Pop Crave spoke with the winner of Big Brother 25, Jag Bains, following Thursday night’s 2-hour grand finale.
Check out the full exit interview below!
Jag! Congratulations on the win! You were my first draft pick this season [laughs]. What are you feeling right now?
Let’s go! Thank you so much. That’s why I won it all; I knew that you were gonna put money on me. It was all you [laughs]. I feel on top of the world; it is such a surreal feeling. I feel like the last 100 days were a dream. Both because they were a dream come true, and it just felt like such a blur. I felt like I was in an alternate reality, and I’m still so shocked by everything and just so grateful and happy with everything.
I have to say, you annihilated Matt in your jury answers. Did you intend on going that hard on him to distinguish your game from his?
*sighs* Look, at the very end, I know that’s my one chance to advocate for myself. And I knew going in there that if I won the final HoH and sat next to Matt, I felt like he was gonna have a lot of the jury’s votes. I truly thought that it was gonna be an uphill battle for me. And so I was very passionate in my answers. And I owned up to all the game moves that I made, because I know the game I played, but I didn’t know if the jury understood that. And I’m someone who’s very passionate. I had to stand up for myself in that moment. The fact of it is that I really did feel truthful about everything I said in those answers and in my speeches. You know, I did plan out a lot of the things that happened. And yes, there was no way that I got to the very end alone, and I never claimed that; it was a team effort. But a lot of the moves that were made, I know that I had a big hand in that, and that was my time to own up to it.
You wanted Matt out last week for a second but decided against evicting him. What was the decision like tonight about deciding whether to evict him or Bowie Jane?
Ultimately, I’m someone who’ll analyze everything down to court, even if I’m not going to make that decision. Last week, I was obviously considering, ‘Okay, Matt or Felicia?’ and thinking through every possibility of that, and this week as well. It’s a heavy decision because it’s a $750,000 decision, right? But ultimately, I wasn’t going to turn my back on Matt. He didn’t turn his back on me when I needed someone in the game the most. He saved me, and I wasn’t going to be the one to wrong him. I knew coming into the game that I wanted to play a game where I played with integrity and with loyalty to the person that I chose to be loyal to; he was the person I chose to be loyal to. I even said this in my speech when I evicted Bowie Jane, but I wanted to make the decision that I would be proud of, that my family would be proud of, and that my community would be proud of. And that’s what it ultimately came down to. I felt like it was the right decision, and it was something that I could look back at and hold my head up high. And that’s what mattered more than the money to me.
You mentioned your Sikh community, who you most certainly made proud last night by becoming the first Sikh winner in Big Brother history. What is it like to now claim that title, and how do you hope to inspire future players?
I mean, that’s huge. That really does mean the world to me. Coming on to the show—the fact that I even made it onto the show—was the biggest accomplishment for me. Being able to represent my community, being the first Sikh player on Big Brother—it was huge. And I didn’t think I was gonna make it this far; I did not expect this. Obviously, I fought hard for it. And being the first Sikh winner is huge. Like, I can’t even describe it in words. And the only thing I can hope for is that it shows other people that they can play a game where they stay true to who they are. And it doesn’t matter if you look different. And it doesn’t matter if other people don’t know much about you or have negative perceptions of who you may be. All you can do is stay true to yourself, and if you set your mind to something, you can achieve it. You should dream big, and you should always work hard towards those goals. And I’m hoping that that is a message I’m able to convey with my game and with my story in this game.
Adding to your records, you also broke the all-time competition record with 10 wins (3 HoHs, 7 POVs). What’s your reaction to learning that?
I mean, that’s crazy [laughs]. I really didn’t… I didn’t know what the record was. I’m gonna be honest. It was not like I was trying to beat a record; I truly was just fighting for my life. And I was trying to win these competitions to protect myself and my closest allies; that was the goal of everything. That was why, when I went into these competitions, I had such a fire in me; I was so motivated to win at any cost. And that’s what really drove me to all these wins. I think being able to set that record is like a byproduct of how I ended up playing the game and how badly I wanted to protect my people. And I’m really grateful for that. And it’s like, it’s shocking to me, because I just never thought that that was going to be a record that I was going to set. So that’s beyond me, man. I don’t know.
One aspect of your gameplay that I found interesting was how you made moves against quite a few of your allies. How much of your cutthroatness came from you already being evicted? Did you feel you owed loyalty to anyone outside of Matt?
