The first elimination on any reality show is usually a forgettable affair, but Travis Long made sure everyone remembered his exit from “Big Brother 23” on Thursday. The tech sales consultant from Hawaii shamelessly took off his shirt and literally flexed as he delivered a good-natured eviction speech before being evicted 11-2 over Alyssa.
In an alternate universe, Travis would still be in the house if it weren’t for an unfortunate chain of events. Frenchie‘s original target Christian won safety via the Wildcard comp and also saved Xavier. Then Frenchie’s potential backdoor target Derek X. won Veto and took Kyland off the block, forcing Frenchie to renege on his first-night promise to Travis not to nominate him. To be fair, Frenchie was going to betray someone since he made about 394 promises of safety.
As Julie Chen Moonves revealed, prior to Thursday’s live eviction, Travis attempted to blow up Frenchie’s game. So how did it go down? Find out below.
SEE ‘Big Brother 23’ episode 4 recap: Travis evicted
Gold Derby: That’s probably one of the most memorable Week 1 eviction speeches ever. When did you decide to out that way?
Travis: I had two big decisions on my hand. One was to totally torch Frenchie’s game and all the lies and expose him for some of the dishonesty that he’s given to me. And the other one was to leave in a non-vengeful, sort of actual Travis way. It came down to who I am personally, even though the house did need to have some exposure to Frenchie’s dishonesty. I’m always the fun, happy-go-lucky, brush-off-your-shoulders type of guy. I wanted to leave with something that would not necessarily totally torch the entire game but something that would be indicative of my time there and show a little of who I am and my own personality. I ended up coming up with that just laying in bed the night before and that was exactly what I would’ve wanted to go out with, shirtless and making everyone laugh.
Gold Derby: You were definitely a good sport about the whole thing. Julie said you tried to blow up Frenchie’s game before the live show and you said you exposed the promise he made to you on the first day. How did you go about it?
Travis: I pulled aside a couple of close relationships I had made in the house and told them I’m giving them this information not to drop a huge bomb … to sway votes but more so for the longevity of their game, for them to be able to pull this information out of their pocket when need be. … I pulled aside Brent, Derek X., Tiffany, Claire and one more — oh, Kyland! Mr. Head of Household now himself. I pulled them aside because Claire and Tiffany were on my team, so I felt they should know … to watch their backs and not to do too many dealings with Frenchie, and the other guys because I think they’ve developed a close working relationship with Frenchie and I just wanted them to be made aware of the guy’s dishonesty. Ultimately, the guy banks his entire game on the transparency he gives to people and on his promises as a man. I think when it comes down to it, at least in the game — this isn’t a shot at his character or anything, I love the guy and wanna hang out with him outside of the house — but as far as the game goes, he’s a liar and I just wanted them to be made aware of that so they could diffuse that information as productively for their game, not necessarily to drop a huge bomb while I was still sitting [on the block].
Gold Derby: And how did they react to it?
Travis: Honestly, it was a shocker to each of them as I told them, but when it came down to it, they were like, “Wow, I knew something had to be up about the guy.” Everything can’t go that smoothly when you promise every single person who walks through that Head of Household door and asks about their safety, and he says yes to every single one of them. And he promises that on his word as a man or whatever — that has to be some sort of B.S. I just exposed that to them and they were like, “Wow, I’m finally seeing a different side of Frenchie that I was sure existed but I had no proof or evidence of.”
Gold Derby: When Frenchie made that promise you on the balcony the first night, did you actually believe him? You guys had literally just met.
Travis: That’s what I told him. I thought it was a damn bold claim that he was giving me and I was curious as to why he would even give it to me in the first place. But I said that exact statement to him multiple times, and multiple times throughout his Head of Householdship, he confirmed to me that that promise was correct. As the game went on, he saw loyalty and friendship in me and a competitive nature, a good utilization to be on his side. That’s what really kind of upset me, and the desire to blow up his game was the reiteration of [my safety] constantly throughout the week when it just simply wasn’t true. I think, to be fair, he wanted it to be true and to an extent, and he kept getting pushed. It was kind of a series of unfortunate events that pushed him toward putting me up in the end when multiple targets kept falling into safety.
SEE ‘Big Brother 23’ spoilers: Kyland keeps nomination plans close to the vest as Frenchie’s allies scramble
Gold Derby: How much of your eviction do you feel is a result of the Wildcard comp and how much of it is because of Frenchie’s antics? You weren’t his original target.
Travis: Exactly. I would say it’s a 50-50 split, maybe even 60-40. Obviously, I am up there as a result of Frenchie replacing [Kyland with me]. In the end, it is totally his putting of me up there. But I think he did have a lot of pressure that would’ve resulted in a pretty big target in his back if he didn’t uphold the objectives of the powers that be chirping in his ears to put me up. But I also think the Wildcard comp making his big target, Christian, safe was a big doozy for my game. I think his development of a relationship with Brent was a doozy for a game. And I think Xavier’s safety was a doozy. So it was just thing after thing after thing that allowed me to be one of the bucks left in the field when he was aiming at a target.
