Arisa Cox Interview

February 25, 2014

What does it mean to you to be back for a second season, being given the chance to grow along with the show?

Arisa: People don’t really know what to expect in the first year of anything, let alone a big worldwide property like Big Brother coming to Canada. We have had lots of international versions of other shows come here. Some of them don’t necessarily work, some of them do. This one was gangbusters. I think we proved that we can put something together that’s incredible, with production value, with an incredible cast.

I am so thrilled to be back. For me, there is only so much I can expect going in. Now that I survived the most insane reality television finale I’ve ever seen in my life, there is really no fear cause that is my worst nightmare, and it already happened and I lived to tell the tale.

Other than that, was there anything that surprised you? Anything that you could learn from and build upon heading into season two?

Arisa: I’m definitely not perfect. I’m going to be learning from some of my mistakes. I understood to follow my gut more when we’re doing interviews, because some of the time you are watching and you are like “Well, that’s weird. Why did she ask that?”. It’s because I’ve got 8 million people screaming in my ear. At that point, I think I just need to tune it all out and go with my gut because that is what I am experienced doing…I have done a billion interviews in my day. So, just to go with my gut.

Naturally, there will be people that are going to compare you to Julie Chen. Does that put any added pressure on you, and how do you deal with that?

Arisa: Yes and no. I knew that coming in. If you’re used to a certain face, even if it took you a while to get used to that face, that’s the face you want to see and you expect to see. But remember, Big Brother USA has been going for over a decade, Big Brother is in 67 countries; it has got that many hosts. I just had to keep remembering that.

Yeah, I’m not going to be Julie Chen. Some people are going to be disappointed by that. I just kind of had to let go of those expectations and just do me, cause I’m very different than her. When she started, people hated Julie Chen. You are going to get that no matter who you are and how good you are. Fifteen seasons later, she is the gold standard for many people but she didn’t start out that way. I was just hoping for the chance to hopefully knock it out of the park the first year and just keep improving, cause I can only imagine me fifteen seasons from now.
Tell us a bit about the Big Brother Canada Side Show that you are going to be a part of.

Arisa: I am thrilled to be hosting with Peter and Gary, two of the biggest personalities that came out of our first cast. They are very different. We all get along very, very well, but we will NEVER have the same opinion. I promise you that. Their perspective is of people that have played the game. I was on a reality show many, many years ago as well, so I know what it’s like to live on camera as well.

It’s kind of like, when the eviction happens and the episode is over it is almost anticlimactic cause you are just starting the conversation. That’s when you turn to your friends or your roommate, or your cousin or mom or your dad, or your son or your daughter, and you start talking about it. Well, we want to be part of that conversation. We want to be able to sit there and become armchair quarterbacks along with everybody else. We have a lot of insight that we can bring to the table, and we want to join that with the insight that people are sharing themselves at home.

Will the evicted houseguest be involved in the Side Show?

Arisa: We definitely do want to speak to the people that are being evicted. I’m not 100% sure if that just means up until the jury house. If anything, with the evicted houseguest, I think we might do an extended exit interview but then they will be gone before anything else.  They can’t know anything. Rules are so strict around that. We pretty much broke the mold when we had Gary come back from jury house. Some fans are okay with it. Some fans are not. I don’t think we really want to mess with that.

During the eviction episodes, those interviews are SO short. They are like micro interviews. They could be so much longer. The reason I know that is AJ was evicted to an empty studio and so was Talla. We had this epic (interview)…and, of course, there is only time for two minutes of it. I really think that we are going to add depth and richness to our whole show and our Big Brother world by having the extra time to talk about what happened in the house.

Will there be an opportunity for the viewers at home to participate in the Side Show, such as by submitting questions?

Arisa: Oh, I don’t doubt it. You will hear all about it when it happens, but 100%. The blogosphere, the Twitterverse….so, so important to our show, cause it has such a huge online component, so absolutely there will be ways in which regular people at home can participate in the Side Show.

The Big Brother Canada Side Show airs weekly, on Thursday nights, following the eviction episode.