You know, I really didn’t dwell on being evicted that much. I felt like the only way I could move forward and progress in the game, in a social sense, beyond just a competitive level, is if I don’t dwell on it. And so that wasn’t really much of a factor for me. Like, I knew I was evicted, and I think that I owned a lot of that. I played a dumb game at the beginning of the season. I think I sucked as a player. And I think I progressively got better as the season went on. And, you know, as I evicted people that I was close to, and I was friends with, and I was even aligned with, but they weren’t my ride-or-die final two, there was still a lot of weight to that. Every eviction still sucks because I’m living in the house with these people all the time. The competition doesn’t just happen, and the eviction happens, and it’s like, ‘Cool, onto the next week!’ I’m living with them; I get to know them. I’m so close to them. I get to know about their childhood, their upbringing, and everything about their families. And so it sucks every time someone goes because you can feel the weight of them not being there. But on a game landscape, I knew that I had to make those moves.
You and Matt had a hilarious reaction to finding out that Jared and Cirie are related. We didn’t get to see exactly what you were saying to each other on the live show, though. What were you guys saying?
My God, that’s the biggest twist this season by far. I just never expected that. It’s just like everything hitting me at once. They played us! They were in two different alliances on two different sides of the house. Here I was going to Jared, being like, ‘Oh man, Cirie and Izzy are sort of running the other side of the house.’ Like I’m talking about his mother right now! And going to Cirie, being like, ‘Oh, are you sure Jared is solid? Jared might be a target’—like that’s her son. So this is just crazy. Realizing that was insane, and it made so much sense because they stuck together in the game, and they were very loyal to each other. And all the little pieces just added up. When Jared was evicted and then he came back, there was a transmission that came in. Cirie read that. And she started laughing, and she was like, ‘Oh, man!’ And at the time, like in the moment, I was like, ‘This is maniacal. She is literally laughing because Cam and Jared are both coming in. Like, what’s going on? Are you happy that more people are in this house now?’ But then it makes sense now because we just evicted her son, and her son is now walking through the doors with a chance to stay in the game and cook us. I mean, I would be laughing too if I was Cirie, so it’s just wild. That is wild.
You will surely walk out of here with messages from Big Brother purists who think your win was undeserved due to the fact that you were already evicted. What would you say to fight back and defend yourself against those kinds of opinions?
I mean, look, honestly, I wouldn’t. Because the fact of it is, I did suck at the beginning. There’s a reason I was evicted. Like, I fully get that. What I also do know is that there was a power that was used to save me, right? Matt used it to save me. And if anything, that’s a testament to some social game that I had. I had a good enough relationship with Matt that he used such an important power to save me. And week after week after that, my game has gotten better. You know, I’ve been in a better and better position every single week. My social game has gotten better. On a competitive landscape, I’ve gotten better. And [in regards to] my journey in this game, I know I didn’t start off as the best player, but at the end, I fully believed that I had played the best game.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard this yet, but you and Cory’s family have actually connected throughout the season and seem to be pretty close now. What do you make of that?
Me and Cory? Oh, I didn’t know that. That’s so cool! That’s like the best part about this whole thing—just knowing my family is getting close to other people’s families’. That’s dope. I love Cory, man. I love him.
I saw on social media that some of his family went to your family’s watch party tonight.
What? Where? How? Where?
I’m not entirely sure, but I saw that Claire Rehfuss from BB23 and The Amazing Race reposted something about it! [laughs]
What!? I’m shook. See, I don’t know anything that’s going on in the outside [world]. I’m happy, though. Like, I’m happy because, truly, for me, I separated everything from game and personal. And truly, the game was the game, and I know I played a cutthroat game. I know I evicted a lot of people. But on a personal level, I love them to death. I’m like, I want to stay in touch with everyone. I’m so excited to meet their families and to hear these things—like, my family is already tight with other people’s families? That’s so dope. That is so dope. Like, that’s a part of the experience that I think we really don’t see as viewers. I never saw how close people got and what it looks like even afterwards, and that’s such a beautiful part of it.
Last question! Julie announced the Big Brother Reindeer Games at the finale. Would you be open to returning for the two-week event, or is it too soon?
Oh, my God. Absolutely. I love Big Brother. I don’t even know what the Big Brother Reindeer Games entail. I absolutely want to play. I’m a competitor. I want to play everything. I want to do everything. And that’s something that sounds super fun. I don’t even know what it is. I would want to do it. I absolutely would go back and do that.
It seems to be competition-based, so I think you would be perfect for it [laughs].
Oh, my God. Are you serious? That would be be so much fun. I mean, competitions—that’s how I survived in this game. You know, the second half of the season, it was just competitions. So, I very much would love to do that.
Big Brother returns for its 26th season next summer on CBS.