“I Deserve to Be Here” — How Winning ‘Survivor’ Taught Feras to Back Himself

Australian Survivor winner Feras Basal

In a clean sweep victory, Jonathan LaPaglia announced Feras Basal as the Sole Survivor of Australian Survivor: Titans Vs Rebels. It was a nail-biting finale for Australian Survivor 2024, with the Jury members giving the final two — Feras and runner-up Caroline Courtis — a lengthy grilling during the final Tribal Council of the season, but eventually, Feras walked away with the win, and the $500,000 prize.

Chatting to The Latch over the phone the morning after his victory, Feras says that he “couldn’t be happier” about the outcome.

“I’m over the moon!” he says. “I didn’t get much sleep last night, but I still have the adrenaline pumping, so I can imagine I’ll have the best sleep of my life after today.” 

To have won the votes of every Jury member, Feras says, is a “humbling” experience.

“It feels amazing to know that I got a clean sweep,” he says, laughing as he adds, “I guess I did something right!”

Feras knew it was going to be a tough Tribal Council for him, which makes the victory that much sweeter, he says. With so much of his gameplay done behind the scenes, he had his work cut out for him to convince the jury that he was deserving of the win.

“Only a handful of people really saw my gameplay from start to finish,” he explains. “I knew it was going to be a very, very tough Tribal Council, to be able to explain all of that.”

“To be the Best, You Have to Beat the Best”

As we discuss the Final Tribal Council, we get onto the topic of Feras’ decision to eliminate Kirby Bentley from the game. After playing a strong game throughout the season, Kirby had wanted to stand next to the strongest players in the game at the finale, with the idea being that to be the best, you have to beat the best players in the game. At the Final Tribal Council, Kirby probed Feras about his decision to eliminate her from the game, and asked him if he was scared to stand next to her at the end.


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As a fan of Survivor myself, I put it to Feras that if you eliminate the best from the competition, have you not beaten them in that moment?

He laughs.

“Ah, there you go, there you go!” he exclaims. “Now I know I’m talking to a fan of Survivor! I love that! I f**ken love that!”

Noting that Kirby is “a very, very competitive person” who comes “from an athletic background”, Feras says that while he understands her perspective, it’s not really how he sees things when it comes to Survivor.

“In my eyes, I was like, ‘Yeah, you can keep that quote — I want to win $500,000, I don’t care who I’m sitting next to at the end! I want the best chance as possible!’” he exclaims with a laugh.

Feras Didn’t Mind That Mark Had Put His Game on Blast

Going into the final Individual Immunity Challenge, Feras was nervous. Not only had he eliminated his “shield” Kirby from the game, but his fellow finalist, Mark Warnock, had put his game on blast at the last Tribal Council.

Feras didn’t mind that Mark had laid his game out for all to see — quite the opposite, actually.


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“He sort of put me on a pedestal in front of the Jury, which I was happy about!” Feras says. “When he made those comments, in my head I was like, ‘Okay, so you’re saying… I played the game of Survivor? Yeah, sweet! Thank you, thank you for that!’”

But while he didn’t think Mark’s play had made much of an impact on the Jury, he knew it would “solidify [Mark’s] relationship with Caroline”. With Mark and Caroline locked into their alliance, the heat was on Feras to win Individual Immunity.

“I think having my back against the wall in the final challenge really did help me a lot, and gave me a lot of motivation to push,” he says. And of course, having his wife Eman there to cheer him on was also “incredibly motivating”.

The Endurance Challenge Was “the Most Peaceful Part of the Game”

The motivation paid off in the end, because after an excruciating two-and-a-half hours, Caroline stepped down from the challenge, giving Feras the coveted Immunity Necklace he’d been gunning for all season.

As viewers, we see a tiny portion of these endurance challenges, which often go for the same length as a long feature film. I ask Feras what was going through his mind throughout the challenge.

“Honestly at that point — and as crazy as it sounds — it was the most peaceful part of the game,” he says. “It was a point [of the game] where obviously we had a lot of time to reflect up there, unfortunately!” 


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He laughs. “I wish it took 15 minutes! But yeah, what was going through my mind was just, ‘I just can’t step down’. That was replaying in my mind. ‘If I step down, Feras, you’re going to regret this tomorrow. If I step down, you’re going to embarrass yourself.’ Just all these things, constantly reassuring myself, ‘Feras, DO NOT step down. Regardless of what you’re feeling right now, because it’s only temporary, and you’ll thank yourself if you win this challenge’. And that’s literally all I thought of.”

