The seventeenth season of CBS and Global’s Big Brother came to and end last night as Steve Moses, the 22-year-old college student from Gouverneur, New York, beat poker player Vanessa Rousso in the final Head of Household competition and later voting her out as he decided to take marketing coordinator Liz Nolan to final two.
It was then up to the jury made up of former evicted houseguests — including Vanessa — to select the winner, where they eliminately decided to award Steve with the title and the $500,000 prize cash prize. Runner up Liz received $50,000 while James Huling was awarded America’s Favourite Houseguest, winning $25,000.
We had the opportunity to speak with Steve following his eviction to see what he had to say about the challenges he faced in the house, what he thought about Vanessa’s gameplay and more!
It’s barely been 12 hours since you won. Have you had a chance to catch your breath?
I’m exhausted because I hadn’t had a chance to sleep the night before because I was dreading the possibility of having to vote to evict Vanessa. I love her very much and it was such a hard thing to do. Last night [following the win], was just me trying to catch up with my family and on a little big of the craziness that has gone on in the outside world. So, not a whole lot of sleep in the past two nights!
You reunited with your parents on that stage. What was it like seeing them after almost 100 days?
It was more than 100 days. It was probably the most surreal thing to ever happen to me. It’s so hard when you’re in a game and day in and day out, the only people you interact with are the people who ultimately want you to fail. Even your closest allies int he game are people who want you evicted later rather than sooner. No one is ever ultimately on your side. There’s just nothing like that feeling of warm love when you see your loved ones after the game. These are the people who wanted me to win the whole time. I didn’t have that during the game.
Have you had a moment just to yourself yet?
No! I haven’t. My mom stayed in the room with me. [Laughs] I have not had a break.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when you are home?
Go on the Internet! I want to see what’s been said. I’m really anxious to see what’s out there on Jokers Updates or Hamster Watch.
You don’t have to worry too much. You were well liked.
It seems like there’s a lot of positivity. I’m very thankful for all the support out there because it’s really scary when you are in there and you have no idea what people are thinking of you. It means the world to me that I got as much as the support I did.
When did you realize that you had a shot at winning the game?
To be completely honest, it was when I won the last part of the final HOH. I did think that Vanessa was going to take me to final two — I was wrong, we were both going to take Liz. Even if Vanessa took me, I thought that she would cream me because she played such a phenomenal game and she’s such a great speaker. I also thought that with Vanessa being as people savvy as she is, I thought she would have really kicked my butt in the part three! So, after I had won that last questions, that’s when I realized I had a chance at winning the game.
Would you agree that Vanessa had played the dirtier game?
I would agree with that, but that’s not a bad thing on Big Brother. I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing at all!
You even commended her on her game play, saying she’s one of the best female players out there.
I think Vanessa’s the best female player this game has ever seen. She’s very influential, charismatic and strategic. Over the years, you have a lot of people with a few of those skills, but it’s almost never that you’ve seen a girl player show all of these amazing skills and have everything that it takes to win this game. I think it’s so cool that Vanessa got to play and that we got to see someone play like that.
Before going into the house, you described yourself as “innocent.” At what point during this game did you feel like you lost that innocence?
A lot of what happened with me was that I wanted people to think that I was easily manipulatable and controllable. Everything that I did was a beard. It was all to make Vanessa think that she could control me. I hate to make this analogy but I kind of saw Russell Hantz (Survivor) in Vanessa. The people who he kept around where the people he controlled. The people she got rid of where the people who were doubting her and that’s why I appeared to be Vanessa’s blind loyal minion. I wasn’t going to go back on her until I knew I had her. I wanted to think that she could control me and that’s what all that was.
Austin kept referring to you as the “boy.” How did that make you feel? That was necessary shade.
[Laughs] It didn’t bother me in the slightest.
Looking back, who was your biggest threat or competition?
100% Vanessa. She talked Liz into dropping the apple when Austin was HOH! Vanessa worked her magic. She is good! She is such an amazing player. If I were on the jury, she would have had my vote.
What was the hardest eviction for you to be a part of?
Vanessa’s eviction. I was really close with her and having to stab her in the back after saying I’d take her to final two for so long was not pleasant. I knew it had to be done, but it wasn’t pleasant.
Who do you feel that you grew the closest to?
I had to be tacky and politically correct, but I actually made a lot of really close connections. I love Vanessa, Johnny Mac, the twins, Austin — I love everyone. There were some nasty things that happened in the game, but on a personal level, I don’t have anything bad to say about anyone in the cast.
What was the hardest moment for you in the game?
It was probably doubt about throwing that final four veto. When you win the final four HOH and veto, your just asking people to not take you to final two if they win HOH.
Who was the hardest person on that jury for you to face? Was it Vanessa?
I actually thought that I would have Vanessa’s vote because I played a better game than Liz. I was kind of nervous about Jackie because I blindsided her.
Do you feel that you’ve grown as a person following your time in that house?
Oh very, very much. I was kind of hesitant to do the show in the first place just because I’m a worrier. I’m someone who is genuinely paranoid and I knew that there would be some things in the house that would just get to me. I was much more level headed than I thought I would be. I kept it together when I went on the block that first week and I’m really happy I was able to keep it together the way I did.
Any thoughts of what’s next? What you want to do with that prize money?
Be very smart. I don’t want to splurge. I’ll probably pay off some school loans and finish paying for my undergrad. I don’t have any big splurge purchases. Maybe a new computer. I’m not a big elaborate spender!
Big Brother will return for another season next year on CBS and Global.