After an extremely boring first week of Big Brother All-Stars, the houseguests delivered a climactic and confusing week of non-stop drama and conspiracy theories. When Memphis Garrett won HOH only to have one of his original targets, Ian Terry, saved by Christmas Abbott using her Safety Suite plus-one on him, Memphis targeted Nicole Anthony and David Alexander -- a move that upset literally everyone in the house besides Memphis. But instead of being united in their frustration with how Memphis was playing both sides of the house, the houseguests focused on a different target: Janelle Pierzina and Kaysar Ridha.
Although Nicole Anthony had been aligned with Jaysar, she quickly turned on them once Kevin Campbell suggested that they might have been behind her nomination since they had a good relationship with Memphis. Nicole then began trash talking Jaysar to everyone in the house, even telling Dani Donato not to allow Janelle to split the house when that would have been the only chance at her staying.
During her last days in the house, Nicole began to suspect that maybe she had been wrong about Janelle and Kaysar. But at that point, there wasn't much left she could do. She was evicted Thursday in a 10-2 vote, with the two votes to keep her coming from Kevin and Enzo Palumbo, who only voted for her to pin it on someone else.
https://www.tvguide.com/news/big-brother-keesha-smith-exit-interview/">Keesha Smith on Big Brother Exit: 'Everybody Was Laying Low'
TV Guide talked to Nicole Anthony about her regrets about turning on Janelle and Kaysar, how she feels knowing the truth, and what she'd say to them now.
You said you worried that not playing the Safety Suite would be the defining moment of your game. Do you feel that way now?
I do not. I think it's more so that HOH [competition]. I missed that one question; I was fighting for it. You can kind of feel where things are going and I'm like, "Uh-oh, I don't know if I'm in the best spot." So I wanted that HOH and the fact that I didn't see a vase on a toilet, that's going to seriously haunt me for the rest of my life. So I regret getting that wrong more so than I regret not playing the Safety Suite. Because not playing the Safety Suite was a conscious decision for me. That was, "I'm making an effort. I'm showing I have faith in you. I'm showing you I trust you. And also, you told me to play it and I'm not going to listen to what you say." It was my ego a little bit. So that was a conscious decision. I believe I did a good thing because I trusted who I am. It's more so the unconscious getting the HOH question wrong that I'm beating myself up for.
Do you really think not playing the Safety Suite is why Memphis put you up, or was that just his excuse?
That was literally the worst and easiest copout I've ever heard. He's somebody who I could tell just never got on the Nicole Anthony train. Just like my interactions with him, my joking with him, my being silly with him, it never clicked. I would ask, like, "Come on, Memphis, dance with me!" And Kaysar, who is like "I don't dance," I'm like, "Come on" and he did it. Memphis just never came around. We are just two ships in the night and I am sending up flares like, "Come on! Come on!" and he's just not picking it up.
You blamed Janelle and Kaysar for Memphis nominating you. Why were you so quick to believe that they were betraying you?
You know, the week prior, they were really, really pushing to keep Keesha. So in my brain, they were a four; they're a final four, they're old school, they probably already know each other. This is it, they're a four. And then Keesha went so I'm like, OK, they're going to be an even closer three because Memphis doesn't have Keesha. And I was sitting in the bathroom with them and they said we're gonna vouch for you, we're gonna talk to Memphis, the other side of the house is together -- which we know Memphis is with them. But I really thought they were telling me they were putting in a good word and then they didn't because when I was nominated, I'm thinking, "You guys are with him and he's putting me up. Is this a setup?" And I did spiral down that wormhole of "they did this to me on purpose."
How much did Kevin's personal feelings toward Janelle, given that she campaigned to keep Keesha over him, play a role in sowing mistrust between you and Janelle?
My own observations that were incorrect and people coming to me saying differently made me not trust them. And one of those people was Kevin, but understandably so. The house drives you insane. And Kevin was just like, "Be careful. She's a spider, she's a snake, she's gonna lure you in." And I think he has a right to feel that way when they wanted to keep Keesha over him. So he already feels burned. They keep him out of a lot conversations. Janelle and Kaysar wanted an alliance without Kevin. Janelle pulled me to the side and would be like, "What is Kevin saying? I don't trust Kevin." And Kevin being my final two, I'm like, there's a disconnect there. So I did believe Kevin when he's like, "Something's off there." I'm like, "Wow, maybe he's right."
Did you give Janelle and Kaysar too much credit in thinking they had so much sway over Memphis' decisions?
