Hindsight’s 20/20. Former America’s Favorite Houseguest Nicole Anthony was the second player to be evicted from Big Brother: All-Stars on Thursday, August 20, and she realizes now where things may have went wrong for her.
The Long Island native, 25, opened up to Us Weekly the morning after her ousting to explain her gameplay – particularly her recent mistrust of allies Janelle Pierzina and Kaysar Ridha, both of whom were campaigning for her to stay.
During the episode, host Julie Chen revealed that Janelle was actually on her side and she even cried over not being able to save her. She also exposed the dominant house alliance of Cody Calafiore, Nicole Franzel, Daniele Donato, Tyler Crispen, Christmas Abbott and Memphis Garrett.
Nicole, who was ultimately evicted by a vote of 10-2 against her season 21 buddy David Alexander, also talked with Us about what her plan was had she stayed and what it meant to come back for season 22. Check out our interview!
Us Weekly: You spent a lot of the past week doubting Janelle and Kaysar’s loyalty, at one point even saying you’d go after them. Where did that mistrust come from?
Nicole Anthony: I think it was fostering for a while. In the game, you always have in the back of your head that anybody can be duping you, so that was always there. And then I’d have people like Kevin [Campbell], like “Be careful. Don’t her rope you in. You’re with her too much.” And when I was nominated by someone who I thought was in a final three with Janelle and Kaysar, I thought, “Oh, something’s off here. Why would he nominate me?” I started to question if they kinda used me as an offering, like, “Get rid of her. Not us.” And then I spoke to Nicole F. and Nicole F. Was like, “Are you coming after me? A conversation was overheard where you and Janelle said you were coming after me.” I thought Janelle told her. So I started thinking, “Wow, Janelle’s really burying me” and in that game, those thoughts just keep on going around and around. Once you think it, it’s very hard to get out of it.
Us: Why did you hold Janelle and Kaysar so responsible for Memphis’ nominations?
NA: The previous week, when Keesha [Smith] was on the block, Janelle and Kaysar were really pushing to keep her, and they wanted me to help them keep her. In my brain, that meant they were a four. I really really thought that Memphis and Keesha, having been on the same season, regardless of what went down – you know, I consider David family, I know people are very close to people they were on previous seasons with – so I thought Memphis and Keesha are together. And Janelle and Kaysar are fighting for Keesha, so they must be a four. And that’s why I associated them in my brain. It’s very difficult for me to break the association, especially having conversations with Janelle and Kaysar before noms happened. They were like, “We’re going to put in a good word. We’re going to talk to Memphis and tell him that you’re good.” I was like, “Oh wow, they must have a sway over him if they’re going to go up and talk to him. I’m probably not going to see the block.” So when I did, I was like, “OK, something’s wrong with this dynamic.”
Us: Julie mentioned Janelle was crying because she was so upset she couldn’t save you. When did you realize you may be wrong about the situation?
NA: I realized, I believe it was Wednesday. I was avoiding them. I was angry with them. I didn’t want to talk to them. I was telling the whole rest of the house, for their votes, that I was coming after them. Would I have? We’ll see. We’ll never see. I was like, “Oh, I’m going to do a house meeting.” And I think what was very telling to me was when I was sitting in the key room and Janelle came in and said, “Can we talk?” I really thought I was gonna be like, “Yeah, let’s talk! House meeting! I’m going to lay it all out there. I’m mad at you. It’s very telling that I respond with “OK, let’s talk.” That was my gut telling me, “No, you don’t need to flip out on her. She is on your side.” I think my intuition at that point was working, and I think just sitting down and having a conversation where we were both open and honest, I started to realize I’m putting way too much blame on her and Kaysar where I should be setting my sights on other people.
Us: You talked a lot about possibly holding a house meeting to call out Janelle. What was the thinking there?
NA: Now, hindsight’s 20/20. I’m very glad I didn’t do it because obviously I was wrong. But at the time, I’m glad I didn’t do it too because I wasn’t going to expose the four people I think are together. I thought Tyler, Cody, Dani and Nicole were only a four. I wasn’t going to expose that. I wasn’t going to expose anything else. I was just going to try to bury Janelle and Kaysar so those people would bring me in to work with them to get them out. The fact that Tyler was like, “Yeah, go do it. Hold that meeting. Did you hold it yet? You should do it.” I said, “Why would he push this? Something’s not right.” So I am glad I didn’t do it because I do feel like that would be playing right into Tyler’s hand, right into the group’s hand. It would have hurt the other side even more.
Us: Julie revealed the big house alliance to you. You said you weren’t that shocked, but what were you planning to do with that group?
NA: Obviously, I wasn’t with them. I was really hoping if I stay, these people would be like, “We’re working with you to get out Janelle and Kaysar. That’s why we kept you.” I’m not afraid to admit it. I would have seen where the HOH went. If the HOH went to Janelle or Kaysar, I would have been like, “Yep, still with you guys. Let’s take them out.” And if they won HOH, it’s sad to say and you can call me a lot of things, I’s probably be like, “Yeah, guys! Let’s go with what I said last week. Get them out, those liars.” That would have been my approach to it. So I was waiting to see where the power would shift. I guess I am a flip-flopper.
