Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.
Derek Xiao might have lost America’s Favorite Player, but he definitely won America’s hearts. Now that he’s out of the house, Derek is revealing his advice for future players, what he thinks of Kyland’s game, and more in his exclusive interview with AfterBuzz below:
AFTERBUZZ: What was it like hearing that you were up there for America’s Favorite Player with Tiffany?
DEREK X: That was crazy. Going onto the show, I really had zero expectations at all, and being in that house surrounded by 15 other people and meeting them, seeing their personalities for three months, everyone in that house is legitimately so amazing. I remember when we were going into the High Rollers Room, and we started getting BB Bucks, everyone was kind of nervous. Like, how am I being perceived by America? Am I gonna get a hundred? And I remember having a conversation with Xavier, Azah, and a couple people where I was basically saying even to have made it onto this show, we should feel so lucky. There were tens of thousands of people that we were competing against to be on here, and the fact that we were selected, this is already the top, and now we’re just competing to be the top of the top. So it really was putting it in the perspective that no matter what happens, we should just be so incredibly grateful that we’re even here right now. So bringing it back to your question, being top two for America’s Favorite Player is probably one of the best moments of my life.
AFTERBUZZ: Even though you didn’t win AFP, you have the most followers from the season. What was it like checking your phone for the first time and seeing that?
DEREK X: I’m pretty sure my phone just overheated; I turned it on, and then all the messages started coming in. I was like, oh yeah, I cannot check this, so my phone just turned into a vibrator for like five minutes. It was definitely overwhelming and still is overwhelming being on social media because for us, we were kind of thrown into this overnight. To you guys it may not have seemed like that because we were gone for three months, and then the following slowly grew from that, but for us, we got our phones back overnight, and then I went from 800 followers to however many I have now. I have no idea how to deal with this. I didn’t slowly grow with my following; it just kind of landed on me, and I am trying to figure out how to deal with it right now.
AFTERBUZZ: You had a rocky first week with Frenchie in power. Even Travis said in his exit interview that you needed all the luck to keep going.
DEREK X: I really did!
AFTERBUZZ: How were you able to get your footing in the game and make a comeback from that?
DEREK X: That first week was rough. I just did not understand how to play this game. I think I was doing everything wrong, and then by the end of that week, I just had PTSD where I was scared to talk. You can ask Tiffany about this; there were moments where we’d have a conversation, and I would just stop talking because I wasn’t sure what I could say, what I could tell to who, and I just was scared to say anything at all. I think what helped me was finding people in the house that I truly trusted. So at the beginning, Kyland was one of those people. I think using the veto to take him off the block established a deep level of trust with him, and I think that carried me very far in the game. Getting closer with Tiffany carried me very far in the game, and then obviously being close with Claire and eventually Hannah. I think having people that I could talk game with inside the house and also kind of looking out for me as much as they could was what eventually turned my game around.
AFTERBUZZ: What was it that made you and Claire start questioning if there was an alliance with the members of The Cookout?
DEREK X: I was watching this clip where me and Claire are laying in a bed in the open room, and we’re jokingly talking about how the first five people that got evicted were all white, and at that point, it really was just a joke, because I think they did such a great job disguising what was going on. And maybe it wasn’t all fully intentional, but there was always a reason behind every eviction–or they made it seem like that to me: with Travis, that was Frenchie, and then Frenchie was because he took out Travis, and then Brent because there were other people who didn’t like Brent. And then at that point, we had formed The Royal Flush, so then Whitney was on the outside of The Royal Flush, and it really just came down to, is Whitney gonna go or is Hannah gonna go? And I even wanted Hannah more, so then Whitney left, and then I was the one that took out Christian. I made a deal with X on the wall, and I made a deal with Alyssa on the wall, and I wanted Christian gone more than I wanted Sarah Beth gone. So it always seemed like there was a justification behind every single one.
When me and Claire are laying on that bed, and we’re like, ‘Wait, everyone that’s left is white. Do you think anything is going on here, Claire?’ And then we laughed about it, but then I really did think about it, and I was like, I don’t think so. Also, I’m really good friends with Tiffany. I’m really good friends with Hannah and Kyland. A lot of people in The Cookout were people that I was close with, so I was like, I feel like I would know. But hey, I guess you’re wrong sometimes.
AFTERBUZZ: Tiffany tried really hard to flip the vote and keep you longer in the game the week that you ended up being evicted.
DEREK X: Really?
DEREK X: Wait, so did Tiffany actively try to flip the vote? I know that if I had the numbers, she said that she would throw me a vote to be that swing, but was she actively campaigning for me?
