Daniele and Dick Donato, with Julie Chen, Big Brother 8
After 81 days and countless dramas, Evel Dick emerged as the $500,000 winner of Big Brother 8
, with his daughter, Daniele, taking the $50,000 second prize. The dynamic Donato duo certainly faced their share of controversy and managed to survive being on the block — with each other — three times. The day after their big win, the two shared their favorite moments of the summer, what they plan to do with the money and some surprisingly tender insights about each other.
TVGuide.com: What was the key to your success?
Dick: Working together. Best teammates ever, best team ever!
TVGuide.com: That's been your motto since making it to the final two. Why do you think you worked so well together?
Dick: Nobody else did what we did, including Danielle and Jason and their secret alliance in Season 3, Will and Boogie in All-Stars, the twins in Season 5, the exes in Season 4. I'm not comparing our style or personalities or anything to Boogie and Will, but everyone knew that they were a threat and a team from the beginning in All-Stars. Everybody knew that we were a team, and I'm sure they thought we were a threat and working together, but we made it all the way to the end, something that no other two-person alliance has ever done.
Daniele: He was the mouth and I was more of the competitor. People say that he did all the dirty work, but I never asked him to — that wasn't my game style. We both came into the game separately, and we had our different strategies. That made it a lot harder — him being so loud and open about everything kind of stepped on my toes and my own game play, so I felt like, personally, I was playing two games: my own game and damage control for his game. To be honest, I never in a million years would have thought we would've made such a great team. I think it's just putting two opposites together, then you have a whole round of everything in the mix.
TVGuide.com: It was interesting watching how your interactions changed throughout the season. What happens to your relationship now?
Dick: It's off in a positive direction. We've taken care of a lot of the surface things of trying to get along. I think we really need work on communication, just working out some deep-rooted issues and resolving those, so we can get on with more of a normal father-daughter relationship, which I'm really, really excited about.
Daniele: We didn't really have a choice: It forced us to come together. The first night, I told him I don't know what's going to happen with our personal lives, but if you have my back, I'll have yours. We had to put things aside and work together. The best times we had in the house with each other were all three times that we were up on the block together. Even though it was stressful, working together, getting along and just showing these people what we're made of was fun.
TVGuide.com: Dick, you must be the first player to ever genuinely focus your game on helping someone else advance.
Dick: Playing the game like that was extremely tough. It's hard playing for one player, playing like that for two... I don't think I could've won the game if me and Daniele weren't working together. And yes, I was willing to sacrifice myself to push Daniele forward. I was very vocal about it and genuine about it.
TVGuide.com: Daniele, how have your feelings about your dad changed?
Daniele: From the first day, seeing him walk down the stairs, it was a lot for me to take in.... It's like this person who I don't really want to see right now, I'm going to be stuck in this house with him for three months, are you freaking kidding me? I don't know what to do. I'm trying to deal with the game, I'm trying to deal with this. I didn't know how I was going to handle it. But we spent a lot of time together learning a lot of things about each other, trying to put our personal lives aside and just focusing on other things, concentrating on good times as opposed to the bad times.
TVGuide.com: Are you two surprised at the outcome?
Daniele: I absolutely knew he was going to win. As soon as the jurors asked their questions, when it was all personal stabs at me, I knew for a fact they wouldn't be voting for me. I told my dad I thought it was going to be a six-to-one vote, with me only having one vote. I was kind of surprised I got two. I thought it was going to be Zack, because he told me that he was going to vote for me, and his last words out of the door to my dad were that he didn't respect his game play at all. And surprise, we lived with liars! [Zack voted for Dick.] But I really don't care; I don't take any of the votes personally. Look who they're coming from — no, I'm just kidding — or am I? I could not be happier. Being in the final two, it didn't matter who won — we won!
