Host Julie Chen Moonves always warns the houseguests and viewers to “expect the unexpected” on “Big Brother” and season 23 is no different. There has been a last-minute change to the cast. Heavy can reveal that Christie Valdiserri, the 27-year-old professional dancer from Philadelphia, PA, has had to withdraw from “Big Brother 23” due to testing positive for COVID-19.
She is being replaced by Claire Rehfuss. Here is what you need to know about Claire and what Christie said in a message to the “Big Brother” fans.
Meet Claire Rehfuss
Name: Claire Rehfuss (pronounced RAY-fuss)
Hometown: Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Current City: New York, N.Y.
Occupation: AI Engineer
Who are your favorite Houseguests duos? Those who became best friends in the “Big Brother” house or had a showmance? “Lisa and Danielle from BB3! After Lisa lost her showmance partner and then pulled one of the most CUTTHROAT moves we’ve ever seen – not voting him back in – they were able to link up, adapt, and run the game. Similarly, Allison and Jun who paired up at the end of BB4. Both women played such smart floater games, and while I couldn’t play that style of game, I respect how they evolved the game forward. Nowadays we rarely see strong, dynamic female duos which I definitely want to change!”
What is your favorite past moment on “Big Brother”? “My personal favorite past moment isn’t really a moment – it was an experience. Watching Vanessa Rouso from Big Brother 17 play the game on the live feeds and show. It was my very first season and I was blown away by how Vanessa could get herself out of any situation when her back was up against the wall. I love it when someone is willing to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”
What is your strategy for winning the game? I’ll win with my intelligence, drive, and adaptability! I’ll sniff out the big threats quickly and navigate my way through the game by creating advantageous alliances. I believe I’ll thrive in a chaotic environment, something I learned from my childhood and from working in such a rapidly changing field, so I’ll try to cause disruptions and create entropy in the game whenever possible. Hopefully, people will underestimate me the first couple of weeks and give me time to build up relationships before I unleash my cut-throat gameplay. I’m also going to try to get out the strong alpha dudes early, that way I don’t have as many challenge threats or egos that I have to tiptoe around. I’d love to have a strong, small team of women working with me. It’s a cliche that ‘women’s alliances don’t work in “Big Brother”,’ but it’s only because of the women that are chosen to be a part of them. I’ve found women to be my most loyal friends and I have the ability to quickly read people so I’m confident I’ll find fellow black widows.”
Christie Said She’s Really Frustrated To Have to Withdraw
In a message to fans, Christie said that it’s so frustrating to be this close and have to withdraw, but she also said that people with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss, are “unstoppable” and she’ll be back one way or another.
I have no idea how I got [COVID]. I have the vaccine and I have been following all the guidelines up to this point. I have absolutely no symptoms, I feel perfectly fine, so I’m really grateful for that, but it’s really frustrating because I won’t be playing in “Big Brother” this summer.
I just have to say when you’re faced with adversity, telling myself that it’s for a bigger reason and I want to believe that. I don’t know the reason yet, but I have had a roller coaster of emotions the past 48 hours. As I’ve been reading through all the comments online, whether they’re good or bad, I just have to say that I have put myself out there and shared this vulnerability of being bald, and all the comments, good or bad, are affecting everybody else that also is bald and experiences this vulnerability. So spread love and whether you’re just finding out about alopecia or you know what alopecia is, you know that we’re unstoppable and I’m gonna bounce back in one way or another.
The Rest of the Cast
The rest of the cast is as follows:
Name: Azah Awasum (pronounced AH-suh oh-WAH-sum)
Hometown: Baltimore, Md.
Current City: Baltimore, Md.
Occupation: Director of Sales Operations
Name: Christian Birkenberger
Hometown: Harwinton, CT
Current City: Harwinton, CT
Occupation: General Contractor Assistant
Name: Hannah Chaddha (pronounced CHA-duh)
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Current City: Chicago, Ill.
Occupation: Graduate Student
Name: Brent Champagne
Hometown: Cranston, R.I.
Current City: Cranston, R.I.
Occupation: Flight Attendant
Name: Britini D’Angelo (pronounced BRIT-knee)
Hometown: Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Current City: Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Occupation: Kindergarten Teacher
Name: Derek Frazier
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Current City: Philadelphia, Pa.
Occupation: Safety Officer
Name: Brandon “Frenchie” French
Hometown: Camden, Tenn.
Current City: Clarksville, Tenn.
Name: Travis Long
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Current City: Honolulu, Hawaii
Occupation: Tech Sales Consultant
Name: Alyssa Lopez
Age: 24 (will turn 25 on 7/17/21)
Hometown: Sarasota, Fla.
Current City: Sarasota, Fla.
Occupation: Swimwear Designer
Name: Tiffany Mitchell
Age: 40 (will turn 41 on 8/5/21)
Hometown: Detroit, Mich.
Current City: Detroit, Mich.
Name: Xavier Prather (pronounced PRAY-thur)
Hometown: Kalamazoo, Mich.
Current City: Milwaukee, Wis.
Name: Sarah Steagall (pronounced STEE-gull)
Age: 27 (will turn 28 on 8/9/21)
Hometown: Boiling Springs, SC
Current City: Ft. Myers, Fla.
Occupation: Forensic Scientist
Name: Whitney Williams
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Current City: Portland, Ore.
Occupation; Make-Up Artist
Name: Derek Xiao (pronounced SH-ow)
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Current City: New York, N.Y.
Occupation: Start-Up Founder
Name: Kyland Young
Age: 29 (will turn 30 on 7/13/21)
Hometown: San Bernardino County, Calif.
Current City: Venice Beach, Calif.
Occupation: Account Executive
The CBS cast announcement teases, “This season’s cast includes a flight attendant, make-up artist, start-up founder, farmer, kindergarten teacher, forensic scientist and an attorney, among others. This all-new group is in for a high-stakes summer full of Big Risks and Big Rewards, where one wrong gamble could cost them everything. By the end of the premiere episode, for the first time in ‘Big Brother’ history, the Houseguests will be presented with a double-or-nothing offer that may
be too good to refuse.”
“Big Brother” season 23 premieres Wednesday, July 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.