Interview with “Big Brother”‘s Steven Daigle

Despite lasting only two weeks on CBS’ most recent edition of Big Brother, gay rodeo
champion Steven Daigle certainly made an impression on viewers. At first, we
worried he might be yet another out contestant who would leave us shaking our heads in
shame when a clip of him using a racially insensitive term was broadcast on the Big Brother live feed. However, Steven also showed a sense of humor and charm that was hard to resist.

Unfortunately, despite a solid pre-game strategy and some
strong first steps, he was undone by his friendship with Brian, the San
Francisco account manager who quickly drew the attention of the other houseguests
with his aggressive moves. Perceived as a friend and ally of Brian’s, Steven was similarly
deemed untrustworthy by the alliance led by Jessie. Also viewed as a strong competitor by his housemates, Steven was evicted in a unanimous vote last week.

Still, Steven was an intriguing part of Big Brother 10 and we were happy for the chance to talk with him about
his relationships with the other houseguests, his controversial racial comment and the
gay rodeo circuit.

AfterElton.com: Once more we have a Big Brother gay contestant out of the competition pretty quickly. Why do you think that that keeps happening?
Steven Daigle:
Gosh,
I don’t know. You’re making me feel like a huge disappointment. You know, I
watched season 8 and Dustin, he made it fairly far – he made it halfway through
the season at least. I don’t really think this season had anything to do with
the fact that I was gay, I think it was just some of the choices I made. I
really wanted to stay longer, I really wanted to make a good showing for the
gay and lesbian community. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.

AE: Do you think its harder for gay contestants
to build alliances in the house?
SD:
I though it
might be going in. I was a little apprehensive about it. But a lot of what I
don’t think you saw aired from my understanding – I haven’t seen the shows yet
– is that me being a gay contestant really wasn’t even … I wasn’t portrayed as
gay very much and I went several days in the house without even telling anyone
I was gay. They all became my friend before they knew I was gay and the fact
that I came out to them didn’t change anything at all.

Steven (center) with Housemates Ollie (left) & Jerry (right)

AE: Why did want to be on Big Brother?
SD:
I just
thought it would be a lot of fun. I watched Season 8 very intently. Actually,
me and the guy I was dating at the time we became obsessed with it. We watched
every single episode and every night of Big Brother After Dark. I thought about
applying for Season 9 because we were so interested in it, [but] other things in
my life prevented me from applying for season 9, so I decided I would apply for
season 10. I just sent my video in to see what would happen … I’m kind of
an adventurous person and I thought it would be really exciting and something
fun to try out.

AE: Why do you think you got picked?
SD:
That’s a hard
question, I’d love to say I have a great personality and a really cute smile,
but I think the whole rodeo cowboy [and] being gay – that’s sort of a little intriguing.
I think it’s something people would love to know more about … I think that
played into it also.

Steven with Big Brother host Julie Chen

 

AE: You stirred up some early controversy when
the live feed viewers saw you refer to Libra as “that colored girl”, a term many people find antiquated and insensitive. How would you respond to those
who felt that wasn’t your best moment in the house?
SD:
Wow. Again, I
haven’t seen anything so I’m guessing that was taken out of context and I’d
love to clarify that real quick. Not to condemn anybody else in the house, but
basically the story goes Jerry kept forgetting Libra’s name and kept referring
to her as “the colored girl” and I was telling someone – we were actually
discussing the fact that someone needed to sit down with him and talk to him
and tell him that he probably needed to watch what he was saying, that saying
“That colored girl” was probably not a proper way to refer to Libra.

If he
can’t remember her name he should not say anything. I hope I don’t come off
that way. I’m definitely am guilty of sometimes stereotyping people but I would
not have gone around calling Libra “that colored girl”.

[Editor’s note: Clips from the live feed clearly show Steven referring to Libra as "that colored girl".]

AE: Were you aware of past Big Brother houseguests, especially gay ones?
SD:
I mentioned
earlier that the only season I really watched intently was season 8, so I knew
about Dustin and Joe. Joshuah from last season, I saw one episode … the one
where he yelled at some girl outside in the backyard and was
really mean and hateful. Other than that, I was not aware of the gay
contestants.

AE: What is the biggest misconception gay
people have about you as someone who is a bull-rider and who is from the south?
SD:
That’s hard,
I really don’t know what people think of me at all yet. I’ve seen or read
nothing about myself yet. So, I would hope that people see me as
someone who is just a person first of all and a bull-rider second of all and a
gay bull-rider third of all – and that was how I wanted to go into the house
and present myself. Regardless of how – you know, it’s a show and it’s on
primetime – that’s how it really actually happened.

