Exclusive: Kevin Campbell dishes about his 'Big Brother' journey
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/17/2009
Kevin Campbell is glad he wasn't faced with the choice of who to take with him to the Final 2, because -- in hindsight -- he feels he would have chosen incorrectly.
Instead, the 29-year-old graphic designer from Chula Vista, CA lost the third round of the final Head of Household competition and was evicted from Big Brother's eleventh season during Tuesday night's live finale broadcast.
On Wednesday, Kevin talked to Reality TV World about why he would have taken Jordan Lloyd to the Final 2 instead of Natalie Martinez and how the possible ramifications of that decision would have made him "suicidal;" how he knew Natalie was a liar but was never aware to what extent; what mind games he feels the producers played with him in the Diary Room; and his take on Chima Simone's expulsion.
Reality TV World: Given you had seemed to consider a lot of them to be Natalie's friends, is it safe to say you were surprised how many of the jury members didn't give her their votes last night?
Kevin: I was beyond surprised. I was like, "What?!" because I would have taken Jordan to the end because I swore up and down that Natalie would have beaten me. When I got outside [the house, the jury members] were all whispering to me this and that like, "You don't know, we hate Natalie." I was like, "What!?" I don't know what happened. I haven't seen any of the episodes so I don't really know what's going on. I don't know when things changed or how they changed.
Reality TV World: While you were in the game, you told Jordan and Natalie that you didn't think you could beat either of them in the Final 2 -- did you really believe that or were you just trying to convince them to take you to the Final 2 if they had the choice?
Kevin: No, I really did feel like I was playing for second place. The producers to get in your mind because I remember they were doing some Diary Room session with me and I do remember when I was deciding to get [Jeff Schroeder] out, they were like, "Oh well, you know if you get Jeff out you do know that you're playing for second place." I was like, "Oh my god! Oh my god you're right!"
I honestly didn't think I would have that much of a shot, but I thought with Jordan at least it would be 50/50. I had no idea that she would, like, kick my ass. I was completely clueless.
Reality TV World: Do you still believe that you wouldn't have been able to beat either one of them now that you saw last night's vote and got a chance to talk to the other jury members?
Kevin: I mean maybe I would have beaten Natalie. If I had won [the final HoH competition] though, I would have taken Jordan and I would have lost. Then I would have gone outside and everyone would have told me that if I took Natalie I would have won and I would be cutting my wrists right now. So I'm kind of glad that I didn't have that decision because now it would be hard to live down.
Ultimately, even though I'm broke right now, it was kind of nice to know that I lost because I lost, not because people didn't like me or because duped me or anything like that. It was all in my hands and I lost it. It was a fair shot. It was 50/50. The [third round of the final HoH competition] is always a 50/50 like deal. Oh my god, if I had won HoH and not taken Natalie and found out that I would have won against Natalie... Oh my god. CBS would have had to call 911 because I would have been suicidal.
Reality TV World: During one of Natalie's final statements to the jury, she stated how Jessie Godderz, Chima and Ronnie Talbott were all strong competitors who helped get her to the Final 2 -- however she initially failed to mention you. How big of a role do you think you played in helping Natalie get to the Final 2? Do you think the other jury members held that against her?
Kevin: Can you believe that wench!? She did not mention my name! And you know what's funny, I had to tell her to mention my name. She was like, "I can I tell you my little speech I'm going to give?" And she would be like, "This person and that person helped me get to the end." And I was like, "What about me wench!?" She's like, "Oh yeah!" So I knew that she didn't think that I had any influence on her getting to the end.
I believe the opposite. I believe everyone influenced me to get to the end -- even Jordan, even Jeff -- every little incident that happens definitely influences your future in this game. So I believe without Natalie, I wouldn't have made it to the end.
Reality TV World: Do you think Natalie would have taken you to the Final 2 if the choice was up to her?
Kevin: No. If Natalie had won... That's why I worked out a deal with her [during the first round of the final HoH competition], because I really wanted Natalie not to have the power, because if she had the power, she would have taken Jordan.
Although she swears up and down -- even to this day -- that she would have taken me. In my mind, I was like, "Girl I do not trust you." I thought that I wanted to take destiny into my own hands and I wanted to decide to win.
