'Big Brother 23': First Evictee Travis on Why He Believes Frenchie Is 'in the Clear' for Now (Exclusive)
Someone had to be the first to go on Big Brother and unfortunately for Travis Long, his time inside the house came to an abrupt end.
After a roller-coaster week where targets changed rapidly and without reason, the 22-year-old Honolulu resident and tech consultant was evicted by a vote of 11-2, making him season 23's first houseguest to leave the house. He wasn't initially the target; after Brandon "Frenchie" French won Head of Household, Travis' safety was all but ensured (Frenchie promised Travis he was safe on Day 1). But of course, in the Big Brother house, actions speak louder than words -- and Frenchie's trail of broken promises meant Travis took the unexpected fall.
Following a series of worst-case scenarios for Frenchie, from his real target Christian Birkenberger winning the Wildcard competition to his next target Derek Xiao coming out on top in the Power of Veto, Travis used his one last move right before Thursday's live eviction to try and blow up Frenchie's game -- something that may impact the game moving forward. Even so, Travis thinks Frenchie is in a decent spot in the house, even though it's been made abundantly clear that you can't trust anything he says.
"It was well-received from players in that I think they've always been a little skeptical of the amount of promises that Frenchie makes," Travis told ET on Friday morning over a Zoom call of his last-minute pre-eviction speech. "I think everyone wanted some of them to come out and I handed it to them on a silver platter. I think that'll be utilized well later on for their games to target Frenchie when they eventually want to flip the house against him."
In a chat with ET, Travis reacts to being the first season 23 houseguest to get evicted, what he could've done better and who he thinks is in the best and worst positions in the house right now.
ET: Someone had to be the first to leave the Big Brother house, and unfortunately, it was you. How are you feeling about it all?
Travis Long: It had to be someone and regardless of the fact that it was me and it was a short run, it was a hell of an experience. I'm really, really grateful for going in there and making the friendships that I did. I think they'll last long beyond the walls of the Big Brother house. And ultimately, I wouldn't have even changed anything about the game I played. I'm a socialite. I went in there and I made friendships and value those friendships, maybe a little too highly over my own strategic gameplay, but that's just the kind of person I am. I love deeply and jump into friendships wholly, and I'm very, very, very grateful for it.
You didn't really make any strategic alliances during the first week. Who would you have aligned with if you had another shot and do you think it would've made a difference?
Yeah, I think I wanted to, and I attempted to -- very shoddily -- align myself on Day 2 with Derek X., with Kyland and I wanted to pull Frenchie in there just because. And going forward, I would have wanted to pull Brent in earlier than I did. That just would have been a total powerhouse alliance, I think, competitively. And there was a ton of social game to be played among those players as well. So I think it would have been a unit to be reckoned with.
In the exit interview last night with Julie Chen Moonves, you said you believed that "the white guy with abs" often find themselves targeted early. Do you actually believe that? Is that something you think is true in the Big Brother game?
"The surfer's curse," as it's called, lives up to its name. I don't want to totally blame it on that as opposed to any of my own actions and my lack of a formation of alliance that probably ultimately led to my demise. But I think it's an easy target. Not to toot my own horn too much, but when you have the physical structure that I do and the charisma and the socialization skills that I could be painted as a target pretty easily. And also, my background. I've authored a book. I graduated early from business school. I've done a lot of things that would just point to me having some wits about myself and that's easily targeted.
Julie revealed last night that you tried to blow up Frenchie's game before your eviction. Obviously we didn't get to see that. What did you say and how was it received by the house?
I had two avenues of forward movement there. I could have just absolutely torched his a** in front of everybody in the pre-eviction speech itself or I could go about it more strategically and handed those cards to people to slip into their sleeves and use productively when it would benefit their own game. Ultimately, I went with the latter decision because I'm not the vengeful type. I didn't want to leave with a frown on my face or with a mean glare from big Mr. Mean French. And it was well-received from players in that I think they've always been a little skeptical of the amount of promises that Frenchie makes. I think everyone wanted some of them to come out and I handed it to them on a silver platter. I think that'll be utilized well later on for their games to target Frenchie when they eventually want to flip the house against him.
So you think your speech impacted the game moving forward in terms of how handle Frenchie?
I think it did. Everyone was, yeah, already distrustful of him, but they needed cement evidence to bring up. My going home was exactly that.
What was your game plan if you weren't evicted in Week 1?
My game plan going into the house was to come off as ditzy, not really having a unique thought in my head and just glide under the radar like that, but that didn't really work out well. I didn't really get picked for a team early on and I think it's because I undersold myself a little bit. So then I went probably over the top with it in selling some of my accomplishments and some of the things I've worked on in my professional and educational career. I think I needed to find an equilibrium and a balancing point between seeming useless and seeming like a good person to utilize for a team. But moving forward, I would've pushed with the personal relationships I had developed with Brent, with Frenchie, with Derek X. and with Ky and formed a powerhouse alliance, maybe within an alliance, because now I know something else was going on there that I wasn't aware of.
Who do you think is in the best position right now?
I think Kyland is in a hell of a position. Obviously the power that he gets from winning the Head of Household and I think he'll reign really well. I don't think there'll be a ton of drama and he's actually well-positioned in that Frenchie has a lot of sway in the house right now. Frenchie had an early objective to eliminate Christian. I think a good move on Kyland's part to not get any more blood on his hands is to continue that objective. Maybe put a target on a Christian and just blame it on the fact that he wants to still abide by Frenchie's rule and kind of off-put any blood.
Who should be the most worried for their safety?
I think Christian should be the most worried this week, but in terms of the most worried in general, I think poor Derek X. has his mouth so incredibly wide open that bugs are going to get inside. I love the guy. He was the "showmance" that never quite made it with me, not enough time there unfortunately. But the dude is just too happy-go-lucky. He tells everyone everything. I assume people see him as the goofy kid that can't keep his mouth shut and that's not going to get you in an alliance. That's not going to get you talking strategy with people. That's going to get you gone.
If you were a betting man, who do you think will be evicted next?
If I were a betting man, I would say Christian is going to win some competition that gets him safe. I think he will also win some safety for someone else on his team. And so their team will be untouchable this week. My team, the Queens, are obviously untouchable. So that leaves Frenchie's team and Brent's team. I could see maybe Whitney being put up or, I'm trying to think who else Kyland isn't really close with. I think it'd have to be between Whitney and Hannah on that side of things, just because they're wildcards right now. They haven't necessarily proved a ton of value, but they are both competitors. Whitney would be a hell of an athletic competitor and Hannah will be a hell of an intellectual memory comp competitor and Kyland knows this.
And you think Frenchie is in the clear?
I think he's in the clear because it would take a huge move and essentially a total flip of the house to sway away from the reign of Frenchie. He is an authoritative-seeming figure, especially to a lot of the younger people in the house. He's kind of intimidating to a lot of people and that fear has kept people on his side. If Kyland tried to pull off something that big and it blew up in his face, he would be going home.
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