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Omarosa Manigault Packed Her White House Office Days Before ‘Celebrity Big Brother,” Mark McGrath Says

Omarosa White House
Omarosa Manigault listens during the daily press briefing at the White House, October 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On to the next! Omarosa Manigault may have left the White House in December, but she was still apparently packing away her personal items months later.

“She told us she was at the White House cleaning up her office like four days before she got in the house. So it was fresh, it was new. She was learning to reacclimate to this new world of Big Brother after coming off the White House,” Mark McGrath exclusively tells Us Weekly. “It was just all fascinating. And man, that woman knows how to turn on the drama and turn on the light. She’s just a star. She’s just an amazing human being and I’m so glad America hopefully got to see what I saw from Omarosa.”

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McGrath, 49, and Manigault, 44, appeared together on CBS’ Celebrity Big Brother. The reality star’s appearance left the cast shocked and intrigued — mainly because of details she would drop about her experience in the Trump administration.

“The crazy thing is she was in the situation room with Trump. She knows a thing about a thing or two but she likes to give information out. She’ll throw out a little juicy tidbit and you’re like, ‘Oh my God you’re kidding me?!’ And she’ll just leave it hanging there. And that’s what Omarosa kind of does,” he adds. “It’s like, Oh my God if I’m listening to this will the CIA be at my house at home? Like, what’s going on? She was a fascinating character.”

McGrath was just as impressed with Manigault when she stripped away her reality TV persona. “I was so happy to see Omarosa in her element. She just got out of the scrutiny of the White House and the bubble that is the White House and the security and all that and so when she got in the Big Brother house she let her hair down. And I hope they showed how much fun she is. She’s silly, she’s fun, she’s positive. She’s interested in other people. She looks you in the eyes. She’s interested about your family and career. She was a joy to be around. But she will turn on that Omarosa thing when she has to.”

Omarosa Mark McGrath Celebrity Big Brother
Omarosa and Mark McGrath on ‘Big Brother: Celebrity Edition.’ Cliff Lipson/CBS

The former BB houseguests both made it to the top five in the game. When not competing or making alliances, McGrath, well, was cleaning after his roommates.

“Look, I would love to say I clean in my regular day all day. I do like to keep a tidy area. I will say that because I travel a lot and I’m constantly in hotel rooms. And so I just like to keep order in my life and its something that happened later in life as well. I wasn’t the most domesticated when I was younger and my mother wasn’t either,” he tells Us, laughing. “I like to keep things tidy and No. 2 no one is going to do it. And No. 3, when you are in the house you’re looking for things to do. … So cleaning was a way to pass the time as well. … I mean these girls would be doing makeup all day, the trash would be full and then they would just stack trash against the wall up to the ceiling. I’m like, ‘Are you guys really that lazy?’ There would be gross Q-tips on the ground and dirty tissues and I’m like ‘Oh my God, I’m going to get sick in here.’ And no one else would do it!”

Related: Everything Omarosa Has Said About the White House

For more, read the rest of his Q&A:

US: You had a final two deal with Ross Mathews, but why did you ultimately not vote for Marissa Jaret Winokur to win?

MM: They are both lovely. They are almost the same person. I found it hard to believe they didn’t know each other before the house because they absolutely became the best of friends in there and I’d be shocked if they weren’t lifelong friends. They both made my experience in the house pleasurable and they are both world class comedians. So I love them both equally. I know I made a reference of Sophie’s Choice on the live show and it truly was. I was so conflicted on who to pick but the day I walked in the house Ross and I made a pact. ‘I won’t vote for you, you won’t vote for me.’ Ironically he voted me out of the house but we always said that if something were to happen we understood. … I would not have gotten to finale if it weren’t for Ross so him voting me out I understood out. Ross kept me safe as long as he could so he got my vote. But I love Marissa too. If it were anybody else in that finale instead of Ross I would have voted for Marissa. I’m glad she won and I know Ross is too.

US: Were you ever nervous that James Maslow’s gameplay would hurt your chances?

MM: James was so strong. I think if you’re a floater — I like to call it noncommittal strategy — I became a floater just because I had to. Look, I was the oldest person in the house. I was never going to be the most strategic. I was never going to be the most athletic and I’m certainly not the smartest in that house. But knowing your weaknesses could be a strength and that’s what I kind of used. James and I never made an alliance. We never had a verbal alliance but it was understood. So even though I was committed to James and we had a friendship there people in the house knew that it wasn’t a ride or die relationship. I think that kept me safe.

