After getting nominated by Memphis Garrett against her Season 21 co-star David Alexander, Nicole Anthony spent the majority of the week on “Big Brother 22: All- Stars” trashing Janelle Pierzina and Kaysar Ridha — the two people who were actively, genuinely trying to save her. The good news: She realized she was wrong before she got evicted Thursday with a 10-2 vote and was able to make personal amends. The bad news: It was too late to save her, and the damage was already done, as Jaysar are now the house pariahs.
Why did Nicole so abruptly turn against her allies? And why didn’t she clear the air earlier? Find out that and more — including why she won’t, at this point, return for a third time — in our exit interview below.
Gold Derby: You finally talked to Janelle and Kaysar on Wednesday about this whole misunderstanding, but why didn’t you talk to them earlier?
Nicole: I didn’t talk to them earlier because people were telling me they were snakes and luring me in … and I was already campaigning that they were my next target. I didn’t want people to associate me with them — I wanted people to believe I was coming after them — but also, I didn’t want to get so angry that I told them off. I was trying to avoid it. And then later, I realized I needed to have a conversation with them.
Gold Derby: Did you actually believe what everyone else was telling you about them being snakes and predators and stuff?
Nicole: So, initially, obviously, no. A lot of people would say to me, “Oh, they’re luring you in. Stop talking to them.” And I’d be like, “No, I have a pretty good read of people. I think they’re fine.” Right before leaving, again, I felt the same way. I know they’re campaigning for me, they want me here, I love them. But there were a couple days in the middle there where it did get to me, and I’m like, “Wow, they’re right. I was set up. They did it all on purpose. They didn’t vouch for me with Memphis. They don’t care I’m going home. They just protected themselves and I was the sacrificial lamb.” At the time, I was very mad at them.
Gold Derby: Did you consider that maybe everyone was bashing them and manipulating you to ostracize them to make them the house target?
Nicole: I thought it at one point, and it was because Tyler [Crispen] had spoken to me and was like, “Are you gonna do that house meeting? Are you gonna do it? Go ahead, do it. You should do it now.” And I’m like, “Oh, OK, why is he amping me up?” This is Tyler, who’s pretty level-headed. And I was talking to Kevin [Campbell] and Kevin was like, “Nicole, if he wants you to do a house meeting, he has an ulterior motive.” And I’m like, “Yeah, something’s not right here. Why do people want me to out Janelle and Kaysar? Something’s not right.” And again, there’s such a yarn ball of emotions that I couldn’t sort it out, but I knew something wasn’t right.
Gold Derby: You never did the house meeting, which is probably a good thing for you.
Nicole: I pride myself on my gut and my intuition and I was in the DR so frustrated because I couldn’t get clarity. I just couldn’t get through all the fog to see what’s happening, but I do think my gut and intuition subconsciously helped me because I do feel there’s a reason why I didn’t go through with the house meeting. My gut was like, “No, you know something’s wrong. You’re not sure what, but don’t do this because it’s not right.” My goal during that house meeting was just to out them as manipulators and roping me in and telling me I was safe and telling me Memphis wasn’t going to put me up, [them] wanting to backdoor Nicole [Franzel] and it never happened. So I just kind of wanted to throw them under the bus in hopes that people would keep me, and together, we’d go after Janelle and Kaysar, but of course, they all already had their team. So it worked out that I didn’t call the house meeting and make things worse for Janelle and Kaysar.
Gold Derby: When you were trashing them with the other houseguests, did you think those people on the other side were with you or did you just not care at that point because you were so mad at Janelle and Kaysar?
Nicole: I definitely didn’t think they were with me. I missed the whole Memphis-Christmas [Abbott] thing, but I knew how close Cody [Calafiore], Tyler, Nicole and Dani [Briones] were, and because of them, Ian [Terry] and a little bit of Enzo [Palumbo]. So my mind was more so, “OK, I know I’m not with them because they’re together, but at least if I convince them that I’m not with the people they’re against, maybe they’ll keep me around for a little bit and use me, and hopefully by that time I could get one of them out.” I knew I wasn’t with them, but I was hoping maybe they’d keep me alongside them to go after the people that are like their “enemy.”
