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Celebrity Big Brother's Tamar Braxton Talks Being the First Black Winner: 'I'm So Grateful'

The reality star's win was historic in more ways than one

Dalene Rovenstine

Tamar Braxton has made Big Brother history. When Tamar won Celebrity Big Brother Season 2 on Wednesday, she not only broke the so-called First to Enter Curse, but she also became the first-ever African-American to win and the second-ever to get a unanimous jury vote in the CBS franchise's 19-year history.

Throughout her 29 days in the house, Tamar was instrumental in a number of big moves. She voted with the house in every competition, won the the Power of the Publicist as part of the Celebrity Breaking News twist --which she didn't even need to use -- won Head of Household, where she was able to get Kato Kaelin evicted, won a special safety competition and was instrumental in getting front-runner and America's Favorite Tom Green out of the house.

Nearly all season Tamar played along with the Bedroom Alliance, which included Natalie Eva Marie, Lolo Jones and Ricky Williams -- but she was also working very closely with her former frenemy Kandi Burruss. In the end, Ricky won the final HOH and chose Tamar to stand beside him in the final two. As host Julie Chen read jury votes aloud during the finale, it became clear Ricky had miscalculated Tamar's influence in the house. She received a unanimous vote and won the $250,000 prize.

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TV Guide spoke with the Season 2 winner about how it feels to win Celebrity Big Brother and make history in the process, if she has any regrets from the house and what she thinks about the update on Dina Lohan's catfish boyfriend situation.

Tamar Braxton
Monty Brinton

How does it feel to be the winner of Celebrity Big Brother?
Tamar Braxton: Listen, I can't even get my mind right today. I have not slept yet -- I'm so excited.

You seemed so surprised every time Julie called out your name last night! How were you expecting the votes to fall?
Braxton: You never know. This is Big Brother! I've been watching for forever, so you can't ever think that somebody takes your relationship as serious as you do, and it felt really good that everybody that I felt I made a connection with definitely made a connection back with me. That felt amazing.

So you were you a fan of the show before going in?
Braxton: I've been watching since Season 1 since Chicken George!

Well, that means you know about the First to Enter Curse!
Braxton: Let me just tell you something. Because I'm on the show, I forgot about that! Can you believe that? Because I definitely wouldn't have walked in the Big Brother house first. Come on -- I know better! For me, I think it could be a curse, but it depends on the person. Last night proves that.

Yeah, you broke the curse! And your win was so historic in so many ways.
Braxton: In so many ways. And I'm so grateful for each and every one of them. Not only to win Big Brother but to be the first African-American and on top of that be a female and on top of that win by a sweep. It's just like, "What!?"

Do you think if Ricky had taken Lolo or Dina with him to the final two that he would have had a better chance to win?
Braxton: I don't know. Dina made a lot of friends in the house as well and so did Lolo. It was a toss-up. Ricky is such a great person that when we made this deal last week, he really stuck by it and it was important to him that he keep his word. I was just surprised that he did.

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What was the deal?
Braxton: He mentioned it when he picked me. He said, "Lolo, I asked you to take the deal and you didn't want to." It was basically he wanted us to talk amongst ourselves and to [discuss] who was taking who and he was going to oblige by that. She was like, "nah" basically.

She didn't want to talk about final two?
She didn't want to talk about final two, so she at home today upset. [Laughs]

Yeah, she didn't seem too happy last night.
Braxton: No, she didn't! It kind of hurt my feelings because I really would have been happy for her. As a matter of fact, I am happy for her and Natalie and everyone else [for] the progress that they've made in this house because it's not an easy thing. I was talking to my sisters last night and they were like, "Was it hard?" I'm like, "Yes, god, it was hard!" It was harder than it looked to keep your cool and stay friends with people. You go to sleep and people talk about you behind your back and you don't know what you've missed. It's hard!

Is there anything looking back that you would change about what you did in the house?
Braxton: Everything I said on the live show is honest to god how I feel. I wish I didn't get as emotional as I did with Tom and Kato and that whole thing. In hindsight, it really wasn't that serious. But because we were in the bubble, it was a heightened emotion for me, it hurt my feelings. Why say you stepped on shrimp, basil and onions when you know that was a bald-faced lie to America? That's hurtful when you're in a bubble! And saying you need to go home to your son, that's hurtful when you're in the bubble. And when you're being called a liar and you're not lying, in that instance, it's hurtful when you're living in the bubble.

I'm sure you know as a BB fan that people often put on a persona in the house or play up their personality. Were you doing that or was that all Tamar?
Oh, no, no, no honey. What you saw is how it was. [Laughs] Sometimes I apologize and sometimes I just frankly can't. Sometimes you just gotta say the truth and let it go. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue and I think I did the best of both worlds.

Did you have a strategy going into the house with how you would play things?
Braxton: Believe it or not, my strategy was to lay low. [Laughs] I guess I wasn't too successful at that.

I feel like everyone's strategies go out the window.
Braxton: It goes completely out the window because what you think is going to happen in the house is nothing like it really truly honestly is.

What were you most surprised about in the house?
Braxton: You know when you watch Big Brother, you feel like everybody really truly wants to win? No, it's not that. Some people are there for different reasons. I was astonished when people came on the show and didn't know nothing about the show. As a fan, I was truly hardcore upset about it. Like, "What you talking about you don't know what to use a Veto for? Why are you here?" It was offensive to me. Sometimes people just want to be on TV, but then you fall in love with the game because you can't help it. That was a good turnaround, and I was surprised that most people didn't know the game or acted like they didn't.

If I had talked to you before you entered the house and told you Kandi would be in there, could you have imagined you'd be where you are with her now?
Braxton: No. [Laughs] I think that one of us would have ended up sick or dropping out. I don't think we were ready to face everything we faced when we faced it -- especially in front of the world. You never know what can come out of somebody's mouth. I'm grateful that Kandi and I were at the house when we were at the house and how we ended up at the house. Otherwise, I don't think it would have happened.

As a viewer, it was nice to watch your relationship evolve during your time in the house.
Braxton: I tried to turn [the show] on [this morning], and my son said "Not again!" So I haven't got to see. When I get back home, I'm going to watch it by myself.

So, before you go, did you get caught up on the Dina catfish situation?
I did! And he's a cutie! I'm so glad that he is a real person because she's a real nice women and she's a class act and she deserves happiness. I'm glad that she doesn't have to run into Nev [Schulman, host of MTV's Catfish] anytime soon.

I saw that Nev said he had an interesting backstory, so I'm hoping we'll get to find out more.
Braxton: I'm going to stay out of it. These days I'm staying out of other people's business.

So you wouldn't be willing to be the guest co-host of that episode of Catfish?
Braxton: Uh uh. Not that one in particular, but I would like to dig into somebody else's that I don't know!

Relive all the highs and lows of Celebrity Big Brother and previous seasons of Big Brother on CBS All Access.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)