We’re still right there with you in trying to process most of what happened on this season of “Big Brother Canada.” Wasn’t this a crazy finale? It’s fair to say most within the community thought that Neda Kalantar was going to win it all after making it to the final two, and she instead ended up being evicted by eventual winner Jon right before the end. (We’ll have a link to our lengthy Jon interview at the end here.)
The chat we had with Neda below came from Friday morning in the backyard, and it is a pretty wide-ranging one, to go along with that. Even though she had to be feeling more emotions than probably anyone else in the 12 hours following the end of the finale, she was candid, insightful, and had plenty to say about her own game and that of others. Buckle in and enjoy!
CarterMatt – The past 12 hours, I’m sure it’s been harder for you probably than some of the other players. Has the time out of the house helped at all?
Neda Kalantar – I don’t think anything is really going to help at all. I haven’t slept yet, because I kept over-analyzing everything last night. I think time eventually is going to help, like maybe in 20 years I’ll get over it. But I don’t think anything is going to help right now. Alcohol might help. (Laughs.)
It’s hard, because I’ve tried to sit back and analyze what you could have done, but there’s not much because Jon kept winning.
[Even] if I had won that final four [Veto] I would have taken Jon to final three because I thought he was going to take me to final two! [Winning the final HoH and evicting me was the] only decision that he made that was really good for his game, and props to him because it won him the game.
Were you slightly perturbed during the jury questioning when Jon seemed to take credit for a lot of the moves in the game. I don’t know if he misunderstood the question…
He didn’t misunderstand the question. He just didn’t have an answer.
He was just trying to take credit for a lot, and I was thinking that wasn’t quite the way it happened.
Even when I was trying to talk to him in the house about sending home Arlie or Adel, he would still take credit for it. The thing is that when you are not that big of a fan of the show, you think competition wins are everything in this game, and that is the view that he has on that. Some people really think that, and props to him in that he did win the Veto and the HoH.
I was watching a lot of your pre-show videos before the season, and you were saying a lot of Dr. Will-like things in that you weren’t particularly interested in winning challenges. I know Peter tried the same thing last season…
You can’t go the whole game doing that. It’s very hard to go the whole game. I just wanted to do that for the first half of the game and then start winning.
This is something that I talked about a little bit with Arlie, who was probably the worst person ever at throwing competitions.
He was so bad! Did you guys see my DRs being like ‘Arlie sucks at throwing competitions!’
I mean they were entertaining, but there was that one competition with the potatoes where he was practically flailing over dead.
Here’s the thing. The people in the house actually had a lot of sympathy for him when he did that potato one, the ‘Fresh on the Farm.’ They felt for him because they didn’t know how badly he was throwing that challenge. That one worked to his advantage, but every one from that challenge on I knew he was throwing. I was just like ‘stop making it so obvious.’
So what is the key to proper challenge throwing? Getting out, and then not making a big deal out of it?
Yeah! Be subtle about it! Be like ‘ow that hurt,’ and then just go and sit down. Don’t be like ‘AHHH, I CAN’T HOLD ON TO THIS THING.’
If Canada hadn’t won its HoH, I had a feeling the First Five would’ve crumbled at some point anyway. Did you get that feeling?
The majority of us knew about the First Five at that point. It was very obvious, they weren’t hiding anything. When the balls started falling from the sky, they were counting them. They were all standing in a corner counting them. That’s not how you have an alliance, you guys.
But people like Andrew and Kenny came in here and starting winning challenges right off the bat and were being like a***oles, if you know what I mean. They put themselves as target and they were not going to last in this game. They would have 100% crumbled anyways. That week if any of us had won, they would have been nominated anyways. But thank you Canada, because that really did help.
The move to get rid of Arlie was in my mind of your biggest moves made in the entire game. How did you put together the pieces to make that happen and did something that [at least at the time] may not have been in Jon’s best interest?
I knew that Arlie from week one. We would talk about every reality show from week one, and he let it slip a few times. We would be talking, and he let it slip about one of the people on season six. Second place…
Yeah, we were talking about another reality show and he let Ivette slip. No one would know [who Ivette is] other than a superfan. I’m like ‘okay, clearly he’s a superfan.’ I said in week one that he was clearly a smart guy, and he probably worked a lot with computers. I knew I had to get him out at some point, but I wanted to wait until after I got Kenny and Sarah out because I needed his vote.
So I spent about two weeks before that getting it into Jon’s head, because I knew about the Goof Troop, that Arlie couldn’t be trusted, that Arlie was going to take out Jon the first chance he got … even if I knew that Arlie was going to wait a couple more weeks. So I was getting this distrust into Jon’s head for a very long time, so when the opportunity presented itself of backdooring Arlie, it had to be that way and he couldn’t just go up on the block, I jumped on it.
It was perfect, because Jon was drunk at the time [I persuaded him] and he was so much more susceptible to it. I jumped on that chance, and because I had been building that up for a few weeks he was more available to it.
You managed to hide your superfandom for a while, and that’s not an easy thing to do. Like you I’ve seen a lot of reality shows, and typically people get proud of themselves and spill the beans on their secret. How do you keep yourself from getting too excited when you hear people talking about past seasons?
