Big Brother has cast change due to positive COVID-19 test
This is the kind of Big Brother twist that nobody wanted to see. One of the cast members for season 23 of the CBS reality show has had to bow out just days after the cast was announced (and days before the game begins) due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Christie Valdiserri, a 27-year-old professional dancer from California, was part of the cast announcement on July 1, yet will not be part of the cast that enters the house on the live premiere Wednesday after receiving a positive test result. She will instead be replaced by an alternate, Claire Rehfuss. Rehfuss is a 25-year-old AI engineer from New York City.
Valdiserri addressed Big Brother fans with the news in a video posted on Twitter. "Hey, guys," Valdiserri begins in the video. "So, I don't want to be sharing this news, but I tested positive for COVID and I have no idea how I got it. I have the vaccine and I've been following all the guidelines up to this point. I have absolutely no symptoms. I feel perfectly fine. So I'm really grateful for that, but it's really frustrating because I won't be playing in Big Brother this summer."
Valdiserri then compares the adversity she is facing currently in being removed from the cast to her decision to bring about more awareness when it comes to alopecia. "I just have to say that when you're faced with adversity, just telling myself that it's for a bigger reason and I want to believe that, and I don't know the reason yet," says Valdiserri in her announcement. "But I have had a roller coaster of emotions the past 48 hours, and as I've been reading through all the comments online, whether they're good or bad, I just have to say that I have put myself out there and shared this vulnerability of being bald and all the comments, good or bad, are affecting everybody else that also is bald and experiences this vulnerability, so spread love. And whether you are just finding out about alopecia or you know what alopecia is, you know that we're unstoppable and I'm going to bounce back in one way or another."
As for the woman taking her place in the house, Rehfuss describes herself as "clever, driven and spunky," and says in her bio that she was one of the first women to graduate with a Data Science Engineering degree from the University of Michigan." She also notes that "I've written code that's been on satellites, used in national election campaigns, and by many of the top fortune 500 companies" and "I competed in speed programming competitions in college and have placed in a 20,000 person Hackathon before!"
She'll need to get up to speed in the game of Big Brother as well, with the game set to begin on Wednesday.
Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.