Braden Bacha seemed to be playing Big Brother 11 the same way he lives his surfer-dude life. He was the easygoing clown who seemed to float through the house with no real worry about anything. But that all changed when he found himself as the surprise replacement nominee after Lydia made a deal with the athletes' clique. Though he fought to stay (and fought with fellow houseguests!), Braden was the first evictee of the 11th season. We chatted with him about his rollercoaster week in the house, being called a racist, and why he's glad to be back in the real world. (Hint: He missed his mommy.)
TVGuide.com: It has to tough to be the first one out. How are you feeling?
Braden: It feels great. Unfortunately, it was me [who was evicted], but it's my mother's birthday next week, so I'm excited to see her. I missed her quite a bit. I'm just thinking about the positive things: the things that I've learned and the experience in general. I'm just so thankful to have had that [experience] and the challenge to make it out of there alive.
TVGuide.com: Most of what we saw of you was more class clown than schemer. Why do you think Lydia set the athletes' sights on you?
Braden: I'm constantly contemplating that myself. I was thrown off extremely — I couldn't believe it. We had such a great understanding and relationship in the beginning. For her to do that was so inappropriate. She had the votes [to stay], but she went out of her way to just ruin me and sold herself out to the athletes.
TVGuide.com: That obviously led to the fight between the two of you. What put you over the edge?
Braden: It was complete frustration. I knew deep down that Kevin and Lydia had sold me out even before the veto competition — I saw their actions and reactions, and Russell confirmed everything — so I just wanted to call [Lydia] out. It got heated and things were said out of maliciousness, things I obviously didn't mean, but when you're stuck in a house for so many days with people who are driving you nuts, it's hard not to do anything about it. But I did apologize.
TVGuide.com: What were you thinking when Chima brought up your comments again just before the houseguests voted?
Braden: Chima said things that were way over the top. She knew it was going to be close, so she did whatever she could to get more votes on her side. I didn't really let it affect me because I know it is a game that is completely chaotic. But it seems like she is up and down daily, almost bi-polar. I don't affiliate with those kinds of people anyways.
TVGuide.com: Do you want to address any of her allegations?
Braden: No. It's sad that she has to stoop to those silly levels.
TVGuide.com: Do you think calling you a racist and misogynist affected the vote?
Braden: Ronnie was the big upset, but I think he had already made his decision. I saw him talking to Jessie about five minutes before the vote, and he was probably convinced to stay on [the athletes'] team even though he had promised us for days and days that he was going to be with us.
TVGuide.com: Is there any way that Ronnie's strategy isn't going to come back to haunt him?
Braden: I think it is definitely putting a damper on him and his longevity. People obviously know that he is two-faced, so I think he won't have longer than three weeks in the house.
TVGuide.com: What would you do differently if you had another shot?
Braden: I played respectfully, I played truthfully, and I played with the grace of God. I tried to stand strong to my word as much as possible, but unfortunately I said some things that were intense — and I apologize.
TVGuide.com: Who has the best shot of winning? And is it who you want to see win?
Braden: If you had asked that question yesterday, I would have said Ronnie had a great chance, but now he threw himself into a bad situation. Personally, I hope Jeff and Casey can stay strong the longest. They are both great people, tough competitors, and they are capable mentally, strategically and physically of doing everything to win.
TVGuide.com: What should America know about life in the Big Brother house?
Braden: It's complete conspiracy in there. Beware. It's scary, it's intense — it's like a rollercoaster. It makes you insane. Luckily, I made it out of there alive.