He was the first player ever ejected from a challenge but likely not the last to get the tribal boot for giving off ‘bad energy.’ Ben Browning, a 28-year-old L.A. bar manager who was the third contestant voted off Survivor: Samoa, talked to PEOPLE about the game from his perspective. — Carrie Bell
Were your tribemates really that bad at survival skills? Who was running the camp?
Russell knew what he was doing but everyone else was pretty clueless in the woods. Galu had more solidarity and leadership and we didn’t have either one of those things. The leadership from Mick was nil. The closest he came to being a leader was picking who was going to be in the challenges and what role, and that was required by Jeff Probst, so other than that, I pretty much took control of camp just because I knew what I was doing, and he even asked me, ‘Hey, do you know what you’re doing out here? Because I have no idea.’ So just kind of followed because they didn’t know what else to do.
Did you know while you were there how much control Russell had at Foa Foa?
What they didn’t show was that Russell and I had a close alliance, and he did not want me to go at all. You can see it in his face when Jaison tells him, ‘It’s either me or him,’ and he is torn up about it. But Russell is the man and I hope he wins! I didn’t know he was doing a little sabotage, but more power to him.
What power plays were you hoping to execute?
They didn’t show them! I made a fake immunity idol. It was really awesome. I killed a chicken with my bare hands and I took its wings and made this necklace that has this big seashell that Russell found — he and I were in it together — and put it back where the original one was.
Did Russell show you his hidden immunity idol?
Yeah, he showed me. We were trying to pull a fast one on everybody!
Did you think it was fair for Jeff to eject you from the wrestling challenge?
I thought it was a sissy thing for ol’ Probst to do! He singled me out and yeah, s— happens, can’t do anything about it now, so I don’t hold any grudges. I had a good time. I actually thought Probst was pretty cool.
You’ve been getting flak for your ‘ghetto trash’ remarks at Yasmin. Did you understand where Jaison was coming from at tribal council?
I can understand where Jaison is coming from, but if you really look into it, he comes off as the racist, because I asked him, ‘If a girl talks like she’s from the ghetto, and she drinks Kool-Aid and eats ketchup sandwiches, and she acts like a total bitch, and she’s white, is she ghetto trash?’ And he couldn’t answer that. I was making a statement of how she’s acting and it had nothing to do with the color of her skin. He doesn’t like to be wrong and he throws a lot of temper tantrums when he loses.
Would you do TV again?
Well, of course. I like the whole reality show thing because you get to be you. They can edit you however they want, which is cool for me, because I really don’t care what think! It works out well. They want to pay me to act out on TV? Where do I sign up! I have talked to a few . I do mixology behind the bar, so it’s like being a liquid chef, and they have talked about doing some mixology shows and asked if I would be interested in judging or hosting. I could be the Simon Cowell of judges, I think!