Exclusive: Benjamin Clark talks about his time on 'Love in the Wild' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/02/2012
Benjamin Clark and his partner Michelle Sacco finished Love in the Wild's second-season in second place during last week's finale of the NBC reality dating series, which featured singles attempting to find love in the Dominican Republic.
As the runner-up couple, Ben and Michelle just fell short of claiming Love in the Wild's grand prize of an all-expenses paid first class trip around the world together. The pair were beaten by champions Kenneth Barrington and Yanina Beccaria in the season's grueling final adventure, which took the couples two days to complete.
Last week, Ben talked to Reality TV World about his Love in the Wild experience -- including why he thought Summer Mack is just like him in one aspect, whether he admitted to "Chase" Aaron Chase's claims he was acting immature and/or being a hothead during the show, what exactly went wrong in his relationship with Jenny Blatt, and how soon he could see himself proposing to Michelle.
Below is the concluding portion of our exclusive interview with Ben. Click here to read the first half. To begin reading Michelle's interview, click here. Check back with Reality TV World later today for the rest of Michelle's interview.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Summer and Chase recently, I asked them about how you had told them they seemed like a friendly couple who just happened to be very competitive towards the end of the season. Chase then told me he thought your opinions of them was actually a strategy to keep you and Michelle in the competition longer. So did you really just believe Summer and Chase were a buddy buddy couple without much romance involved or was it truly a tactic to get you and Michelle into the finale?
Benjamin Clark: It wasn't a tactic. I don't think I'm smart enough to have thought of that as any type of strategic method. It was basically just what I saw. They were two people just going through the adventures, like I said, just trying to squash everyone and get to the finish line.
That was my opinion, whether it's -- you don't have to believe it and you don't have to like it. That's what I thought and rightly or wrongly, I made [that comment] because that's what I saw.
I think a lot of other people also saw that. I don't know why they jumped down my throat, because that's basically how it was. Whether it's changed after the show, I hope it has. I hope they're madly in love and living together and having a great old time and still together. I hope someone moves over there or vice versa, but at that moment in time, me and Michelle thought that they were absolutely that.
There was no -- they sort of said that, "We don't have to show public displays of affection and all that and hold hands. We show it differently." But there's no real PDA when the cameras are following you around 24/7 and in your bedroom, when you walk in, everywhere. You go to the bathroom and there's cameras everywhere.
Wherever you go, the fact they didn't even kiss or hold hands or anything, it's not public -- you can't say it's not PDA because there's cameras everywhere. That's just how -- cameras are going to pick up that regardless whether I'm doing it in front of you or not. There was a camera there to pick you up, so that wasn't a strategy.
That was just basically, that was honestly -- I wouldn't say fact, but that's how I saw it and that's how ultimately Ken and Yanina saw it. I wasn't lying or trying to knock their relationship, you know? That was just how I saw it.
Reality TV World: Because of those things you had said about Chase and Summer, Chase also claimed you lack maturity and happen to be a hothead so you often argued your points when you didn't really know what was going on between the couples around you. I want to give you a chance to respond to his comment. Do you think he just saw you in the wrong light?
Benjamin Clark: Yeah, I probably wouldn't say I'm immature. I am a hothead and the thing that they didn't catch... was when we did the question [game] between couples, I think one of the questions was, "Who is more ready to settle down?" And I said, "Michelle." And someone brought that up and said, "You're not ready to settle down?"
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[Summer] actually came and sat down with [Michelle and I] and was like, "Come on, let's hash this out. Let's see." And Summer said something like, "You're not ready." And I go, "Listen, you're a bit older than me. You and Chase, you might be ready, I'm not ready." We're a lot younger, because I'm 27 and Michelle's 26. I think Summer's in her 30s.
And so, Summer started that whole sort of debate about "We're this," "I think you're friendlier." She actually raised off it and began questioning the legitimacy of Michelle and I's relationship. And that's when I actually fired back.
Summer was also just as combative as me, so I don't know how he can get off saying I'm a hothead. Summer is basically the female equivalent of me in that aspect. So, you know, he can't look that far when his girlfriend is exactly the same. She's a feisty little character also.
Reality TV World: So do you have any ill feelings toward Summer and Chase now?
Benjamin Clark: Oh no, no, no. Not at all. I think Summer's brilliant. I actually like Summer. I like how combative she is. She's feisty. She'll say what she thinks and if she doesn't agree with something, she'll tell you and she'll tell you to your face. I'm the same. I never went behind their backs and then said to their face, "You two are brilliant."
I went to cameras and said, "Oh they're just mates. They don't care about each other. Summer told me to my face and I told her to her face. So I think Summer's great, and Chase is a lovely lad.