I came in here knowing that I couldn’t hide 100% that I was a fan. So I came in here being like ‘yeah I’m a fan, but not a superfan. I’ve watched past seasons.’ So every once in a while, I could chime in about some things.
But Arlie, he knew by the time he left that I was a superfan. He called it, and he told a few people. It was hard, because people got their facts wrong. Sabrina got her facts wrong all the time.
Yeah, she called some people by the wrong name.
She called [Brendon] ‘Brandon.’ She was saying that Rachel Reilly’s first season was season 10, I’m like ‘what are you saying?’. I would have to sit there and bite my tongue and try not to listen and say anything. And then I would just go into the DR and just RANT about everything and say ‘that’s wrong, and THAT’S wrong, and that’s wrong.’
The thing that really helped me was not hiding the face that I was a fan 100% and be able to chime in, and not be like Arlie. Anytime ‘Big Brother’ came up, he would be like ‘I don’t know.’
Do you think that people sometimes don’t understand the difference between a white lie and a blatant lie in this game? You can lie and still have a little bit of truth in it.
You gotta have a little bit of truth in your lies I think, just to make them more believable. If you tell a very blatant lie, usually people don’t believe it.
Are you excited to get away from here and see what people are saying? I mean, I’ll tell you that you are extremely popular and a lot of people are sad that you didn’t win. Are you looking forward to seeing all that, or dreading some of the negative stuff because everybody has it?
I know that I’m going to get a lot of negative stuff because I was watching video clips and stuff last night and people commenting were like ‘Neda has no emotion,’ and I just started laughing at it.
It’s a game!
Yeah, it’s ‘Big Brother,’ and I actually cried more than I thought I would in the game. I don’t know if that made it on air or not.
There was a little bit, but I think in this environment it’s impossible not to.
I knew going into it that you are made out to be a character on a show. You have to expect that people are going to hate you or love you. I’m really excited to get out there and see what people are saying and watch the show. That’s going to be crazy. I already watched the finale because I couldn’t wait; I went home and found the finale and watched it.
I’m already so sad leaving here. You guys don’t understand how much I love ‘Big Brother.’ I LOVE it. Over the last [week] Jon was complaining about wanting to leave, and Sabrina was like ‘I’m over this.’ I was like ‘I want to stay forever.’ I didn’t want to leave. It was so sad.
Let’s talk about the future, because I think that you have a good case to come back. Are there any big changes that you would make?
I obviously couldn’t come in and act like I was [just] a fashion stylist because people would know. But no, I think I would play a very similar game; plot out everything in advance, make strong alliances, not align myself with Jon (laughs). That would be amazing. People telling me that I might come back for an All-Stars is crazy to me.
When you got to the final three, did you feel like you had it pretty close to locked up? I know going into the finale at home a lot of people did.
I know, I did, and I feel I got too cocky about it. I tried to not be cocky in this game, and I was never 100% certain on anything. This time I was 99% certain on it, and I think that’s what got me.
Are you going to watch ‘Big Brother’ differently now?
Oh my gosh yes, I’m going to watch differently now because I know so much more. There’s so much that happens behind the scenes that you don’t know about. So much strategy that didn’t make it onto the live feeds.
So is there anything that you’ve found out that really has shocked you?
The thing that shocked me watching the finale was seeing Jon make that final two with Sabrina. I knew that he was doing something like that to cover his bases, but I didn’t know how serious he was about it … I knew it was happening [in the game], but I didn’t know how seriously he was taking it.
So about about Adel’s random Veto power that he made up and carried with him?
That was good. He’s a scrappy little player, eh? That was good! All the props for him for doing that.
Do you think that playing Canada is something that people need to think about more moving forward? They were such a big part of the season.
Yeah, that was such a big thing. I think lying about your powers is a big thing [as well]. I did that with Allison. I didn’t have any proof that she couldn’t be trusted, but I just made that up so that she would go home, and that Sabrina, Rachelle, and Heather wouldn’t be mad at me. I think a lot more people will be lying a lot more about secret things moving forward.
What do you think was your defining move in the game?
I think my entire game was my defining move. (Laughs.) I’m going to sound so cocky! I made quite a few moves to get myself to the end. I’m really proud of the game I played. It’s hard because I think about what I could’ve done differently, but other than winning the last competition there’s nothing else I could do.
Are you going to dive into watching the episodes right away?
Yeah. I know some people want a break from it, but I’m going to watch them right away.
What do you think about some people saying that you’re one of the best people to never win?
I mean, that’s crazy.
But that’s great. You do feel good about that right?
That’s great, but I didn’t win!
I know that part of it is hard, but through this experience I know you made a lot of great friends.
Of course. I made so many good friends here, and this was an amazing experience. I never thought that I would get on this show. I have been watching for so long! I knew that if I played out my strategy I would get to the end of the game, but for me the hardest part was getting on the show. Thousands of thousands of people audition for this, so even when I was getting cast, I was like ‘are you sure, and I’m not some sort of backup?’
So there you have it: An awesome, extensive chat with Neda, who was extremely generous with her time especially given that she was coming off zero sleep. A ton of the interviews Friday were fun, but this was great thanks to her sheer understanding of the game.