Azah is revealing how she developed her transparent gameplay strategy and how it worked in her favor, what she really thinks of her fellow houseguests, and more in her exclusive interview with AfterBuzz TV.
After writing hits “Say Hello to Lucious” and starring in her own dating show with the cast (if you don’t watch the live feeds, you had to be there), Azah Awasum took home third place in the Big Brother finale Wednesday night. Now that she’s out of the house, Azah is revealing how she developed her unique transparent gameplay strategy and how it worked in her favor, what she really thinks of her fellow houseguests, and more in her exclusive interview with AfterBuzz below:
AFTERBUZZ: You said in your interview with Julie Chen that you weren’t a money-motivated player. Why did you decide to go on Big Brother?
AZAH: I went on Big Brother because I wanted to play and I wanted to win. I wasn’t here for money. I wanted to win. I was really disappointed earlier in the season that I wasn’t winning comps because I wanted to win. I wanted to prove that on my resume; I wanted to get that at the end. I’ve never been a money-motivated person. I always go after pursuing purposes and passions and dreams, and for me, I felt I should go for purpose, and I should go for passion and not for money.
AFTERBUZZ: You got a lot of credit in the jury round table for forming individual, personal relationships that weren’t alliance based. Was that more game strategy for you or a personal decision?
AZAH: It was definitely game strategy for me. After week one with Frenchie’s outing, we honestly were at the bottom of the totem pole. We were the weakest team in the house, and we weren’t part of The Royal Flush or The Slaughterhouse that had been started in the beginning. So I made an effort to build genuine relationships specifically with teams, most namely Claire in The Queens, Derek X with the Aces, and to an extent Sarah Beth in The Kings. I felt by really working on building those genuine relationships, it could transcend any alliance, and it did work because those three people did end up getting HOH and never put me up as a pawn and never put me on the block. Some people might not see that, but it was a strategic move for me being that I couldn’t win competitions, and I was still struggling in that sense. I really needed to work on a good social game.
AFTERBUZZ: Given how the game played out, do you regret using your HOH to take out Hannah?
AZAH: I have to say I don’t regret it. Of course, I’m going to watch back this season and understand and see a lot of things, but I kind of dug myself a hole. I had this transparent, honest game that I had developed the entire time up until the final six, and at that point, I had kept every single deal and promise that I had made, so it would go against my resume at the final two to go against that. Right before the final six HOH, Kyland came up to me and said, ‘I don’t plan to target you. Can you not target me if you win?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, sure.’ After HOH, he said, ‘I don’t plan to put you on the block.’ I didn’t want to be on the block at the time because I hadn’t hit the block yet, and I wanted that for my resume as well. He said, ‘I’m not going to come after you at six. Can you not come after me at five? And if you want to, come after four.’ I said, ‘That’s fine.’ I already had that final two with Big D and X, and unfortunately, Hannah was just a casualty of war that I had to target because I had at the time no dealings with her.
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AFTERBUZZ: You were able to avoid the block the majority of the game. What do you credit for that?
AZAH: Definitely, I would say my social game. While I did work on building those genuine relationships in the house, my transparent gameplay is something that kind of started accidentally and started to be used as strategy. In week four, I told Christian that I would have gone after him as HOH, and as a result, because I was the only person who was honest in the house and told him, he didn’t put me on the block, and he didn’t even plan to target me for the next week as well. I started to see that that worked because I was seen as someone who was nonthreatening, and people always knew where my head was. So I just continued to evolve that completely transparent gameplay; because people always knew where Azah was at, they were never coming after her, and it helped me. At the six, Kyland approached me because he knew that if I answered a deal, I would keep up with it. And I was transparent, and it really saved me until final four, when Xavier put me up specifically just to put a mark on my resume.
AFTERBUZZ: You said in the final four that if Big D wasn’t willing to take the shot at Kyland, you would have. What do you make of Kyland’s game?
AZAH: I think Kyland definitely played a game. There are different types of games that work in this house. I thought that I could lie and manipulate when I wanted to, and unfortunately, I got in that house, and it was just so hard for me. But there are all sorts of different types of gameplay that are able to get people far and get them to the end. Just because that’s not a gameplay that I would use or might not be my favorite, I’m not going to downplay him as a player. He was a great competitor. He was definitely a threat, and there was a reason why they put him out at final four instead of continuing onto the final three that they had because they felt if they could not take him out, there’s a possibility that he might beat them in the end.
AFTERBUZZ: Being out of the house now, are there any specific conversations you hope to have with any of the players to clear the air of anything?
