Newly engaged Big Brother favourite Chanelle McCleary chats exclusively to CelebMix following the recent demolition of the Big Brother studio that rocked ex-housemates and viewers alike. Having previously appeared on ITV’s Take Me Out, Dating in the Dark and MTV’s Ex on the Beach prior to her stint in the notorious but now defunct dorms, Chanelle offers her advice and perspective on the world of reality television.
As one of Big Brother’s most beloved housemates on Channel 5, how does it feel to know that the show will not be returning to this network?
This makes me really sad. Big Brother has been a huge part of our on screen entertainment for so many years and I am still in disbelief that it has come to an end. The show is successful in so many countries because it’s entertaining and iconic. I hope it does make a return as it’s such a shame. I’ve always loved Big Brother; it was one of my favourite shows.
Having lived in the Big Brother house for 47 days completely cut off from the outside world, how does it feel when you see pictures of the house being demolished trending on social media?
It really is a sad feeling. The Big Brother house became my home for over six weeks. Those of us who were fortunate enough to be a part of the process had so many memories within those walls.
Channel 5 has received a lot of criticism online for the demise of Big Brother and most recently faced a backlash for changing the Big Brother Facebook page to Reality on 5. What are your thoughts on this?
I understand that Channel 5 and Big Brother were competing with a lot of other shows and that they might have been struggling for viewers, but that is no reason to just ditch the show. So many people loved the show. I think they should have revamped it or made it like earlier versions when they made it harder for the contestants to win the prize money; there was more drama, harder tasks and it was a competition and not just a reality show. If they put the same amount of money into the regular version that they put into the celebrity version I believe it would have made a huge difference.
Having first appeared on ITV’s Take Me Out and MTV’s Ex on the Beach, how did your Big Brother experience fare in comparison?
Big Brother really is a one of a kind experience. I loved how it brought people from different backgrounds, cultures, race, age, and gender together and how you got to meet people you wouldn’t normally come across in your day to day life. I met some friends for life in that house and I’m so grateful. That is the difference; Big Brother is real!
There are Big Brother winners with less than a thousand followers. You didn’t win Big Brother and yet you have over a million Instagram followers. Why do you think so many people connect to you on social media?
I think my followers really grew after Ex on the Beach and Big Brother because I was myself. I wasn’t trying to be something I’m not and I think that’s what a lot of people could relate to. Yes I’m crazy, and yes I can be loud, but I am real and people love to see that.
Who are your top 5 favourite Big Brother UK housemates of all time, from either the celebrity or the civilian series?
Nikki Grahame, Kim Woodburn, Megan McKenna, Stephen Bear and Helen Wood. I mean, love them or hate them they brought entertainment, and that’s what I love!
Do you think the success of Love Island played a part in the waning of Big Brother’s ratings, and do you think Love Island will continue to grow in popularity?
Yes, I mean Love Island is smashing it! It is huge! Big Brother could never compete with it; the amount of money and promotion they put into that show is crazy. I do think it will die down though as all shows do after a while.
What other reality TV shows do you love?
I have recently got into Channel 5’s Make or Break. It’s so addictive. I love Reality TV and I love shows where people are just thrown together and drama unfolds. No show will ever replace Big Brother for this though – wahhhhhh!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a reality TV star?
Be yourself…then times it by 1000! People like to see real.
What do you attribute to your success?
My big gob, not being able to keep my mouth shut, and my morals. I stand up for what I believe in and not what I should do to be popular or to please others. I speak the truth and that goes a long way these days!
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