For the first half of Big Brother 20, Kaycee seemed like your typical floater, barely appearing in episodes and never winning a single comp. However, midway through the season, Kaycee revealed herself as a real competition beast, winning Veto after Veto and working closely with Tyler to make their Final 2 deal a reality.
During Wednesday's finale, all that hard work paid off and Kaycee was crowned the winner of BB20. In a vote of 5-4, Kaycee barely beat out her coast-to-coast ally Tyler, making history in the process. Earlier in the season, Kaycee had already tied Janelle Pierzina, Danielle Briones and Paul Abrahamian for most Veto wins in a single season and in the finale she became the first openly lesbian winner and the winner with the most comp wins under their belt.
TV Guide hopped on the phone with Kaycee to discuss her record-breaking victory, that tame final speech and whether she ever considered turning on Tyler.
What has the response been like to your victory so far?
Kaycee: Honestly, it hasn't fully hit me. It really hasn't. Last night, I was probably able to sleep for like four or five minutes and that's about it. It hasn't hit me at all.
When did you start to really consider that you might be able to pull this off and win?
Kaycee: I don't know, probably halfway through the season. The second half, for sure, because I didn't start playing Vetoes until Day 46, halfway through the season. And so I started winning competitions and being aligned with the best alliance in the game, Level 6, we were just so good and so strong. And [there was] a point we were just in power week after week after week and we were unstoppable.
How does it feel to be the first openly lesbian winner of Big Brother ever?
Kaycee: Oh, it's so awesome! It's amazing. I'm proud and super excited that I could make it this far and be the first. Its's pretty awesome.
You really laid low at first and barely even appeared in the first 11 or so episodes. Was it part of your strategy to float along until later in the game?
Kaycee: Yeah, in the beginning I didn't want to do too much. There were a lot of people in the house, I was like Kaycee, less is more. I just want to stay behind the scenes as much as possible because I watch the show. Every season I watch the show and I know when people start doing too much and talking too much and then they get themselves into trouble. In the season, people were always saying like, "Oh, Kaycee doesn't talk a lot of game. Kaycee doesn't want to talk game." Yeah, on purpose because I don't trust majority of these people. I kept everything between Level 6 and in the very beginning I was like, I'm just going to lay low as much as possible, stay behind the scenes, I'm not going to start anything, I'm just going to be agreeing with people, meeting people, getting to know them, and then when the time is right then boom, I'll come out.
You proved to be a veto beast toward the end. Did you ever imagine when you entered this house that you'd wind up tying the record for most Veto wins in a single season and also break the record for most comp wins by a winner?
Kaycee: No, I had no idea. I mean, I knew with the competitions — I was so excited to play the competitions. My first Veto was Day 46, which was halfway through the season. So in the beginning I was like, "Please pick me, please pick me! I want to play!" And when I finally got to start playing, I was super excited. I love playing games and doing competitions and no, I had no — I mean, I kind of had an idea because I pick up things really well during competitions and I love playing games. I didn't know I was going to break a record, but I knew I would win at least a couple of competitions.
The vote was extremely close. What do you think gave you that edge over Tyler in the end?
Kaycee: Me being closer to the other side of the house. I didn't get any votes from Angela, Brett, JC, you know. But the other side of the house and just being loyal and honest and true. Sam was telling me real recognizes real, you know, and I genuinely like Sam and I care for her and so she didn't feel that as much with Tyler. I was a little more genuine with her. Scottie, just being honest with him, and me and him hung out so much in the very beginning when a lot of people did not. Me and him were always in the kitchen. Him and Tyler didn't get close until more toward the end. But yeah, just me being closer with the other side of the house.
Did any of the votes surprise you at all?
Kaycee: Um, not too much. I knew Bayleigh. Rockstar, she's all about girl power even though I blew up on her. She's all about girl power, I know she wasn't a big fan of Tyler. Scottie, I was a little in between. Tyler thought he had Scottie's vote and I felt better about Scottie's vote because I was always honest with him. And then Sammy, she was in between and I wasn't really sure because she was close with both of us. But out of all of them, probably Sam.
How much do you think certain jury members being bitter toward Tyler affected the outcome?
Kaycee: A lot of it! Like I said, he got a lot of blood on his hands. He got a lot of blood on his hands when I didn't have to. He was doing a lot and I was simplifying it, staying behind the scenes and whatever happens happens and whatever comes up I'm going to adapt to it. But yeah, he had a lot of blood on his hands and I knew Bayleigh wasn't having it, Rockstar [too]. I was surprised at Haleigh! I thought I was going to get Haleigh's vote, but I guess not.
Is part of the reason you aligned with Tyler because you knew he was someone who would get the blood on his hands and together you could make all the big moves happen but you'd still be able to keep yourself clean?
Kaycee: No, that's not the reason why we aligned because we aligned because Day 1; we had that energy and vibes. He would follow me around. I went to the bathroom and he'd follow me over there, so I'm like, okay cool. And he kind of hinted, like, let's do this. And then on Day 2 we made it official. So no, I didn't know any of that Day 1, Day 2, that he'd get a lot of blood on his hands. I didn't really know. But it was just good vibes and good energy from Day 1 and then whatever happened from there, cool. But I knew I had his back 100 percent and I knew that he had mine.
As the season went on and you saw Tyler make all these other Final 2 deals and lie and orchestrate the eviction of several of his supposed allies, did you ever doubt him or consider that he might be playing you too?
