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Another Boise native competes in latest season of Survivor

Ben Driebergen visits with KBOI 2 news anchor Natalie Hurst during the season premiere of "Survivor: Ghost Island" on CBS. 

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Season 36 of Survivor kicked off Wednesday night on KBOI 2.

And good news for local viewers, it features yet another contestant with a Boise connection.

To analyze what we can expect from this season, and how another local contestant may do, we called upon last season's final winner, Boise's own Ben Driebergen.

As we sat down to watch the show at the KBOI 2 studios, it was obvious that you could say Ben knows a thing or two about Survivor.

"My smartest move would be taking Lauren out - finally," Ben said about Season 35.

The Boise native took home the top prize for Season 35 of the show.

And he knows what's at stake watching this new round of contestants on CBS.

"It's 100 percent real," he said. "I lost 30 pounds in 39 days - I'm obviously not an actor or anything like that, so this is real people, real islands and real challenges."

For this new installment, the cast of 20 meets up in FIJI for their journey.

The cast includes yet another Boise native - Stephanie Johnson, a 34-year-old who now lives in Chicago.

She recently talked to KBOI 2 about this upcoming season.

" There's always drama on Survivor!" she said from her home in Chicago. "You take 20 people, starve them, you know you're gonna get some drama. There's always going to be something."

The yoga instructor has two kids and is well traveled, having been to 24 countries and six continents.

But she credits her upbringing in Boise for giving her the edge on Survivor.

"There's skiing, there's hiking, camping, you grow up living outside and that is hugely beneficial for a show like Survivor where you are literally living outside and I found that growing up in a town like Boise was kind of what sparked the outdoor lifestyle, the adventurous lifestyle for me," she said.

Survivor: Ghost Island promises to keep viewers and the show's contestants on edge.

And for the first time, the show revolves around a new element: the mistakes of past castaways, scattered around the island as clues.

Ben says therein my lie Stephanie's best chance to win.

"Stephanie's a big fan, so she's gonna know how these idols and advantages were misplayed - and a big theme of the season is can you reverse the curse, so whether an idol came home with someone because they didn't play it, or it went wrong, or an advantage - I think Steph's a smart cookie, and she'll be able to maneuver her way through the game and all these ghostly idols and advantages that they have this year," Ben said.

So who takes home the million dollars?

Only time will tell... and Stephanie's not saying.

"This really is going to be the greatest season yet, so make sure you tune in on Wednesday nights and I'm so excited to represent Boise and - it's going to be an exciting ride!" she said.

Stephanie graduated from Centennial High School in the year 2000 and she still comes back to Boise to visit her parents and friends.

In interviews with national media, she says when compared to some of her competitors, watch for some of Pavarti for her heart and strength, Ozzy for his love of adventure and Tyson for his sarcasm.

You can watch the next episode of Survivor: Ghost Island Wednesday nights on KBOI 2.

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