Sixteenth season. Sixteen houseguests. CBS's Big Brother returns Wednesday (8/7c) with several fresh twists designed to shake up the game in seismic ways. Two players will be named "Head of Household" each week and they are no longer automatically safe from eviction. Fans will now significantly influence the game via a new "Team America" vote, while the new "Battle of the Block" competition can shift the power balance in a heartbeat. Puppetmaster Julie Chen is back with the most unusual group of hamsters yet and TV Guide Magazine got to spend an entire day with them getting all the scoop. Who instantly struck us as big trouble? Who's got a very famous sister? Who's most likely to get naked? Meet the BB16 houseguests!
Hometown: Knoxville, Tenn.
She's prepared for the worst. "My mother always told me that women are the most evil creatures on this earth and that I shouldn't trust them!" says Borzotra, who hopes to get around that little problem by taking the "friends close, enemies closer" approach and forming — for her own protection — an all-girl alliance. "I'm not worried about the men," she says. "That's a piece of cake." This jaw-dropping model is also a trained esthetician, meaning she can pump you with Botox, give you a facial or wax your butt. "I asked for my waxing pot if I win HOH which should make me pretty popular," she says. "Keeping the houseguests hairless is a good thing."
Hometown: Tucson, Ariz.
This delightfully goofy Starbucks barista — known as "Bubbles" — has been to Disneyland over 50 times. But, for her, the happiest place on Earth is the BB house. "I am pathologically obsessed with the game," says Brecht. "I have watched every single episode of every season and have known, since age 11, that I would someday get picked for the show." She's married and hopes to have children soon so she can achieve her grandest dream — being a stay-at-home mom. "I am so over serving coffee to the public," she says. "Whether I win or lose Big Brother, I don't plan on going back to Starbucks." Nor does she plan on shedding any more clothes than necessary during the game: "The sight of me in a tankini is bad enough!"
Hometown: Hackensack, N.J.
Husbands hate him. The über-perky Calafiore, an occasional underwear model, works bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs as a "party motivator" — the guy who encourages everyone to get up off their keisters and dance. "The kids and the moms love it but the dads get drunk and think I'm trying to steal their wives," he says. "I haven't been punched yet but I've been told off a whole bunch of times. It ruins my night." Calafiore is also a Seventeen magazine "2014 Hot Guy Panelist" giving young girls advice on dating and fashion. "I really love romance," he says. "To me, Jeff and Jordan were the all-time most awesome BB couple, like, ever."
Hometown: Ubly, Mich.
Quick, somebody call Hallmark Channel — we've found your next series! Franzel, the baby of BB16, is a sweet little nursing grad who wants to someday own a practice in her small Michigan town — population 841 — where, she says, "I can help all the wonderful people who have helped me grow up." She's been watching BB since she was 8 and has a mad crush on fellow nerd Ian Terry, who was also 21 when he took home the half mill in Season 14. "Ian was so quirky and awkward and cute, and he wanted to experience every aspect of the game — and that's me, too!" Franzel says. "I want to try everything Big Brother has to offer, especially slop!"
Hometown: Boca Raton, Fla.
This flamboyant, pink-haired Broadway baby did three years in Mamma Mia! and is the older brother of platinum-selling pop princess Ariana Grande. Plus he has his own wildly popular YouTube channel where he performs his one-man show Living La Vida Grande. Could all this work against him? "I'm hoping no one in the house knows who I am or that I have a huge following among 14-year-old girls and gay men," Grande says. "They'll automatically think I have a great shot at winning America's Favorite." But if the other players give him trouble, he's got a secret weapon to gain their sympathy. "I'm a fantastic fake crier," he says. "And it works every time."
Hometown: Providence, R.I.
Don't be fooled by that baby face. Levasseur is an undercover cop with a terrific track record for busting drug sellers and prostitutes, though he "won't be sharing that information with the other houseguests," he says. "I plan to tell them I work in something more easy-going, like parks and recreation. A lot of people have preconceived notions about cops, or they've had bad experiences with them, and I don't need that working against me." Levasseur is leaving behind a wife and 17-month-old daughter. "Being on BB will be extremely difficult on my emotions," he says. "I'm going to miss a lot of milestones in my child's life. But I have to remember that, if I win the $500,000, I can give her a much better future."
Hometown: Long Beach, Cal.
A dishy divorcee, Martinez coordinates posh charity events and fundraisers for showbiz VIPs and was recruited for the game after BB scouts spotted her in a bar having a brewski with a girlfriend. "I am the most private person in the world so the whole cameras-in-the-bathroom thing has me totally freaking out," she says. And no showmances, please. "My three kids, who range in age from 5 to 12, will be home watching and rooting for Mommy," says Martinez. "The last thing they need to see is me lying in bed with some stranger. If I spark to some guy when we enter the house, I'll hold out for three months and give him my number later!"
Hometown: Griffin, Ga.
This married mom with two small boys is a minister who doesn't take crap from anyone — not even when a churchgoer gave her hellfire for refusing to wear pantyhose at Sunday service. Odom is named after Greek drama's infamous Jocasta, the mother of Oedipus. "But don't worry," she says. "I don't intend to marry my son and have his children." Nor will she be the BB16 den mother. "I will not be cleaning up after any boys in this house!" she insists. "But I will refuse with ooey-gooey goodness. My motto: If you sprinkle while you tinkle, be a sweetie wipe the seatie!" Naturally, she's bringing along her Bible. "I have given my life to Christ," Odom says. "I will not be throwing my soul away for this game."
