With dominant, reality TV-friendly personalities NaOnka Mixon, Holly Hoffman and Jane Bright — oh, and the (faux?) cluelessness of Fabio Birza — on the screen, Ben "Benry" Henry flew under the radar for the first half of Survivor: Nicaragua. But as soon as his impressive physical skills in challenges became a threat to the equally strong Chase Rice, Benry was blindsided by Chase and his alliance faster than you can say "hidden immunity idol." The 24-year-old club promoter talked with TVGuide.com about how his competitive nature did him in, why he thought he had Chase in his "back pocket" — and last week's quitters.
Watch full episodes of Survivor: Nicaragua
TVGuide.com: How surprised were you to get voted out?
Ben "Benry" Henry: It was a complete blindside. It was fun to watch with friends last night because nobody had any idea who was going home. ... I think it was cool. It was an episode where people were on the edge of their seats and really up in the air as to what was going on. Personally, I did not see that coming. I was completely blindsided. I had no idea what was coming and I thought going into it that we were going to vote Fabio off. I thought that was the mutual consensus.
TVGuide.com: Do you think Chase's alliance chose to vote for you over Fabio because of how close you came to winning the immunity challenge?
Benry: Yeah, I think so. Definitely between Fabio or I, I think they looked at it and they really saw me as more of a physical threat and that I had been more of an asset to the tribe in pre-merge game ... [They thought] I would have been a dangerous person to sit next to in the top three. I think they also thought Fabio is kind of dumb and would play along, so they sort of had him in their back pocket. They saw me as being a little more intelligent, a little bit more aware so I was the bigger threat.
Survivor's quitters, NaOnka and Purple Kelly, share their side of the story
TVGuide.com: Sash said in a confessional that he had only been giving 70 percent in challenges to seem like less of a threat. Do you agree with that logic and do you wish you had done the same thing?
Benry: Going in, I knew I'm an athlete, I knew my capabilities. Pre-merge, I was bringing home rewards and I was a solid asset. Really, I went into the game playing 110 percent the entire time, just like Sash said. He says he was playing 70 percent the entire time, but I don't think the kid is too coordinated or really athletic. He's not physically a big threat in challenges. But if he wants to say he was playing at 70 percent, maybe he was. I just have this competitive nature inside of me where I can't give anything less than 110 percent. I will say this: In the challenge when Tyrone went home and we had to break those tiles, I could have broken all those tiles. We'll just leave it at that. We needed to send Tyrone home.
TVGuide.com: At least you can say you gave it your all, unlike the quitters.
Benry: It's a bummer. They have no regrets, but if it were me, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night still. I heard a good quote the other day: "Quitters never win and winners never quit." ... I think it's unfortunate that they pulled the plug with 11 days left, but it just goes to show that what kind of people they really are.
TVGuide.com: A lot of people are upset that they're still on the jury. What do you think about that?
Benry: There was definitely a lot of talk about that and I didn't think they would be allowed on the jury. There's really two sides to everything. Part of me says that they've been involved in the game and involved in conversations so their vote is somewhat valuable. Another part of me says that if there seven on the jury instead of nine then the vote still would have been there. I don't know.
TVGuide.com: Going back to your last Tribal Council, why were you so willing to vote out Fabio in spite of your strong alliance with him?
Benry: Basically, I knew that at that point in the game that I was cornered and that my days were numbered out there. I also really thought that I had Chase in my back pocket. I thought I could really trust Chase and I could really trust Holly so a part of me thought that if I were to stab him in the back, which I did, I could maybe weasel my way into that alliance and then I could win individual immunity and get to the finals. So really, I was scrambling. I was doing whatever I could to further myself and look out for No. 1.
TVGuide.com: It seems you were close with Chase since the beginning so why did you end up aligning with Fabio rather than with his group?
Benry: I was sort of sitting back as a free agent and I didn't really have a solid alliance until later in the game. That was part of my strategy going into it. There's so many coulda, shoulda, wouldas in this game and so many variables that go into it. Chase had mentioned to me, "I don't know if this game of Survivor is for me. It's hard for me to lie to people." So right off the bat, I trusted Chase and I felt like I could trust him the whole game. I felt like I could keep my eyes and ears all over the place and I could have a foot in every alliance. It definitely came back to bite me ... and if Chase hadn't started gunning for me, I would have started gunning for him, so he got me first.