I don't think so. Janelle and Kaysar are tremendous players. They've played the game many times before. They're notable in the Big Brother community. So I think I gave them credit that Memphis didn't. So I feel like I gave them the right amount of credit and respect, like, "Damn, they can play this game." Whereas Memphis -- I don't know if he's aligned with them in any regard. I'm not really sure at this point – but I feel Memphis almost didn't give them enough credit or enough respect and work with them. So it's more so his fault. Everything's Memphis' fault. Any question -- Memphis' fault.
How do you think what you went through last season influenced you this season and made you quicker to assume your allies were mistreating you again?
I always say, I want so badly to be like, "Nope. Clean slate. That didn't affect me." I viewed it as a new season and unfortunately, that wasn't the case. And I didn't realize coming into this season that that was going to affect me. Last season, there was a big alliance, I put my eggs in a basket, and it came back and bit me, and the people I really thought I was gonna be going forward with turned on me. I think that's why I was so quick to be like, "Oh gosh, it's happening again. Janelle and Kaysar are Nick and Bella, I can't believe I did it to myself again." And that was baggage I didn't realize I had brought with me. I didn't realize it was going to affect me as much as it did. And had this been my first season, I think I would have been more, "Yes, I do trust them." I think all of what happened last season really, really stuck with me and made me look at them and be like, "Oh wow, you could be messing with my game right now and I think you are."
How did you feel when you realized Janelle and Kaysar had spent all week staying loyal to you and really were the only two people actively trying campaign to save you?
It's very emotional. I was in the DR and I said, "You know what? If they are being genuine, I'm going feel like the most horrible person and I'm going to send them fruit baskets." That's what I said. And I went through the week like, "I'm gonna call a house meeting. I'm going to yell at them. I'm gonna say everything I want to say. I'm gonna give them a piece of my mind." And I was so infuriated and I was sitting in the Key Room and Janelle came in like, "Can we talk?" I feel like my gut intuition I always rely on, and the fact that I didn't respond with, [pretends to yell] "Yeah, let's do a house meeting! Let's go talk!" My reaction was "Yeah, Janelle, let's talk." I think subconsciously I knew I was assessing it all wrong. And her and I spoke about it and Kaysar came in, I spoke to him and had a heart-to-heart. And I came out and said to them, "I told everybody you're my targets, I'm mad at you, I'm frustrated with you. And I was wrong." And I did apologize to them yesterday, we hugged it out, and I wish them the utmost luck in this game. I hope they know I'm rooting for them and I hope they take out some people on the other side.
Do you think if you had spent this week working with Janelle and Kaysar instead of against them, you might still be in the house?
Oh yeah. Absolutely. I think so much of my emotional roller coaster, I focused on them two and how much they were wronging me and how much they were doing this, and I utilized that to campaign to the other side, to the people I knew worked together. I missed a couple of them, but most of them I knew were together. And I used that to campaign to them, like, "I'm against Janelle and Kaysar. You guys keep me." Again, very reminiscent to last season. I'm like, "You guys keep me and we go after them. Do it, let's do it, let's do it." Whereas if I had just cleared my mind of them two, I would have focused more on the middle people. I could have convinced Da'Vonne or Bayleigh more. I could have seen that I needed Enzo and Ian more so than Christmas, and that's something I didn't realize until an hour before the live show. I'm like, "Something's off about Christmas, she's really pushing back. Why am I focusing on her? I should be focusing on Enzo and Ian." And had I realized that sooner, I probably would still be there.
You said that Janelle and Kaysar's big plan was to split the house. But how did you justify being against them splitting the house when that was the only thing that could have saved you?
The way I was looking at the votes was like, "if there's a house split, I'm going to leave by a vote of 5-7. Or 6-6 and Memphis is gonna send me home." I had a weird vibe from Memphis. I'm like, there's no way he's going to keep me. So I believed my only way of truly staying was to convince the house that Janelle and Kaysar want to split, let's not give them what they want. Let's be unanimous to keep Nicole. So my approach at one point was, "OK, everybody's against them. Let's be against them together. So now you want Nicole. And they want a split house, that's no bueno. Don't give them what they want. Let's keep Nicole unanimously, if not majority." That was my plan.
How do you think everything that happened this week impacted Janelle and Kaysar's games and their futures in the house?