Gold Derby: You also said a few times, “Janelle wants a split vote, so let’s not give it to her.” But a split vote was a chance for you to stay. What was your logic there?
Nicole: The logic was that in hopes that the people who are against Janelle and Kaysar would vote for me to stay unanimously; therefore, there was no split. Because my thing was I did not want to rely on Memphis on this. I did not trust that he would break the tie in my favor — I didn’t think that was going to happen in any way, shape or form — so I didn’t want a 6-6 vote. So I said, “You know, if I convince people, ‘Janelle wants it to be close, Janelle wants a 5-7, Janelle wants a 6-6,’ maybe they’d be like, ‘Yeah, let’s all vote together unanimously to keep Nicole.” I threw a lot of Hail Marys. There were so many Hail Marys being thrown. [Laughs]
Gold Derby: Why do you think you got sucked into that whole mob mentality against Janelle and Kaysar so easily?
Nicole: As much as I don’t want to admit it, I will be honest and admit [that] I think a lot of what I went through last season was in the back of my mind. And I thought to myself, “There’s no way these amazing, smart, strategic competitors are really working with me and telling me the truth.” Last year, I put my faith in a couple, and it came back to bite me because they weren’t on my side, so I really thought it was happening again. I really thought I was being pulled in again. “Oh, I did this to myself again! I put my eggs in a basket and I’m getting hurt because of it.” And I will admit that clouded my vision.
Gold Derby: Did you watch Season 6 or 7 with them? Because they’re historically very loyal. That’s why it was kind of like, “Wow, you’re turning against them when they’ve always been so loyal to their allies.”
Nicole: Absolutely. So they’ve been loyal, and I thought, “This is many years later. Maybe they’re switching it up.” The house messes with your brain; you think of every possible thing. And I’m thinking, “Maybe this is how they’re playing to get to the end this time. Being loyal didn’t always work out for them, so maybe they’re thinking, ‘We need to start, like, knocking out people that are associated with us.’” I don’t know! The house messes with you, and I really thought I was set up and [going] out the door because of them. It’s very unfortunate.
Gold Derby: You initially were on the right track thinking that Memphis put you up for not playing the Safety Suite. Why didn’t you stay on that track? Was it just because everyone was bashing Janelle?
Nicole: I think it was a frustration because Janelle and Kaysar would say to me, “We’re gonna go talk to him, we’re gonna go talk to him.” And I would say, “Can I come with you?” “Oh, no, no, no, you don’t have to come.” And I’m like, “Why can’t I come with you and talk to Memphis?” Or Memphis would come in the room and giggle with Janelle or Janelle would go have wine with Memphis, shower in his HOH room. And in my brain, I’m like, “If I’m your ally, and he’s coming after me, why are you so friendly?” And I saw it more as they didn’t care whereas it was more they were trying to get on his good side. That was my error. I really thought it was just them laughing behind my back, which is probably more so my demons than anything.
Gold Derby: Did you ever think about the possibility that maybe you and David were backup nominees because Memphis couldn’t nominate Ian, who beat his former partner Dan [Gheesling]?
Nicole: I thought that. I thought maybe he was going to put up Ian and Christmas … and then because of the Safety Suite, he couldn’t do it. I never had a conversation with Memphis. I’d walk in this room and ask him a question, and he’d open the door for me to leave. Or I’d get a one-word answer. So I always had this feeling that I’m not really is favorite person, so when I was sitting at the nomination table, I was like, “Here comes my picture. I’m ready for it!” He never gave me that “You’re a pawn” or “I like you” or “I hope you stay,” so I’m like, “Something’s wrong here.”
Gold Derby: Were you surprised that he was in that alliance of six?