Related: ‘Australian Survivor’: The Moment Kirby Knew “Paranoid” Feras Wouldn’t Save Her

Related: Australian Survivor’s Raymond: “There’s So Much of Me That Wasn’t Shown”

Feras Wanted to Challenge Himself on Australian Survivor

Going into the game, Feras was ready to challenge himself.

“I was known by a lot of people [as someone] very, very sociable, I was just a person who could get along with anyone and everyone, and so many people just randomly said, ‘You know what, you’d be great on Survivor’,” he recalls. “It sort of planted the seed in my head.”

Soon, Feras was keen to put himself to the test.

“I really wanted to test how strategic I could be,” he says. “I love puzzles, I’ve done over 40 escape rooms, I’m obsessed with all those nitty gritty things, and I wanted to test my people skills. Coming from a HR background, I really wanted to see if I could put something like this to the test, and thankfully it worked out!”

Expectations, Reality, and Learning to Back Himself

Of course, getting on the show is one thing, but winning it is a different challenge all together.

“There haven’t been many moments in my life where I believed in myself, and really backed myself,” he says, adding that he’s very rarely won anything before this.

“After winning, I’ve learned that I really need to put trust in myself, I need to believe in myself,” he says. “I do deserve to be there, I do deserve all the things that I’ve achieved, and to put a bit more belief in myself.”

The win, he says, has “really, really changed” his opinion of himself.


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“Going into the game, I didn’t even think about winning,” he says. “I had probably zero belief that I could go that far, let alone win.”

Content to get on the show and “be as entertaining as possible”, Feras was ready to “have a blast”, but didn’t think he could ever come out on top.

“Once I [was in] the game and a couple of votes went by, I went, ‘Holy crap, I could actually play this game. Like, I think I actually have the potential to win!’” he recalls.

After taking home the win, Feras says that his “perspective has completely changed”.

“Next time I go into something, I’m going to one hundred percent back myself and say, ‘I’m gonna win’,” he says. 

The Importance of Feras’ Win

“It was already an achievement to be the first Middle Eastern, Muslim contestant to even play the game in Australia, let alone win,” Feras says.

As the show’s first Arab, Muslim contestant, Feras says he still gets goosebumps talking about how much it meant to him to be able to represent his community.

“To be able to represent my community in the best possible way — on national TV in front of everyone — meant so much more than anything else in the game,” he says. “It meant so much more than even winning.”


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He continues: “I’m constantly seeing people from my community on TV, not for the right reasons. For once, I wanted to show everyone, ‘Hey look, there’s a Muslim on television, an Arab, that not only can be strategic, that can be fun to watch, that can actually be one of the most loyal people in the game, trustworthy’.”

The response he’s gotten has been overwhelming.

“To have a lot of people support me from all over the world, saying, ‘Thank you so much for representing us’, I can’t tell you how proud I am,” he says. “The fact that I had people saying, ‘Thank you for representing our culture the right way,’ it breaks my heart, but also humbles me, at the same time.”

What Feras Is Planning to Spend His Prize Money on

As the winner of Australian Survivor: Titans Vs Rebels, Feras is walking away with a cool $500,000 prize. But don’t expect to see him blowing through it on Instagram — Feras has more realistic plans for his prize money.

“Look, as much as I’d love to give you a juicy answer, I’m going to be very responsible with myself,” he says. “I plan on hopefully investing into a property, my first property, which I’m so excited about, and maybe starting an online business. But I’m definitely going to be responsible with the money!”

I tell him it’s probably a smart call, given the cost of living crisis, and quip that it’s probably not the best time to buy a yacht.

“Yeah, chips are eight dollars now, lovely, eight dollars!” he exclaims with a laugh. “I can’t afford to be, you know, flashing around in a nice car! Maybe next time!”

What’s Next for Feras

With his Australian Survivor journey now done and dusted, Feras is ready for what’s next, and he hopes you’ll follow him for what’s to come.


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“Oh, there is so much that I’m planning,” he says. “Even before I was on Survivor, I was an avid TikToker, making a bunch of videos, whether it’s skits, podcasts, whatever it may be. So you can definitely expect to see a bunch more content outside of Survivor on my Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, whatever it may be!”

As for whether we’d see him return to Australian Survivor?

“Oh my gosh, I would love to do it all over again!” he says. “I mean, I know I just said I needed to believe in myself, like, five minutes ago, but [I would] literally just go to have fun again!

“I just want to go and experience it all again,” he says.

Missed the finale? Catch up on Australian Survivor: Titans Vs Rebels on 10 Play.

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