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After being evicted by her number one ally Tiffany Mitchell, Claire Rehfuss quickly earned a spot in Big Brother history and America’s hearts.
Now that she’s out of the house, Claire is sharing why she understood Tiffany’s decision, what we didn’t see on TV this season, and what she thinks of her fellow houseguests in her exclusive interview with AfterBuzz below:
AFTERBUZZ: In the house, you were talking with Tiffany about how you made deals with everyone. What was the most random alliance that you two made?
CLAIRE: The Firefighters was the most short-lived. It was The Queen’s team, me, Tiffany, Kyland, Travis, and Derek X. That was definitely the most random. I think we were the only people in an alliance with Travis by the time his game ended. I think at one point; I figured out I have been in an alliance with everyone other than Big D, and me and Big D I thought had an agreement of like, ‘Hey, we’re the pawns. Let’s not go after each other.’ But me and Tiffany definitely had a very tangled web that was weaved.
AFTERBUZZ: That’s interesting. Did you view your game at any point as playing a pawn game?
CLAIRE: I never really thought I was playing a pawn game. At a certain point, Big D told me that me and him are playing the same game, and that was a good laugh that I had because I was like, okay, I’m fine if you think I’m playing a pawn game, but I never thought I was a pawn. I mean, now pawn is tricky because now pawn is also how some people are referring to the duos that Tiffany was using, and I never saw myself as a pawn in that sense either. I knew that people were tying me with Tiffany, but I thought that I’d been playing a pretty good game, a game that could have at least gotten me to final four or final three, and maybe if I was sitting at the end, I did feel like potentially depending on who I sat next to I had a shot.
AFTERBUZZ: What was it that made you and Derek X start questioning if there was an alliance amongst the members that ended up being in The Cookout?
CLAIRE: I mean, I’m not blind. I think I saw a clip of the week I was leaving of Xavier being really upset that Alyssa brought to my attention that I was the last white player in the house, but I was aware of that. I knew even when Christian was leaving that I could start piecing together Christian’s leaving, Britini’s a target, Sarah Beth’s a target, Alyssa’s a target–I could see kind of how it was going. But at the same time, in my head, the members of The Cookout just didn’t like each other. I knew that Tiffany didn’t really want to work with Big D. She didn’t really want to work with Azah. Her and Kyland were hot and cold. I knew that there were all these cracks that I never really was totally confident that yes, they are working together.
AFTERBUZZ: What was first going through your head when Tiffany told you she was going to put you up?
CLAIRE: Honestly, I was shocked. I had a feeling, maybe just because people had been telling me, ‘Oh, Tiffany’s considering all of her options,’ heavy emphasis on the all, that I was a little bit nervous. But I was really, really shocked when she told me. I couldn’t understand why she would do this. What’s the purpose here? I knew it wasn’t good for her game. I knew in that moment that the most likely option was that I was going home, but as she started to explain it to me, and as she started to give her reasoning why she didn’t want to put two Black players on the block next to each other, I couldn’t help but admire what she was doing. Because the decision she was making was just the hardest decision. That was the hardest choice and hardest action that anyone in The Cookout had to make for their game–maybe Chaddha at seven taking out Alyssa, but Tiffany had to make this huge act, put up her pawn, her duo on the block. Even though I didn’t know about The Cookout, I knew that what Tiffany was doing was bigger than the game. This was her morals. This was her belief, and I have so much respect and admiration. I just got chills just thinking about it, how awesome that is and how amazing that is and how selfless that is. So I was very sad that it was happening to me, but at the same time, I was proud of her.
AFTERBUZZ: That conversation was so moving to watch. I’m pretty sure everyone watching it was crying at home.
CLAIRE: It’s so weird because people have been talking to me about it like, ‘Wow, that conversation,’ and I’m like, that was really just a day in my life. It’s weird in the house. You don’t think that people are watching this, that people are seeing this happening. I left that room. I had sunglasses on. I was like, I don’t want anyone to know I was crying. And then it wasn’t till the next day I was like, oh, everyone probably saw that. They’re definitely going to show that. It was very emotional for me, obviously, and it’s very moving all the support and love I’ve gotten from that.
AFTERBUZZ: Tiffany told you in that conversation that she was going to likely be following you to jury. Did you believe that at the moment?
CLAIRE: I did. I genuinely did. And even when I was in jury, I felt like Tiffany was going to be coming soon because I knew Tiffany is an amazing game player. She just is. She is such a strategist. I knew the second week that she was the best player there; just how she was able to manipulate people and work emotions and build deep, deep, deep connections in the game, all fantastic things for a game player. But I also knew that that would be threatening to a lot of the people that were still in there. And I knew that she had fantastic, deep relationships outside of The Cookout, but I had a feeling that she wasn’t that well-positioned inside of The Cookout; that she would have had to have been reliant on Kyland and Chaddha, and everything I know about Kyland’s game is that he’s a little flaky. He will turn on you fast, so I was definitely nervous for Tiffany.
AFTERBUZZ: How did the round table conversation go when Kyland walked in?
CLAIRE: That was a much longer conversation than I think you guys saw. I’m pretty sure we were there for three hours, and we really kept going back to Kyland. I have a lot of love for Kyland outside of the game. He will be one of my friends, but I know, especially with Chaddha and his reaction to Chaddha saying that her and Big D were playing the same game, there’s a lot of stuff I didn’t understand about Kyland and what he was saying at that round table. Even in that moment, I felt like maybe he was diminishing some of what Tiffany had done, what Chaddha had done, and that really rubbed me the wrong way because those are my girls! I love them so much, and I know that they were fantastic players. So it was a very long conversation. It got heated at some parts, but it was a good conversation that was really needed.