Mark McGrath Celebrity Big Brother
Mark McGrath on ‘Big Brother: Celebrity Edition.’ Cliff Lipson/CBS

US: Was it hard to deal with Brandi Glanville sometimes?

MM: I love Brandi. She’s awesome and great and she’s really great at what she does. Her talent is blowing things up on reality shows. … Look, a lot of us weren’t drinking because we didn’t know if there was going to be a competition later in the evening so it was strategic for us to not really get wasted. Brandi liked to get wasted. And when Brandi gets wasted it’s a roasting session. The problem with her roasting session is that it can only go one way. When I first got there she would say something to me like, ‘Hey, you’re towel boy!’ Because I did the towels all day. No one else did. And I would fire back a little. Well, the next day she came to me and cried and said, ‘I’m sensitive. I don’t like you making fun of me.’ … It was funny because everybody talks about how real Brandi keeps it. She’s keeping it real but she’s keeping it real in her world. So the Brandi show was fun the first couple of nights — it’s kind of like watching the movie Road House 20 times in a row. The first six times you’re like, ‘That’s a great movie. It’s cheesy, it’s fun.’ And then the 18th time you’re kind of like this is sad and boring. That was my takeaway from that. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m just glad that’s not the thing I hang my career on.’ And you can tell she’s even tired of it. She would apologize the next day to everybody. She would apologize the next day to James. And I’m sure they didn’t show all of that.

US: Were you nervous that the cast was going to get mad that James was waiting for you to hit the buzzer in the red carpet competition?

MM: I think one thing that the cast knew was that I had the fastest time in the first heat by far. And I think they respected that and understood at that point and were rallying for me as opposed to rallying against me when James was obviously throwing the competition to get me the HOH. James being a sweetheart and a class act was like, ‘Bro, if I get there before you I’m going to wait for you. I want you to see your family. I want you to get a letter.’ He knew how emotional I could be while talking about my family. He saw me during one of the live shows break down crying when I got a video from my family. … I’m not sure what they showed because I didn’t see the episodes yet but I tried to go, ‘Dude, just hit the buzzer. I can’t make it.’ At this point its three in the morning — I know they don’t show that on TV but it was late and we were tired, I’m old. My bones were giving out and the whole house kind of rallied for me then. … In moments like that the house had your back. That was what was really sweet about this particular cast. I ended up getting a giant rug burn on my chin that I still have!

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US: Do you have any regrets from the show?

MM: I don’t as I speak to you regret anything or how I played the game. … I feel pretty good about it and I did so much better than I ever thought I would. … I got some resounding feedback from the production staff and the people I’ve talked to. So, no. Other than all of America thinking I’ve had plastic surgery, which blows me away. It’s just funny. They tell you when you leave — you have to see a psychiatrist, which is very sweet of the production staff. And she was like, ‘OK, Mark, do me a favor and stay off social media.’ And telling a celebrity to stay off social media is like telling someone not to pull my finger. I’m going to pull that finger. The majority s like, ‘Hey Mark you did great’ and then there was a lot of like ‘look at Marc he looks like a vampire and a vulture. Lay off the fillers and Botox and surgery.’ I’ve never on my children’s life had any plastic surgery in my life. It’s just so funny that that’s a takeaway. That’s not a regret but its definitely an interesting thing. So do I regret anything? Absolutely not. It was an incredible experience and the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It was a challenge. As a 50-year-old father of two its hard to jolt yourself out of your daily routine and Big Brother gave me that experience and it taught me to be present!

US: Would you ever do an All-Stars?

MM: Right now I’d probably tell you no. It’s so fresh. If I get a little distance and there’s a yearning because it was so fun I would probably say yes. The way the staff and CBS treated all of us was amazing. So I will never say never. I will leave it at that. But it might be difficult to get me back in the house. Time is a commodity as you get older and with your family. And I didn’t count on how much I would miss them because I travel a lot so I’m used to being away from them. But I’m not used to having no contact with them.

US: And how would you describe your experience in three words?

MM: A surreal journey.

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