Kaycee: No, I didn't! I mean, honestly, I didn't. We talked about that. Because I knew that he was making weird little things here or there. I didn't know that it was official with JC. But Tyler kept me in the loop in a lot of things and I knew he had to do what he had to do. There were a couple times where I questioned, I'm like, "Okay, well he's lying to everyone else. Why wouldn't he do that to me?" But what made me think that he wasn't was Day 1 he was following me around, you know what I'm saying? I didn't go to him. He came to me and was like I'm feeling this. And I was like, okay yeah. I'm feeling it too. So that's what made me think that I feel that he's 100 percent, he has my back because Day 1 he kept following me around. So that's how I knew.
When you chose to bring Tyler with you to the finale, a lot of people compared you to Cody choosing Derrick and thought you were making a huge mistake. Why didn't you ever consider taking JC, even though that would have been a much less risky choice?
Kaycee: I've been hearing that a lot. But everyone loves JC as well. Fessy was close to JC and I wouldn't have gotten his vote. Well, I probably would have gotten Scottie's vote. So taking Tyler, it was no question. I was loyal to Tyler since Day 1 and nothing was going to steer me away from that because we talked about that every day: we were going to take each other, we were going to take each other. So it didn't [cross] my mind, not even a little bit. Because at the end of the day, before the voting I was like, I have a good chance because I knew he had a lot of blood on his hands and I did not. I did not have a lot of blood on my hands. So either way, going up against JC or Tyler, I felt good about it. I didn't know it would be this close in votes between me and Tyler, but I still won at the end of the day, which is awesome. But between both of them, I had a really good feeling there was a good chance that I was going to win between either of them.
Some fans prefer their winners to be more ruthless and play the game like Tyler. Do you think those people don't value how important social game and jury management really is?
Kaycee: Yeah, I don't think people really understand. Because when you're in the house, it's a whole other experience. It really is.I didn't expect it like that at all. It's a whole other level. But you have to be smart. Literally the social game, it's huge. Look, at the end of the day, [the votes were] 5-4 because I didn't get any votes from my alliance. I just decided to have a social game with the whole entire house and to have something with the other side of the house and look where it got me. So staying low in the beginning, not doing too much, playing behind the scenes, I'm not going to start an alliance, I'm not going to be like "do this, do that, do this," and talk about game to whoever. It was literally just all strategy. I'm going to lay low and I'm not going to get that much blood on my hands. I'm going to be here for people as much as possible.
This game is crazy. Being in the house was insane. So if I could be there for someone on a personal level and make them feel good, then that's going to take me a long way, and it did. Look, I didn't have to win any competitions in the beginning. Just having my energy and who I was as a person, it attracted people. I was able to be a part of a huge alliance and it attracted the other side of the house where they felt good around me. And at the end, it helped me. So the social game, and I even said it before coming into the house, that is my main priority because watching for years, I knew that you've got to have a good social game. You really have to. That was my number one, even before coming into the house. That was my number one priority and it helped me.
All your answers in the jury interview portion and your final speech were basically just about how you made friends and thank yous to all your friends in the house. Do you think you could have done a better job articulating your strategy or was there anything you wish you had said differently?
Kaycee: Oh gosh, I pretty much just blacked out during the speeches. And then with the questions, it's just so much going on. I already get nervous just knowing I'm live. So I pretty much just blacked out. I just wanted to make a point about my social game and that I cared about everyone and I didn't have a lot of blood on my hands and it was all about loyalty. So those are my main points. ... I probably said the same thing over and over again, but those were the main points and that's how I really felt. It was just blacking out and just say what I needed to say and kind of just from the heart and who I was, honestly.
It felt as though the finale was really rushed in order to make room for things like Swaggy and Bayleigh's engagement. Do you think you had enough time with the jury for the interviews and final speech to properly plead your case or did you feel rushed?
Kaycee: I felt a little rushed, for sure. I did feel a little bit rushed. it just all went so fast. It really did. I wish I had a little bit more time but it is what it is at the end of the day. It's not going to be perfect.
Last night really should have been all about you and this amazing victory, but then there also was this big proposal. Do you think it was an appropriate time and place for that?
Kaycee: Probably not, but knowing Swaggy C probably just wanted to do the most — I mean, it sucks. But again, it is what it is. Whatever happens, cool, it happened. I can't control it, I've got to move forward. That's just my mentality. I mean, congratulations to them. [Laughs]
Level 6 is one of the most successful alliances in a long time. Why do you think you guys were able to control the game for so long?
Kaycee: Just us being loyal to each other, keeping everything within the circle and secrecy. People had no idea. The other side of the house, they had their alliance but they were so obvious with their meet-ups. For sure, secrecy and staying loyal to each other. Everything was in our circle. And communicating. There was no head honcho of the group. We all came together with ideas and it worked out perfect. We were a great team.
You orchestrated the eviction of several of your allies; which was the most difficult for you?
Kaycee: The one with Rachel and Brett, because Rachel was going to be the one to stay from the very beginning. We were like, okay we're going to keep Rachel. And then she started freaking out and so we had to switch it up and keep Brett. That one was hard.
If there was one thing that happened this season that you could go back and redo or change, what would it be?
Kaycee: Oh gosh! Great question. One thing I could change? Um... no, nothing. There's nothing that I would change, honestly, because it blows my mind to know that my plan, my strategy before coming into the house pretty much throughout the season was executed pretty much to the tee of how I wanted it to go down. And I was very fortunate with the alliances that I was able to be a part of. There was nothing that I'd want to change because I feel like I executed it to the very tee and I know that deep down because I've just been envisioning all this in my head and it's crazy.
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