Winner Steve Moses is thankful for his 'invisible' Big Brother edit
Leading up to the July 6th season 24 premiere of Big Brother, EW caught up with 12 former U.S. winners from the show with a set of questions designed to have them look back at their time in the house as well what life has been like since leaving it. Our 11th entry is with the season 17 champion who turned becoming a house afterthought into an art form. (Also, make sure to check out our Q&As with Eddie McGee, Derrick Levasseur, Jun Song, Dan Gheesling, Ian Terry, Rachel Reilly, and Will Kirby, and Cody Calafiore, Jordan Lloyd., and Xavier Prather.)
Steven Moses won Big Brother. That is a very hard thing to do. But after emerging victorious in season 17, Steve was initially upset to learn that his strategy of intentionally blending into the background during the early stages of the game was never shown on the broadcast episodes of the show. "At the time, I was really disappointed to discover my invisible edit," says Steve.
But that all changed. "I got sick of the attention real quick after coming out of the house," explains Steve. "And my edit helped me disappear into society more quickly." Steve says the fact that he was not portrayed as some sort of iconic Big Brother genius has "helped me avoid falling into the trap of wrapping your self-identity into being a former Houseguest. I wouldn't change a thing about my edit today."
He wouldn't change anything about his game either. After deliberately laying low to avoid attention, Steve stepped up and won three of the last four Head of Households, eliminating his biggest threat in Vanessa Rousso along the way. And he used his winnings to help start a new career after the game. We spoke to the Scamper Squad member about his time both in and out of the house.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Big Brother.
STEVEN MOSES: I was actually in undergrad when I played, so I went right back to undergrad for my final semester after I won. My degree was in audio engineering, and I spent about 18 months doing audio in both entertainment and professional conferences. I learned this was not going to work for me as a career. I craved more opportunity to have more control over my career and positive involvement in the community.
I went to my fiduciary one day just to brainstorm ideas, and he asked me if I had ever considered franchising. A few months later, I founded the South Orlando territory of senior care consulting franchise, and about a year ago, the North Orlando territory. We represent seniors and families transitioning into independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities. It's a really rewarding business because families usually come to us when they're at their low points, and it's awesome to work with them to develop a solution that's great for both the senior and their family. I've worked non-stop for the last three and a half years building up the business and hiring a great team. My only regret is not getting out of audio sooner.
Besides winning, what is your proudest moment from playing Big Brother?
Overall, I'm proud I played the exact game I said I was going to play. I was going to lay low, stay out of the way, not be taken seriously, throw everything, be a complete waste of an HOH, and pump it out in the end game. It's amusing to me that my game's overriding thesis never made the episodes — only the feeds and my pre-season interviews. However, I stuck to it and implemented it exactly.
What is your biggest regret from your Big Brother experience in terms of anything that happened in the house?
While my game was far from perfect, I can't pin down any specific regrets. Even my mistakes became a part of my winning game, and who knows if I would have won without them. It would have been nice to not need final HOH part 3, but the game would have needed to develop very differently weeks before the final 3 to get me in a spot where I didn't need part 3.
What are your thoughts about how you were portrayed on the network episodes of the show?
At the time, I was really disappointed to discover my invisible edit. My primary alliance didn't make the show until the second or third week of jury, and my game's primary thesis never made the show at all. However, in hindsight, I'm so glad I got the invisible edit. I got sick of the attention real quick after coming out of the house, and my edit helped me disappear into society more quickly. I've had people I've been friends with for years call me to say, "I heard you were on Big Brother; I had no idea!" It's helped me avoid falling into the trap of wrapping your self-identity into being a former Houseguest. I wouldn't change a thing about my edit today.
What are your feelings on the Diary Room and the interviews you would do in there?
I think I really underused the Diary Room in my game. I would encourage future HGs to pay attention to what they're not asking you about. I found it odd that I was in the Freaks & Geeks for five or so weeks before they asked me anything about it or told me the name needed to change. I should have used that to ask, "How are they just getting on this now? What have they been putting on the show for the last five weeks?" and it could have led me onto what turned out to be the Sixth Sense much earlier.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being in the house? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
I was really lucky I was still in undergrad. I won on Sept. 23, 2015, and I was already on a leave of absence from school with no expectation to go back until the spring semester in January 2016. I had four months of no responsibilities except for learning how the stock market works so I could be sure to invest the money wisely.
