Exclusive: Ronnie Talbott talks about his 'Big Brother' experience
By Reality TV World staff, 08/10/2009
Ronnie Talbott began playing the Big Brother game the moment he entered the house and things appeared to be going his way at first.
However the rest of the houseguests eventually discovered his duplicity, resulting in the 30-year-old gamer from Belpre, OH becoming the fourth houseguest eviction from the Big Brother house.
On Friday, Ronnie talked to Reality TV World about whether he feels he began the game too strongly, what he feels his biggest mistake was, why he used his final plea statement to call fellow houseguest Michele Noonan "the worst person" he'd ever met, and whether he believes his "hypocritical sore loser" comments about Casey Turner's Week 3 departure also apply to his own exit.
Reality TV World: Let's start with your final plea comments about Michelle.
Ronnie: (laughs) Okay.
Reality TV World: There's a pretty strong school of thought that you were being hypocritical given your own behavior in the game, particularly given how you had turned on her group during the Week 1 vote that evicted Braden and then even tried to convince them that she was the one that had betrayed them. What's your opinion about that?
Ronnie: You're referring to the comment I made in my speech last night?
Reality TV World: Your final plea comments about Michelle, where you called her "the worst person you ever met."
Ronnie: Oh, yeah. That comment by no means was a comment on gameplay on any level. It was not a comment on how Michelle may have lied to me or about the votes or anything.
It was simply a statement on how, game aside, Michele had made a conscious decision to try and get to know me as a person and vice versa and then 72 to 96 hours before my eviction that completely melted down and things were said that changed my opinion on her on a personal level.
Reality TV World: What was said?
Ronnie: You know at this point and time I've come to realize that apparently the conversations were not aired, so I'm going to let those comments remain anonymous and I'm going to talk to Michele on finale night and see where she stands.
Reality TV World: When Casey got evicted last week, you called him "a hypocritical sore loser." Do you see some of that applying to your situation as well, because you seemed to go out pretty bitterly.
Ronnie: I do regret the last 24 hours before I was evicted because absolutely, that last 24 hours before I was evicted I fell prey to the same kind of bitter animosity that Casey did. And I am truly sorry for that.
It's something I do regret but it is what it is. I mean when you're in that house sometimes you say and do things in the heat of the moment that you regret.
Reality TV World: There are a lot of viewers that feel your gameplay was actually pretty reckless and really kind of un-"Brainiac." What's your take on that?
Ronnie: Whenever I went into the house I did have a strategy of trying to use manipulation and persuasive speaking to my advantage. However what I found was it was extremely difficult to counter-balance that with my love and passion of finally getting the chance to play this game, and absolutely, I did have too heavy of a hand.
Reality TV World: So you would agree that Week 1 was probably a little too early to try stirring things up, play both sides of the house against each other, and things like that?
Ronnie: Oh yeah, absolutely in hindsight I did have too heavy a hand.
And actually I said on several occasions over the past couple of weeks to the other houseguests, if I had that vote to do over again then even if it had been a half an hour before that eviction I would have gone to them and said 'Hey listen, I'm voting for Chima to stay, that way you're not on the out.' And I did say that on several occasions to the other houseguests.
Reality TV World: So do you think it was the vote got you in trouble or do you think it was before that when you actually made the agreement? All you would take back is not telling them, you wouldn't necessarily not have let both sides of the house think you were with them?
Ronnie: No, what I mean is this -- that the reason I'm saying I would have let them know 'Hey, I'm voting for Chima to stay' is because ultimately looking back I feel -- I could be wrong, but it is my feeling -- that was what pushed the dominos over.
If I had simply let them know that I was voting for Chima to stay they would have changed their votes, it would have been a blowout, Braden would have gone home, and yes they would have said 'Well Ronnie did play us' for a little bit, but it would have been nowhere near to the level it ended up being.
Reality TV World: So can you explain the context of that 'I'm going to hell' comment you made right before you voted to evict Braden?
Ronnie: Sure, that was just simply a statement on that at that point and time I realized I had mishandled -- as I have just previously stated -- I had mishandled the lying and the vote about the vote itself.
That was simply a statement that at that moment I realized I should have been more forthright, even if it was minutes before the eviction, that 'Hey, I'm going to vote for Chima to stay.'
Reality TV World: So you were anticipating there was going to some pretty big fallout at that point?
Ronnie: I'm not a moron, I pretty much knew what was going to happen because of it, that's why I said that.
Reality TV World: It took a couple of days, but things obviously did begin to fall apart pretty quickly for you after that.
What happened during that backyard argument with Laura and Russell where they were calling you out about your behavior? You kind of just seemed to stand there and say you weren't going to say anything. Was it a situation where you just couldn't think of anything or you weren't sure how to try and get yourself out of it at that point or what was it?