AE: With macho guys like Jessie and Dan what
would you say was the biggest misconception they had about you as a gay man?
SD:
You know,
it’s funny they really didn’t. I mean, it became a joke in the house – and I
don’t think this really got aired – that they actually thought I might be straight.
I’m a real big flirt with guys and girls and I flirted with the girls a whole
lot in the house a lot. I mean, I had a lot of fun with it. The guys had
nothing to say about me being gay. There were no negative comments, there was
never any “I thought you would be this way. I thought you’d be that way.”

But
it became a running joke that possibly I was actually straight and told
everyone I was gay just so I would have a shot at sleeping with the girls. It
was actually – seriously, I’m guessing it didn’t get aired much – but it was
constantly a topic of conversation in the house.

AE: I’m not sure if I heard about that even in
the live feed recaps.
SD:
I’m real
interested to see what people are saying about it. There’s actually one episode
where I laid in bed with Keesha and Libra was in the room and Renny was in the
room and Michelle and I talked about – I recounted sexual encounters I had with
girls before I came out.

AE: In the beginning, Dan was billed as an
opinionated conservative, but in the end he didn’t think of you as “gay Steven”,
he saw you as his friend and you opened his eyes. What did you do and what do
you say to that?
SD:
Dan is an
incredible guy, I can’t say enough good words about him. He potentially could
have been the person who would have completely been that one that’s like “Well
you’re gay and that’s wrong.” and everything. He teaches at a Catholic school
and it ended up that me and Dan spend a lot of time together, reading the Bible
together discussing what it’s like to be gay and he was so fascinated by me
coming out and he wanted to hear all the stories.

He asked in a very respectful
manner, which I really, really appreciated. He didn’t think of me as an oddity,
he just thought of me as a different type of person he wanted to learn about
and I really am thankful that he was able to spend time with me. If nothing
else comes out of this show, I’m happy… knowing that I [helped a] conservative
church-going person to understand that being gay is being just like anybody
else.

Dan (right) admits Steven changed his attitude towards gays

AE: Jerry seemed a bit thrown by the fact that
you are gay. What were your interactions with him like?
SD:
Jerry,
actually, with him – again, I don’t know how it came off — but Jerry he was one
of the people I was most nervous about finding out, especially when I came to
the house and he immediately became head of household. I really thought being an
older man from a different generation, if he found out I was gay, I would
immediately go up on the block and I was completely wrong.

Jerry told me one
da y… I confided in him and said, “Yes, I was worried you were not going to like
me after I came out.” and Jerry he told me, “Steven, you’re nothing more than
just Steven. You don’t hurt me, I won’t hurt you. I’ll be your friend forever.
It makes no difference to me whatsoever.” I thought that it shows a really good
side of him.

 

AE: You also seemed really close to Brian in
the first week. Were you aware of his alliance with Dan and did you think he
was someone you could trust if he lasted longer in Big Brother?
SD:
That’s a really
good question. I was really close to Brian, but more so because we laughed
together, we have a very similar sense of humor – me, him Angie and Dan. The
four of us could spend hours and hours laughing at nothing.

It was at the point
where you could say only one word and you didn’t even need to finish your
sentence and we would all start laughing. Unfortunately, he got very arrogant
and he painted a target on his back. I think had he not become so arrogant –
and I told Brian this, that he needed to chill out and he didn’t – I think had
he [done that], if we made it through the first Head of Househod competition or through the first eviction ceremony
without him going home and if we possibly could have clinched the next HoH. I think we could have gone really far
– really, really far. It would have switched the power in the house and we
could have taken over.

From left to right: Housemates Jessie, Brian and Jerry

AE: Were you a part of his alliance?
SD:
You know,
Brian came to me and he asked me a question … There was a chance I was going
to go on the block after Jessie won power of veto. He came to me and he said,
“If I can promise you that you won’t go on the block, will you do what I ask
you to do, like a favor?” It wasn’t necessarily an alliance for the rest of the
game. It was doing him a favor. I agreed and he said, “We want to get Memphis
out because we think he’s a very tough competitor.” And so he said, “I’m going
to have him put on the block, all I’m asking you to do is vote for him.” That
was really the extent of our alignment, if you will.

AE: I was wondering because it seemed like
there was a target on your back in the second week because they perceived you
two as being in an alliance.
SD:
Right and I
went to every single person in the house one by one and explained to them that,
“You have me tagged as being Brian’s – aligned with him to the end and it was
never that way.” but once that stigma was on me it was impossible to get it off
me. Brian put more of a stigma on me than being gay did. Completely.

