When the cast of Celebrity Big Brother signed up to appear on the first celeb-fueled American edition of the reality series, we doubt they ever imagined they'd simultaneously agreed to be trapped in a house with Omarosa for up to three weeks.
After rising to fame as the next-level villain on the first season of The Apprentice and then pivoting her relationship with Donald Trump into a (now defunct) gig in the White House, Omarosa has amassed quite the bad reputation — and that's putting it as politely as humanly possible. Whether for her politics or her general habit of sh-- stirring, there are a lot of reasons the 10 other Celebrity Big Brother houseguests might not have been thrilled at her involvement in the season. So how did they react when they learned Omarosa would be competing alongside them?
Although some of the houseguests couldn't hide their displeasure when they saw Omarosa for the first time (we're looking at you, Ross Mathews), James Maslow didn't even know who Omarosa was, let alone what The Apprentice was or "who [she] apprenticed for." But James' ignorance of Omarosa's reputation was definitely the exception and not the norm in the house, which Omarosa had already anticipated.
The self-proclaimed legend knew the cards were stacked against her from the beginning and she quickly began working overtime to overcome this, masking her ruthlessly competitive nature by focusing solely on her social game. And you know what? It actually worked. Within hours of entering the house, Omarosa had already roped in Marissa Jaret Winokur, Shannon Elizabeth, Ariadna Gutierrez, Brandi Glanville and Keshia Knight Pulliam into an all-female alliance.
Omarosa also caught an incredibly lucky break, winning the chance (some might say rigged) award that guaranteed her safety for the week. Then, in another turn of fate that only further raised Omarosa's standing in the game, Shannon beat out James to win the first HOH of the season, thus allowing Omarosa the opportunity to provide input on who the first targets of the season should be.
Omarosa's ability to quickly endear herself to her fellow houseguests isn't completely surprising because, as host Julie Chen explained to us ahead of the premiere, when you've been as villainized as Omarosa has been, the only way to go is up. "It's all about expectations, right?" Chen explained. "If you build someone up too much like they're your hero, the only place to go is down. They're just going to fall from grace. But if you think of someone as the worst person ever on reality TV, the only way is up because nobody can be that bad. Nobody can be as bad as your imagination. Nobody can be as good as your imagination."
We'll see how long Omarosa will be able to keep the house on her side, though. We doubt it'd take much to get the other houseguests to flip on her, and even if players like Shannon are willing to work with her now, we can't imagine they'd be foolish enough to invest any real trust in the notorious TV villain. But you know what Julie says, always expect the unexpected on this show...
Celebrity Big Brother airs Thursday, Friday and Sunday at 8/7c. And don't forget to check out the live feeds on CBS All Access!
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)