AFTERBUZZ: Speaking of Kyland, you said in the jury house that you didn’t think winning competitions is that impressive when you’re making moves that aren’t good for your game. What did you mean by that?
CLAIRE: Comps just aren’t that important to me. I never wanted to really put that much value on, ‘Well, you won Otev,’ or ‘You won Zingbot,’ partially because I knew I wasn’t going to do that good at comps, partially because I knew I was going to be throwing comps. But also because if you wanted to do physical things, you should have tried out for the Olympics. Big Brother is interesting to me because it’s a social game, because it’s a strategic game, not because it is a physical game or you can solve a puzzle in the fastest time.
And so, first off, just winning comps wasn’t that impressive to me. I didn’t want to have that be a factor for what I was voting for, but I also felt like Kyland wasn’t making moves that were advancing his game. For example, when he put me up as a pawn and then threw Otev, that just blew up his relationship with me. It blew up his relationship with Derek X. I don’t know how it really impacted Chaddha and Tiffany, but I knew it wasn’t great for their game either. And I knew him taking Tiffany out wasn’t good for his game. It just didn’t really make that much sense to me. So even though he was winning comps, and that was impressive, I just felt like he wasn’t making that great of strategic moves for him to win.
AFTERBUZZ: When you were in the house and gave your last speech before the eviction vote, you said that Xavier is going to be $750K richer after this, and he must be playing a great game to win. How do you think that someone who was seen as such a threat from the get-go made it to the end and wasn’t instantly targeted when they got down to the final six?
CLAIRE: It just does have to be a good game. I think it’s tricky. I haven’t rewatched the season, so I don’t really know. I didn’t know about The Cookout when I was making that speech. I didn’t know that that was that tight of an alliance, but I knew that X was likely very well positioned with everyone that was remaining. He just was. He even had Alyssa. And before I left, Azah actually told me about the final three of her, Big D and X. She didn’t tell me about The Cookout, but I just knew that X had really positioned himself very, very well for the end game. I was targeting X since week three! I was trying to get him out, but I just never could get good pushback, and it’s because he was playing such a good social game. He is a very loyal player, and there’s a lot of power in not saying that much, and X never said that much, and that is such a strength in the game.
AFTERBUZZ: Now that you’re out of the house, is there anyone where you’ve talked to them, and it’s totally different talking to them just as a person and not strategically as a player?
CLAIRE: Getting to jury was really surreal for me because I realized, oh, Sarah Beth is just a really nice person. She just is very kind, very smart, and the same with Alyssa. Both of them I didn’t trust in the house, but I’m like, you are both such fantastic women, and we could have worked together in the game! Aw man, what could have been. I think that was the biggest mind shift for me leaving the house and being like, oh, I can just be friends with these people. I have no ill will towards anyone. Me and Big D have talked, and we’re good. Me and Kyland have talked, and we’re good. I’ve talked to most people, and it turns out, to get on the show, you just kind of have to be a nice person a little bit, so definitely, I feel good about everyone on this cast.
AFTERBUZZ: From what you’ve seen of the show so far, are there any moments that didn’t make the cut that you wished had?
CLAIRE: Ooh, man, I really haven’t seen that much. I think that from the first week from everything I’ve seen, just nothing’s captured. Nothing was on the show. And I know that I’ve talked to Derek, and he’s like, ‘Why do people like us? Like, we don’t have a personality on the show. People don’t see how funny you are; people don’t see how funny I am.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, I guess that’s true.’ So I guess it would have been nice to have seen everyone’s personality and a little bit more of everyone’s backstory, because everyone in that house has such an interesting backstory. Everyone was cast for a reason, and it would’ve been really nice to have seen a more fleshed-out story of each player as well. Plus, I wanted to see all the Frenchie chaos that actually went down, and I think I’m going to have to watch the live feeds to get that.
AFTERBUZZ: I talked to Whitney, and she said he was keeping everyone up until like three in the morning to talk game.
CLAIRE: Especially my room! So that first week, I was in the coral room, and it was me, Tiffany Kyland, and Travis. And so Kyland and Travis were the main affair that week, and they would come in at like 4:30 AM. I’m trying to lay low and not have Frenchie look at me, but we would be up so, so late–granted, me and Tiffany and Chadhda and Derek X would be up very, very late also by the end game. We do our best game talks at night for some reason–sorry to any live feeders. But it was a very hectic week.
AFTERBUZZ: Do you have any advice for future Big Brother players?
CLAIRE: I would say first off, just apply. Get on the show and do it. But I would definitely say my biggest piece of advice is–and this is not normal advice–try to be funny. People love Derek X in that house because he is just enjoyable to be around. Be a positive presence in the house, and people will just like you. But I would say one thing I tried to do, and I wish I had done it more, was always know where everyone is in the house. Never seclude yourself in a back room and not know where people are for like two hours because people’s patterns will just reveal who they’re working with. That is why The Cookout was so smart. They never got together until day 65 or 56 or something. Always know where people are, always know who’s talking to who, because alliances will just reveal themselves to you. That is my biggest advice. Also, physically train. Win competitions. They don’t matter, but it’s important.
Want more Big Brother? Check out interviews with the entire cast on the website now!
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.
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