Earlier this week, we had the chance to chat with Big Brother 24’s Joseph Abdin! Since the show, Joseph has already had plenty of noteworthy opportunities, such as signing with NV Models & Talent, as well as guest starring on a future episode of The Bold and the Beautiful. Outside of these accomplishments, Joseph has proven himself to be a fierce advocate for his community, specifically in bringing positive representation to Middle Eastern people in media and opening a dialogue for those with mental health struggles. With all of this in mind, Joseph’s future is looking bright as ever.
We caught up with the BB24 star to discuss his readjustment to life after the show, how he plans to use his new platform, spending Halloween with Taylor Hale, and more. Keep reading for the full interview!
First off, congratulations on a great run on BB24, as well as all of the success you’re already experiencing in the postseason. How has readjusting to everyday life been for you since leaving the house?
The adjustment has been slow and steady [laughs]. I’ve definitely been trying to get used to this newfound lifestyle. It’s nothing like what I was experiencing before entering the Big Brother house. No one in my family, or myself, has any experience in this type of arena or this type of environment. It’s definitely been so unique. I’m taking it all in. It’s just been great, but it has its ups and downs.
We saw that you just got signed to a new modeling agency, NV Models & Talent, so congratulations on that! How did this opportunity present itself, and where would you like to see it take you?
It actually presented itself when I was talking with Taylor about people reaching out, and she was signed with NV Models beforehand. She spoke so highly of them, and obviously I trust Taylor with my life at this point. It wasn’t a hard decision to go with that contract. I’m really hoping it takes me to newfound heights and opportunities in the sense that I love the fact that I would have never thought I could be a model. Knowing that I’ll be able to represent brands as a Middle Eastern man with my background, my orientation, it means the world to me. The same reason I wanted to get on Big Brother and push out that diversity, I’m so happy that this newfound opportunity with NV Models is gonna give me the chance to do that same thing, and just try and get more perspective out there. When I walk into a store, or anyone similar, there’s a little bit more relatability and a face that people can associate with. I’m really excited for it in that aspect. I’m also excited to see what people I meet, what world I step into. This is a little bit more of Taylor’s arena, and I’m so excited to do this and see a little bit more of her world.
You’ve expressed an interest in acting after filming a special episode of The Bold and the Beautiful with Taylor and Monte. What kind of role would you like to see yourself play most?
I would love to see myself play a role model… Obviously, with acting, we have to be anyone we can, but I have no real experience with it. I had such a great time on The Bold and the Beautiful that I was like, “This was so much fun!” It was such a great experience, and unlike reality TV, you are stepping into the shoes of something else. It’s just a little bit more relaxed. I would love to see myself be someone that I could role model or be better for the community as a whole. Like, someone I would be proud to represent and to adhere to as a character. Someone with life lessons, with morals, with dignity, respect, qualities that I really, really appreciate, and that I try to personally adhere to. I would love to emphasize that on the screen as well.
We saw that you’re back in LA after spending some time in Florida with your family. What are your plans for the upcoming weeks?
I’m back in LA to prep for a meet-and-greet in Canada. We plan to go to two clubs in Canada, Midway and The Back Alley, and meet some of our amazing Canadian fans. Following our return back to LA, we’re just going to situate some interviews and check in on some opportunities. While I’m here in this great city, just seeing what presents itself and taking advantage that I’m here now, I’m in the city, and going from there.
Now that so many opportunities are coming your way, do you see a move to LA ever being an option for you?
I definitely do! I love the weather here; I will give you guys that. I love the priority in health, and so there’s been a lot of good dietary places that I can eat at. I noticed that I don’t have as much difficulty eating healthy here as I do in Florida, and I’ve met some amazing people. I’ve had some amazing experiences, so I could definitely see myself moving out to LA if the right opportunity and circumstances present themselves. I have no problem moving to LA and flying back and forth to visit my family. Right before the show, I was very close to moving to Miami to work for a law firm there, so that’s still a potential opportunity. Possibly moving to Miami and still trying to balance and utilize both those aspects, but for the time being, I’m extremely open to moving and situating myself here. I love the heat, I love the sun, it rains a lot less here, obviously, than in Florida. It just would have to be something concrete and, you know, a reason to lock in.
