Survivor experience. Below is the concluding portion of her interview.
Reality TV World: It kind of appeared you quit the Individual Immunity Challenge on purpose to make sure you got the idol shell. Is that the case? And is there a reason why you chose to place it on your knee instead of slipping it into your pocket to be more secretive?
Lauren Rimmer: Actually, my shoulders were really horrible. I have, like, a torn bicep, and it's aggravating sometimes. And really, that was all my shoulders could hold. I'm not a quitter and I wouldn't have quit for anything; I just couldn't hold it any longer.
And when I sat down, I just picked the shell up nonchalantly and just set it on my leg like any other shell, because nobody at that point knew anything, except for the ones that were there.
So I just picked it up because I always pick up shells! There was nothing unusual for anybody to see me picking up stuff, because I'm constantly looking on the ground. And I just picked it up, put it on my knee and paid attention to everything else.
Reality TV World: Joe Mena could be heard from the jury saying, "You keep Ben in the game and that's what happens." And Joe had told me last week he was trying really hard to get Ben out. I know you said Ben was one of your closest allies, but do you regret not taking a shot at him when you had the chance -- instead of targeting Joe or JP Hilsabeck for instance?
Lauren Rimmer: Yes I do, and Joe and I talk about that all the time, because a lot of people don't like Joe, but I love him to death. He actually was funny to me, and I really do regret not trying to get Ben out earlier, but nobody wanted to go with me.
I had Mike and Joe, but it wasn't enough. At that point in time, everyone was like, "No, let's wait." There weren't enough numbers for me, Mike and Joe to complete that. We need [Ashley Nolan] or [Devon Pinto], and they just didn't want to budge.
Reality TV World: How had you envisioned the game playing out if Ben actually went home instead of you? What had your pecking order been and ideal Final 3 scenario?
Lauren Rimmer: I would've really stuck to Devon and Ashley, and I would've still tried to build something with Dr. Mike. I'd have laughed that off, just like he would've, and sat down and had a conversation and, you know, just B-S and try to figure it out. He's the type of person that you could probably do that with.
And my original Final 3, I wanted Devon and Ashley. But the more you look at it, [Chrissy Hofbeck] and [Ryan Ulrich] would've been my better option. And if they were on the bottom, they were willing to work, because Chrissy was constantly trying to convince people to join whatever she had going on.
And she didn't mind doing it in front of you, like she would talk to me, and she'd walk over five feet and talk to someone else and have the same conversation if you turned her down. So she worked really hard at trying to keep a group of people together.
Reality TV World: At the time you left the game, did you assume Ben was going to be Public Enemy No. 1 in the tribe going forward?
Lauren Rimmer: When I left, I figured they're obviously going to gun for Ben right off the bat. And the only way to save himself would be finding an idol -- find an idol and keep winning challenges.
Reality TV World: If you had kept your idol and played it when Ben also played his idol, and therefore you'd both be safe, what do you predict would have happened on the re-vote? Who would've been the target then?
Lauren Rimmer: I feel like it would've been Mike. In a quick decision like that, you've got Chrissy and Ryan, and Devon and Ashley are tight, and I honestly believe it would've been Mike -- unless they probably would have targeted Chrissy. It would've been Chrissy or Mike, but I just feel like they would've gotten Mike.
Reality TV World: Would you say Mike was a swing vote out there or whom did you think he was loyal to? Because viewers have seen Mike trying to play both sides whenever he's in trouble, and castaways always seemed to approach him when considering making a big move.
Lauren Rimmer: Well, Mike's so untrustworthy. He's hilarious. But you know, he can't hold water. He would talk to you, and before you know it, he was just back and forth. But at the same time, they used him -- they used his plays the same way. Mike -- I don't know how to explain Mike. He's just something else.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor? How did you end up on the show this season?
Lauren Rimmer: I went to a casting call with my sister in Greenville, NC. We both went together and we both tried out, and obviously I made it and she didn't. But I promised I'd get her to the family visit, and she got there, and we both got to experience something really cool.