I’m thankful I was on Big Brother so many years ago, because I wouldn’t want to go on the show now. I don’t know if I could ever go back on the show again (Update: Here Goes Nothing). For a while I thought I would, given the right amount of compensation from CBS, but no. I wouldn’t put my friends and family through the hassle, and I don’t want to be remembered for going on the show anytime after this current season. Big Brother is becoming less and less CBS, and more MTV.
When they were casting for All-Stars in 2007 I was flown out to LA and I met with the gang at CBS again. I’d lost my dad to kidney failure in 2004, and my mother had tried to take her life as a result in 2005. I sat there with the producers and I answered their questions about what’s new and how does a second season of Big Brother sound to me. I felt like I was in a cave most of the interview, and I felt disconnected from reality. I was an emotional wreck since winning BB, but nobody knew it.
I answered all the producers’ questions but they knew my heart wasn’t in it. I’d already returned to work in banking since winning my season, and I’d also been running a little side business. I was focused on making money and running away from having to deal with death and depression in my family. Going back on Big Brother was not the right move for me. All-Stars happened without me, but I did judge a Food Competition that season with Marvin and Nicole. That was enough for me.
Since All-Stars I’ve stayed in touch with many people still on the Big Brother team, even after moving to Belgium and starting a family of my own. It’s their job to keep in touch with BB alum. CBS always has a way of tracking you down somehow even if the rest of us think you’ve gone MIA. It’s their job. For all those who think CBS doesn’t keep tabs on BB alum to use them if ever there comes a time, for anything, you’re wrong. They do. It’s their job, even for dinosaurs like me. Dinosaurs can be coaches too.
Their jobs must be getting harder in recent seasons with all the death threats and FBI-calling. I’m thankful my season was so long ago when less was at our vicious fingertips. I remember my cousin Miran, who was barely a teenager, had watched my season from home and ventured online to a Big Brother forum. In the forum I was being torn apart by rabid fans who hated me, and naive little Miran attempted to defend me. Quite innocently Miran thought that letting internet trolls know that she was related to me, and that she could vouch for me, would help support me.
Miran was chased off the forum crying, and traumatized. Growing up in a sheltered suburb of Delaware, Miran had never been accused of being “probably a lesbian who eats Jun’s pussy” or the like. I felt horrible. I still feel bad, but it’s funny to us now. That really was mild compared to 10 years later, today.
The internet is a wondrous place, but it’s also a clogged drain of anonymous hate to an extreme degree when it comes to Big Brother. It’s the reason I stopped watching Big Brother 15 and I know I did the right thing because my summer’s been peaceful. This is the first summer in years that I haven’t had my life threatened, or my family threatened, and my distancing myself from Big Brother has been better all-around.
I say I’d never go back on the show because nowadays some fans take it so far that people losing their livelihoods is not enough. Threats of rape and torture and death, and harassment of all kinds and outlets, has become the norm in recent Big Brother seasons. No amount of money or thirst for fame could ever make me get close to any of that, even if I know I’d win if I ever got back in the Big Brother house. I know I would, but it wouldn’t be worth my family having to have to go into hiding for months for their own sake.
It’s not easy to turn off the hate when it’s coming at you consistently in the public. Ignoring it is harder than you’d think, even though it’s the easiest thing to say. Some Big Brother alum choose to stick around and interact with fans while others drop their Big Brother experience and return to life. Some do both, and some do it better than others and for different reasons. The more you’re in the public eye, the more everything.
There’s a lot wrong with people who go into the Big Brother house, but they’re exponentially outnumbered by the lots going wrong with fans outside the Big Brother house. Fan rage escalates every year. How far can it go?