We received a ton of questions from fans about this next topic! How does it feel to be such a positive representation for Middle Eastern people on reality television, and how do you plan on continuing to be a voice for the community now that you have a bigger platform?
That is so reassuring to me. Ironically, a huge reason I lacked support to do the show was because the representation of Middle Easterns, the culture, or Arabs entirely in the media was primarily negative. My family had a lot of concerns with me going on TV. Based on my background and the person I am, they were so worried that all of that would get tarnished. Just by the circumstances that we’ve always been presented to and the situations I’ve grown up to, usually when a Middle Eastern person is the narrative on a media or article, it’s usually not positive.
Coming out of Big Brother and seeing all the positivity and love that followed meant the world to me. It meant a lot for me to show that to my family. They’re like, “We’re so sorry! We’re so proud of you. We wish we believed more in that.” Primarily, you know, my parents, because in an effort to protect me, they really did not want me to go on there. It meant so much to me to come out and see that I did what I was trying to do. I plan to keep going forward with that and maintaining that momentum by getting involved with more and presenting more aspects of my culture, my people, and my background. That way, it can become more familiar, and more people can get acquainted to the things that to me are so normal, but they might not be to other people. I definitely plan on doing that. I plan on hopefully visiting the Middle East soon and documenting that as well. I’m trying to learn a little bit of Arabic, and just sharing who I am and how I got to be here as a person. Fortunately, enough people seem to be interested that I plan to keep sharing it.
Speaking of that, we saw that you met up with Kaysar shortly after the finale! How was meeting him, and did he give you any particular advice or words of encouragement?
Yes! Okay, let me just say that Kaysar is an amazing, amazing human being! I got my familiarity with Kaysar through the interview process. Unfortunately, I haven’t watched much Big Brother beforehand, but I’ve been getting familiar with Kaysar’s season. The overlap between us two is unbelievable [laughs]! Even in the game! While I’m watching, it’s hilarious. I wish I was more aware of how much overlap we have as people. I felt it when we met each other. From a respect standpoint, the person he is and the conversations we had were just so admirable that I have so much respect for him. Him doing the show back in a time where it was a lot more difficult for Middle Eastern people already had my love and admiration for him. Then, when we talked, and the conversations we fostered in meeting the person he was, it made me fall in love with him more. Just to follow up with his season and see the overlap with us as people has been so hilarious. Even some of the circumstances I see that presented to us. There was obviously a situation where Kaysar’s like, “Oh my God, this guy’s so touchy!” I was like, “Oh, that’s literally me!” There’s a circumstance where Kaysar’s trying to look out for someone, and he’s letting him know, “You’re closest with this girl, and it might not be too good.” That was literally me as well. Him just trying to be a positive light, and I love how much he still prayed when he needed to pray, represented the culture, spoke out against conversations. The overlap between us really wasn’t highlighted to me until I started to really digest his season. It just made me fall in love with him more.
You were an alternate this season, which is still pretty insane to hear. Have you been able to connect with Marvin [Achi] at all?
Yes [laughs]! Marvin is a great guy. There is no shock I was his alternate. He is a beast! Shout out to Marvin. I actually reached out to him because this has brought me so much love and support that I otherwise wouldn’t have had, and I didn’t know if for whatever reasons, I might have taken that away from someone else. Before this, I had no platform, I wasn’t in the public eye in any way, shape, or form, and I was like, “Who knows whose place I took and what I took from them.” I reached out to Marvin to see, like, “Maybe I can give him a platform or an opportunity.” This guy is doing great [laughs]! He’s doing amazing. I think he will be on The Circle soon, so please go support and shout him out for that. He’s a great guy, we have a lot of conversations via Instagram, and I’m hoping we can link up. There’s so much overlap between the two of us. I believe he’s an engineer, he’s extremely into fitness, and he’s also into personal training as well. He releases great content, he has a huge platform, and I’m just so happy if there was anyone that was gonna take my place, it was him. He looks like a great guy!
We’ve also heard you speak a lot about mental health which is still largely stigmatized in many communities, as well as your own experience with ADHD. How important has it been for you to be so transparent about these issues when discussing your time in the house?
