‘The Circle’s’ Calvin Kiing Crooks details his dramatic elimination, gameplay strategy, strong alliances, and downtime following the Season 3 finale
AFTERBUZZ: What does free time look like in The Circle?
CALVIN: What free time looks like is what you make of it. One day, they had me in there with some apples, and I tried juggling them. Personally, I did a lot of reading that they didn’t show. I get why they didn’t add it. No one wants to see just someone reading a book; they want to see someone doing something crazy. I was also playing beer pong with water-filled cups; there was nothing else to do! You’re isolated; no one comes in, there’s no cuts, you’re just there on your own. It’s a big thing, and it’s very hard on the brain.
AFTERBUZZ: Speaking on mental health, how was your mental health when you left the show?
CALVIN: When I left, I felt fine. I went straight back into work. I can’t speak for everyone else. Me, personally, it really didn’t hit me until around 3 to 4 months until the show was about to go out.
AFTERBUZZ: How did your gameplay strategy change throughout your time on the show?
CALVIN: When I first came into the game, I planned to talk to all the women and befriend all the guys. When I actually went in there, good luck to season 4 and season 5; it was so hard. The Circle changes every day; that’s the beauty of it; every day literally is a different day. The Circle asked me on numerous occasions, “Hey Cal, what’s your game plan today?” I didn’t have a game plan. I just winged it. I just figured out who I liked as far as vibes, and I just stuck to that. My only gameplay strategy was numbers, I’m good with numbers, and I figured if they were good, I’d stand a chance.
AFTERBUZZ: You did have really great numbers, but it seems like things took a turn when the new players entered.
CALVIN: Absolutely. When the new people came in, I think they wanted to leave their stamp on the game and make sure they were heard. I think they did really well, and I have to give them credit. Watching it back, I was a big character in The Circle, same with Kai. Like Matt (catfishing as Ashley) said, “I can’t go over the Queen, so I had to get the King.” I totally understand because If it was reversed and I was the influencer, I would have gotten rid of him first. And then, got Jackson out too.
AFTERBUZZ: When tensions started rising between Kai and Nick, how did you remain unbiased and continue your relationships with both of them?
CALVIN: What people don’t understand fully is that you really don’t know anything. I just thought that Nick knew that I was talking to Kai, and I thought he had an understanding to leave her alone. Like me and Isabella, I knew Nick had a thing for Isabella, so I was like, alright, let me make sure she’s alright for Nick’s sake, and that’s what I did.
AFTERBUZZ: How do you take these tensions from the show and let them go in the real world?
CALVIN: With Nick and Kai, they’re fine, really, everyone’s fine. We’ve all just been anxious for the show to come out, and we understand there is editing involved. But we said what we said, and we have an understanding that we didn’t know each other back then. We know each other now.
AFTERBUZZ: After your elimination in episode seven, if you had showed up and Kai was a catfish, what would have changed for you?
CALVIN: My face would’ve changed first, I mean, damn. If it was, let’s say, Kim Kardashian, I would’ve been like, alright, this ain’t too bad. If it was her boyfriend or something, it would’ve just been so awkward. Something, when I saw Kai’s profile, I just knew that she was real. I just knew that it was her. I just trusted my gut. If I get played, I get played, but I’m pretty sure she is who she says she is. And she was.
AFTERBUZZ: What ultimately made you choose Nick over Kai when given the popularity boost?
CALVIN: Just looking at the ratings, my personal opinion was that Kai was top dog; she was already safe. She had the wolf pack, Ruksana, Daniel, and I thought she was fine. I thought if I gave Nick the boost, he’d be up there with Kai, too.
AFTERBUZZ: Finally, what are some words of encouragement you have for future Circle players?
CALVIN: My advice is, if you’re going in as yourself or a catfish, go in with what’s best for you. Don’t think about what will happen on the outside; they’re not in there with you. Everyone would do everything differently but do what’s best for you. You’re the person, at the end of the day, who is going to possibly win 100k. The person hating on you is not even in contention of winning money and having that great experience. Again, I have to thank Netflix. They approached me via Instagram, tons of people applied. God is so good; it’s just a blessing to even be on that show. If you do get that big opportunity, it’s your shot, so just take it.
AFTERBUZZ: How has The Circle shaped your life so far?
CALVIN: I was born in the UK, raised in America; I’ve seen a lot of things. You know, with The Circle, everything’s been so positive. A lot of people have been saying, “Cal, you’re so genuine.” I’m glad that I’m not the stereotype that some people may perceive me as. I’m not that person; I’m not gonna pretend. The only thing that has really changed for me is the warm messages, the inspiration to keep going. You may have noticed my “Black Lives Matter” flag on The Circle; I’m speaking out for people. I’m never too big or too busy to say hi to someone, these two teens got out of their car in the street, and they had seen the show. They called their mom, and I had a conversation with her for like, ten minutes, and I’m a mama’s boy, so I loved it. I truly appreciate all the love.