When it comes to reality shows, one of my greatest loves is Big Brother Canada. I’ve watched other countries’ versions of the hit American franchise, but the great white north’s edition has been my favourite from its inception in 2013.
For nine seasons I watched as some amazing assets were added to the Big Brother Canada family, but this year, Season 9, was different. The entire cast was filled with powerhouses! For the first time in the show’s long history, I saw the representation of more groups of people than ever before – and BBCAN wasn’t just ticking the metaphorical boxes of casting the one stereotype per group (as we’ve seen in reality TV history, time and time again).
Canadian reality television Queen (and host of the entire BBCAN series), Arisa Cox, became the new Executive Producer for Season 9, and unlike a politician making promises they can’t keep, Arisa made positive changes adding more Women/Queer/BIPOC contestants into the cast than ever before! Arisa utilized her flourishing platform to showcase a cascade of real, fun and diverse Canadians.
When Season 9 premiered in March of this year, one of my top three picks to win the whole show was none other than the eventual second-place houseguest, the openly gay and eternally endearing Breydon White, from Calgary, Alberta (the two others being Victoria aka “Spicy Vee” and fan favourite Kiefer “Kief It Real” Collison). As a viewer, I simply loved how Breydon handled himself throughout the entire game. With effortless charm and wit, Breydon seemingly maneuvered within the house with such ease, even during the most trying of times, all while still taking the time to have those important conversations about the different minority groups he belongs to. It was inspiring to watch.
When I was given the opportunity to interview Breydon from Season 9, I was elated! I was actually “fangirling” for a moment but I’m going to play it cool… So, without further ado, my latest interview for MOJOZINE is with a Big Brother competition beast, a fashion glamazon, and an inspiration to Black/Queer Canadians everywhere – BBCAN Season 9 runner-up, Breydon White!
Q: What made you initially audition for Big Brother?
Breydon: Honestly, I kind of did it on a whim ahaha! I had been thinking about auditioning for a while and once I heard it was going to be the most diverse cast ever, I thought to myself “well, now’s your chance!” The rest is History.
Q: As Big Brother Canada host Arisa Cox became promoted to executive producer of the show, visibility of multiple minority groups became much more present; was this a prevalent conversation in the house as much as it was amongst the audience?
Breydon: For sure. There were multiple times where the majority of the cast would talk about how there has NEVER been a cast like ours! Whether we were talking about BIPOC representation or even Queer representation, there has never been a [Big Brother Canada] season cast such as ours and it was so amazing to be a part of.
Q: Being a part of the Queer and BIPOC communities, was this a conversation in your mind whenever discussions were going on in the house?
Breydon: This was a conversation I always had going on in my mind. Solely because being Queer, you already get a perceived idea of who you’re going to be and being POC, especially for Black people, people create their own idea of who we are. So, whenever I knew discussions were going on this was always a worry – maybe they [houseguests] would believe a certain perpetuated trope about people that look like me and want to get me out of the game.
Q: Your social game was immaculate this season, did you go into the house knowing you would be playing a social game?
Breydon: Ahaha! Thank you! I’ve always been a huge chatterbox and in life, I’ve always welcomed all people from all walks of life so going into the Big Brother house, I knew that I may not be the most physical person there, but I would be able to create genuine connections with the majority of the people there and hoped that would help me.
Q: Do you still keep in contact with anyone from the house?
Breydon: Yes of course! I think when doing something as wild as Big Brother, you immediately create a bond with these people because you’re spending every moment for potentially 3 months with these strangers. You learn so much about each other that post-show you’ve built lifelong friends in my opinion.
Q: If a Big Brother Canada “All-Stars” Season came a-knocking on your door, how would you respond?
Breydon: If they came a-knocking, I would definitely answer! I had a blast on there the first time but knowing what I know now, I would play a totally different game. Also, Canada needs to have a Queer Black winner 🙂
Q: Your voice has been heard all across Canada; what are some things you look forward to accomplishing in your career or otherwise?
Breydon: Omg cringe! Thinking people across Canada have heard my voice… But I think some things I would love to accomplish is being able to dive into mainstream media and really show and represent Black Queer excellence on a global scale! I have a passion for fashion and skincare, so being able to peruse those would be amazing!
Q: You’ve been photographed with different drag queens on your Instagram, who is your favourite Canadian drag queen/performer?
Breydon: Drag is something that I truly enjoy so much so I don’t know that I have ONE favourite Canadian Queen, but to name a few, I would say: Priyanka, Brooke Lynn Hytes, Kiara, Kendall Gender and Perla. Go give them all a follow because they’re all amazing! (@thequeenpriyanka, @byhytes, @kikiwannakaikai, @kendallgender, @helloperla_)
Q: What was your biggest struggle and your biggest success on Season 9?
Breydon: I think my biggest struggle this season would have been losing my closest ally Austin in the house, she was someone I knew I could trust wholeheartedly, and trust is something that’s so hard to find in that house. My biggest success I think would be dismantling the power trio, winning three comps back-to-back and being able to make history by being a part of an all-black final two.
Q: As a huge superfan, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind answering this once and for all…. did you take Ty to the end or did he take you? Who do you feel helped the other out the most?
Breydon: Okay, let’s talk about it! I guess technically in the final HOH competition, he brought me (soo humiliating), but I think throughout this game we kind of carried each other in a sense. Early on, I really leaned on him to be an advocate for me to stay once the majority of my allies left, but late in the game, there were instances where he could have gone on the block and even potentially evicted and I pushed for him to stay safe. So I think it was a Ty (tie) 😉 for who helped each other the most.
Q: Pride Month is here and the 40th anniversary of Pride Toronto just passed; what does something as important as Pride mean to you and what does your Pride look like this year, during this ongoing pandemic?
Breydon: 40th Anniversary? That’s crazy! Pride is something that is super important to me, and it means being unapologetically yourself and not masking parts of your identity to make others feel comfortable with you. As well as paying homage to those who fought for the rights we have today. I think something that doesn’t get spoken to a lot is that it’s hard to be Queer in general but to be Black and Queer is even harder. A lot of Queer spaces aren’t the most inviting towards BIPOC’s and because there is still such a huge stigma against Black gay men in the Black community, that also makes it even harder to be your authentic self. I firmly believe we all can’t truly be equal until ALL Black Lives Matter – Straight, Gay, Trans, Non-binary, etc. Point. Blank. Period. My Pride this year will definitely be by supporting Queer artists/creators in any way I can, as well as attending some digital and socially distanced events! Although Pride isn’t the same as it has been in the past, we can still celebrate to the best of our abilities!