Extremely important to me! Mental health has had a lot of impact on my life. It’s completely impacted my mother’s life, which I plan to share more in detail coming down the line. I think the stigmas around mental health need to be deconstructed, they need to be addressed, and it needs to be normalized. There’s so much assistance, help, and support that can be out there if we can just allow that opportunity to be presented to people. I think these negative stigmas, and these constructs that people are locking themselves in are preventing assistance and preventing help. There’s a lack of progression here that I definitely think we need to help push forward. I’m glad that these conversations that we ultimately weren’t having a couple of years ago are happening now. Unfortunately, time is not on our side with this aspect. With social media and with the way we are moving forward, people need love and support whether it is from family, friends, or professionally. I definitely think we need to start utilizing these tools, because I did and it made a world of difference in who I am today. I want to help people out there. There’s a lot of stress, a lot of time that is going against us, and the quicker we do this, the better.
When returning to Twitter, you said in your first tweet that you were following a trail of chips [laughs]. What was your first conversation with Taylor like once being out of the house and not having any cameras around?
Oh my God [laughs]! It was like, “Are you mad at me?” And she’s like, “Are you mad at me?” It was very surreal, hilariously. We met up and she’s just coming out of the game. She just won, she did that, and I really didn’t want to make this about me in any way, shape, or form. All I could think is like, “Her family’s here, her friends are here. Now is not the time to corner her or discuss things. Now’s the time to live in the moment. You won. Let’s celebrate, let’s be happy.” We had just a quick conversation, almost as simply as like, “You’re not mad at me, right? I’m not mad at you. We can get into the details of everything later, and I’m so proud of you. You did that, and let’s have a good time. Let’s live in this moment.” That’s kind of what we were doing. Her kind of filling me in a little bit on the house, meeting our families, it was great. We were having a great moment. We just wanted to keep living in that. Like, she has done such a monumental achievement. We were just living it up in that aspect.
Speaking of Taylor, you two are very clearly adored by fans online. How does it feel to know you’ve amassed such a loyal fanbase, both as individuals and as a duo?
It is so heartwarming, because they are literally like my family now. The love and support they give me is arguably more than my family at times [laughs], and I’m just so happy for it. I know Taylor deserves it for sure, so knowing that she’s loved and supported means a lot to me. I mean, there’s a reason I called her the face of our season. There’s a reason I was telling her she’s a sword, and I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one seeing it. It means so much to me that the world was seeing it, because the fact that I had to vocalize that opinion made me feel like she didn’t believe it. Like, she needed to hear this, but that was the reality. I’m so happy because we don’t know what’s going on outside, but that was the reality outside. For me personally, I just love the fact that there’s support and the love, people seeing me for me. Obviously, in my relationship with Taylor, and then as an individual, the characteristics of me that people really appreciate, love, and just want to see more of really emphasizes that I’m hopefully somewhat on the right track and to just keep being myself.
We’ve seen you react to some of the comments made in the house toward yourself and especially Taylor. How do you personally plan on navigating your relationships with your castmates as you continue to learn what was said and done in the house?
With accountability, positivity, love, and respect… The circumstances that have presented to me in life, like via high school, via just navigating the world and me not being the person I am today before the gym, I’ve already faced my difficulties. Whether it be because of my background, or because of the way I look, or for whatever reason, I am not a stranger to adversity, to bullying, or to a difficult or confrontational circumstance. What I have learned in my experiences is that meeting hate or disrespect with more disrespect or hate gets you nowhere. That being said, I learned that the hard way [laughs]. There’s been circumstances where I wasn’t offered the opportunity to be so gracious or loving in my response. For instance, I know there’s a funny story I was just asked about where someone was bothering my sister repetitively in Greece. Some circumstances call for a less loving approach. In this instance, I want to highlight that people can make wrongs, and I completely respect the feelings of the fans and how they want to move forward. Me now turning into a viewer, watching my season has definitely showed me that these emotions – although the fans and the people watching are not there – these are real emotions. You are watching this, we become a part of your family, we become people you look up to, and that’s why I can never invalidate anyone’s feelings. In my reaction, I always want to promote that positive approach. Spurting love can also be more productive, because who knows what can come out of this the same way Taylor came out of this as an icon, amazing, and the way she handles it… She has so much grace. I’ll never stop saying that because God damn, if I went through what she went through, I wouldn’t have the patience that she does. To me, that’s always a reminder to maintain that sentiment and make something good out of something bad.
