Exclusive: Ben "Benry" Henry talks about 'Survivor: Nicaragua'
By Reality TV World staff, 12/09/2010
Ben "Benry" Henry thought he'd managed to extend his Survivor: Nicaragua stay by turning on ally Jud "Fabio" Birza.
However, the last laugh ended up being Benry when the castaways he thought he'd joined with -- Chase Rice, Holly Hoffman, Jane Bright and Matthew "Sash" Lenahan -- voted him off instead, making him the fourteenth castaway eliminated from Survivor: Nicaragua during Wednesday night's broadcast of the 21st edition of the CBS reality competition.
On Thursday, Benry talked to Reality TV World about his Survivor: Nicaragua experience.
Reality TV World: Based on what was shown on last night's episode, it looked like you were completely blindsided by your vote-off, was that actually the case?
Ben "Benry" Henry: Absolutely. When I went into Tribal Council I had absolutely no idea I was going home -- completely blindsided. I was pretty complacent and sure of the fact that [Jud "Fabio" Birza] was going home, and I thought it was going to be a mutual consensus.
Reality TV World: How had you seen the rest of the game playing out after Fabio was voted off? When you were talking to [Chase Rice], [Holly Hoffman] and [Matthew "Sash" Lenahan] you mentioned wanting to make it "one more Tribal Council," but I'm assuming you actually still...
Ben "Benry" Henry: I knew -- I knew I was cornered and unfortunately that's why I resorted to turning on Fabio and sort of stabbing him in the back. He's still my boy -- it's a dirty game -- but I was looking out for No. 1. And anything I could do to further myself one more night, one more Tribal Council -- at the time I had really thought that I could trust Chase and that Chase and I had this mutual trust.
And Holly had always said how I furthered her in the game with the tribe switch and she would have been the next to go home, so she -- I felt like I sort of had Chase and Holly in my back pocket. So I felt that by sending Fabio home and breaking up my alliance as long as it lasted me one more day in the game.
I sort of -- and then it would have been even numbers. It would have been six and I could have sort of maybe easily weaseled my way back into an alliance with Chase and Holly knowing that -- everybody knowing that -- [Jane Bright]'s dangerous to sit next to in the final three, and so I could have maneuvered something and it was very possible that I could have won individual immunity.
So really, if I could have just gotten through one more Tribal, I was just going to rely on winning individual immunity my way out or sort of weasel my way into a new alliance.
Reality TV World: Why do you think they decided to vote you off instead of Fabio -- do you think wanting to drive a wedge between the surviving members of your alliance and make Fabio distrust [Dan Lembo] played any role, or do you think it was just...
Ben "Benry" Henry: I think they knew that Dan and I were closer than Dan and Fabio. I think they sort of set us side by side and looked at -- compared stats if you will -- and saw me I guess maybe more physically as a threat. I had won more challenges, I had produced more in challenges, and sitting next to me in the final three could be dangerous because I really hadn't made one enemy in the jury besides [Alina Wilson], really.
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So I probably -- and she didn't even know [unintelligible] at the time, by the way, is what I'm referring to. -- I probably would have gotten several votes sitting in the top three and I think they knew that.
And I also think that they looked Fabio and I and they thought that I was a little more aware of what was going on in the game and then more intelligent, maybe, and they thought that Fabio was sort of just putzing around and they could get rid of him next. So I think in all that they saw me as more of a threat physically in challenges and winning my way to the final three than Fabio.
Reality TV World: You told Chase you were fine with the idea of voting Fabio off next pretty much as soon as he returned from the reward trip with Holly and Jane. Were you being truthful at that point, or did you still feel Sash was with you guys at that point and you were just trying to string Chase along?
Ben "Benry" Henry: I was just trying to string Chase along and see what he would say and just let him know that I'm going to be loyal to him and let him know that he can trust me and that I'm not set in stone. I'd proven loyal to Dan and Fabio, and I wanted to sort of put that bug in his ear.
Reality TV World: So when did you decide that Sash really wasn't going to be on your side and needed to flip on your alliance with Fabio and Dan?
Ben "Benry" Henry: Prior to going into Tribal Council, and just knowing Sash the entire game, I really didn't seem true to him and I knew he was sort of shifty the entire game. And I'm kicking myself still for putting as much faith and as much trust in him as I did that late in the game. It was extremely stupid.
I think that Sash in the back of his mind knew the entire time that he was going to side with Chase and Holly and Jane regardless of who [Chase] took on the reward which was extremely stupid. But I think Chase had already made his decision -- or I think Sash had already made his decision -- to side with their alliance prior to even coming back to camp after that Reward Challenge.