Ronnie: At that moment I immediately knew I only had two options: A) I could have thrown Laura under the bus and lied even more and maybe it would have worked, or B) I could have let everyone make up their own minds, let them kind of hash it out [and] the emotions run, and then one by one scoop them back up.
And I decided to let the emotions run and everyone make up their own mind. In hindsight, maybe I should have done that -- by that I mean maybe I should have thrown Laura under the bus -- but it was the decision I made. I have to live with it and you know, I still lasted a week longer than I thought I was going to.
Reality TV World: Did you understand Russell's point that you weren't coming across in the best light by not saying anything?
Ronnie: Oh yeah, absolutely I understood his comment and I even stated to the other houseguests that I perfectly accepted that I knew how it looked, I know what was being perceived at that moment. But as I proved, I went back and talked to Jessie, Natalie, Chima, and I even somewhat repaired my relationships with other houseguests, but nowhere near to that degree.
But I did the best damage control that I could given the choice that I'd made.
Reality TV World: Why do you think that Laura was the only one to pick up on you at first?
Ronnie: Um, Laura's not stupid. She's smart. I mean she understands people, she's a fan [of the show] just like me and she can tell, I mean just naturally.
I think from Day 1 that I went into the house it was evident what a fan I was and I mean, based on my look and based on just how I presented myself, everyone knew I was a smart, persuasive person and I had a huge target on my back from Day 1.
Reality TV World: After that blowout you spent the next few days pretty much locked up in the Head of Household room. How much of that was strategy and how much of that was basically just wanting to avoid the other houseguests at that point?
Ronnie: The initial choice to do that was to avoid Russell and his comments. However after -- probably after about three to four hours, because I noticed on that spyscreen, I saw the girls looking up at the HoH room and I could see a little bit of pity in their eyes -- so it quickly turned into I was going to play it as a strategy to try and win sympathy from the females.
Reality TV World: At one point Russell actually snuck up there and told you he was just putting on an act. Did you believe him at the time?
Ronnie: No, absolutely not. But you know, the thing about it is this -- as I told the other houseguests, this week actually. The analogy I gave is that whenever you're starving and someone throws you a small morsel of food, no matter how bad it is you will keep it until something better comes along to your plate, and that's exactly what I did.
I did not believe Russell but I was taking what I could get until I got a better offer.
Reality TV World: When did you really become confident that you were going to be able to survive that third eviction and Jessie wasn't going to follow through with the plan to backdoor you?
Ronnie: The moment that I became absolutely sure Jessie was not going to backdoor me -- and by 'absolutely sure' I mean 90-95%, because there's always that chance it could go bad -- but whenever I stopped in the HoH room with he and Natalie and they asked me who I had loyalties to and I said 'You two and Chima, if she'll still have me' and they said 'Okay, well you're not going up, that's absolutely not going to happen.'
And at that point and time I knew I had a very good chance of [still] being there after that week.
Reality TV World: When did you become sure you were going to be going home this week? Jessie and Natalie seemed to write you off pretty early.
Ronnie: I pretty much knew that I was going home for sure after I lost the PoV.
Reality TV World: What happened in that PoV? I mean at some point you have to [stop folding to] score a point to win, right?
Ronnie: Yeah. My strategy going into that game was -- you know again, being a fan and over thinking things -- in the past in that type of competition they run the clock so to speak, have people out themselves.
It just so happened this year people actually knew what they were doing so that did not work. And the two times I could have scored points I just second guessed myself and I shouldn't have.
Reality TV World: So that situation where you attempted to try and convince Jordan to give you a sympathy vote, was that just a final Hail Mary attempt that you weren't really putting much chance in?
Ronnie: You know I am tenacious if nothing else and I definitely never give up so I was trying to leave no stone unturned and I never thought for a second that Jordan actually would do it but you know what, it was crazy and it might have been crazy enough to work and she is an emotional person.
And 'Who knows, maybe she could have potentially felt bad' is what I was thinking. [It was] worth a try.
Reality TV World: Was that the same school of thought you had when you tried to intimidate Michele into voting for you?
Ronnie: It was a little bit different in the case with Michelle. What happened with Michele was that I know she's smart, she, I thought, understood logic, you know to some degree. And logically there were reasons that she should have kept me. However I knew that wasn't working so at that point and time there was only one last tactic and I tried it.
That's why once that happened and she wasn't biting, I knew she was never going to vote for me to say, that that ship had sailed.
And at that point and time that was before the personal thing between she and I went sour so at that time it was still just pure game and I had no ill will because she's got to do what's best for her in the game, she wants to win.
Reality TV World: During your final plea you also said it was "an absolute dream come true" and you had "tried so long and so hard" to get on the show. Can you explain that a little bit more?
