Arisa Cox has been hosting Big Brother Canada since its launch five seasons ago. Tonight, another season gets underway on Global at 9pm as eight newcomers and eight veterans (who have already been on the show) begin to battle it out.
Cox let Crave readers in on a number of secrets, like when she meets the new houseguests and what slop really tastes like.
CraveOnline: Tell us about the new season of Big Brother Canada.
Arisa Cox: This is a big one for us – it means we’ve been growing and learning and innovating and raising the bar. Now we have number 5 and it’s an intergalactic theme.
Why did the second-chancers get chosen to come back?
Everyone’s got such a fascinating story, and that’s the beautiful thing about the second-chancers: they are all connected to an iconic moment within the show. Gary would’ve won but, because of a mistake by another houseguest, lost $100,000, Neda was cut by her protégé because she taught him too well, and Cassandra made it to the final four and walked out to an empty studio. We never could have predicted and planned all of those things.
Do people who have already been in the house have an advantage or a disadvantage?
There’s both – you understand the flow of the house (whereas it takes a few weeks for newcomers to get used to being on slop and knowing when the competitions happen). The second-chancers might have that experience, however, being a major target is a problem too, right? They might come in with one advantage but they have a whole bunch more disadvantages.
Do you have to lie to win BB?
You have to massage the truth. Some people are natural salespeople and are very good at getting people to believe them and trust them. Emmett has a manner about him, and when you meet him in person, he speaks a little quieter and a little slower and looks into your eyes, and he’s a very kind, open guy. I watched as people went against their best interests time and time again because they were hypnotized by this player’s social skills.
You find the kernel of truth and go with that – if you find that thing that’s authentic and communicate it to people, they will believe you. People want to believe each other. I think the new players are going to step up their game.
When do you meet the houseguests?
I meet the houseguests when they go into the house, and then I don’t see them again until they come out. I try my best to wait every season till the houseguests are revealed to Canada. I like to do that because I’m not involved in casting, and I find it fun to have that fan experience of waiting and waiting, and finally you get to read their bios and hear their bios, and you start thinking. I love that experience. I don’t want to go into a season with preconceived notions.
A lot of people remember you from U8TV, where you experienced being filmed 24 hours a day… does that make you understand the BB houseguest experience better?
One of the reasons I have a lot of empathy for the people playing is because I know what that’s like. In a way my show was so different because I was aware of the pressure, whereas these guys don’t realize how hard it’s going to be. My doing U8TV definitely does contribute to me looking at them as human beings and not just characters on television.
Have you tasted slop?
What does it taste like?
It tastes like flavourless oatmeal that’s dryer and sticker. But you’re allowed to eat it with condiments, and over the years, the roommates have gotten very creative. They should put out a recipe book! They’ve figured out different ways to make it into shakes, fry it, bake it, but in the end, it’s not great.
And new this year is After the Eviction Live, a live chat on Facebook?
Yes! I love this. I love any opportunity to dig a little deeper. During the show there’s so much going on and I only get about 2-3 minutes to do an interview with the evicted houseguest, so you don’t get that raw, unfiltered, in-their-own-words version of the experience. It’s really illuminating hearing it in their own words. We want to let them steer the ship and have the opportunity to explain what they were going through and why they made the decisions that they made, some of which are going to be inexplicable to us. I think it’s going to be really good for them to get that stuff off their chest, properly mourn their loss, lick their wounds, and move on.
Big Brother Canada premieres tonight, Wednesday, March 15th at 9pm on Global.