Reality TV World: Fabio and Dan didn't really seem to get that upset when you walked over to the shelter and told them Sash was talking with Holly and Chase and you thought the plan you guys had come up with was suddenly "doomed." Why do you that was, and did their laid-back reactions play any role in your decision to try and flip -- like, were you worried one of them had maybe already cut a deal with Chase or something?
Ben "Benry" Henry: Yes and no. No I didn't really think about that at the time to be honest, and neither of them did cut a deal. They were both just as blindsided as I was last night. But no, I didn't really think that they cut a deal.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode showed Chase promising Sash that he'd never vote him off and take him to the final two or three if he joined with Chase's alliance -- do you think Sash believed Chase would follow through on that?
Ben "Benry" Henry: I think Sash is a smart player. I think he knows what he's doing and I think there's always a part of Sash that only trusts somebody 50% percent.
Reality TV World: But based on what you already said earlier, it doesn't sound like you think that played a big role in Sash's decision as to which alliance to join up with? It sounds like you believe he was planning from the beginning to side with Chase, Holly and Jane?
Ben "Benry" Henry: Yeah, I think he had his mind made up from the beginning even though back at camp -- we tried to do a good job of persuading him that he would need to potentially jump ship and vote with us. But that's ultimately why I decided that I had to resort to turning on my alliance and vote Fabio out, because I knew in the back of my mind that I couldn't trust Sash.
Reality TV World: So what do you think made Sash decide to go with Chase's group -- do youir was just that he thought Fabio and yourself were bigger Immunity Challenge threats?
Ben "Benry" Henry: Yeah, I think he probably thought that we were bigger immunity threats and also we were going to be tough to sit next to in the final three. Even though Jane -- you know that Jane's gonna be tough to sit next to in the final three, and Holly as well, and Chase's dad died. He's got the whole Survivor sob story as well.
So I'm curious actually, still, as to why Sash decided to side with them. I don't know if it's because -- Chase had an idol too, so there's definitely still some questions running through my mind.
Reality TV World: You and Chase seemed to have a pretty big disconnect about your relationship. You called Chase "your boy since Day 1," but Chase said he hadn't really trusted you the entire game. Did you really think you two had a strong relationship, and do you have any explanation for why he seemed to have such a drastic...
Ben "Benry" Henry: Yeah, it's been a trip to watch for sure. I have no idea what I did to make him not trust me. But right off the bat at the beginning of the game, within the first couple days, I got to know Chase pretty well. And the reason that I wanted to -- why I thought I was so close with him -- was because he really opened up to me and he played the whole game with his heart and his emotion.
And there was a point in the beginning of the game when he said, "Man, I don't know what I'm getting myself into. I don't know if I'm cut out for this game. I just have a really big problem lying" -- and playing with his heart and emotion.
So I'm thinking that [he was] the southern boy with the solid moral values, and I really thought that I could trust him and I really thought that we had a mutual trust. But obviously we didn't, and I'm not sure what I did to deserve distrust.
Reality TV World: The one thing everyone that was left out there seemed to agree on was that they couldn't really trust Sash. Why do you think that was, and what are you thoughts about his gameplay so far?
Ben "Benry" Henry: I mean his gameplay, obviously you can't hate on it. Look at him, I mean, he's sitting very pretty. But just, I mean he is -- just his fake laugh and the way he approached you -- he was a sh-tty liar, I feel like, and it was -- I feel like people definitely saw through him. -- He just was too nice.
He'd come up and also, I don't know. He was just super fake and that's it.
Reality TV World: How strong did you think your alliance with Fabio and Dan was and exactly when did it come about, because we really didn't see much of it on TV before -- from watching at home, it almost seemed like it was an alliance of necessity that just happened because they were basically the only folks left.
Ben "Benry" Henry: Yeah it just sort of, it just sort of formed. And my whole strategy sort of to begin with was to befriend everybody and sort of lay low and not really establish a solid alliance early on in the game. I had eyes and ears everywhere for the most part, so I thought, and that was sort of my strategy.
So it was just sort of ended up forming -- and like I said, I thought I still had Holly and Chase in my back pocket. Jane was giving me some bullsh-t, so I still thought I was sort of in the middle of two alliances.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor? How did you end up on the show?
Ben "Benry" Henry: I was -- it happened really fast. -- I've always been a fan of Survivorand met somebody at my place of work who was involved in casting and I made a video and sent it in, and one thing led to another, and my video was pretty damn good.
So, I think they were looking for a young guy like me on the under 30 side, I don't know. It happened pretty quick. It was amazing though.