AZAH: As far as on my part as to anything I have done to anyone, I don’t believe I have disappointed anyone. As far as what has been said or done to me, I would have to really think on that. There’s a lot of time that I need to take with things. I understand that the house is a pressure cooker, and people might say or do things that they might not mean or intend. It’s going to be a navigating process for me just because I played what I call a genuine game in the sense that I didn’t do those things to anyone, so if I do see those things that are done to me in a hurtful manner, it’s definitely going to hurt my feelings in a different type of way. I think time is going to be something that I definitely need, and some reflection.
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AFTERBUZZ: How did your strategy going into the house differ from how you ended up playing the game?
AZAH: My strategy differed a lot. So I came in; I was going to start a female alliance called The King Slayers, which I did the first week. I was going to grab the men by the balls, and all these male alliances that form in week one and week two, I was going to make sure that they don’t get to the end. So I did, and I joined The Cookout the same week. And then the next week, Britini, a member of The King Slayers, gets put on the block, accused of starting a female alliance by a member of The Cookout alliance that I’m in. And the guilt that came over me was just too much. I felt bad, and I decided at that point that I wanted to always be held accountable for the actions that I did, and that was honestly the beginning of my transparent gameplay. That’s when I just started telling people, ‘Hey, I plan to target this person. I plan to do this because I never wanted someone else to have to take the blame. Seeing how confused she was and how she didn’t understand, it really did grip and get to me. And what I thought was going to be a cutthroat, get out the guys by any means possible strategy quickly evolved into putting people’s needs before your own with The Cookout getting to the six and a transparent gameplay amongst the house.
AFTERBUZZ: Speaking of female alliances, at one point, The Cookout guys did have a final three. How do you think your game would have gone differently if you’d made a final three with Tiffany and Hannah?
AZAH: The thing is, at the end of the day, I do feel that if a man won HOH, a woman was going out at six; if a woman won HOH at six, a man was going to go out. It’s just what ended up happening in the cards that played there. At the time I made my final three with Big D and Xavier, I was, in week six and seven, looking at my position, and I was thinking, ‘Okay, how are things going to be when we get to six?’ I could see Tiffany and Hannah were very close and were stuck like glue, and I knew Tiffany had good relations with Kyland. So I knew amongst that there was already some type of threesome forming that would be difficult for me to be able to get in. And I knew what I needed at six was two votes to be able to always vote me off if I’m on the block. I sensed some type of kinship with Big D and Xavier, and Big D was someone I was very close with in the house, so I asked them, ‘Do you guys have a final two?’ I ended up being right about it, and I decided to take on that, knowing that if I get to final three, the only way I can get to final two is if I win part three of the HOH. I would have definitely loved to create an alliance, and I had actually approached Tiffany about a final two sometime back, but it was when we were kind of on a back and forth. But at the time, [Xavier and Derek F] were the group that wanted to work with me, and I felt that that was the best way I could position myself at the six.
AFTERBUZZ: Outside of gameplay, y’all looked like you had so much fun this season. What will you miss most about being in the Big Brother house?
AZAH: Oh, man. Oh my gosh. We had a lot of fun. I would have to tie it between all the songs that we came up with–I have to say I came up with most of them–and our family dinners. That was something that I always have with my family at home, and I took that to the Big Brother house. I think it really did help us all socially gel together in such a great way, so I’m going to miss those family dinners, and I’m going to miss our songs.
AFTERBUZZ: I saw one of Xavier’s family members looked like he dressed like Lucious in the finale!
AZAH: He did! They had a wig, and I was like, oh my gosh. I wore my wig from day one through 43, and then when he started with that whole thing, I was like, you know what? I got an extra one. Here you go, go ahead and take it. I don’t wear it anymore. So he loved it. He packed it with him. It’s his now.
AFTERBUZZ: Is there anything else that you wanted to add about this season?
AZAH: I just am honestly really blessed and lucky to have been a part of this. I am a fan. I’ve applied for quite some time, so to be part of the season is just pretty darn incredible. I’m just so grateful about that. But to watch as a fan and to be in the house is just a completely incredibly surreal feeling. I’m so happy that I was able to experience it. Am I going to do it again? I got to think about it, but this was so dope, so I’m just blessed. I’m happy. I can’t believe that I got here. Of course, I wanted to get that win, but I’m very proud of my performance, and I’m happy that I was able to pull through in the end with third.
Want more of Big Brother? Check out AfterBuzz’s website for more exclusive interviews with the entire Season 23 cast!