Celebrity Big Brother's Shannon Elizabeth Says Omarosa Is 'Playing a Character' on TV
As a self described super fan of the show, the American Pie actress knew how to strategize and what’d it take to win challenges. But after winning the first two competitions of the series, she had a huge target on her back and the members of her alliance turned on her.
On Friday night, the houseguests decided to evict Elizabeth in a near unanimous vote.
Elizabeth gave a behind-the-scenes look at her eviction to PEOPLE, in which she says she was “backstabbed,” and what she really thought about controversial contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman.
PEOPLE: How are you feeling after the eviction?
Elizabeth: Now, in this moment, I feel fine. I’m much better. Just being able to see the sun rise and have fresh air and a Starbucks — everything is better.
You were such a strong competitor throughout the series. Do you think that actually worked to your disadvantage?
Yes and no. I mean, I guess that it did. We made a deal before the first HOH (head of the household) that a girl needed to win. When James was staying up there and every girl dropped, I was like, “I need to win, I can’t throw it to a guy.” If James had dropped and Keshia and Brandi were still up there, I would have thrown it to them. It’s a short season so there’s not a lot of time to lay back and play weak. It’s going to start going fast because there’s eight people in the house and one week left until the finale starting tomorrow. So a lot of stuff is going to happen somehow. I don’t know how they’re going to get rid of people.
Hindsight is 20/20. I could’ve played it completely differently and the results could have been the same but maybe then I wouldn’t have a HOH and a veto win under my belt, maybe my strategy would’ve just looked like I was a weak player, people wouldn’t know about my charity, like who knows? There’s all kinds of ways it could have gone but I’m still really happy about the way it turned out.
It’s tough because it’s a short season so that’s different gameplay and strategy than any other season we’ve seen so it’s hard to know. In other seasons, it’s easy to lay back for the first half of the game. That’s what Dan Gheesling did, he played weak so that nobody was really seeing him as a threat. But you have three months in the house to work on that persona, we had three and a half weeks. So I’m just happy that I had a strong showing and I got to play in every challenge which was amazing. For me, that’s what Big Brother is — it’s all these amazing challenges and I’m really excited.
Who do you feel betrayed by most?
Ross and Marissa for sure. They proposed that final four deal, I made it happen, I was staying loyal to it and they didn’t. They didn’t for absolutely no reason, so why even propose the deal? So I just can’t respect some of the things that I keep hearing about it and I need to go watch the episodes and see what was really happening. I was really trying to play an honest, loyal game with them and they all just backstabbed me.
You and Marissa have known each other for a while —
No, we haven’t. Yes, we were both on Dancing with the Stars but we weren’t friends. We only saw each other on show nights so we didn’t have each other’s number, and we didn’t have a relationship outside of that show. So we were really getting to know each other in the house for the first time.
Brandi was the only one who didn’t vote for you to be evicted. What did you make of that?
I guess she was just throwing out a sympathy vote. It doesn’t really mean anything to me. I hear it has caused a little chaos in the house, which is good. I was trying to show her that Ross and Marissa weren’t going to have their back and that she and Ariadna were going to need help if they were going to make it to the end but they didn’t want to listen to me. So they might find that out still, but it’ll be too late.
You and Omarosa had a lot of ups and downs in the house. What did you think of her?
Omarosa has two sides to her. She has this persona, this evil character for reality shows that she has built up and so she really plays into that. Then she has this other side of her when the makeup comes off and the dress comes off — she is a minister, she’s married to a pastor and she’s just real. That’s a beautiful side of her.
She’s very, very intelligent. She knows what she’s doing, she’s got a lot of knowledge of politics and the world and what’s going on and that side of her we were all fascinated with. I think everybody was surprised to see that side of her. Nobody knew that existed because all of these years that we think we’ve gotten to know her, we’ve gotten to know her on reality shows. So you assume that’s her reality. But she’s really playing a character.
Instead of making a case to your houseguests about why you should stay before the vote, you used that time to tell people about your charity, Animal Avengers. What went into that decision?
A big reason for me wanting to come on the show was to help the animals. I wanted people to know about what’s happening in the world, what’s happening with poaching all over the world and that if these animals start going extinct, you’re taking a chain out of the ecosystem and the whole thing can collapse. Even though somebody here in Los Angeles might say, “Oh, well I’ve never seen a rhino and if a rhino goes extinct it won’t affect me” — it absolutely can affect you. By losing one of these links in the chain, there’s a knock on affect that can affect everyone in the world. In the end, there was no point in making a plea for myself to the people, the house, when I knew that there was no changing their minds. For me, the win was making a plea for the animals and getting that message out into the world because that is my mission in life. The rest of it is just a job and it’s just fun but my mission is the animals.
Do you have any predictions for who might win?
I think James has a really good chance because it’s one week. He just needs to keep himself safe unless they find a way to backdoor him. Omarosa is not going to come after James for this next eviction.
I think Metta has a good chance because everybody has waited too long to get him out and now he kind of wants to play the game. He has gotten this far, he’s kind of in it, he’s having fun with it now because he is a competitor. So even though he doesn’t know the game, we’ve been kind of trying to teach him and he wasn’t a threat. So there is strategy behind that even though he doesn’t realize it.
Now that you’ll be on the jury to select who will win, how are you going to make your decision?
It depends on who is in that final two. If there’s somebody there that I respect the game they play, and I feel like they earned it, then that’s going to get my vote. But right now, from everything I’m hearing Ross and Marissa and Ari and Brandi, I’m not respecting the game they play. What I said to them directly is, “It’s fine if I feel like you guys turned on me because I got caught trying to do something,” but I didn’t. I didn’t turn on them, I didn’t have all of these alliances behind my back that they were trying to accuse me of, I actually had their backs. Had I won HOH this week, I wasn’t putting any of them up. I was staying loyal so I don’t respect what they’ve been trying to do for the last two evictions.
Had you stayed, who would you have put up for eviction?
Well we had made an agreement that Omarosa was going to go this week. Frankly, I didn’t want to be the one to put her up because of everything that had happened. I wanted to be able to say that I didn’t turn on her like that because even when it was her and Keshia, I was still lobbying for Keshia to go. I didn’t see Omarosa as a threat to me. Even though we had words, she wasn’t a threat. But I agreed to stay loyal to that because Ross made it clear in the meeting that we all had, “Anybody who goes against this and doesn’t stick with the plan will not get my vote in the end if I’m on the jury.” So I knew I had to stick with that plan to go after Omarosa. I wouldn’t have had a choice. That would’ve been what I had to do.
What will you miss most about the show?
The challenges and the games were so much fun. To me, that’s Big Brother. These classic games that we see season after season and there were so many more I really, really wanted to play. So I’m bummed that I didn’t get to do the wall last night because that’s one I really wanted to do.
What was your takeaway from this experience?
There’s so many. I’m not even sure how to answer that right now because this series isn’t done for me. We still have the finale next week, I still have to watch the show and I haven’t seen any episodes. I still want to watch the feeds. But generally, the experience as a whole has been great for me. I’ve had a lot of fun and I’m such a huge fan so to be able to be a part of it was a dream come true for me.
It’s everything you want it to be, but it’s a mixture of emotions. For us, because it was a quick season and we didn’t have the backyard to go into, I think it made it even harder. Because at least in a three-month season you can go outside and get some fresh air and get some sunshine and relax and we didn’t even have that. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions for everybody.
Celebrity Big Brother airs Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
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Published Date: Monday, February 19th, 2018 | 06:45 AM