Reality TV World: After your eviction you said the "strongest strategic player" would get your Final 2 vote. Was that still the criteria you used in voting for Natalie?
Kevin: Yeah. I don't know what they showed for Jordan's gameplay, but every time I saw her in the house she... first of all, Jordan is not a fan of Big Brother. She never watched the show. She didn't even apply for the show, somebody came up to her. She knew nothing about the show.
So I thought, "Okay, she doesn't even care about Big Brother." Natalie at least cared about Big Brother. She's been trying just as much as I've been trying [to get on the show]. She a huge fan.
Then on top of that, Jordan floated by. She relied on Jeff the entire game. She really didn't hustle as much as other people in the house. I felt like this is the shot of a lifetime -- only 13 people got to play this game -- I wanted to give it to somebody who was actually trying, that was hustling, that was giving it their all.
At one point, Jordan was like, "I want to go home." When Jeff was on the block, she was like, "You know what just send me home." At that point I was kind of offended because -- like [with] Chima -- so many people applied, how dare you say you want to go home! It's the opportunity of a lifetime.
Those sort of thoughts were swirling through my mind when I was casting my vote. If I knew that Natalie was a liar... I knew there was something shifty about her, but I didn't to what extent, how big of a liar she was. But it wasn't personal. It was all about who I felt deserved it more, and I wanted to give it to somebody who was actually working for it. Not somebody who was like, "If I make it to the end, that'll be cool." She didn't care. So I was like, "Well, if you don't care, you're not getting my vote."
Reality TV World: So you didn't buy Jordan's argument that she stepped it up at the end when she had to and also seemed to do a real good strategic job of reading how the jury felt about Natalie?
Kevin: Jordan... I don't want hate on her too much because her strategy won. Whatever she did worked. She won. She did step it up. When she needed to win, she won. She took her destiny in her own hands and she did it. So kudos to her. When she needed to win, she definitely won. So I can't hate on her for that.
Reality TV World: You and Jordan had a deal to take each other to the Final 2, which she obviously wasn't being genuine about. At the time, how confident were you that she was telling the truth?
Kevin: I was optimistic. I was thinking, "Okay, maybe Jordan will.".... When I cried on the veto competition against [Michele Noonan], Jordan and Natalie, I thought all three of them were gunning after me. They were not going to take me if they had the opportunity -- all three of them.
So when I made that deal with Jordan, I knew that her mind didn't change. She only told me, "Okay, I'll make a Final 2 deal with you" when I had the option to take her or Michele [to the Final 3]. That's the only time she told me that. So I knew that when she made that deal with me, she had to say yes -- because if she didn't, I would have sent her home. I was just optimistic, I was hoping that she would be dumb and take me. And she didn't. She was smart. She made the smart decision, so kudos to her.
Reality TV World: That leads well into my next question. Do you think if Jordan had taken you that you would have been able to beat her in the Final 2?
Kevin: In hindsight, no. At the time I thought I had a 50/50 shot. That's why I wanted to take Jordan. I thought with Natalie, it was going to be like 70/30. I thought it would be 70/30 and Natalie would win. I thought at least with Jordan, it might be 50/50.
Reality TV World: Julie Chen tried to ask you this during the finale and you kind of brushed her off. Do you think your decision to evict Michele instead of Jordan last week cost you the $500,000?
Kevin: Why are you asking me that question!? Oh my god! I don't know! Ugh... Michele was like, "Kevin, you should have taken me! I would have been true to my word." But y'all don't know. We're all in this house and Michele was... She's a genius, and she played this game. I couldn't trust her. She was shifty. She was more distrustworthy than Natalie. I couldn't take that risk.
Reality TV World: Did you ever think about following through on your deal with Jeff or was it always simply a strategy to gain his trust so you could evict him?
Kevin: Oh yeah. I was doing that just to lull him into the web and then ultimately strike. There was no scenario in my mind -- zero. I mean the producers would talk to me for like hours, "Are you sure there's no way you'd keep Jeff?" I'm like, "No. There's no possible scenario that I can keep Jeff." There was no way.
Reality TV World: I know you were stunned that Jeff decided to trust you despite the fact that you two had never been aligned in the house before...