Dick: Honestly, I thought the vote was going to be 4-3 in my favor, especially from the questions, with people like Amber highlighting that she's a "good person" and she wanted to give it to the "good person" in the house, and as it turns out, with all the controversy about some of her statements, it seems that she's the bad person in the house and not as glorious as she portrayed herself.
Daniele: I also told Amber, after she asked me her juror question, "Don't vote for me. I don't want your vote if you're going to be voting on personal reasons rather than game reasons." [She's] a waste of a juror. This was about playing a game. When she made that comment, it just showed what kind of person she is. I don't care what you think of my personal life.
TVGuide.com: Do you have any advice for next season's contestants?
Dick: Don't do what I did!
Daniele: Trust no one, always have some sort of wall up, always play for yourself. And don't put yourself in a big alliance of seven people called the LNC [Laughs].
TVGuide.com: How are you planning to spend the money? Dick, you said you wanted to travel to Scandinavia...?
Dick: I have this thing for Norwegian women, and I haven't been to Scandinavia before.
TVGuide.com: Daniele, are you going back to school?
Daniele: I do want to go back to school, I don't know when....
Dick: I will be paying for her schooling. Absolutely.
Daniele: And a new car — just kidding! I also plan on taking a trip to Europe, but not with my dad.
Dick: We're going to meet in some cities for dinner.
Daniele: If he's lucky. I do need a new car really bad and I did promise a friend of mine that I will be buying him a monkey.
TVGuide.com: Are you planning to share the money?
Dick: There's laws governing splitting up prize money....
Daniele: But that doesn't mean he can't buy me presents!
Dick: My kid's school is the most important thing. She's talked about going back to school, which I'm absolutely thrilled with.
Daniele: I plan on making photography my minor and education my major. I think I want to be a second-grade teacher.
TVGuide.com: Daniele, where do you see your relationship with Nick going?
Dick: [Teasing] Nick's moving to California, to Orange County, where Daniele lives.
Daniele: I don't know what's going to happen with it. I can neither confirm nor deny.
TVGuide.com: I have to ask about Janelle's PoV visit. Dick, the two of you were doing some serious flirting! Would you want to see her again outside of the house?
Dick: Janelle has a boyfriend; I've been told I have no shot — but people said I had no shot at winning, so…. I'll see her at the wrap party and we will talk some more. I think she's absolutely gorgeous, she seems smart, funny and very, very cool. I think if nothing else, we will end up pretty good friends after this.
TVGuide.com: What was your favorite moment of the summer?
Daniele: Mine's a cheesy answer, and it's obvious: My favorite moment was meeting Nick. I didn't come in there expecting to make such a good friend and care about somebody so much. It definitely was a surprise to me.
Dick: The first was when Daniele won HoH in that bat hang [in Week 5]; when I was still up on the bar, she looked over to me with tears in her eyes, just saying, "I can't do it, I can't do this," and even after I went off, she was still up there for well over an hour. I know that it was will, determination, fortitude and heart that brought this girl — this amazing woman that is my daughter — through that, and it really showed me what kind of person she is. The second thing was hell week, when I got to bang pots and pans over Dustin's head and I won the PoV in the last shot... and then seeing Dustin go. Hell week was a hell of a week.
TVGuide.com: And finally, last night you found out about the summer's big twist — Eric as America's Player. Dick, it seemed like America was really on your side — first there was the vote to keep you in the house, and then the vote to win it all.
Dick: I thought America hated me — I used to say that I was No. 15 out of 14 [in popularity], but to find out that there's actually a lot of people that really liked me and that I was one of the more popular players who's ever played this game is very surprising. I still haven't digested the whole thing. I thought so many people hated me — and, of course, there are — but there are a lot of people that really like me. And America voted to keep me in, for me to win the show. Maybe it's because I was the most real person and said things the way I saw them, no matter what they were. I might have said things in an offensive way, but the bottom [line] of what I said was honest. The truth isn't always roses and daisies — sometimes it's a load of bulls--t.
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