Bayleigh Dayton on the double standard for Black players on Big Brother: All-Stars
Bayleigh Dayton tells it like it is. It’s why she is so great to watch on TV. Unfortunately for her, however, it doesn’t mesh well with the new don’t-make-waves and get-along-to-go-along culture of Big Brother. As a result, she was unanimously voted out of the Big Brother: All-Stars house on Thursday’s live eviction episode. That’s the bad news. The good news (for us, at least) is that it meant Bayleigh was able to call into EW Live (SiriusXM, channel 109) to talk all about her time inside the house.
Does Bayleigh still think Tyler’s offer to leave the game was not genuine and just for show? What does she make now of the big blowup with Christmas? And is she glad or sad that she was voted out one spot before the jury began? We got into all that and a whole lot more with Bayleigh, including the double standard that Black women face in the game. Read on for our interview with the fan favorite.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you doing on the day after, Bayleigh?
BAYLEIGH DAYTON: You know what? I'm okay. But you already know. I have a lot to say.
You got voted out one spot before the jury. Is that a good thing, because you can go home to your husband and family?
Yes! Everybody knows how obsessed I am with Swaggy and I've already been first in the jury once. There's no need to repeat that, so I am okay. I wish I could have gone all the way, but it was pre-jury or bust for me.
Have you talked to Swaggy yet?
No. I haven't gotten to talk to him and you know, I'm ready.
What I love about watching you in this game is that you play old school Big Brother in that this has turned into a game in which more and more it seems like people try to always tell other people what they want to hear. What’s so refreshing about you is that — not unlike Janelle, actually — you have no problem letting folks know exactly where you — and they — stand. I love watching it, but is it impossible to play that way anymore?
I genuinely feel like it is. had hoped this game — because there were so many old school players — I'm like, cool, we can maybe hit a happy medium. But because of the way that this game has leaned, it's almost like that's not respected anymore. Like, the more lying and manipulating you do, the more you're respected in that type of house. But for me, I admire the mental gymnastics of the original Big Brother game. I feel like some of that should be brought back.
Obviously, a lot happened this week. You mentioned at one point that you thought Tyler’s offer to go up on the block and go home to save you and Da’Vonne was not genuine and was maybe just for show. Do you still feel that way?
Tyler and I had a talk before I left the house and he told me that he thinks that I'll be pleasantly surprised. I haven't gotten to watch anything or see how he actually felt, but I really hope that it was genuine because I've been manipulated a lot by Tyler in these past two, three years, whatever. I just hope that that's one thing that he would be genuine about.
Tell me about the one-on-one? What led to that and what was the result of that?
So Tyler and I, it's really, really weird because a lot of people don't understand it. [He] and I have like this tip-toe relationship around each other to where we're both scared to talk to each other, but we both need to talk to each other. So the whole week I didn't want to talk to him. He didn't want to talk to me. And it was Day that finally sat him down and was like, “Look, I am sick of this. She loves you. You love her. We need to talk about this because I know that she really cares about you. She wants to believe you, this, this, and that.” And then he finally was like, “Okay, let's sit down.” So we had our talk and it was a good one. I'm happy.
Did the info that he was Christmas’ ride or die change anything for you?
It's really hard because it kind of does — it makes it worse because he was Christmas’ ride or die. And they've already made that connection since week one. So him offering to put himself on the block for me and Day, knowing that his number one in the game would be number one-less without him seems a little bit like you tried to clear your conscience knowing that she was never going to throw you up. There's no way that she would have. So it kind of seemed like he was protected on all aspects, which is another typical Tyler move. He is a really good game player for things like that.
The big blowup between Christmas and Da’Vonne started over Christmas using that info of your untouchable against you. And Christmas was arguing that it wasn’t personal and there is no difference between game and person, while Da’Vonne was saying that there is no clear separation between those two things in the house when you use something against someone. What do you think?
There was a little house discussion and it was a consensus because I didn't want to vocalize it because I'm known, from Tyler, as being somebody that plays pretty personal. So I was like, I'm not gonna say anything. The house decided that there's a difference between gameplay and personal gameplay. So Christmas and I had a personal relationship, she slept next to me. We did laundry together. We talked about things on a personal level every single day. So she took one section from one conversation that we had and twisted it and made it something to fit her narrative. So she was wrong. She admitted she was wrong. She eventually apologized. And that's that. But yeah, it was pretty personal. And I think she wasn't expecting the outcome. I think she thought everybody would pat her on the back for doing what she did. And when the house didn't respond the way that she wanted, she backtracked a little,
I want to ask you about when you and Christmas were getting into it in round 2, because this is an issue that extends well beyond that one argument that you guys had. She stormed off, she put her hands up near your face, and you pointed out that if you'd been the one to do that, you would have been labeled a “ghetto ass Black girl.” Talk to me a little bit about that double standard and how that is yet an additional thing on top of everything else that women of color have to overcome in what is a very social game. And one in which people like to align with other people they feel comfortable with, or they can more easily relate. That’s something that you have to deal with that a lot of other players do not.
