HE MIGHT have been the bookies' favourite, but Ben Zabel never expected to win Big Brother.
The former flight attendant from Brisbane's eviction shocked viewers on Wednesday night.
The 30-year-old had been the hot favourite to win the show's $250,000 grand prize, having enjoyed strong public support in all of his previous eviction nominations.
"Because Ben (Norris) had won last year, I knew I wouldn't win this year," he told APN.
"Two Bens winning in a row, I don't think that will ever happen.
"I thought I could just go in there and just be 100 percent me. What's the point in even trying to do anything clever?"
But some fans speculated he was being very clever, with rumours circulating on social media over that past week that Zabel was an actor.
The colourful character lives at home with his mum, loves Bert and Patti Newton and collects old hats.
"Isn't that funny? Mum and I thought that was great," he said.
"When you come out of Big Brother every housemate has a little fire to put out."
Zabel described himself as being a hermit before going on the show, suffering from anxiety and depression, and that his three months in the Big Brother house has been like therapy.
"I think my hermit days might be behind me," he said.
"I will have to move into the 21 century, even if slowly. I think I'm going to say yes more. Big Brother taught me to say yes more. I tend to say no a lot and play it safe. I will be getting out a bit more."
But his first few days on the show were overwhelming, and that his anxiety occasionally reared its "ugly head". Big Brother housemates are completely isolated from the outside world and have no access to music, movies or television.
"By day three having severe panic attacks during the night," he said.
"I was feeling really alone, missing my mum and I thought I'd made a mistake.
"I get really anxious when I'm on my own and when I get like that I hide away. But I learned what I thought would hurt me actually helped me in a way."
His goal now is to get a job to achieve his life-long dreams, which are in typical Ben style quite quirky.
"On my wish list is to get a Chihuahua and a ukulele and to take mum to Graceland," he said.
"Honestly, whatever job I can get to make that come true I'll do."
Big Brother airs Mondays to Fridays at 7pm on Channel 9/WIN.
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