Pop Crave spoke with America’s Favorite Player of Big Brother 25, Cameron Hardin, following Thursday night’s 2-hour grand finale.
Check out the full exit interview below!
Congratulations on winning America’s Favorite Player! Did you ever think this was in the cards for you?
I don’t know that I thought that. I guess everything is possible. Everything’s in the cards, so to say. But I was completely shocked. I mean, to be named America’s Favorite Player of my favorite television show? That means everyone is excited about the way I played the game, which is so insane. I cannot believe it. Still can’t believe it.
Your social game was dogged on for pretty much the whole season, but America (the country) clearly resonated with you. What do you think got you the win?
Oh, man, I did not play a very good social game. Looking back, I mean, I’m a huge fan of the game itself, and I know that there’s a lot of things that I could have done a lot better and a lot differently. I just hope that I came off as a genuine person, that I was going to fight hard, compete, and be true to myself, and make everyone that loves me just as proud as I can possibly make them. So hopefully, it was actually my character that got me the win.
You voted for Jag and said while casting your vote that you had already planned on doing so. Is there anything Matt could have done to sway you, or were you always stuck on Jag?
The only way that I probably could have voted in favor of Matt had it been if he won the final HoH and decided to take Bowie, which would have been a huge, huge game move. Had he won that final HoH and taken Bowie, I definitely would have voted for him in the only hopes that he had owned up to a lot more than he did. By that, I mean taking credit for some things that he should have taken credit for during the season, which I believe is exactly why Jag got the win, because he wasn’t afraid to say, ‘Hey, yeah, I did it.”
As someone who was evicted this season and then returned to the game, what do you say to those who may not agree with a Jag win considering he already left the game unanimously? How much of his first eviction was considered by the jury when deciding who to vote for?
The jury, with respect to Jag having gotten voted out unanimously on my HoH nonetheless, there were a couple [people] that were like, ‘I don’t know, is he actually that deserving? Because the winner shouldn’t have gotten voted out.’ And I have to say, I’m a humongous Big Brother fan. And I have to say that that is a part of the game. It’s a wrinkle. And it’s a classic. And it’s something that, even though we are to expect the unexpected, this is a piece of the puzzle that needs to be expected in every season. So if you have the opportunity to play as hard as he played and get a chance to come back into the game and play as hard and go as far as he did, you absolutely deserve the win. Absolutely.
What was the consensus of the jury going into it?
Going in, after roundtable and talking to the jury house and everything that we had done, you know, I was pretty confident that Jag was going to get the win. Everyone was in agreement that he played the absolute greatest game. I was actually pretty shocked when Felicia and Cirie voted for Matt to win. Shocked may be the wrong word. I didn’t expect it. Cirie likes to be on the other side of the vote sometimes, just to control that and give that person a little bit of love. And Felicia—I mean, it didn’t surprise me that she chose someone that was not as deserving of the win as Jag was.
Dr. Will claimed that this year’s jury roundtable was pretty heated and that breaks were needed. Is there any truth to that?
Uh, the only breaks that were actually needed were because there were airplanes that kept flying over for sound. We disagree on a lot of things as a jury. I mean, we’d been living together for three months. So we did have some disagreements, [but] none of them came to blows. The only times that it got a little heated was between Felicia and Cirie. And the only reason that would be is because Felicia was so fresh out of the house that she had a lot of things that weren’t answered for her. We as a jury had already had our time together to kind of go, ‘Oh, wow, this is what happened? This is what you were thinking?’ and then we kind of came to grips with what was going on. So not only was she a little frustrated at the roundtable, she actually had to kind of come to grips with having left the house, so that’s why her emotions were a little on her sleeve that night.
You were an advocate for Bowie, but no one else seemed to have agreed that she played a winning game. Is there any universe (no pun unintended) where she takes home the $750K?
I don’t believe so. I don’t believe that Bowie probably could have taken the entire thing home because the only way that that was possible would be if she were to have sat next to Matt. And if that were going to happen, some interesting things needed to happen in the HoH competition to make that so. So I don’t believe that she probably could have gotten the win. Had it been her and Matt sitting side by side, it probably would have been 7-0, honestly.
One thing that didn’t make the show were your goodbye messages. Were you ever able to see them? If so, what were they like?
I was shown them. As soon as I got to the jury house, it was the first thing I was shown. The fan in me goes, ‘Why didn’t you guys show me this then?’ It was a time thing. Because every message that was given to me by everyone in the house was a, ‘Love you, man. Played a hell of a game.’ You know, blah, blah, blah. Cirie said, ‘I wish we could work together.’ Blue was herself, basically. She said a bunch of explosive, funny, just entertaining things. Outside of that, it was nothing but love and respect.
You and Cory haven’t always seen eye-to-eye throughout the game. What was it like to spend a week alone in the jury house with him?
You know, that whole first week of being in the jury house, you catch up on sleep, you listen to some music, watch a couple movies—you kind of get some time to yourself. And I gave him as much space as I possibly could give him in that first week. And I checked on him as an older brother would, but the entire time that he and I were in there, there were times, of course, when he wanted to talk about nothing but game all the time. Hypotheticals. What ifs. If you had done that. And at certain times, I had to go, ‘Brother. Hey, man, let me kind of check out from the game for a little while.’ And we did shoot a lot of pool; we caught some rays, got some tans, read a bunch of books, and had a great time.
One complaint you’ll hear from fans once you’re out in the real world is that they felt the competitions were unbalanced this year, favoring the men. Did you feel that way at all, or was there discussion of that at the jury house?
Hard to say. I mean, Felicia won one. Bowie won three mental competitions. Blue was second or third place in every single one of them bad boys; she was always one to look out for. I mean, Bowie even hung in on the wall; she barely lost that thing. Was it geared toward males? I have no idea. I just know that there was a wide variety, and a lot of great things could have happened. And I think the problem was a lot of very strong competitors got out of the game very early. And it kind of made it tough for a lot of those that remained in that were in favor of getting those strong players out, you know. So that is the game that we love.
Your second HoH was probably one of the most unexpected nominations we’ve seen in years. How much fun did you have making those nominations, and why did you approach them that way?
Oh, man. Season 25 is the season of the classics. We’re doing some replays, and everybody loves the classic Big Brother when we had the huge key ceremony, right? It was a big deal. And it was very important to the order in which those keys were placed in the box. So I kind of wanted to give a nod back to that, put some drama in there, and have a great time with it because, knowing that as soon as I left office as HoH, that my back was back against the wall and my butt was back on the block again, I said, ‘Man, we got to have as much fun as we can while we’re in here. Let’s throw these pies in the best direction possible.’ So I had a lot of fun doing that nomination ceremony.
I interviewed Julie a few days ago, and she told me you were the one houseguest she’d like to see return for a future season. Would you ever consider it?
Julie said that? Get out of town. Oh, my God. Absolutely in the cards; I’ve said that from the beginning. If I do well enough in this bad boy, I absolutely would run that thing again because I got a whole lot of changes that I would make to a game coming back around.
And then there’s the newly announced Big Brother Reindeer Games. Would you be open to returning for that, or is it too soon?
Oof, that’s mighty soon; I’m gonna have to do some soul-searching for that one. But if opportunity knocks, I mean, why not run it back, man? Why not soak this thing up for as long as I can get every ounce of the juice I can get out of the squeeze?
Big Brother returns for its 26th season next summer on CBS.