After a “YATUS” from interviews with reality stars, I was really yearning to write something about the riveting show that completely usurped my summer. Make that: many past summers as well. Annually, I look forward to Big Brother to see a mix of personalities mesh together and clash in a stifling dry-aired “house”, a portion of the CBS lot in the Studio City district of Los Angeles, CA.
Even my kids cannot properly feign disinterest when it comes to the show – although they are mainly waiting for Zingbot to arrive and roast the house guests.
There is only a limited outdoor area for relaxation time between competitions, which are designed to whittle down the houseguests until two are left. Then a jury (of evicted houseguests) votes on the winner.
I never expected to enjoy this past season of the CBS hit – a monumental one in light of Les Moonves stepping down and the fate of host Julie Chen, Moonves’s wife, uncertain – as much as I did. I thought nothing could compare to the epic Season 16, my singled out “absolute favorite” featuring Zach Rance (although he did not win, he won my heart – even more so than fan fave Frankie Grande, singer Ariana’s brother). I still use quotes from that season in my day to day vernacular. My kids go around yelling “You fruit loop dingus!”
However, the players on BB20, particularly the way they excelled at physical competitions and social manipulations, won me over….as did their dynamics as housemates that would become friends.
One houseguest who received a lot of attention from the viewing audience was JC Mounduix. Diminutive in stature, but stalwart in strength and built of sheer muscle, JC made up for his height with his dynamism, tenacity, as well as ebullient and larger than life persona.
While he was highly entertaining to watch, he was also deemed controversial. Kept away from access to all media, news outlets and electronic devices, he had no idea that some of his actions were seen as highly inappropriate and would garner headlines. TMZ ran several articles, so people who had never watched the show now knew about JC.
BB Superfans (as they are called) would also point out regularly that he had not won a single competition – that is, until the very end, securing a Head of Household spot that took him to the “Final 3.” When this long awaited win finally occurred, Mounduix notably stated to Chen that he won the competition when he needed to win most. However, in an interview with me, he insists that he was always trying hard and spent an exorbitant amount of time continually strategizing. In every competition, he gave it his all.
Following is our discussion:
Hey JC, I really enjoyed watching this season a lot. You were entertaining and you made it incredibly far – especially for someone who didn’t win most of the competitions. One particularly noteworthy scene was when you used the term “yatus” and had Tyler scratching his head until it dawned on him that you were actually saying “hiatus.”
We know that your native language is Spanish, that you are fluent in English and have an impressive vocabulary, so it was great seeing you laugh at yourself later on. You had that amazing ability to never take yourself too seriously.
Now, more importantly, are you surprised you made it to the final 3?
Well, in real life I’ve always had a good social game. So, I was convinced I was going to do well socially. In that way, I felt confident and you should know that I also felt that way about physical competitions – based on watching past seasons!
Well, oh boy. Once I got to the Big Brother house, I found out I was with an extraordinary, super-athletic and capable group of people. I was like ‘shit…how can I compete with all these people?’ I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was because I didn’t account for the lack of sleep and lack of proper nutrition. Good sleep and good food are really what fuel me and they are what I need in order to do well physically.
What you don’t realize at home is how these conditions are and how they can impact performance. The thing is that I was always very outgoing, so I had that to my advantage.
I would mentally work out every move and thought a lot about what I would say to people.
I also really did think of how I could win the physical competitions and what I could do differently. I was as strategic as you could possibly imagine, thinking of every single move and every conversation beforehand. I would run through things before I went to bed at night and I was always thinking. It pissed me off that I wasn’t winning competitions because I thought that when I got out of the game, people would call me a ‘floater’. My fear was that no one would realize how much thought and effort I had put into things.
On the positive side with that, I wasn’t picked to play a veto until Sam’s HOH on day 30. After that, I went a long time without being picked for veto competitions.
Then…I DID win something and it was a win that really counted and secured me in the top 3. But I’d really like for people to realize that when you’re barely eating and barely sleeping, it’s even more challenging than it looks on TV.
You made it pretty clear to the viewing audience that you saw Fessy as….well, you called him a ‘puppet’, but frankly, as an idiot. Watching things back now, do you see him as smarter than that?
I truly think Fessy is a very good player and initially, I wanted to work with him, but he’s not the smartest player. I backed away when I saw he was playing an emotional game because that doesn’t work with me.
Here’s the thing you have to understand: We are locked in a house with nothing to do. We are sitting around looking at each other’s faces all day long. So we said so many things just to have a conversation. We all said some things to be a little bit ‘extra’. For me, it was 99 days in the house with food that is the same over and over. It’s not healthy. I probably wouldn’t say some of those things under normal everyday conditions.
With Fessy, I think he fell in love with Hayleigh and then he had her back 100 percent. At that point, I knew I couldn’t rely on him. I didn’t think he acted wisely or strategically with Swaggy. Then later, I knew he was probably making top four alliances with Hayleigh because it was an emotional move. I was out.
You noticed Showmances – not only the one between Fessy and Hayleigh, but between Tyler and Angela – and those seemed to really bother you.
I didn’t actually know if Fessy and Hayleigh were in a technical ‘showmance’, but I did know I couldn’t trust him at all when I saw how close they were. These showmances can distract from playing strategically and with the right mindset. It didn’t make sense what Fessy did to Kaitlyn. That was my wakeup call. He used the veto on Hayleigh which led to Kaitlyn’s eviction because of his feelings for Hayleigh.
Tyler tried to act far less intelligent than he was, but you saw something special in him. What was it that made you want to align with him, and did you fall for his act at all?
