Dear Incoming Housemates,
As you read this, you might be in the process of being sequestered to your assigned hotel room in Manila (and probably won’t be reading this in time), waiting less than a week from now before entering the Pinoy Big Brother house, which is now on its landmark 6th regular season (12th over-all) and tenth anniversary.
Upon entering the house, you will officially become part of an elite global group of people who were bestowed with a one of a kind experience to live with fellow strangers in isolation for 15 weeks or less, to play a game filled with unexpected twists and turns as you survive nominations and evictions, as well as public scrutiny, until only one housemate is left standing to claim the grand prize on finale day.
You will become part of the Big Brother family that include the likes of Nene Tamayo (PBB), Will Kirby (BBUS), Tim Dormer (BBAU), Academy-Award nominee Gary Busey (BBUK), and hundreds more from every version found across multiple countries, continents and territories.
*Courtesy of Endemol-Shine
As a big fan of the show, I thought it would be best that I’d give you some tips I’ve picked up from some global Big Brother alumni that would help guide you in your 100-day journey in isolation, as well as tips I came up on my own.
1) Expect the Unexpected
Big Brother relies on unpredictability thus don’t come in knowing what will happen when in fact you don’t. There will be twists and turns at any given moment, with secrets and lies hiding from the far corners of the house.
As a social experiment, you can’t expect to live harmoniously with complete strangers living as fellow housemates. There will be clashes, there will be arguments, and not all of them will be your friends-for-life but one thing you can expect is that you will all have to get along one way or another as the days wore on.
2) Make the Most of the Experience
BB is a one-of-a-kind experience and being a housemate alone is already a big thing. You were picked from thousands of hopeful who would die just to be part of the cast every season. However, being a housemate can be taken away without warning if you get evicted the old fashioned way, or worse, getting pulled out due to rule-breaking.
Thus, immerse yourself with this opportunity while you can. Enjoy and have fun!
3) Treat the Game as it is, and Not a Vacation or Retreat
Big Brother is a social experiment in the form of a game, a competition where only one of you can become the winner of your season.
It is insulting to BB and to everyone who applied for years but could not get in to see you treat the game as a form of vacation from home or work where you can just mope around and sleep all day.
You will work with the house to earn food, luxury and power every single week with the best of your abilities. You went into this house for yourself to win in the end and nothing more. Don’t ever waste your slot.
4) Take Things One Step at a Time
Things change very fast in the Big Brother house that it could feel a bit overwhelming to say the least. Just try to relax and take it all in. There is no need to rush things.
Your housemates will likewise feel the same as you so you won’t be alone in your first few days adjusting to your new surroundings. Adapt yourself in this new environment and make yourself at home.
5) Do Not “Act” for the Cameras
PBB gained a notoriety early on in its run for being “scripted” despite being a show that occurs in real time. Many of the show’s critics base their assumptions from watching the edited highlight shows that airs on TV every night, instead of basing their judgement on the live feeds that streams online and on cable.
It’s no secret that past housemates have used the show to gain fame and use it to have their own careers in entertainment hence they want to promote themselves to gain sympathy and popularity from the audience. I can only advice you to simply be yourself as we can see right through you via the live stream that broadcasts 24/7.
You don’t want to be that someone the house and the public will tag as fake.
6) BB is a Test of Character
“Being yourself” is the rule of thumb in Big Brother, for better or worse. However, it is important to put into mind that there will be situations, brought by various factors, where your character is tested. Whether these are confrontrations or physically/mentally taxing tasks (or both), or even life-changing moments, you have to face them no matter what.
Try to ask yourself this question: “Can I do this?”
You will probably know a lot more about yourself inside the house than what you already knew before. And that practically gives a whole new meaning to “be true to yourself”.
7) Do Not Oversell Your Character
It’s important for your social to interact with your fellow housemates. Every one has their backstories that help define them as their own characters.
Do not oversell yourself to the house. Give your housemates the time needed to get to know you better as much as you want to to get to know them. You have 15 weeks to do this thus you do have time.
8) Finally, Be Humble
After surviving multiple weeks in isolation and having been watched by millions, it would be natural to have acquired a certain amount of fame for your involvement in the show. However, with all the attention and sudden offers to appear on talk shows and soap operas, it is important to stay grounded.
Eventually, people will forget about you, the show you were a part of and you will return to being irrelevant to the public eye once the next big thing comes along.
However, you will never be forgotten by a community who will never turn their back on you. That community is composed of the long-time fans of the show and the franchise itself, as well as the many people who have played this game seasons before.
At the end of the day, be grateful for being given this opportunity where you have enjoyed an experience like no other and live your life after the show without any regret as the Big Brother House has only made you a better person inside and out.
Lastly, I want you all to remember that Big Brother is watching you.
From a fan since 2005,
*I would like to thank Big Brother US alumni Derrick Levasseur and Dan Gheesling, both winners in their respective seasons, for letting me use their own pieces of Big Brother advice as the sources of inspiration behind this open letter, adapting their words of wisdom in the context of how Big Brother is played in the Philippines. It is both an honor and privilege to be able to talk with these guys on Twitter.
**Filipino version of this article is available here.