Kevin: I know!
Reality TV World: Why do you think Jeff decided to trust you? Do you think Michele unknowingly corroborating your lie about Russell Kairouz was the key factor or do you think he's just trying to justify why he believed it?
Kevin: Can you believe that! I think it's because my strategy in this game was to come into the house and be honest and truthful for the first half of the game. I wanted to make everybody feel like I was just a friend, I was no threat, I was trustworthy. I would tell truths when I didn't have to, I would tell truths when it would make me look bad -- I wanted to strike at the opportune moment.
I knew I needed to ultimately lie at one point in the game, I just didn't know when. When this opportunity presented itself -- basically when my back was against the wall, because we were being picked off one-by-one -- I was like, "We need to do something drastic."
Reality TV World: Why do you think Natalie chose to lie to you -- her closest remaining ally -- about her Pandora's Box decision?
Kevin: Did they show that!? She came out and was like, "They gave me a Final 2 twist." Did they show that part?
Reality TV World: Yeah. What was your take on that whole situation?
Kevin: When she said this, I was like, "This wench is lying to me!" She goes, "They screwed me on my HoH. There's a Final 2 twist, a Final 2 flip." Then she started to explain it and it was like not making sense.
It was some weird rule where if the votes are one way for her, it will flip the opposite or something. So I basically pulled her aside and was like, "Natalie are you telling me the truth right now?" And she goes, "I swear on anything that this is the truth." That's when I realized, "This bisnatch, she is lying to my face!"
I broke it down for her. I was like, "Natalie, if this is the truth I'm not taking you to the end. Deal's off, because basically you're telling me that if I take you to the end there's this weird mystery power and I don't want to run the risk." She was like, "Oh crap!" She didn't think about that. She was like, "Oh god, I need to tell the truth now."
Then she said she got proposed to and I was like, "Why aren't you crying?" Like, why would you hide a proposal? I was confused by that, why would you hide good news? So I honestly believed at the time that she had some sort of Hawaiian vacation or something that she got that she was trying to hide and she didn't tell us.
Reality TV World: In addition to lying about Pandora's Box, Natalie was also being dishonest about her age -- something you picked up on early in the season. Do you think Natalie's lies basically caught up with her?
Kevin: Um... Yeah, I guess so. It would appear so. She could have won this if the jury wasn't so turned off to her, and they were so turned off to her because of all the lies. So yeah, she probably could have won it if she had been who she actually said she was.
Reality TV World: Natalie seemed to have a hard time understanding that although Michele had nominated her for eviction Chima was the one that was responsible for her expulsion.
Kevin: I know!
Reality TV World: But you didn't seem to have that problem, why do you think that was?
Kevin: Maybe it was Natalie's strategy to show that she was a ride-or-die chick. To show that, regardless of the logic, she's always going to stand behind somebody. I was trying to break it down for her, like, "No Natalie, seriously. Chima did this." I assumed she was doing it strategically to show that, "Hey look, I'm a loyal person, even when it's so obvious that I shouldn't be loyal I'm still loyal." That's what I was thinking.
Reality TV World: Why do you think Chima wanted to quit so bad and how do you think the game would have been different had she not been expelled?
Kevin: Oh my god, when she got expelled I was shocked. First of all, the big-wig producers NEVER come on the intercom. Rarely do they do it -- only when it's some huge, major announcement. And when [executive producer Allison Grodner] came on, I was like, "Oh my god! Oh my god! This is actually happening!"
Chima... I always hated it as a fan of Big Brother when [houseguests] said, "People don't understand the stress level." Now I understand that. Being in that house, oh my god, it was so stressful.
Everybody expresses it in a different way. Jordan, she let out her stress by attaching herself to a fellow houseguest. I let out my stress in the Diary Room. Chima let her stress out on her microphone! (laughing) She didn't know how to relieve her stress and she lost her damn mind.
Reality TV World: What's next for you Kevin?
Kevin: I'm going to hopefully have a job still, go back to work. I hope that I can still get back to the grind. I want to go shopping! I want to get out in the real world right now because I've been cooped up. So that's next for me.
(Photo credit CBS)
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