She may own several businesses in Oregon, but Kail Harbick’s business in the Big Brother house is over, thanks to an aborted revolt against America’s Player, Eric. In her exit interview with EW.com, the 37-year-old told us how she got into an alliance so early, why she knew right away she’d have problems with Dick, and whether her time in the house changed her views about homosexuality.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You seemed surprised by your eviction. When Amber had her public meltdown, screaming at Eric, did you think, ”I’m safe!”
KAIL HARBICK: Absolutely. [Laughs] And even Zach came up to me and said, ”Well, looks like you got your free card out of jail.” But about two or three hours before the live show, my gut was telling me that something was not going right. Jen came up and said, ”Kail, something doesn’t seem right to me.” I didn’t want to believe it, and I didn’t believe it. I said, ”Now who’s paranoid, Jen! No way! Dustin’s gonna keep his word to me. He’s my fourth vote.” I started to watch for it, and kept telling myself, ”No, they wouldn’t be lying to me. Honesty is so important to Amber.” [Laughs] I’m assuming [the swing vote to evict me] came from Dustin, but I have no idea. I don’t know what went wrong there. I’m dying to find out!
Your original four-person alliance went terribly wrong fast. Do you think an early alliance could have worked with different people?
Yes. Mike was honest and true to the end. My suspicions that things were going bad was when Nick was with Daniele all the time, and I went, ”Oh no, a girl’s gonna come in the way of this.” But it may have worked with other people.
You said, ”a girl’s gonna come in the way.” Is that why you didn’t pick any women for your alliance?
No, the reason was Zach approached me right away and kept hounding me for a two-person alliance, and I just did not feel comfortable with that at all. But being the first HOH and having everyone telling me there were all these other alliances going on, I was afraid I was going to be left out. I went with my gut feeling, which was Mike; I had a feeling I could trust this guy, and he’s honest, so I approached him and then had to satisfy Zach at the same time. Then Zach was already talking to Nick, so I brought in Mike, Zach brought in Nick, and that’s how the four of us became a group.
At the beginning, it seemed like Dick was desperately trying to seize the common ground with both of you being parents. Did you initially think you were going to be friends?
No. I knew right away that I did not want to be friends with him. I kept asking this question: Out of 13 other houseguests, why is he choosing me to want to get to know? He was shooting questions at me like bullets: ”What about this, what about that?” It scared me. I’m not used to telling my whole life story in one hour to a guy, let alone him, and my walls went up. And after he kept trying and trying and trying, then it turned to rage with him, and he was very upset with me because I would not open up about myself to him or talk game. I think he took that really personally.
After that, he just went after you unrelentingly.
It was horrible, very stressful, I had to walk on eggshells. I knew that I could not say anything to him, because he twisted every single word that I said, and it was very uncomfortable. So I just stayed away from him. Fortunately, I’m almost 40 and was able to handle it, and he was very lucky that Jen is very streetwise at 23 and was able to handle it. I am now wondering who is gonna be his next target, and how they’re going to handle it now that I’m gone and no longer the buffer. Now that he’s kind of called a truce with Jen, it’ll be interesting to see how the other houseguests handle him, or if he calms down or not. To me, he was escalating. It’s not strategy with him, that is his personality. I really believe that you cannot go into a house and live with people 24/7 and be phony. Your true self comes out no matter what, you just can’t do it for more than a couple days.
Did you ever complain about him to the producers?
I am not allowed to talk about production. Sorry.
When he came to you and Jen wanting a truce this week, did you secretly want to punch him? Or did you actually think you could put it behind you?
I was never going to give him a verbal, ”Let’s work together.” I gave him head nods, like, ”Yeah, I agree with the way you’re thinking, I understand what you’re saying.” But as far as ever thinking that I was going to be loyal to him or whatever, I didn’t want to go that far with him. The position I was in, I had to play week by week and do anything I could to survive the week. I didn’t have the luxury, for lack of better words, to think three or four weeks down the road.
If you had stayed, though, would you have kept your alliance with Dick?
I would have stuck with Daniele. In turn that would have sort of involved Evil, yeah. I wouldn’t have told him anything, or guaranteed or promised or shared anything with him, though! He’s a loudmouth, he tells everything.
NEXT PAGE: ”I cried on Dustin’s shoulder a lot. And he also made my coffee every morning…. [But] my beliefs have not changed, no.”
You said that if you had made it this week, you think you would have been safe in the house for a few weeks. But had you thought that the week before?
No, it was just this last week. This last week I felt if I could dodge this bullet, I could probably go for about three or four more weeks. And this was the week that I had the most fun, because Evil was off of my back and I was just getting over being homesick, too! So I had everything going for me.
So is Zach completely on his own right now? It seems like no one talks to him, so what does he do, just wander the house talking to himself?
Yeah, he pretty much does! And he kind of annoys everybody. He’s just kind of there.
That said, with the two factions turning against each other, he may be able to coast for a while under the radar.
It seems like is no one wants to waste their HOH on him, because they think he’s harmless. It will take a houseguest who wants to play it safe and not rock the boat to put him up, and then he’ll go. I don’t expect any strong competitor putting him up, it’ll be a weaker player.
It seemed like you were pretty friendly with Dustin. Were you shocked by his harsh farewell videotape to you?
I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but he had told me, ”I said my goodbye to you, but you’re not leaving, so I didn’t say anything.” But I’m assuming because I’ve been on the block two times before, that tape was one from earlier on. I don’t know for sure. And I was still kind of in shock after being evicted, so I didn’t really hear those messages. I remember the b-word came out of his mouth, and I was like, ”That’s not too cool!” But I didn’t hear enough to know if that was one from this week or one from a past week.
He seemed like he could have been referring to your anti-homosexuality beliefs. Did you ever talk to Dustin about his being gay?
Yeah, there was a time out in the yard with him, myself, and another houseguest, I don’t remember who, and we were just hitting him with questions all the time. ”What’s this? What’s that like? Do you do this? Do you do that?” He was laughing, and we were laughing, and I got an education. [Laughs] But I cried on Dustin’s shoulder a lot. And he also made my coffee every morning. We were both the first ones to wake up, and he knew exactly how I liked it, and he knew it reminded me of my husband, because he does that for me every morning. So we really did get along really well.
Did your views on homosexuality change after being friends with him?
My beliefs have not changed, no. But I look at the heart and not actions, and not their actions and then their heart. You can be living your life perfectly and have an ugly heart, and I wouldn’t agree with that either. He was so nice and kind and compassionate. He has a few little quirks that were starting to grate on some of the houseguests’ nerves, but he’s a good guy. He joked about himself that he’s a 45-year-old man stuck in a 21-year-old body. He’s very mature.
I need to clear one thing up that’s been nagging at me: You say you employ half your town in your restaurants and hotel with a lounge. So what happens — do people just take turns waiting on each other?
Our business is the summer season, that’s when we really need the staff for all the visitors and tourists we wait on. We live right on the river, so there’s a lot of river rafting, and a golf course, and hiking. And then in the wintertime, we scale back.