Yes. You're hitting all the nails on the head because Big Brother is a social game. It's human nature to connect with people that you feel comfortable with. So [for] me, as a Black woman, I have to go out of my way to make people feel comfortable because we already don't have the same backgrounds or the same experiences. So a lot of the time that is dumbing down my experience or letting other people feel comfortable being their complete self, knowing that I kind of have to play catch-up. Another thing, the reason why this was such a particular incident with Christmas is because we've had these conversations. And so for her to start clapping at me and Day, putting her hand in our face, it was more of a slap in the face because you already know that we're held to a higher standard.
You're making it a double standard by you being able to do that. And I broke it down even further because it is true. If I were to do that, I would be called ghetto. If she does it, she's just, you know, being loud or whatever. There was an excuse for it, but there is such a negative connotation with the word ghetto and me being Black and there's so much more packaged behind it. So I think it was a clear double standard. I think she was ignorant to the fact that those rules don't apply to her. And some of the things that she did was just micro-aggression and it's fine.
I remember watching Survivor: Marquesas in 2002 and Sean Rector and Vecepia, who were two Black contestants, were having a conversation where they essentially said, “We have to play a whole extra game that these other players don’t, because they can be themselves. And we have to be careful in terms of what we show and how we act.” Do you always feel that when you're in the house?
Absolutely. Absolutely. And you go into the house knowing that and preparing for that. So it's not like I can say “Woe is me,” 'cause I signed up for it. I knew going into it that was going to be the case. I knew going into it the first time that was going to be the case, but it is very exhausting. So as much the Big Brother game is already so mentally exhausting, that added layer is a lot.
Did you have any concerns about going back to play? Because, obviously, you know what we saw last season and there have been a lot of other seasons of Big Brother where we've had a lot of problematic stuff in the house in terms of race. Were you hesitant at all to go back in to play this game that you love to play?
Yes and no, absolutely. I would say aware is the word because I wanted to go back in for that particular reason. I think if anybody has the discipline and the prowess to be able to do it, it's me. So I'm like, okay, I want to be able to be that representation. I will go and I'll fight hard. I know what I'm dealing with now. And I know that I can come back 10 times better. And one thing I will say is that all the houseguests are comfortable with me, all the houseguests love me and socially I thrive. I think my social game is probably one of the best. It's just the added layer is a lot of pressure. And the game itself is just difficult. So I'm happy that I went back in and obviously my goal this time was for there to be a Black winner to come out of 22. I don't know if that's still going to be a possibility, but you know, I can at least try.
What was your reaction that there was this other big alliance of Cody, Memphis, Tyler, Christmas, Dani, and Nicole called the Committee and that the Slick Six was really more of a side or backup alliance for the folks that were in both? At least that’s the way it looked to viewers.
I could not agree more with the audience. Even when it formed, Day and I from the jump were like, "This doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel like we're a priority." You know, Cody's laughing and joking. Tyler and Dani barely say anything to us. You're aware then when you see the other alliances that are just out in the open. Like, these people did not hide. They were in rooms together. They were discussing things, openly meeting, all of that, you know? So I wasn't too surprised, but it was just interesting to see when they formed.
Tell me what you were trying to do by asking Christmas at that veto ceremony to reveal her untouchable. Do you think that was going to work?
I shook her up. I did — she was so shook. I asked her that and I was so happy because the thing is that she tries to make it look like there was a one-sided conversation and I just came and spilled my life and heart. That wasn't it. We had a conversation, and later she came and was just like, “Okay, my untouchable is Ian,” and immediately I know you're lying. Okay. But does Ian know that you're using his name and you're throwing his game under the bus? I guarantee you that he doesn't. So if you're going to call me out, I'm going to call you out too. And we can play that game.
You told Julie that it was a rough experience last time you played. What about this time?
You know what's crazy? I had a great time. There were things that, don't get me wrong — this was a rough week and there were rough conversations to be had — but I feel like the conversations that were had needed to be had, and I feel like this experience was actually a little bit healing for me compared to the last one.
Would you do it again?
Duh! It sucks because you go and then you're like, “Oh, you know…” but when it comes to Big Brother, it just has a special place in my heart, you know? So it's like, how can I not if they were to call me? I couldn't say no.
Do you think Da’Vonne stands a chance in that house against that big majority alliance?
I have a hope that she'll be okay because there are a few people within that alliance that genuinely do value her and don't want to go after her. But as you see, they made somebody who wasn't aligned with us do the dirty work, you know? So it's hard, because the way that the game is played, she should be valuable. And I wish she would be. But this game is different now. They sweep people. They want to clean house. I know that if she doesn't win — or Enzo, David or Kevin — they're coming after her,
Is there anyone you made a relationship or friendship with that surprised you?
Enzo. Enzo is my favorite person in the whole entire world. I was not expecting that at all. I didn't know what to expect when I met him. I'm like, you know, the old Brigade — I've seen it. I thought he was going to be such a bro, anti-relationships with girls. He literally was my favorite human, besides Day.