Gold Derby: Before the Veto ceremony, Frenchie told you he wanted the noms to stay the same and asked you to convince Derek not to use the Veto without anyone knowing. Derek then told you that you were gonna be the renom. What was going through your mind when you were getting these conflicting pieces of information?
Travis: Yeah, it kind of confirmed to me that Frenchie more so than wanting to uphold his word was just playing a damn good game and attempting to keep blood off his hands. When he told me to convince Derek X. to not use the Veto, he told me very specifically, “Don’t use my name when talking to Derek so it can’t be linked back to me otherwise my game will be blown up.” That was kind of true, but at the end of the day, if I couldn’t use Frenchie’s name, that argument was dead on arrival because Derek and just about everyone else in the house at that time wanted to uphold the objectives of the Head of Household. So Derek would’ve only gone whichever way the Head of Household told him. For Frenchie to claim neutrality there and Kyland to constantly be barking up Derek’s tree, saying, “You told me you’d use it on me!”, Derek felt if he didn’t at that point that he would be seen as a liar, not upholding his word to Kyland. It was, again, just an unfortunate event that went down when Derek, one of my good friends in the house, won the Veto, and it was Kyland, one of my other good confidants, up there. It was just a really, really conflicting position to be in.
Gold Derby: You made a pitch to Frenchie and Brent with four points about why they should keep you and they said they were great points. Obviously, it didn’t change anything. And then Brent told you in his goodbye video that there is an alliance called the Slaughterhouse. Did you suspect there were alliances forming around you?
Travis: I suspected that the early structure of alliances were kind of setting into place; however, I didn’t know there was a name set to it. A name confirms that it does exist. I think myself and the people close to me had no idea that it was actually confirmed, so that’s a little spooky that things moved that swiftly and under the radar in the house. I don’t know if that’s a testament to my own obliviousness nature to the game or it’s a testament to their damn good sneakiness.
Gold Derby: Why do you think they didn’t reach out to you to be included?
Travis: That’s what I can’t really figure out. I think maybe they thought I was just forming this little [singing] “Doo, doo, doo” showmance with Derek X. and they didn’t really see Derek or myself as necessarily being really good to work with or to utilize in the alliance. I haven’t won a competition or anything. I’m seen as kind of a ditzy, happy-go-lucky surfer guy. I portrayed myself as that very much so in episode 1 when we were pitching ourselves to get onto teams, and I think that kind of followed me throughout the house as not necessarily someone who can play but someone who is just moving and grooving to just go with the flow and not make big moves.
SEE ‘Big Brother 23’ spoilers: A big fat alliance lie spreads through the house
Gold Derby: What do you think of Frenchie’s game? It’s a lot. There’s a lot happening there. How long do you think he can survive?
Travis: See, it’s tough. I think he has a grip on especially the younger people in the house where they really lean in and listen to everything he says. I think people are scared of him because he has a deep voice, he’s covered in tattoos and he’s a country guy. The room kind of falls silent every time his voice comes up, so people are a little spooked of him. He has an intimidating, strong, confident presence in the house, and I think that’s pretty dangerous for a lot of people’s games. I think he can make it really far just riding on that alone. Ultimately, it needs to be someone or a group calling him out on his B.S., saying that he’s not as transparent and straightforward a guy as he puts out, and the lies need to come forward and be talked about to his face. They would crumble in front of him. He has no reasoning beyond “Oh, I had to for my own game,” and that’s not a great tactic in an alliance, so I think it can come crumbling down, but it’s going to take a huge flip of the house.
Gold Derby: Who do you think is playing the best game?
Travis: That’s though. Xavier has been really keeping his name out of everything. Maybe that’s a good game, but that’s just really lame in my opinion. I totally saw right through it. Every time someone asks that guy a question or attempt to strategize, he would take his laissez-faire approach and say, “Oh, man, I’m just here to hang out by the pool and have a good summer.” And I was like, “Dude, you are absolutely so royally full of it. I see you’re obviously playing the hands-off, laissez-faire, lay-low game.” But it’s totally working for him to the point where he’s just a fly on the wall during an important conversation with no sort of input for his presence to be there. It’s being played hilariously well by him, so I will give him credit for that. In terms of the best overall game though, I think right now it is Frenchie. He has a lot of the house by the neck and holds sway with them. I think a test will be if Christian is put up this week as a result of objectives from Frenchie handed to Kyland.
Gold Derby: When will your next performance as Travilla be?
Travis: [Laughs] As soon as possible. If you know any modeling agencies, your boy is open to career changes. If anyone wants to hit my line and toss me a dress, I’ll put it on and get goofy.
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