I think they were already on shaky ground. I think everybody, with all due respect, was already targeting them -- especially that side was already targeting them and coming after them. I do think I gave them more ammo in my being against them, so now they had that excuse of "oh, you messed with Nicole's game on purpose. Now I'm putting you up." So if anything, they were already in trouble, I just gave people more ammunition and an excuse, which I absolutely feel horrible about. But I don't think it will hurt them with other people. I don't think it will hurt them with Bayleigh, Da'Vonne, Kevin, even like Enzo or Ian. I don't think it's gonna hurt them in that sense because I do think a lot of those people are gonna come around and start realizing that other group is together, especially with the new HOH. If Memphis doesn't see the block, something's wrong. And I think people are gonna start piecing it together.
All week I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see if you were actually going to hold the house meeting. If you had, what were you planning on saying?
My house meeting was just a blowup, because I knew people were already against Janelle and Kaysar. I wanted it where [I'd say], "This is what they did. They told me that they were gonna put in a good word with Memphis and I still got put up, so my game was messed with. Janelle told me she wants Nicole F. out," and I know Nicole F. is like a lynchpin for a lot of people so I knew that'd be very triggering. So I just wanted to, in the house meeting, kind of bury them even more -- which sounds horrible -- but bury them even more so that people would be like, "Yeah, let's go get them with Nicole. We get out the huge physical threat, which is David, and we go after them with Nicole; Nicole's no longer with them." That was my plan and I kept going back to that gut intuition. I think I didn't do it because deep down I knew something wasn't right, especially when Tyler was pushing me to have the house meeting. I'm like, something's not sitting right. I can't do this because something's off.
When Janelle and Kaysar discovered you felt betrayed by them, what did you think of their responses and how they handled this?
I already respected them and liked them a lot, but I have such an admiration and an adoration for them two because they handled it like I would. When I'm loyal to somebody, when I have their back, when they're my person, even if they're like, "Nope, I don't trust it. I told everyone I was against you," I'd be like, "Well, I'm still with you." Look at Memphis. I said, "Well, I still meant what I meant. If I win Safety Suite, I'll save you. I meant what I meant." So the fact that they had the same approach to the game I do, where "Hey, you may not believe me but I'm still your ally," that made me frickin' love them even more than I already do. And if there's one thing I regret, it's not still being there to help them and to somehow rectify the situation, even if it's offering myself up as a pawn or being the scapegoat to give them another week to get power. That's what I regret. That I can't give back to their being such tremendous people. They fought for me from start to end, even at the detriment of their own game, and that's something that not a lot of people have done for me in my life and I owe them a lot.
If you could say anything to Janelle and Kaysar now or whenever you see them next, what would you say?
I would absolutely start with I'm sorry. And I think that's not something I would need to say because the two of them know how much that game messes with you and I know how they are and in the real world we'll be fine. So I'd start off just with a hug and with just how much they mean to me as people -- game aside, on a personal level, they fought for me through it all. Even when I resisted against them, they still were like, "No, you can't push our love away. We're still gonna give it to you." That's what I would say to them. And if I could talk to them right now, I would be like, "Get it. Get that power. Get that POV. Get those people out. You guys got this." They have my unconditional support. I want to see them make it to the end.
There are some huge targets in the house, including two previous winners. Yet none of these players have even touched the eviction block yet. Why do you think that is?
It's like I said in my final speech: It's all-stars, not all scared. And listen, I didn't play the best game, I'm not claiming to. But it's very concerning that Cody would go after Keesha and that Memphis would go after me when there's all these comp beasts in the house. Yes, I had a great social game. Keesha had a very good social game. But you've seen it. You know this person has a good social game. I'm not a comp beast. You can essentially -- no offense to myself -- get me out at any point. Why are you keeping -- especially in an all-stars season when you know it -- why are you keeping comp beasts there who can beat you in the end? Like Memphis, if we're at final three together, you're probably going to beat me comp-wise. So I think a lot of them are just playing scared, which I didn't expect in an all-stars season. And this is coming from me. Last season I brought very powerful people to the end but I planned to, if I got power this time, take out these heavy hitters who I know could beat me! So I don't know what people are thinking. They're a little timid.
If you had stayed, who would you have targeted?
So if you had asked me a few days ago, I obviously would have been like "Janelle and Kaysar. Janelle and Kaysar." But I did come around. I realized I was wrong. Absolutely Memphis; I don't know if it would be direct or a backdoor. And I'm thinking I would waver between -- do I want to do a Cody and a Tyler or a Nicole and a Dani, or a mixture of the two? But ultimately my goal would be to backdoor Memphis because I wouldn't even want to hopefully give him a chance to play that POV. But I wouldn't go after Enzo or even Ian. I would go after people I think are more threatening to my game physically, and I would put Nicole in that group because she has won a lot of comps on her seasons.
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