Ross Mathews investigates! The TV personality, who placed second on Celebrity Big Brother, did more than just play in competitions and float between two alliances this season. Mathews also took the opportunity to ask fellow houseguest Omarosa Manigault about her time in the White House — and report back to America in his diary room confessionals.
“I’m waiting for the Pulitzer company to get back to me. I’m just assuming I’m going to win some kind of award. I need a little press hat,” Mathews, 38, jokes to Us Weekly. “I seriously was DYING inside the house trying to get scoop for everybody. And when she would open up to me I would just shut the hell up and let her spill the tea.”
Early on in the game, Mathews consoled Manigault when she broke down in tears about her experience in the Trump administration. The former political aide, who left the Oval Office in December, said that she was “haunted by tweets every single day” and that “it’s gonna not be OK.”
“I believe that Omarosa — how do I say this. I believe that Omarosa is genuine when she’s being genuine. You’re going to have to figure out when that is!” Mathews says. “The most surprising thing about living with Omarosa is that it turns on and it turns off. And by it I mean Omarosa. There is an on switch for Omarosa and there is an off switch. And you see it happen right in front of your eyes. That’s why it’s just so fascinating.”
Mathews and Manigault may have been at odds on occasion, but he hopes to see her again outside the house. “Listen, I am fascinated by her. I could study her and I feel like I could teach a course on her. I love people who are the best at what they do and undeniably she is the best at reality TV,” Mathews tells Us.
As for the craziest thing he experienced with her? “For sure sharing a bathroom for Omarosa,” he adds. “It’s just bizarre. The sentence you’d never thought you’d say out loud is, ‘Omarosa, can you hand me more toilet paper?’”
For more, read the rest of his Q&A:
US: I can’t believe you thought you were the villain.
RM: I don’t know, when we were sitting there and the jury was casting their votes I kept looking at Marissa [Jaret Winokur] like, ‘Oh my God! They hate me.’ Because they kept saying, ‘We are voting for the least shadier version.’ Like, news flash! I was just playing Big Brother. Calm down everybody.
US: Getting America’s Favorite is pretty awesome.
RM: Oh my gosh, I am on cloud nine. For me, the real winning was getting to play this game, getting to meet somebody like Marissa and the other houseguests. And truly, winning America’s Favorite player is more important than winning the title or crown for me. Because for me, I know that the viewers get it. The super fans know what I was trying to do in that house and they saw who I truly am. That for me is the biggest thing I could have won. I’ll hold on to that for the rest of my life.
US: Did you think that you definitely were going to win once Marissa chose you for final two?
RM: I know that I had done enough to earn the win, but I also knew that this is a very different season. Never before has the jury not been sequestered. Never before had the jury been able to see what the houseguests and final two said in the diary room and seeing everything they had to do to win. So I had a pretty good feeling that if they were going to be sensitive the jurors would never choose me to win. And let’s face it — they’re celebrities so they were going to be sensitive! So I just knew I had played the best game I possibly could.
US: Were you surprised by how some of the votes went down?
RM: To be honest, no. No, I wasn’t surprised. All I can do was set myself up the best way I knew how. I’m just happy I got to play Big Brother. I relished every second of it. The one thing I could not control in this game was how the jury voted. Everything else I could try to control. So I just let it go.
US: I can’t believe you and Marissa didn’t know each other before the show.
RM: It was like I walked in and there was a mirror in there but it was 4’11 with huge hair. It was like we shared a brain our whole lives but we didn’t know each other!
US: And you said you would choose Mark McGrath for the final two. Did you ever have that discussion with Marissa?
RM: I was leaning towards Mark because I thought I could beat him. I love him, I was loyal to him throughout, I thought I could beat him in the final. But I’ll tell you, I was still struggling with that decision up until the final Head of Household. And had I won that final HOH I can’t honestly tell you what I would have done because I can’t imagine a world where I could look Marissa in the eye and not taken her with me to the final two. That would have been too tough.
US: You were in two different alliances. Were you more panicked of the wrath of Mark and James Maslow or the wrath of Brandi Glanville if you were found out?
RM: I was definitely more afraid of the wrath of Brandi! Without a doubt. I love her, but she knows how to fight back.
US: What was going on in your head when Omarosa kept interrupting you and Mark making a deal during the Slippery Slope competition?
RM: Omarosa just needed to mind her business. I was in the middle of something, it wasn’t her conversation. Omarosa loves to be involved in everything and sometimes you just have to say, ‘Not right now, girl!’
US: What was it like eating slop?
RM: I didn’t complain, I just made recipes. I made slop biscuits, I made slop chips and salsa. Mark and Metta [World Peace] were so thrilled with what I made with slop. Omarosa kept eating my slop creations.
US: What were you and Marissa talking about during commercial breaks on finale night?
RM: We just couldn’t believe it. We looked at the memory wall. I pointed at both of our pictures and said, ‘Look at those two idiots! They made it to the end.’ And we just started laughing. Because on the memory wall both of our pictures are just so naive. We don’t really know what we’re in for. We look so dumb and happy.
US: Would you ever do an All-Stars?
RM: The check would have to be a lot larger for me to ever go back in that Big Brother house. You know what, I went skydiving one time. I always say don’t go again because don’t press your luck. I feel the same way about the Big Brother game. I don’t want to come crashing down on Earth. I’m good!
US: And how would you describe your experience in three words?
RM: Weird, fabulous and fun.
US: You mentioned how happy you were that people got to see someone like you on TV. How much has that meant to you?
RM: It means a ton to me because when I was a little kid growing up on a farm I never saw anybody like me on TV. And here was an opportunity for me to be 100 percent authentically myself, compete with some of the biggest champions in the world, rock stars, models. And hold my own. And then for America to sort of choose me and say we like you means that we have come a long, long way. So any kid like me in a small town anywhere can look right here and say that they can do anything they set their mind to.
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