Nicole Layog talks treatment of Taylor on Big Brother: 'I own it'
Nicole Layog believed she had cooked up the perfect recipe to get her rival out of the Big Brother house. But the 41-year-old private chef found out her gameplay was missing a few key ingredients when she was ousted on Thursday's live eviction episode by a vote of 9 to 1.
Nicole's undoing came when her biggest ally, Daniel Durston, used the Veto in the hopes that Nicole and her nemesis Taylor Hale would be put on the block. Nicole described herself as "euphoric" over the move, as she and Daniel thought they had the votes to send Taylor packing. They thought wrong.
In the end, Taylor had the last laugh, using her pre-eviction speech to say, "Nicole, to quote a Big Brother superfan, Rihanna, you look so dumb right now. Choosing me as your Festie Bestie, you thought was your security blanket. But here you are, both of us sitting on the chopping block because [of] your closest ally in the house who thought that you would still be safe."
How does Nicole feel about Taylor's speech? And does she regret some of her earlier treatment of her Festie Bestie? What would she go back and change about her game if she could? And who does she think is playing the best in the house? We asked Nicole all that and more the morning after her eviction, and she served up the answers. (Also read our weekly Q&A with host Julie Chen Moonves, who weighs in on Nicole's eviction and Taylor's big speech.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You said you felt euphoric about going on the block, and Daniel was calling everyone else clowns when it came to gameplay, so what happened?
NICOLE LAYOG: We thought we had the numbers. We thought we had a whole grand plan to make sure that I was safe and I figured big risk, big reward., But when it comes down to it, if we're talking about what's happened in the last three weeks of Big Brother, I got Pooched. And I'm not no longer in the Big Brother house, and I'm okay with it because I had the best time. And I'm glad that I had the experience.
When and how did you start to figure out what was really happening with the vote?
Honestly, I had the feeling from the moment Taylor and I hit the block, and I had already started campaigning the day before. But because I did not believe a single word that came out of Monte's mouth, I figured that the writing was already on the wall that he didn't want me in the house.
Let's talk about Taylor's speech, quoting Rihanna and outlining all the mistakes you made. Did she give you any notice or indication that was coming?
Absolutely. You know, Taylor and I have, I feel, a special relationship. And the last few days have been full of apologies, honesty, humility. And I'm very happy to say that she did inform me that she was going to do that to me. And we hugged on it. It's a little emotional, but I feel like we connected in a moment where we could put the game completely on the back burner and really have a moment that we had the first week of Big Brother.
You had that incident where you were really upset about having to throw a veto competition, and from what we saw, Taylor was genuinely really concerned about you and wanted to be a friend to you, but you certainly did not take her comments that way. What happened there, and with time to reflect on it, do you regret your and Daniel's reaction to that and subsequent treatment of her?
Absolutely. When everything happened, my mom is at home battling stage three cancer. And, initially, I was called to the upstairs Diary Room, where once I got there, I was then called to the downstairs Diary Room. And in that moment from walking upstairs, back downstairs, I was in full fear that I was going to walk into a Diary Room with a letter sitting on the chair like they've done in past seasons where [a contestant] received bad news.
With that, I felt as though, "Oh my goodness, I don't even know how to react to what's about to happen. How do I keep it together? How do I even deal with it?" And in that moment, it's not what it was. And so there was this sense of relief, but still a sense of concern. And am I allowed to ask about my mom? Am I allowed to be in that moment? And when the questions started coming my way about Taylor and her relationship with others in the house and her actions and how they affected me, I felt this moment of like, "Why am I being asked these questions? And why do I feel this way?" It was just a flood of emotion.
You know, being in this house, things are so heightened. And I felt as though I couldn't make sense of anything. And being the mama bear of the house and having that weight of some of the people continuously telling me things, it was clouding my own personal judgment that I had towards Taylor. And I let that get in the way.
So in the moment when I started feeling that way in the Diary Room, because of the way things were going, they couldn't keep me in the Diary Room. And they were like, "You know, maybe you should go and just breathe and take time to yourself." And when I walked out of the Diary Room, it was just a flood of emotion, and I felt bad for Taylor. I felt bad for the moment of how I felt about my mom. And then everything just kind of imploded, then exploded, basically.
What was your reaction when Turner referenced the bullying treatment of Taylor in the house in that one speech he gave?
Well, I had known from the beginning that people were not liking Taylor. Week 1, I was pushing for Taylor to not be any sort of target, we got along well. And I have admitted to her and apologized to her for a lot of things that I was feeling and saying under my breath. But at the same time, all I can say is that I own it. And it's what Big Brother is. I felt like with the strategy I was going with that I could control that side of the house, and it didn't work.
You did think you could control that side of the house, which is why you twice tried to go on the block. Not once, but twice!
Oh my goodness. What's wrong with me? We should just call it Pooch 4.0, because that just makes it even worse
Who's playing the best game in the house. I'm guessing I know who you want to win, but who's playing the best game?
You'd be surprised. I want Michael to win. I want him to win the whole thing. I want to see him shine. He is a fierce competitor. I wish that our connection would've been stronger week 1, but he's a hard egg to crack. And I felt like we were possibly getting there. And then other things were going on in the house that didn't involve us and so we weren't able to really connect more until maybe like the middle of week 2 going into week 3. And I wish I could have solidified something with him in the beginning.
This is really a make or break point for Daniel. And I don't even know if you saw it. You were probably being whisked off the stage, but at the very end of the episode, everyone else is kind of celebrating and he's off in a room by himself and he's talking to himself and he's basically saying, "I might as well pack my bags. Nicole, wait for me, I'll be on the plane with you." I mean, really kind of defeatist and giving up. How do you think he's going to do in there without you?
Oh, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. Yeah, his emotions got super high over the last week, especially after the Veto meeting. There were moments in the house that happened before eviction where I was literally campaigning until the very last minute before I sat down in that nomination chair before we went live with Julie [Chen Moonves]. And I know that his emotions were super high and I can't speak for him. I can only say that I never asked him to do any of those things for me.
I wanted to do it myself and I hope and hope and hope and pray that he's able to calm down. I hope that he's able to control his emotions a little bit more. In his exit message, he told me that he was still in the house only because of me. I really hope that he's able to fight for himself now that I am gone.
What was it like knowing that your Big Brother crazed mother was getting to watch you play her favorite game on TV while she was battling cancer at home?
One of the coolest experiences of my life — the fact that I could be something for her without directly being next to her. I don't know if anybody knows this, but I was supposed to be in Spain this year cooking. And I was going to be away from her. And when I do these long, extended trips for work, I don't get to be in contact with her.
But the fact that she got to see me three times a week — and maybe every day, if she was watching live feeds — I hope that she was able to see the fight in me and that I was never going to quit. And I was never going to back down. And, for me, that was my way of fighting for her. The more I've thought about it since yesterday, I'm just happy and I hope she's proud and I'm just happy that she got to see me every day.
She's a super fan, so what is she going to critique about your game?
My mouth. I have a potty mouth. I probably dropped more f-bombs than I have ever done in my entire life. Maybe because I was forgetting that I was on camera. But, you know, believe it or not, that happens in the Big Brother house. You forget that there are cameras and microphones all over the place. So, yeah, she's gonna give me a hard time about my language.
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