Ronnie: Sure. I've watched the show every single season and I've always dreamed of being on the show and once I finally started auditioning I just did not give up until I finally made the show and it was everything I thought it would be and even more. And I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Reality TV World: How many times had you applied before?
Reality TV World: What do you think was the difference this time?
Ronnie: Oh, I don't know. I mean I think I just didn't fit the picture all the other times, I think that it's not a case of that they looked at my audition and said 'Ew, he's horrible for the show, he's not entertaining.'
I think it was just a case of now is the right time and I fit the picture.
Reality TV World: When Julie Chen interviewed you after you left the house you told her that Michele's actions have shown that she has no loyalty to anyone in the house. That seems like a pretty bold statement -- how do you know that she's not remaining loyal to Jeff, Jordan and that side of the house? All her votes have been consistent with them so far.
Ronnie: Well because what happened was she was with us in Week 1 right up until the vote and she said she was loyal to us, and then she switched to them. And then in Week 2 she switched back to the way we wanted to vote. And in Week 3 she was with them and wanted me out of the house but then once she won PoV she switched and she was on board with me coming down and me staying.
And then that's where she was and that was when the decision was made that she was with us and it was water under the bridge, and now Week 4, the moment I'm nominated, she switches again.
That's what I'm saying -- me, yes, I lied about a vote and yes I did manipulate, but ultimately I had allegiance to Jessie, Natalie and Chima. Take that for what it's worth but ultimately I had allegiance to three people. She'll flip-flop. And if that's her gameplay strategy that's great because it's working out for her so far.
Reality TV World: I guess what I'm getting at is all her votes -- she's made various comments in between there, but when push has come to shove with the votes, all her votes have been consistent for the same side. So isn't that just gameplay -- you know [normal] deception?
Ronnie: That's what I'm saying. I mean votes being the same I can understand that and that's why I said if that's her gameplay that's fine because it's obviously working out for her.
Reality TV World: You also said that the difference between the two of you was that you ultimately had loyalty to Jessie, Natalie and Chima and were going to stay true to them no matter what.
But as far as differences, isn't that a pretty hollow claim -- hadn't you backed yourself into a corner where those were the only three people you [could] stay with at this point? What other choice did you really have other than staying loyal to them given the rest of the house had turned against you?
Ronnie: Oh no, you're absolutely correct, at this point and time prior to my eviction I had no other options. But my point in that statement was from the moment I went in there I made my choices and I stayed true to it and that never changed from Day 1.
Reality TV World: You made a lot of comments about how you considered yourself the smartest person in the house. Was that just bravado or do you really feel that way?
Ronnie: There's a lot of different elements to what goes into me feeling as to where I fit into the scheme of the house and the houseguests.
I feel Michele has a lot of book smarts but do I feel I have more social intelligence than Michele? Sure, absolutely. That doesn't mean that I have more raw intelligence, it just means that I'm smarter in different areas.
And even with my comments that I've made that I feel I am smarter than some of the houseguests, but no means is that an indictment of them as people and I do not feel I'm a better person. It just means I have strengths that they don't where as they definitely have strengths that I do not.
Reality TV World: You seemed to figure out the secret power was going to be the "Coup D'etat" pretty quick, based upon being a previous fan of the show, I'm guessing.
Ronnie: Definitely, yes.
Reality TV World: Did you share that with a lot of people in the house?
Ronnie: I shared it with everyone.
Reality TV World: So do you think everyone was pretty confident that was what the power is when you were leaving there or do you think they were skeptical of you?
Ronnie: They'd be stupid if they were skeptical because I was right about every other thing I said about the game.
Reality TV World: What are your thoughts on Jeff winning it?
Ronnie: Actually, initially when we found out about the mystery power after the "Graduation Day" competition was over, I had said to Jessie, Natalie and Chima that it would probably be Jeff or Jordan who was going to win it. Because of the fact that they do fit so many demographics and with them being a potential showmance, I thought there was a chance that America may go for that.
That being said, Jeff and Jordan themselves have stated in the house that they need the power because they don't understand the game, they don't really know how to play the game and they're just going moment to moment without any real strategy. So I mean that's great that they won.
Reality TV World: What do you think is going to happen now that Chima's the HoH. You had seemed pretty confident that [your allies] where going to be looking to avenge your departure, do you still think that's the case?
Ronnie: I don't know if it's a case so much that she's going to avenge my departure. It's just more the case that she has said she was going to put Russell up no matter what and it's just coincidental that Russell was responsible for my eviction since he did put me up.
I think it's negotiable who she'll put up opposite Russell. If she wants to make a statement she'll put up Michele, however there is the chance that she could be putting up Lydia. I mean I don't really know, but the point being I don't see her putting up Jeff or Jordan opposite Russell.
And ultimately I think that Jeff's allegiance is to only Jordan so as long as neither of them are on the block I don't think Jeff will use the power.