Early on, I felt that Tyler was someone I wanted to work with because I wanted to work with someone quiet, who I could trust – well, as much as you can trust in this game! I recognized that quietness and I liked him and wanted to work with him from day 2. That was even before he started winning competitions.
You may have seen some things with Tyler that you thought were sneaky, but the truth is that we had lots and lots of conversations and there were things he never repeated. No matter which way his loyalty went, he never threw me under the bus. I was also trying to save him as much as I could in conversations with the other houseguests. I was busy trying to convince people he wasn’t as smart as he was when we had conversations. I knew he was smarter, but I sort of used Tyler’s strategy and how he was trying to portray himself when talking to others…to protect him.
Now I have to ask the uncomfortable question. There were numerous headlines about you while you were in the house. The articles spoke of sexual assault and mentioned that you had groped Tyler. What was your reaction when you found out about the coverage? What do you have to say about it now?
First of all, we were a family there. We were united and going through this crazy situation and I felt these were my brothers and sisters. You get frustrated while you’re in that house. All of us had bad nights of sleep with nightmares. When I was having a nightmare and slept near different people, they came over to comfort me…gave me a kiss. Rachel would play with me to make me feel better. We really had this family feel -well, except for the two couples in a showmance – and never had any tensions. That night that was written about…Tyler was moving around and I thought he was having a nightmare. I tried to give him a kiss on the shoulder and it wasn’t a big deal. I only found out after that live feeders…or others…said they saw it differently.
At the time, production just said to be careful because you’re watched all the time and people are sensitive, but it was such a NO big deal conversation. I was shocked when I heard what was going on. I was like ‘what the fuck? This is what people are going to focus on?’
Tyler was also completely surprised by it and he didn’t think anything of it in the house. Now that we’re out of the house, Tyler is literally texting me every day and we’re great friends. The other cast mates were like ‘What The Fuck?’ about that whole thing.
I feel like they (the public) were looking for something. I really do highly respect things when it comes to sexual harassment. I always have. I feel strongly about the things that are wrong being wrong and unacceptable. But, don’t go around calling this sexual harassment!
Someone opens their mouth and starts something and then it gets carried away – but that really was NOT the situation!
Knowing about the CBS (Les Moonves) news now, it feels like maybe this was more of a focus and people went looking for something.
Another subject that came up among viewers was how Kaitlyn flirted and was touchy with guys in the house. Yet, she had a serious boyfriend at home. He ended up breaking up with her as a result of the show.
We’re super close friends right now and she told me all these crazy stories of how things were blown out of proportion. We talk a lot.
You get very close locked in the house with nothing to do for most of the days. There are no movies to watch or things like that. We just have each other. I know a lot of the houseguests said a lot of things that made the news, but it wasn’t ever malicious. We were all killing time and we are all friends. I talk to everyone now except Sam, but as soon as she gets back to reality a little bit, I’m totally going to call her. The rest of us are hanging out and I know Sam is a little special…so I’m waiting for things to settle down and then I’m going to call her.
You and Bayleigh had a heated exchange when you spoke about certain words being offensive. How is your relationship with Bayleigh now?
That whole thing was rectified that day, I thought. It was taken out of control. Words can be offensive when used malicious ways, but I had no malicious intentions. It was a heated conversation and I thought that everything was resolved on that day. When I heard about the reaction and it being in the news, I thought that people are looking for anything to get angry. Bayleigh and I are good with each other. We hung out in Vegas after the show ended. I reached out to her after her miscarriage to tell her how sorry I am for what she went through. We will hopefully be getting together again soon to do something really fun, as part of a group, this winter.
You have too much time on your hands in the house and you get moody, but once we all got back to real life….Well, we love each other. Right now as I’m on the phone with you, Rachel is calling me!
I was talking with some members of the Bravo Junkies Facebook group and they mentioned that you and Kaitlyn are living together now?
We have the same agent and we get along really well. So we’re looking for an apartment to move into together as roommates. She and I have the strongest bond.
Kaitlyn says to me that everything happens for a reason and I really believe that – I think that explains how we are where we are now and why we’re close.
It was heartbreaking for viewers to hear that your family was not accepting of you being gay, and that your relationship with them was strained. Kaycee spoke about some struggles that she had with her mother’s acceptance. As two members of the LGBTQ community, viewers felt for both of you when you discussed your situations. Has your family come around at all, and have they reached out since the show ended?
Sorry, I’m not allowed to answer ANYTHING family related. I’m really sorry.
I understand. Moving on: One member of that same Facebook group, the Bravo Junkies, wanted me to ask about a minion video that you filmed, something Evel Dick shared on his Twitter feed….(pause) Oh, ok. I actually just went to watch it and I’ll refrain from getting into the details, but I guess I’ve got to ask about it.
The minion video was made when I was in college. My friends were annoying me, asking me to get ready to go to the clubs and I made the video to annoy them. We have that kind of friendship. It was never a real sexual thing. Evel Dick needed the attention and the likes, so he posted it, and I honestly think that was funny.
My readers can Google it if they want, I guess.
My friend Sara and I were talking about how it was really funny when you spoke about making the houseguests heavy foods to fatten them up. I think that was a highlight of the season. How serious were you about putting them at a disadvantage in that regard?
The cooking was a joke! It really wasn’t my strategy. I’m not that stupid (laughs).
Thank you so much for speaking with me, JC. I said I would only take 20 minutes of your time, but I’ve exceeded that. Definitely go and call Rachel back now!