Nicole Franzel is still wrapping her head around the fact she won Big Brother 18 and its $500,000 grand prize.

Franzel, a 23-year-old ER nurse from Ubly, MI, became the first female to win the game in five years thanks to playing "strategically and not emotionally," the veteran houseguest told Entertainment Weekly Radio's "Morning Live Podcast" on Thursday.

Franzel, however, only defeated runner-up Paul Abrahamian, a 23-year-old clothing designer from Tarzana, CA, by one jury vote.

After Abrahamian won the final Head of Household competition, he chose to take Franzel to the Final 2 with him instead of James Huling -- a move fans are calling a $450,000 mistake, as the second-place finisher only wins $50,000 -- but according to Franzel, she would have returned the favor.

"People will argue this with me, but I would have taken Paul because he convinced me to take him, and my slogan going into the house was to be the best, you have to beat the best," Franzel told EW Radio, revealing her plans had she won the final HoH competition.

Huling would seem like the obvious Final 2 partner because his game was far less admired by the jury since he failed to win competitions or make big moves on his own. Huling attributed his success on Big Brother solely to his impressive social game.

"If I lost to Paul, I'd be completely okay with it because I think he played a terrific game... My heart wanted to take Paul but my head wanted to take James," Franzel continued.

"I just didn't know what to follow, and I definitely would have ended up following my heart at that point. He deserved it way too much to let him go at third."

Franzel received votes to win from Corey Brooks, Natalie Negrotti, Paulie Calafiore, Zakiyah Everette and Da.Vonne Rogers. Abrahamian earned votes from Huling, Michelle Meyer, Victor Arroyo and Bridgette Dunning

The one vote that really surprised Franzel?

"I never thought I would have had [Da'Vonne]'s vote no matter who I was sitting next to," Franzel said, which Abrahamian agreed with during his time on the podcast. "I was very shocked about that and it's just crazy that it actually came down to that."

When asked what she'll do with her prize money, Franzel explained, "I need to get a financial advisor, apparently, but after that I am definitely treating my family to a vacation. So I want to take them somewhere nice and relax for a little bit."

Winning may be sweet, but Franzel just loves playing the game. As a "die-hard fan," Franzel said she'd never turn down another chance to play Big Brother again.
About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.