The struggle is that my hometown and college were both really small. Soon after I got home, I made the mistake of going to the grocery store for a quick pick-up, and that was the one and only time I went somewhere public during my four months home. At college, our campus website homepage was just a picture of me and "Congrats on winning Big Brother!" I kept to my same friend group I already knew and trusted just to avoid the spectacle.
The good news is that was as long as it lasted. I started grad school in fall 2016, and the other students and faculty, without any input or influence from me, decided the "Big Brother thing" was that I volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Since I had been getting the "famous treatment" from both my hometown and undergrad, I didn't feel the need to correct anyone; I just never talked about it. There were about five people in total at grad school who had any idea what I actually did, and it was amazing. I remember my advisor / audio department head tweeting at me after I left saying "How did I not know about this???" with a link to my cast bio.
Today in my business, it's simply something a friend or contact might bring up once in a blue moon to tease me about it.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got out of the house where you regretted going on the show?
It was tough in the house. I did not enjoy implementing strategy nearly as much as I thought I would; successful implementation of strategy almost always means hurting someone else's game. I'm an empathetic person, and seeing how much it crushed people to evict them crushed me. I thought I would love making big moves and blindsiding other houseguests. I didn't — it was awful.
However, when talking about regret, it's a fun thought experiment to think about where my life would be if I hadn't gone into the house — or, even better, where my life would be if JMac's favorite part of his summer was "Getting ripped; I mean, look at me!" While much of the game was not fun, I can't argue about what a positive impact the cash has had on my life. I have no clue where I'd be today without the win.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
I'm friendly with mostly everyone from my season, but there's some of them I haven't talked to in a few years. JMac and I touch base usually about once a month or so.
Do you still watch Big Brother, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
I went into season 18 excited to be the reigning winner and participate with RHAP, Big Brother Network, etc. in writing and talking about the game throughout the season. That enthusiasm lasted about one-fourth of the way into the premiere. I was sick watching the HGs compete for their lives in the series of competitions that ended up evicting Glenn on day 2. It was too close to home – I couldn't do it.
I've seen a few bits and pieces of episodes since, but I most certainly haven't watched any full season since playing. I was behind the audio console for a Romeo & Juliet rehearsal during the season 18 finale, so I set my phone up on some of the faders I wasn't using just in time to watch Julie pull keys.
The only seasons I can say I've truly studied and fully vested myself in were Big Brother 6 through 16, and I'm sure I'm rusty on that all these years later.
Who's one player from another Big Brother season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Bronte! We were connected at casting finals for 17. At casting finals, while you're not allowed to speak to each other, you do spend hours waiting in the same rooms together, staring at each other, sizing each other up. Players can and do communicate a lot with just their eyes and body language. Bronte and I made a really great bond at finals week.
When asked about the other players in interviews, I mentioned how I wanted to work with "Hair Bow Girl," and she said she wanted to work with "Bill Nye." I was disappointed when I moved in and she wasn't here. Casting agent Robyn Kass actually remembered this and when the season 18 cast was revealed, Robyn texted me "Recognize her?????" along with her cast photo. It was gratifying to finally know her actual name after only knowing her as "Hair Bow Girl" for the 13 or so months prior. She would have been a straight-away ally that I confidently knew would have had my back.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Big Brother, what would it be and why?
I wish that it was low-key enough that people who only want to play to become "famous" or get social media followings would lose interest.
What did you do with your prize money from winning the game?
My first splurge was a Wii U and Mario Kart 8. I didn't want to go in public, so one of my parents went into the store to get it for me.
My main use has been paying for my undergrad, some ETFs in the stock market, bought my condo where I've been living for the past five or so years, a senior care consulting franchise, and I'll be closing on a rental property later this year.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
I don't have an active interest in playing again. If winning messed with me as much as it did, I can't imagine what losing would do. I would, of course, do it if there was a great guaranteed payout just for stepping into the house, but I have a feeling what I would need to make it make sense in my life is more than what CBS would be willing to pay.
Now, over the last few years, I have developed a new favorite, unfortunately no longer airing in the U.S., competition show: The Mole. I've enjoyed the American seasons a few times through over the last few years. I also just finished season 6 of the Australian edition of The Mole for the first time, and I'm delighted to say that I was wrong about my primary suspect for almost the whole season. I would be tempted by a revival of The Mole.
The other reason returning to the house would be tough is that I'm a "one-trick pony" with my strategy; get written off, don't be taken seriously, be a waste of an HOH, and pump it out at the end. I have nothing else to do. The lifetime I spent preparing to play all went into that one trick. I like what I did and how I played, and I've shown everything I have to show.
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