AE: Now according to live feed reports, you
clashed with Libra early on because you planned on coming out slowly to the
houseguests, but after you told her you’re gay, she started letting other
houseguests know. How did your relationship start out with Libra, why did you
come out to her early and was it a betrayal when she outed you to others?
SD:
Libra was the
first to ask, I went into the game fully expecting people to ask me and it was
my plan to not out myself. However, I was not going to lie about it either. I
did not want to be labeled a liar. If someone asked me, I wanted to be totally
honest so I told her.

Actually, Brian was in the room when I told her so the
both knew the first night. I was not really aware she was letting other
houseguests know. What you just said is news to me. If she was letting people
know, it doesn’t really surprise me because Libra talked behind everybody’s
back. To me, she was the biggest snake in the house. She loved to be so, so
nice to your face and then no one seemed to pin down who the person was who
kept making things up, but I really believe it was her.

I think any tension I
had with Libra had nothing to do with her talking about me behind my back. It
was just the fact that we just clashed. She had a very strong, controlling
personality and it was very difficult to deal with.

Housemate Libra

AE: You initially said
your strategy would be to be a gay best pal to the women and to use your macho
pastime to bond with the guys. Did you bond with the guys? Did that strategy
work
?
SD:
Yeah, I
definitely did. Me and Jessie worked out, me and Ollie worked out, me and Memphis
worked out. They thought I was a lot of fun. They loved the fact I was so
flirty with the girls. We talked about sports. They were very interested in
bull-riding. I definitely think I went in doing what I wanted to do. I think I
fulfilled that initial strategy and I think it would have carried me far had I
not put the Brian stigma on me.

AE: You were dating
someone for three months before the show started. Are you looking forward to
getting to see him again?
SD:
I can not
wait to see him. I still have yet to speak to him and it’s all I can think
about. The last three days in the house, I pretty much knew I was going home
because of the way events had happened and I have not stopped thinking about
him since then, since that Power of Veto meeting.

AE: You said he’s a big fan of the show, what
do you think its like for him to see you on TV?
SD:
That’s a
question I’m waiting to get answered myself. I hope he likes it. I hope I
showed myself well for him because that was a lot of my motivation during the
show when everything else seemed just gloomy and dark and I just wanted to give
up. It was very difficult. Thinking about him watching me and knowing that he
loves the show, he loves the strategy and everything. All I could think about
was how much I wanted him to watch me and like me and I think I did a good job.
But I keep my head held high, I think I did what I had to do while I was there. The cards just didn’t fall my way.

 

AE: What’s the gay rodeo circuit like? Were you
ever in the traditional circuit?
SD:
I did. I
wasn’t really in the straight circuit. I did a lot of small jackpot rodeos and
open rodeos. I was never in any of the professional circuits but once I made my
way into the gay circuit is when I really, really began to flourish. I love the
gay rodeo circuit. It’s great and I would love if you could let everyone know I
pretty much will be able to be seen at most every gay rodeo from here on out.
I’m going to start trying to make it to every single one and people can get the
schedule at IGRA.com.

AE: Actually, you just answered my next
question if you were getting back on the circuit…
SD:
Yes, I
absolutely want to get back on the circuit. I hurt myself, I took a long time
off. I was very out of shape. I needed to have rehab on my shoulder.
I tried to ride once, it didn’t go so well. And then there were other
circumstances in my life – job and a former relationship – that was keeping me
busy. But I’m ready to hit the ground running. I can not wait to go to my next
gay rodeo.

AE: What does a bull-rider do for those who
aren’t familiar with the rodeo?
SD:
Basically,
you sit down on the back of a bull in a chute. They throw the chute door open,
you hold on with one hand with the rope that’s around the back of the bull.
Your other hand is your free hand which is not allowed to touch the bull. You
then have to ride him for eight seconds and basically you are scored by two
judges on how well the animal performed as well as how well the rider
performed. I invite anyone who wants to learn anything about it, come to any
gay rodeo and I will be glad to sit down and give them a close-up, first-hand
look at how it works.

AE: You told Julie Chen the goodbye videos were
very emotional for you because you didn’t get to spend time around a lot of
straight people outside of work. Do you think your experience in the house will
change how you deal with straight people?
SD:
Absolutely.
After I came out, I moved to a new city. All my friends were basically gay
friends in the sense of that’s the only places I went and the only people I had
contact with. This whole experience has given me the enlightenment I need to
get back – there’s a whole straight world out there of people who are extremely
caring and don’t care at all that you’re gay. I want to get back in that world.