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
They'll be no nookie for this cookie! Rafaeli, a professional photographer, still lives at home with her Orthodox Jewish parents who forbid her to have sex until there's a wedding ring on her finger. "A boy can't even sleep overnight in our house," she says. "Clearly, I'll have to break that rule for Big Brother if I am sharing a bedroom with guys. But we won't ever be in the same bed. No way!" That doesn't mean Rafaeli isn't in touch with her sensual side. Though she started off shooting weddings, she now specializes in erotic boudoir photos of everyday women. "Most of them claim they want the shots for their husbands but it's more like a fantasy come true," Rafaeli says. "Who doesn't want to be a hot, sexy model for a day?"
Hometown: Palm Beach, Fla.
He just graduated college a month ago, leaving behind his job as a busboy at a sorority house. "I was every girl's utility man," Rance says. "I wash dishes, set the table, pour water and, well...you name it. I can be extremely handy." He fully expects to catch the eye of several babes in the BB house but he's not looking to hook up. "A showmance automatically puts a target on your back," he notes. "I'd rather make people feel great about themselves. I'm big on cuddling and my social game is through the roof." That said, he claims he doesn't have any friends because he's devoted to his 10-year-old brother. "We are supertight and inseparable," Rance says. "We run, we bike, we play golf, we sleep in the same room. I'm not going to miss my parents at all but I will really miss my little brother."
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Why is this country-boy war vet so damn sure he won't have a problem eating slop? Because once, during his 14-month tour in Iraq, he ran out of food in the desert and had to eat a dead camel. "I know I come off intimidating, so I plan to throw a few competitions at first," says Reynolds, who works as an adventure hunting guide — i.e., he takes adrenaline junkies out in the woods on brutal hog hunts (trust us, you don't want to know more). He's deeply Christian yet will have no problem lying, cheating and backstabbing on BB. "God knows my true heart," he says. "I will repent after the game." Déjà vu all over again? A racist and homophobic Instagram message attributed to Reynolds is already causing a stir on social media.
Hometown: East Hampton, Conn.
Release the Kraken! This mouthy, hyper-pushy firestarter — sure to be a disruptive force in the BB house — has twice modeled for Maxim and works as a DJ on the New York club circuit. "I'm short, I have a Napoleon complex and I can be trouble...a lot of trouble," says Shea, who promises to parade around in her G-strings but "won't go totally naked unless I'm paid two million. No, I'm kidding. Actually, I say 'I'm kidding' a lot when I'm not kidding at all. You gotta pay big to see what I've got!" Or do we? Shea says she's so "fabulous" she didn't have to apply to be on BB16: "One of the show's recruiters found my sexy photos on social media," she says. "My awesomeness was just waiting to be discovered."
Hometown: Santa Barbara, Cal.
He's still reeling from last season. The African-American Shepherd, a single dad and former player for the St. Louis Cardinals, says the racist slurs during BB15 "really hurt my heart. This is America's game. It's owned by the people at home. You shouldn't trash it with that kind of talk." Shepherd, now a sales manager for Harley Davidson in San Antonio, Texas, says, "I'll take my morals into the house and play a different game, one where we have fun but play decently and respectfully. I'm not trying to start a movement, but I want there to be change." His infant daughter is always on his mind: "Someday she will be old enough to type 'BB16' into a computer and find out how I handled myself. I want her to be proud."
Hometown: Albemarle, N.C.
"I'm old as dirt," claims the bodaciously bearded, tobacco-chewing Thompson, the senior member of the BB16 cast. "I can't see myself beating the big, brawny he-men in physical competitions. I'm not smart at puzzles. I have a pitiful memory. All I got are my social skills." But that could take him far. Currently working as a high school groundskeeper, this cornpone raconteur can shoot the bull with the best of 'em. "Hopefully, the others won't see me as a threat and keep me around," Thompson says. "Without TV or the internet, I may be the best source of entertainment in the house." BB execs want him to keep the beard, but he thinks he'll shave it off once in the house. "It's starting to give me trouble," he says. "When it gets this long, I can't lick my dinner plate."
Hometown: Marlborough, Mass.
He's a surfer dude who doesn't surf. This Tarzan-tressed free spirit was spotted by a BB recruiter while driving his pedicab in Long Beach, California. "I'm quite a character — always ringing my bell, yelling, and making a spectacle of myself to get customers," Voss says. "I guess it finally paid off!" Voss lives in a cramped studio apartment, sleeps on a futon and doesn't own a car. "Moving into the BB house is a luxury for me," he says. "I've got nothing to leave behind and nothing to take with me. I literally brought along all the clothes I own." But will he need them? Without even meeting the other houseguests, Voss has already proclaimed himself "the one most likely to get naked."
Joey Van Pelt
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
This hilarious hairstylist and makeup expert — she specializes in weddings — was recruited into the game by a BB talent scout who loved her fizzy personality. And the bright blue hair didn't hurt. "I don't watch Big Brother — in fact, I don't even own a TV set," she says. "I'm more like your typical Seattle weirdo. I'd rather sit around, get emotional and write morbid songs that make you want to kill yourself." The final auditions almost scared her off. "I felt like I was at a screen test for America's Next Top Model," Van Pelt says. "It was nothing but girls with big boobs, long legs, hollow personalities and plastic smiles. God, what if some of them are in the house with me? This could be my summer of torture!"