AFTERBUZZ: Yes, so initially she wanted to keep Christian the week he was evicted, and she said during the week that you were on the block that she didn’t succeed in flipping the vote with Christian, but she was going to succeed this time.
DEREK X: Wow. See, this is why I love Tiffany. She deserves AFP and so much more. I wish she had gone further in the game.
AFTERBUZZ: What was the initial thought going through your mind when you were evicted?
DEREK X: Oh, I loved it. I couldn’t wait to get the jury–no. I obviously felt really bad. My first two weeks in jury, evictions are on Thursday nights, and every Wednesday night, I’d always joke, ‘All right, 10 PM guys. I gotta go to bed. We’ve got a battle back tomorrow. I’ve gotta make sure I’m ready for this competition.’ So my head was very much still in the game. I was thinking about what is going on inside the house, all the mistakes I had made that led up to me getting evicted, and you just keep reliving those moments. So I think those first two weeks were really tough. I barely talked to anyone on the jury. Thank God I was with Britini so she could do all the talking for me and her! And it wasn’t until I’d say, Alyssa, Tiffany, and Chaddha came that I was finally starting to put the game behind me and just have fun and enjoy regular life again.
It’s so weird because, at least for me–and this is probably why I ended up hitting the block–I didn’t feel that in danger. I felt okay with my positioning in the house. And I know they say, if you feel okay, that’s when you’re not, so in hindsight, that was probably my downfall. Every single week your position in the house really flips so drastically. In the course of those seven days, I went from feeling really good with Kyland as HOH to sitting in jury, so it all happens so fast, and you don’t have time to collect your thoughts and be able to say bye to people and to reflect on your game properly before leaving the house. Thankfully I was able to go to jury and have all of that time to really think about what had happened.
AFTERBUZZ: On a lighter note, can you talk about your experience as the Lord of The Latrine? That was probably one of my favorite punishments I’ve ever seen on Big Brother.
DEREK X: I need to watch more clips because people were saying that punishment was really good, but living it out, I was like, I don’t think I’m giving people any content. I’m just announcing when people go to the bathroom. So I go into the Diary Room, and they have a trumpet and a costume laying out for me, and I was like, oh, this is lit. This is the best costume that I have ever seen in my two seasons of Big Brother. So I was like, everyone’s gonna be super excited about this. I put it on, and then they tell me when someone uses the bathroom, I have to go unlock the door for them and then blow the trumpet and announce, ‘X, Y, Z is now using the porcelain throne.’ And then I was like, that’s kind of boring, so I started flourishing on top of that to make it fun for myself. I would keep track of how many times someone’s using the bathroom. We had competitions of who was peeing the most. I started rationing how much water people would get. Kyland was popping fiber pills so he would start using the bathroom even more. It was fun. I think I got a promotion, too. I started off as Lord of The Latrine, but then I became a full-fledged bathroom attendant: I was washing people’s hands, drying them off on towels, and giving them lotion. I think I made the best of the punishment.
It was really fun at the beginning, but then it became so frustrating. It was only a 24-hour punishment, so I feel bad even complaining about it because it’s really not that long at all, but I was just exhausted having to go to the bathroom throughout the entire day and letting these people in. At the end, I was getting really mad at this stupid voice that was coming over the intercom. One, he has an annoying voice, and secondly, would yell at me to redo the voice thing. So then I started yelling back at him, and I was giving him sass. His name was King, so I was trying to stage a revolt in the house. I was like, yo, can we just behead this king right now? If none of us do any of our punishments, they can’t kick us all out. We can’t all get evicted. It was fun. I’m glad there was only 24 hours. I don’t know if I could have taken that for much longer.
AFTERBUZZ: Going back to the jury, how did the round table conversation go?
DEREK X: I think the best round table conversation would’ve been if Kyland was also still in the final three, and then I think we would’ve had actual things to debate and talk about. But with the final three being Xavier, Azah, and Big D, if X was in the final two, I think we were all on the same page with what happened: X unanimously won. He just played such a fantastic game. So the round table discussion really just ended up being us debating if it was an Azah and Big D final two who would have that vote. That was definitely an interesting conversation because I think they played similar games to an extent, and none of us had too much insight on what they were doing in the background to have made it to final two. I think if it was Azah and Big D, we actually would’ve had some good questions for them, and maybe some people actually would’ve had a swing vote there. But with X and either one of them in a final two, there just was not too much debate. I couldn’t even think of any cons for X except the fact that he lied about being a bartender. There’s just not much that he went wrong with, in my opinion.
