From the White House to the Big Brother house! Omarosa Manigault may not have won the first celebrity season of the CBS show, but she’s happy that she had the opportunity to let her “light shine.”
“I think this is the first platform that I’ve had and opportunity to be 100 percent transparent. When you’re on television and in this case on live feeds 24/7 people get a sense of who’s authentic and who’s not. You get to see the true essence of a person and that’s really what I wanted for America — the country to see,” Manigault, 44, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Because most people just know me from the boardroom. And here they got to see me laugh, they got to see me hanging out with my fellow houseguests, cooking, doing facials and nails with the girls.”
The Celebrity Apprentice alum joined the series months after leaving the Trump administration as a political aide.
“I knew that [viewers] would connect with me because one, I’m a huge Big Brother super fan. And I knew that they would appreciate that I love, love this show. But more importantly, I love the gameplay. And so fans of the show I knew would appreciate that I knew all the inner workings and that I was being true to the essence and spirit of Big Brother,” she adds. “So it was really a dream come true to be able to participate on a celebrity version with incredible people and just step away from my real life for a little bit and have an opportunity to bond with people from all walks of life. It was really, really an incredible adventure that I will not soon forget. Once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Needless to say, Manigault’s first appearance in the house left the rest of the cast shocked. But as time went on, she spoke about her time in the White House, even getting choked up at one point saying that it wasn’t going to be “OK.” Even more, it would be worse if Vice President Mike Pence took over.
“I was genuine! The disadvantage of this particular season was that everybody knew so much about you coming in,” she tells Us. “And I think because they only knew of my persona that I felt that once they got to know the real me that they would be more open to getting to know me and not pre-judging me based on a show I did back in 2003.”
Up ahead, Manigault plans to relax with her husband, John Allen Newman, until her next move.
“Right now only because I’ve been in the house for a month without sunshine and having no exposure to outside I’m looking to reconnect. Just really with my family,” she explains. “I’m a newlywed. I was away from my husband for a month. And so I think I’m just going to spend as much time with my family and try to walk the beach and just enjoy life. Just normal life on the outside.”
For more, read the rest of her Q&A:
US: Why did you ultimately vote for Marissa Jaret Winokur to win?
OM: I voted for Marissa because I thought she played an incredible social game. I said that if she made it to the end she’d win. I predicted that very early on in the game and I kept true to my word that if she made it to final two I would vote for her.
US: How would you describe your relationship with Brandi Glanville? You had your ups and downs.
OM: You know, I love Brandi when she’s sober. She’s a wonderful, wonderful person. Very warm, smart and intelligent. When she’s sober. But she’s a very different person when she’s not.
US: What’s the current state of your relationship with Shannon Elizabeth and can you see yourself being friends?
OM: Oh, absolutely. I never take things personal. I always had a saying when I was on The Apprentice — leave it in the boardroom. And in the case with Celebrity Big Brother I believe that you just leave it in the house or leave it on the lot. Because we were shooting on a set. But I’m planning to visit Shannon in Cape Town and visiting her in Africa. And I look forward to getting to know her outside the house.
US: Do you think there was a villain at all this season?
OM: Oh absolutely, and it was surprising that Ross [Mathews] came off that way. I only got a sense of it from looking at Twitter. I could be wrong. I’ve not had a chance to watch any of the episodes but I would have to say I was surprised by how Ross decided to behave on the show. Separate from the game — the fact that he and Marissa made a deal to go to the final two and he admitted that if put in that position he wouldn’t take her. That’s shocking even for me — a reality TV veteran. That was pretty shocking to me.
US: And would you ever do an All-Stars?
OM: I absolutely love the show. I [hope] I’d have more than four or five days to prepare. I didn’t have much time to prepare for this show. I would look forward to being a part of this franchise and being a part of the CBS family.
US: How would you describe your BB experience in three words?
OM: [It] would be described simply as expected the unexpected.