Are you celebrating Halloween with Taylor? What do you have planned for a costume?
Taylor and I do plan to spend Halloween together, and the costume is TBA because I’m no fashion icon, but she definitely is [laughs]! I wear the same t-shirt, I’m very basic. I put on all my gym clothes and sweatpants, and she’s extremely iconic. Anything she wears [is iconic], like I’m sure we saw from the season, so I’m letting her pave the way with that. I have very high expectations, because she does not ever not impress. I cannot wait to see what we come up with, or primarily her because I’m a very go-with-the-flow type of guy, but we do plan to spend Halloween together. The costume is TBA. I think she mentioned something. She’s on the drawing board for how we should do it or what we should do, so please, anybody share your ideas. We would love to hear them.
You’ve spoken about wanting to do The Amazing Race with Taylor. Would you also be open to a call from Survivor or The Challenge?
Yes, yes, definitely! I mean, initially one thing I told myself is that I’m going to keep an open mind. Survivor, hopefully I don’t eat another contestant, because my appetite will probably be my biggest concern. Ultimately, I am very open. I would have never in a million years saw what Big Brother did happening, so I’m very open and very responsive to other opportunities. I definitely plan to utilize them, so definitely The Challenge. Like, I was jumping out of planes and stuff and paying for it. If I get to do it for free, I would love to. I feel like it would be a really fun experience, Survivor too. I feel like there’s a lot for me to learn about myself. I do love nature and love the environment, so I’m definitely open to other CBS shows.
For The Amazing Race, navigation is key. That’s like 75% of it, driving and map reading. That’s how you’re going to do good on The Amazing Race.
The Amazing Race aspect for me just sounds like so much fun, because I would love to see Taylor and I traveling. After going to Miss USA, it was a hilarious experience. Us navigating through the airport, car rides, getting ready, it was just so much fun. I do consider myself pretty good at navigation, although I can get all over the place, but I usually end up at the right place at the end of the day [laughs]. It would be really fun, but Taylor keeps joking that she’s going to take Michael. The hilarious reason is because she says we both run on POC time, but I will put my disclaimer that I am always ready before her. We both look at each other to see which one’s ready, and we will just go, “Oh, he’s not ready, so I got time,” or “She’s not ready, so I got time,” and we keep going back and forth. Always at the last minute, I’ll get ready before her and she’ll blame it on both of us.
What music did you request in the event you won Head of Household?
I think I requested SAINt JHN and Rihanna because in the sequester period, we have limited CDs, and I was just jamming to Rihanna a lot. I did request, I think, SAINt JHN and Rihanna, which I thought would be amazing. I think we can put three or four artists, so I think I had SAINt JHN, Rihanna, and Bad Bunny, I’m pretty sure.
Rihanna is definitely fitting for how much she was referenced throughout the season!
Yeah, apparently! I don’t blame her for ignoring us [laughs].
Final question. What was the most surprising thing to learn that occurred in the outside world while you were in the house?
Oh my God. I mean, personally I walked out and my brother moved. That was huge. The Queen passed. From a personal standpoint and a world standpoint, you almost feel like you died. If you guys have seen the show Manifest or Lost, you just come out. COVID is a lot more controlled than when we initially went in, and it’s impacting less of certain areas that it didn’t initially when I first went in the house. I definitely feel like I almost died and came back in certain circumstances. Just getting caught up with a lot of my friends and family lives, I’m just like, “Well, hey, you’re doing this, you moved here, you got accepted there,” so that is probably the most overwhelming aspect, just playing catch up with everyone. A lot of my friends would be like, “Oh my God, I would want to call you,” or family, like, “We would want to call you and tell you this achievement or this occurrence, and then it would feel like you passed almost because we just couldn’t.” Playing catch up just feels like you came out of the twilight zone.
The video-formatted version of our interview with Big Brother 24’s Joseph Abdin is available to watch here.