AFTERBUZZ: What did you make of Kyland’s comment that Hannah and Big D’s games were essentially interchangeable?
DEREK X: Kyland’s tough. I always give him the benefit of the doubt because I genuinely think that he has good intentions, and I’ve told Kyland the same thing. I think his heart’s in a great place. I think he has good intentions, but he just struggles to communicate. This is my opinion, I don’t know if this is actually true, but from the outside, it seems like he struggles to communicate what he is thinking in his head. There’s a lot of things that he says out loud that I know, maybe naively, he doesn’t believe. I know he doesn’t actually think that Hannah and Big D played the exact same game. When he said that, the way that I interpret it knowing Kyland is that he just wanted to go to a final two with X, and that’s all he cared about.
It didn’t matter who the third, fourth, or fifth person was to him. They could have gone in any order because, in his mind, it didn’t matter, because at the end of the day, he was going to be in the final two chairs next to X. And I think maybe a little naively, he thought that was just basically guaranteed. So if he evicted Chaddha that week, if he evicted Big D that week, if he evicted Azah that week, it doesn’t change the end game of where he saw himself. And I think that is what he meant by interchangeable. I don’t wanna put words in his mouth, but that’s how I interpreted it. But yes, at the surface level when I first heard that, obviously that’s kind of a slight towards Chaddha because I think Chaddha played a very aggressively great game. And I know throughout the entire game, she felt like she was kind of being undermined and undervalued and that people were overlooking her, which again is part of the strategy that she wanted to play coming into the Big Brother house. But I don’t think Kyland meant in that way to discredit the game that she played. I think he was only thinking about him and X at that point. Dang, I should be Kyland’s PR guy!
AFTERBUZZ: You were close allies with Hannah, but you both had secrets from each other. You had The Royal flesh, which Tiffany accidentally revealed, and Hannah was a member of The Cookout who ultimately played a role in you getting evicted. What have your conversations been like with her since you’ve both been out of the house?
DEREK X: They’ve been great. I think when she first came to jury, she was a little worried about how I would feel, how Claire would feel, about the game that she played. But honestly, I didn’t hold any resentment towards her at all because it’s just a game, and she played it fantastically. So if anything, I was kind of proud about it because inside the house, she was telling me how she couldn’t lie, she couldn’t betray anyone, how she didn’t have other alliances. And then, to find out that she was playing this fantastic game later, I was just proud of the fact that she was doing so much, and I had no idea that she was doing it. I think she was just a really good player. At a personal level, me and Hannah are still great. I don’t have any resentment toward the way that she played this game at all.
AFTERBUZZ: Do you have any advice for future Big Brother players?
DEREK X: Don’t befriend the surfer, dude, week one. *laughs* Oh man, I have so much advice. First, I would say, perception in the Big Brother house is more important than your intentions. So even though you may just be working out with Travis, people might perceive that as an alliance, and that’s ultimately, I think, what ended up blowing up my entire first week. Now having finished the game and thinking about The Cookout and thinking about how I could possibly have circumvented that situation, I would say think about, what do you know that you don’t think anyone else knows? And what I mean by that is in the house at the end, everything that I knew about the game, I think everyone else in the house also was thinking about the game.
So I thought people were in duos. Well, everyone thought we were in duos. I thought that Kyland, Sarah Beth, Xavier, and Alyssa were gonna form a four, and then they were gonna take out the other side of the house. Everyone thought they were gonna form a four and take out the other side of the house. And in hindsight, everyone thought that because that’s what people wanted us all to think. So I think the way to prevent that is to constantly question, what do I know that no one else knows? And really, I didn’t know anything that no one else knew, which means I am on the outside of the information. Because there’s always secrets going on, and I didn’t know any of those secrets. The only things that I knew about the game were the ones related to me: I knew I was in The Detectives with Tiffany, Claire, and Ky, but that was because I was in that. I didn’t know what Azah was doing, and I never questioned it. I was just like, Azah is sleeping and cooking, and I was like, that’s it. I didn’t know what X was doing. I didn’t know what Alyssa was doing. And the things that I did know about them are the same things that everyone thought. And I think if I had asked myself more inquisitive questions, that’s when you might be able to start seeing things like The Cookout forming.
Want more Big Brother? Check out interviews with the entire cast on the website now, and keep following AfterBuzz for a post-show interview with Claire Rehfuss coming this week!
Meagan Lynn is a host and writer at AfterBuzz TV, actress, and social media manager. Outside of AfterBuzz, you can find her hosting and producing Ten Minute Talks. She loves singing, listening to inspirational podcasts and consuming copious amounts of movies and television shows.
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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