Tuesday, May 22News That Matters

Celebrity Big Brother: Julie Chen on how Shannon Elizabeth is 'the opposite' of Omarosa


After each eviction on Celebrity Big Brother, Julie Chen has agreed to answer some of our burning questions. Today, she’ll address the latest ouster, the intensity of this season’s game play, and whether we need to start worrying about Metta’s mental health.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Ariadna’s meltdown must have thrown you all for a loop. On the West Coast, it cut to a commercial real quick but then went back to telecast. Were the producers panicking in your ear?
JULIE CHEN: We knew Ariadna would be emotional, but we didn’t think to that extent. We had planned to come out of that taped piece and go straight to her but when she broke down so hard and could not speak, yes, the producers were panicking in my ear and saying, “Go to Marissa! Go to Marissa!” But then Marissa went back to comfort Ariadna, and it wasn’t the right move to pull Marissa away with a question. My opinion was, let it live a moment. Let this moment live and just observe. What can you say at that moment? You just have to watch. It’s more real than anything you see on “reality” TV. It wasn’t scripted, it wasn’t playing for the cameras. It was real life and it was relatable. At that moment you have to just wait and address her when she is ready to see if she’s OK. Doing anything short of that, in my opinion, is the wrong call. That moment also made Ariadna that much more relatable to all of us. Showed how big her heart is. I didn’t know on West Coast they cut to commercial. It’s a shame. It was a real and moving moment I think we all needed to see to really know how trying this game is on the houseguests.

Everyone really liked talking about what a great player Shannon was or could have been. Do YOU think she was that good?
Shannon. Wow. You know how some people are book smart but not street smart? That was Shannon. Valedictorian of the school of Big Brother, but not the best when it comes to her social game. She is the opposite of Omarosa. Omarosa is a master at manipulating people and playing the social game. Genius at it. Can’t take my eyes off of her. Simply put, Shannon just isn’t a phony. She is real and she is nice and she is student of the game but not a student of social manipulation, which you need to be in order to succeed in Big Brother.

Julie, I’m concerned about Metta’s mental health. Should I have reason to be worried?
Nah. Metta is awesome! He is on another planet. A good one though. I like him more and more everyday (and not just because he’s from Queens like me)! He has really turned around his hot tempered former self to a chilled out person. It’s actually impressive. I think the love of his wife also keeps him grounded. He seems super in love and dependent on her love and she seems like she is there for him and his rock. He’s good. Please don’t worry!

You brought up how the celebrities have been in the house 17 days now. That’s long enough to judge them! How do you think they compare to the civilians in terms of play? Are they more candid? Are they more hot-tempered? Are they more honest?
The celebrities quickly became just like any other group of houseguests. They are playing! And they are not concerned about their celebrity image. They are there to compete and win — and I love that! They are normal. It’s like that section of the gossip magazine when you see pictures of celebrities coming out of a grocery store carrying bags and the caption reads: stars, just like us! I love it. Except for Mark. He seems more image savvy then the others. He doesn’t really seem like he’s playing the game. He’s kind of just keeping his cool guy image and it’s actually serving him well in the House. All that and yet I think what we see is who he really is in life. A nice guy who is smart and chill and just gets it. He gets what life is really all about and has a strong sense of self. I like him. He’s not a Big Brother gamer, but his diary room sessions are dead on. He gets everything that’s going on in the house and he gets who everyone is. He’s no dummy — he’s a good guy.

We have to chat about the celebrities and their vanity in the house. Who has surprised you the most about what they are — or aren’t — wearing?
Well, Ariadna is just beyond gorgeous and always camera ready. Even her warmup outfits are bedazzled. She does her makeup a lot in the house but I love watching all that. I love that Brandi has a robe you would see on a soap opera…very glamorous and silky. And I love that she is always doing face masks. It’s great. Everyone is dressing the way I would imagine in their real life. Nothing has surprised me. Well, again, Ariadna being on the dressy side constantly was a little surprising. I mean, in the last POV, she has a silk button-down to go to Chez Noir and she knew she was going to get splattered with food. I chalk it up to her old school Colombia upbringing ways. I bet she went to Catholic school growing up (I did). I like that she always looks like a lady. It raises my game. Also, I like seeing Omarosa in her glasses and sweats. It makes her seem more genuine. I want to see the good in everyone. With Omarosa it might be just that she wears glasses?!! Stay tuned.

Speaking of which, did you go into Celebrity Big Brother with a specific style in mind for yourself? You looked super fancy last night, wearing — quite possibly — your best dress ever on the show!
I have the most amazing stylist in the world, Carole Shoshana Meltzer. She is a genius. I trust her a thousand percent. I told her we were most likely doing a celebrity version of Big Brother last August so she’d have time to get the right outfits together (season is important — I mean, it’s February! But it is Southern California, so….). I remember trying on that outfit when she first brought it over and I was like, wow, this is unusual and then I just went with it. But yes, I think she turned it up a notch when she heard it was a celebrity edition. Funny thing is, five minutes after I’m off the air, I look like I could be competing in an endurance competition in the backyard of Big Brother. It’s back to my athleisure wear. Fancy way of saying sweats and sneakers. Comfort is everything.

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