Us: Did you regret not not playing in the Safety Suite competition? Did you consider Memphis’ ego?
NA: I don’t regret not playing in the Safety Suite. I think a large part is because Christmas did it so fast. I think if everybody’s times were really long, or if only two people played, I would’ve been like, “Oh, I should have done it.” I don’t think that would have kept me off the block. Obviously Memphis is not on the Nicole Anthony train. That’s fine. I don’t think that would have mattered. A lot of what mine and his egos. He’s very, “I’m going to flush out the Safety Suites so only I can play in it next week. Pound my chest. Tell everyone to do it and they’re going to listen because I’m Memphis.” And my ego was like, “You’re not going to tell me what to do just because you’re big and tall and strong. I’m not going to waver.” I think a large reason why him and I don’t see eye-to-eye is because he senses my ego. Like yes, I’m very small and quiet and timid, and I cry a lot. But I think he was like, “Damn, I’m not getting through to this girl. I’m not going to scare her.”
Us: Do you feel like you campaigned enough and to the right people? What would you have done differently?
NA: I think it gave it my darndest. I think I tried these people. Then I tried that other alliance like “Oh, let’s go after Janelle and Kaysar” train. When that wasn’t working, then I tried to rally the Da’Vonne [Rogers] and Bayleigh [Dayton] and Christmas. It literally wasn’t until an hour before the live show, me and Kaysar were talking in the key room. I’m like, “Christmas is not coming around. What’s her problem? I need to stop. I need to focus on Enzo [Palumbo] and Ian [Terry].” And I think had I done that sooner – because I did get Enzo’s vote – and rallied together Janelle, Kaysar, Kevin, Da’Vonne, Bayleigh, Enzo, Ian, maybe I could have gotten the seven. But you never know, if Ian was still scared because he wants to side with Nicole. Or if Da’Vonne still decided to keep David, it would have been 6-6 and Memphis would have sent me out anyway. So there’s really no way of knowing. I do think I should have set my sights, also campaigning to Ian more and really pushing him. He’s a very logical guy. I think I could have made him come around.
Us: Speaking of Enzo’s vote, what did you think of that? And were you upset you didn’t get Janelle and Kaysar’s votes in the end?
NA: No, so I told them all not to vote for me. I told Janelle, Kaysar and Kevin in the storage room. “It’s only three.” Actually Kaysar wasn’t there. But I told them, “Don’t vote for me. Let it be unanimous. Don’t give the house an excuse to nominate you. It’s not worth it. I’m a lot of things, but I don’t believe in pity votes. I really don’t. So I said, “Don’t do it.” Kevin’s like, “Nope, I’ve been promising you my vote all week. I don’t want people thinking I’m wishy-washy.” Kevin’s concern was that he didn’t want the votes to come back 3-whatever and then everyone associates him with Janelle and Kaysar. Then he’s the next to go down. So we agreed in the storage room that Kevin would vote for me, but them two wouldn’t. I still respect them. They respect me. But we didn’t want them to be associated with Kevin and them all to go down with the ship. So when the vote came back 2, I was like, “Janelle still did it. She didn’t listen to me.” I thought Kaysar did, but she didn’t. But when I heard it was Enzo, I felt bad. I felt like I didn’t have time with him. He’s somebody, had the game gone on, we would have really really synced up. The game’s wonky in the beginning and he’s closer to other people. But thanks, Enzo. Like, damn!
Us: Who are you rooting for? Who has the best shot to win?
NA: I’m rooting for Kevin, of course. I’m rooting for David so so much. Honestly, if I’m going to go home against anybody, I’m very proud that it was David. And I am rooting for Enzo, but I get scared because Enzo’s so likeable. He’s somebody I can see go in a Double [Eviction] where everybody’s like, “Everybody likes you. Get out.” I’m rooting for anybody not in that six. That’s just my nature. I like the underdogs. I like the people who aren’t plowing through. So I hope those six get some humble pie soon.
Us: How did you feel when you got the call for All-Stars?
NA: It’s actually weird because I had such mixed feelings when I got the call. When I got the call last year [for BB21], I was screaming. I hung up the phone and called my family. I was like, “Oh my God. It’s happening! We gotta get stuff.” This time, I was like, “OK.” I hung up and I cried. It was a cry of joy, but also a cry of fear. I called my family around the table and was like, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” It’s a lot. You know, I just went through it. I know how traumatizing 99 days can be. It can be long. It’s exhausting. I knew it impacted me – didn’t realize how much, but it did – and I didn’t know if I could do it again. I had a rough two weeks, I’m not going to lie. I’m glad I did it. It was a tough decision to say yes. I’m glad I said yes, but it wasn’t, “Let’s do this, 100 percent.” It was a little bit of a waver.
Us: Would you ever play Big Brother again?
NA: I want to give the answer: “Oh, of course!” But right now, for the present Nicole, the answer is no. For my own mental health. For the things I see myself struggling with. I don’t think it’s wise. I don’t think it’s smart. Future Nicole, that’s a question for her. I don’t know how she’d answer it. But present Nicole, the answer would be a “no, thank you. I still love the show. I still support it. I still root for everybody in there.” I’m still extremely thankful for the opportunities.
Big Brother: All-Stars airs on CBS Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 8 p.m. ET.