Nicole: Yes and no. It’s difficult because he’s very difficult to read, so I’m like, “I don’t think he’s with-with anybody.” But hindsight, 20/20, of course it makes sense. I did think he was with Cody, I thought maybe they had a final two … and he’s always talking to Nicole, he’s always talking to Dani, he’s always talking to Christmas. He has conversations with those women that he’s never had with me, so really, assessing that in the last 24 hours — not even 24, the last 12 hours — I’m like, “Oh, Nicole, it’s so obvious he’s with them.” So it’s a shocker in the sense of like, “Oh, that makes sense,” but at the same time, it’s not a shocker because it makes sense.
Gold Derby: And it probably makes sense now knowing Janelle and Kaysar thought they could get him on your side if they think he was riding solo.
Gold Derby: Were you surprised that Janelle and Kaysar weren’t mad at you and were still campaigning for you afterward?
Nicole: No, and I think that’s what means the most to me — they’re very similar to me. I’m the same exact way. Even if the person I was fighting for was like, “No, Nicole, you’re coming after me, I don’t trust you!”, I’d be like, “Well, that’s not the case, so I’m still going to fight for you.” And I think seeing how similar they are to me, it really made me respect them more, it made me feel even more horrible. I want to apologize to them. I wish them the best in the game. I hope they keep trucking. I hope they take everybody out. It just made me realize, “Wow, they’re like me. I would do the exact same thing.”
Gold Derby: How did you leave things with them before you left?
Nicole: I left things very well. I spoke to both. I apologized to Janelle. I said, “I’m so sorry for badmouthing you. I’m so sorry for saying I was coming after you. I misassessed the situation.” The wonderful thing about Janelle and Kaysar is they’re able to separate game from life. I know they’re not people who in the real world are gonna be like, “Thanks a lot, Nicole, don’t like you anymore.” I know they’re gonna come out it and be like, “Hey, that game messed with your head, but now you know. It’s OK. These things happen.” They really are tremendous people and it is unfortunate that I didn’t always feel that way.
Gold Derby: If you could redo this week, what is the one thing you would do differently? I’m assuming it’s believing them.
Nicole: Yeah, I think I would just focus less on them. Because I had their votes regardless, so instead of focusing so much on them and what they were maybe doing to me, I should’ve taken a step back, big picture and been like, “Oh, wow, I do need Enzo’s vote, I do need Ian’s vote.” It wasn’t before an hour until the live show that I had this clarity and was like, “Why am I working on Christmas? She’s giving a lot of pushback. I need to focus on Enzo and Ian.” And had I gotten my mind clear, maybe I could’ve done that and had the votes to stay.
Gold Derby: You referenced your demons from last season before. Do you think it was too soon to return just one year after what you went through last year?
Nicole: Yeah. You know, I had interviews prior to entering the house and in a lot of them, I said, “This is going to help me. I just got out of the house, I’m ready, I’m still in game mode. A lot of these people have been out of it.” I will admit, for me personally, it was a detriment. I walked into that house and a lot of things were stirred up that I didn’t know affected me as much as they did. And I unfortunately do have to admit that it was too soon for me. There was a lot of things I didn’t process, a lot of things I didn’t work through, and it really messed with me as a person, and therefore really affected my game.
Gold Derby: Would you return for a third time, maybe in a couple years after you’ve gotten some distance?
Nicole: I’m gonna be honest, and Nicole, right now, at this point in her life — I know it’s not healthy for me to enter the house again. I really struggled these past two weeks. I think I need to focus on my mental health and keeping self-centered, and maybe watching my season and processing a lot more than I have. I can’t answer that question for future Nicole, but present Nicole, that’s a strong no, unfortunately.
Gold Derby: Who are you rooting for now?
Nicole: Oh, man. I am rooting for my final two, Kevin, and of course I am rooting for the man that I will call family for the rest of my life, David. And those are the two people I want to see in the final two.