Cameron Hardin did not win season 25 of Big Brother. But he won the next best thing. The 34-year-old stay-at-home dad was voted America’s Favorite Player by the fans, and pocketed a cool $50,000 as a result. Clearly the fanbase appreciated Cameron acting as a chaos agent and mixing it up in a house full of players that often prefered to play it safe and steady.
Of course, that mixing it up — along with his dominating challenge performances — eventually got Cameron voted out… twice. But viewers appreciated his going-for-broke style nonetheless. We spoke to the newly minted America’s Favorite Player to get his take on the award, why Jag beat Matt, comments from a fellow houseguest that said she never wanted to see him again, and if we might be seeing him on a certain upcoming Big Brother spinoff. (Also make sure to read our finale Q&As with winner Jag, runner-up Matt, third place finisher Bowie Jane, and host Julie Chen Moonves.)
I think that was the first time we’ve seen you speechless, when Julie announced you had won America’s Favorite Player and the $50,000 that goes with it. Were you truly surprised?
CAMERON HARDIN: I still don’t have the words. I can’t put it all together, man. My favorite television show since 2001. I can’t believe that fans of my favorite TV show decided that I was their favorite player. I cannot wrap my brain around it still.
Who did you think was going to win it?
I was fully banking on Cirie. I was standing next to her. I was just like, “Man, at least I’m in the top three. This is pretty cool. Man, Cirie, this is really awesome.”
Let’s get into some game stuff. Explain your vote for Jag to win. Why him over Matt?
He was absolutely hands down — between the two of them — the better player, the most deserving. I believe that he had the most control over his game. I believe that he had the most planning opportunity. Though Matt definitely came through with him in a lot of times — with a lot of competitions and a lot of the execution of the plans — Jag walked the whole thing home. He knew piece by piece exactly what he wanted to do. So, I’m honored to have played the game with him. I think he did an incredible job.
What did you think of their performances answering the jury questions and giving their speeches there at the end?
They were pretty solid. I know that Jag had an explosive speech there at the end, but the only thing that I could think of was I was so proud that he was finally taking a lot of credit for what he had done — something that Matt lacked the entire time with every one of our exits. Matt should have taken a lot more credit for what it was that he was doing. I think that he probably could have got some votes. I honestly believe that it could have been extremely close had he taken a lot more credit for the things that he did in people’s goodbye messages and in their departure.
But Jag’s an explosive one, I was just excited that he was finally toeing the line and taking the advantage of the opportunity to say how much he actually did in the game — which is the opportunity right there on that stage. And he took the bull by the horns. I’m really proud of him.
Yeah, it’s not often you have someone in the final two yelling at you, “My hands are covered in your blood.”
Love that line. Love it.
Of course you do. What do you make of Mecole talking about you being either the hero or villain of the season?
Her comment shocked me because she said, “You know, I thought that Cameron was going to be the villain of the season, but it turned out he was actually the hero.” And I was like, “What in the world are you talking about”? Even then I was like, what is going on? I don’t understand what’s happening. And Julie was like, “You look pretty perplexed right now, Cameron.”
I didn’t give any thought to being the hero or the villain. I just tried to play the best game that I could. Couple things lacking, of course, but give everything that I got and just have fun with it. I mean, just get as much juice from the squeeze as I could and have a great time. And I did not expect to be either a villain or a hero, and to turn around and be called a hero by Mimi? Everyone in perjury that was out, none of them seemed shocked. And I have a lot of catching up to do apparently on the show to watch how all of this pans out.
When I spoke to Izzy after she was voted out, she told me “I hope I never see Cameron again.” So naturally that leads me to ask: How was it seeing Izzy again tonight?
I never really spoke bad of her in the house. I never really was an Izzy fan. I knew dang well that she wasn’t a fan of mine, so that’s why she had to go when she did. I think that she probably had a few choice words for me inside the house behind my back. I hope that going back and her having an opportunity to watch back some of these things maybe changed her opinion a little bit because she actually did hug me on stage.
We didn’t necessarily say, “I love you and I’m so proud of you and you’re my best friend” and stuff. But the fact that she had enough respect to give me a hug and say, “Great job” — that was really big. And I give her as much credit as I possibly can, and I’m proud that she’s hopefully a bigger person now than she was when she walked out the door. I’m still super proud of the person that she is, and I can’t tell you how honored I am to have even met her. I’m still a fan of Izzy’s, no matter how much she might have to say about me.
Red told me he owed you an apology for believing Jared’s lie that you had turned on him — which is what broke up that dynamic duo. Has he had a chance to apologize yet?
Hate him. Can’t stand the guy. I’ll never talk to him again. No, absolutely. As soon as we locked eyes and Jag was named the winner, we went beeline to one another. We put our beards together and had an “I love you” session, and then “I’m sorry,” and all kinds of stuff. So I never had a problem with the guy. I knew that he had been fed wrong information and I knew that all it was going to take for him to just go back home and about four minutes with Allie May, and she was going to be like, “You idiot.”
We had an amazing reunion. I can’t wait for the opportunities that he and I can possibly have outside of this house. And that friendship — I know he’s already part of my family. I know it.
Have they asked you to be on Big Brother Reindeer Games yet?
No. Not yet. Oh my God.
Well, would you do regular Big Brother again?
In a heartbeat. I don’t know about the Reindeer Games thing. That’s pretty tight timing. If they ask me to do that, I’m going to have to do some soul-searching, but it’s going to be very, very hard for me to say no to something like that.