By Dalton Ross
August 14, 2020 at 12:10 PM EDT

Keesha Smith was America's favorite houseguest when she played back on Big Brother 10, but she did not prove popular enough with her current group of houseguests. Keesha became the first player evicted from Big Brother: All-Stars when she was voted out on Thursday's live show, and to make matters even worse, she did not even get a single vote to stay — being eliminated in a unanimous 13-0 tally.

What went wrong? Why was Keesha unable to make connections to protect herself early in the game? Does she feel betrayed by anyone in particular? We asked the eliminated All-Star all that and more about her brief stay inside the Big Brother house, and the seemingly final goodbye from host Julie Chen that makes it sound like she will not have a chance to participate in a Battle Back competition. Keesha also reveals that she wanted to enter the Safety Suite and could not. Why? Read on to find out.

Keesha Smith
Credit: Best Possible Screen Grab/CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Before we get into what happened in the house, tell me about the house before the house. What was it like having to quarantine for two weeks before you could even step into the quarantined Big Brother house?

KEESHA SMITH: Oh my gosh. The two weeks before were absolutely crazy, but you know, it wasn't that different because I think right now the world is quarantining. So I didn't feel that different until I actually got into the house.

So what happened, Keesha? You're in there for a week and now you're talking to me.

I know, boo! I think that just going in and the excitement of everything…. I have regrets, I should have went and talked to Cody the first night, and I didn't because I was afraid if I talked to him that that would put me out there and make me a target. So I laid low and I shouldn't have laid so low.

It's interesting, Keesha, because I cover Survivor and their last season was an all-winners season, and some of the players that had played a long time ago showed up and they were like, “Whoa, the pace of this game is totally different!” And that really surprised them. Maybe they thought they could lay low for a little bit, and then realized things were already moving. Did you notice that having been away for over a decade on Big Brother that it was a different game?

Absolutely. It moved really fast. I get into the house, I'm still trying to adjust, and everything's going so fast. I'm like, okay, I'm still trying to take everything in. I'm trying to take in all the people around me. I'm trying to take in being in a house after 12 years. So I'm like, “Okay, I'll just wait to talk to him.” And that was a huge mistake.

I mean, in hindsight, when you're in there and there's so much going on, you just do the best that you can do at that moment. But it was a lot to take in so fast. And, as you said, the game was just moving so fast. And I feel like before, we had more time to adjust. You had more time to think about your strategy, more time to think about what you're going to do to maybe even get to know the person. I did not know Cody at all, so I think that in itself made me a target.

Another problem is that a lot of the newer players all know each other, even outside of the house from doing events and stuff. So maybe it’s a little harder for an old-school player to have those connections.

Definitely. They all knew each other, I felt like. And if you were from an older season, you didn't have that advantage, so it was much harder for us.

The vote was 13-0 to evict you. Were there any votes in particular that surprised you — people you thought you might have in your corner that you didn’t?

No, because at the end of the day, I know who was on my side, and everyone right now is just playing it low key. Nobody wants to stand out, so we knew the whole house was going to vote a certain way. Nobody's ready to draw those lines yet. It's only the first week. Honestly, I would have been shocked if somebody would have given me their vote.

So even though you had a sense that people like Janelle or Kaysar maybe wanted to back you, at the same time, if the votes are going a certain way, they have to go with the flow, right?

Absolutely. And I completely understand that — you know, they're still in there, they're still playing the game. So no hard feelings. I absolutely understand why they did that.

By the time that you guys got to the live vote, did you know that it was going to be you?

I absolutely knew that it was going to be me. I think even when I stood up to give my speech, I went blank because when I saw their faces, it was just reconfirmed. So I was not surprised at all.

Why do you think you were unable to make the connections you needed to protect yourself?

I'm not sure. Actually, I don't understand where I went wrong with talking to people, because everyone that I went to was like, “I love you so much. It’s so hard. I don't want you or Kevin to go.” No one had anything negative to say. “Okay, so you love both of us, but what does that mean?” Like, someone still needs to leave, and I don't understand where I messed up with that connection.

Did you ever consider going into the Safety Suite? It looks like you guys only had one hour, they had a countdown clock on the wall, so you had to make a relatively quick decision and think about a lot of different factors. What was going through your head during that hour in terms of whether you were going to use it or not?