He sided with Summer and I've got no ill feelings towards anyone. After the show, we're sort of in a stressful situation with the cameras there and sometimes things escalated or got blown out of proportion. There were no ill feelings towards them at all.
Reality TV World: Well they didn't have any towards you either! (Laughs)
Benjamin Clark: Oh okay, good!
Reality TV World: You were paired up with Jenny for quite some time and it seemed like you had a lot of loyalty towards her as a partner, but viewers were confused as to whether that's all it was or whether you had some real feelings for her and felt a connection. So would you mind talking about that a little bit? What went wrong in your relationship with her, why wasn't she the girl for you?
Benjamin Clark: It was -- I did, I did have a lot of loyalty. She picked me, we went through the trios together, she kept me over [Franky Arriola] and that was the instance when I was with [Shauna Dillard] and I said no to her. I said, "Jenn deserves to stay with or without me."
At that point, when there were only seven girls, I wasn't attracted to any of them, but me and Jenn got along really well and we went through a lot of adventures. I was like -- we had no idea any new girls were coming on -- and I said, "I can stay with Jenn as a friend and we can try it," because I enjoyed her company and she was really funny -- a hilarious girl -- and she's a lovely girl.
I had a great time with her although there was nothing there. There wasn't an attraction; There just wasn't anything there. We got along so great. I am a big believer in being loyal and trust, and it was difficult. As much as Michelle was there, it was difficult at the time because I obviously -- I felt like I was letting Jenn down because she was a friend.
But with Michelle and I, there was something there and I was attracted to her. And at the time, it was in the early stages, but we chatted for awhile and we got along really well. Jenn and I were friendly.
We were only friends, and so I felt like I was letting a friend down and I did feel really bad about sending her back. We got along great, it was just, there was nothing there basically. She's a great looking girl. She's just not my type and I felt awful. I felt awful.
Reality TV World: Do you think a friendship is a possibility between you and Jenny at this point or no?
Benjamin Clark: Yeah, yeah, yeah! We still text and stuff. She was actually watching last week's program when I lost my head... she texted me and said, "I can't exactly tell what's happening because it's muted, but you look like you're losing your head! And Michelle is just walking around as cool as a cucumber." She said, "It's a good thing you've got Michelle otherwise you would've gone way too far." So Jenn is still a good friend.
Reality TV World: During last night's final adventure, it looked like you and Michelle passed Ken and Yanina in your kayaks while paddling at one point once you had retrieved your floating crate. But shortly afterwards, when paddling to the beach, both pairs appeared to be neck and neck. So could you talk a little bit about what happened there?
Benjamin Clark: Yeah, they actually made it look a little bit closer than what it was. Once we got to the beach, it showed us that we were both opening the crates at the same time. They were a little bit, marginally, ahead at that point. So although it looked like we both got there at the same time, they'd actually made it there a little bit before us to the beach.
Reality TV World: Once you and Michelle got to the beach and had to open your crate with a crowbar, you had trouble opening it the right way and decided to smash the top in. (Laughs) Did you lost any time trying to get that crate open or did you find your smashing technique to be just as effective as the regular way to use a crow bar?
Benjamin Clark: I probably did [lose time]. I think I lost my head again. I just sort of cringed and made a face and then started whaling away at it. It didn't show it. When Michelle had to go and get all the three pieces to make the bike, we had to use a crowbar to get into a larger [crate] to get the base of the bike out.
I used the smashing technique and I got into it quicker than Ken did it, and Ken did it by prying. So I was like, "I'm just going to carry on and it was smaller." But it didn't work as well, and I ended up smashing to bits the idol inside of the crate. We had no idea what was in it.
It was so bloody heavy and I was just smashing away. By the time I got to the finish line and we were exhausted, [Jenny McCarthy] said we could keep our idols, and mine was the one I smashed into. The leg was falling off, half its face was smashed in. I completely destroyed the idol that was inside. (Laughs) I probably lost a bit of time using that method, but it worked earlier so I thought I could use it on this one!
Reality TV World: (Laughs) They didn't give you a new idol to take home for memory sake?
Benjamin Clark: No, everyone returned with theirs back to America. Mine's probably still in bits on that beach. I ended up leaving mine.
Reality TV World: Where do you see yourself being with Michelle in a few years from now? Do you think an engagement is a possibility?
Benjamin Clark: Yeah, absolutely. I honestly am so grateful for the show because I found someone who's completely out of my league and far too good for me, in my opinion. I couldn't be happier, so.
Above is the concluding portion of our exclusive interview with Ben. Click here to read the first half. To begin reading Michelle's interview, click here. Check back with Reality TV World later today for the rest of Michelle's interview.