Okay, so let me explain the Safety Suite. I really want to explain this. So, they give us an hour. Janelle is sitting downstairs and she's like, “Keesha, I think that Cody's coming after me.” And I'm like, “Really? You think so?” She's like, “Absolutely.” I'm like, “Hmm, ‘cause I get the feeling that he's coming after me!” So we go back and forth. We have this whole discussion and we're like, “Do we use it? Do we not use it?” Because, at the same time, you may think that no one else has used it, so you don't want to stand out from the rest of the house. You're hoping still to blend in. So we wait, we have many discussions going back and forth. We go upstairs, I decide I'm going to go in and talk to Cody. I'm going to have a quick talk with him and see where his head's at.

I go into the room, I'm talking to him by this time, and Janelle and Kaysar have not used their safety pass. As I'm walking out of the room, there's literally only a couple minutes left on the clock. Kaysar runs overs to use his safety pass. Then Janelle's like, “Oh, you're using yours?” So she runs over and swipes it. Honestly, I had left mine downstairs, huge mistake. There was literally, like, a minute left. I did not have time to run downstairs and grab it and come upstairs and swipe it because I definitely would have swiped it if I knew that both of them were using it.

Oh my God! They did it with seconds to spare. I mean seconds. Oh, wow. Yeah. So as soon as they went in there and then as soon as Kaysar made both of them safe, did you have a really bad feeling at that point?

Oh, I know. I honestly thought that it would be me and Memphis going up, and I went to Memphis the next morning and I said, “You do understand what this means?” And he was like, “No, what are you talking about?” I was like, “Well, I know for sure I'm going to go up. I'm going up. And I think you're going to be sitting beside me.”

You said at the very end in your last little speech before you left the house that you wished most people well. Who did you not wish well to?

It was mainly because the people that weren’t voting for me — the people that ultimately decided to keep Kevin. I had about five people on my side and, obviously, someone started the Kevin train, so everybody else jumped on board. But whoever started that, which I'm not sure about yet, it was more directed towards them.

You mentioned to Julie that Cody and Enzo said they’d give you a heads up if you were going. What happened there? It sounds like you never got that heads up.

When you're up on the block, everybody acts like you have the plague. And especially when they figure out that you're the one that's leaving. You can always tell this because they start avoiding you. People don't come near you. The only people that really truly are around you are people that genuinely care about you at this point, because other people are just like, “Yeah, she's outta here. I don't want any association with her at all.”

I was really disappointed mainly in Enzo because he said, “Listen, Keesha, no matter what, I'm not going to let you just walk out of here not knowing. I will give you a heads up. I will be honest with you.” Another one I'm disappointed in is Ian. I thought I had Ian locked down. I spent so much time beside him. I was really working on Ian on such a personal level because he's such a smart guy. And I'm like, if I can get this guy on my corner, I'm going to be good to go. So I don't know what happened there.

The tide, unfortunately, turned against you. And you had that conversation with Julie after you were voted out. What I took away from that is when she said goodbye to you, that that sounded pretty final. A lot of times in these recent seasons there's been that Battle Back competition for a chance to get back in the house. But I guess that’s not the case this season.

I know, I'm so sad. I really wanted another chance to go into the house. I mean, I feel like now I'm ready mode.

Was it nice to at least not have your birthday in the Big Brother house this time?

It definitely was nice not to be fighting on my birthday. I will say that.

You must have had your birthday in quarantine when you were waiting to go in, right?

I did. I had my birthday with just one other person and there was no fighting.

Can I ask you this? Do you know Tyler's name yet?

[Laughs] You mean Taylor? You know, the guy with the curly hair? It's embarrassing that everyone caught that.

What was it like coming out of the house? You have to have the mask on and you’ve got to go to a chair far away from Julie. I mean, that's the situation we're in and that's what we have to do, but it must have been awkward.

It's very awkward, because going into the house, it was like, “Yes, I get to be around people again!” And there were no worries there. I can be a little bit of a hypochondriac, so in the real world, I was staying away from everyone. I was doing everything I was supposed to. And so when we get into the house, I know everyone's good. So you start living a normal life again. And it felt so great to be around everyone. Then when they take me out of the house and are like, “Make sure you put the mask on and don't go near Julie.” I was like, “Oh no, here we go. Again.” I'm still trying to adjust back to all of that.

Finally, if you could go back and change one thing that might lead to you still being in that house, what would it be?

Definitely the conversation with Cody. I should have went there the first night that he got HOH and at least introduced myself.

Did you at least know his name?

[Laughs] I did, from other houseguests.

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