Derek Xiao was a fan-favorite on “Big Brother 23.”
In a season of superfans (Mitchell, Azah Awasum, Alyssa Lopez, Brandon “Frenchie” French, and Hannah Chaddha have all talked extensively about being longtime fans of the show), Xiao was relatively new to the game. He could often be seen asking the other players about the show’s history on the live feeds.
While a guest on “GIRL Let’s Agree to Disagree” (GLATD), Xiao revealed how he got cast on the show. He and his friends used to watch “Love Island” on CBS together. Whenever they turned it on early, they would catch the last ten minutes or so of “Big Brother.”
“I was watching the show and I was like ‘I could win this s*** easy.’ I was like, ‘this is just a game around getting people to like you?'” Xiao said.
How Xiao Got Cast on ‘Big Brother’
Xiao went to college with Isabella Wang, who appeared on “Big Brother 21.” One day, he saw something about “Big Brother” casting on her Instagram story. On a whim, he sent a message to the casting director, pretending to be a huge fan of the show.
“I’ve never lied that hard in my life,” Xiao admitted on GLATD. But it worked out because the casting director got back to him right away, asking for a 60-second video of Xiao saying more about himself. He went down to his parent’s basement wearing his now-famous speckled hoodie. “The lighting was trash,” Xiao said of his audition video.
Within the span of an hour, Xiao was on a phone call with the casting director. Jessia Milagros, “Big Brother 21” alum and GLATD host, told Xiao his casting experience isn’t the norm. “It didn’t even dawn on me how competitive it was,” he said.
Why Xiao Knew He’d Be Good at the Game
Watching those snippets of “Big Brother” before “Love Island” came on, Xiao thought he’d found the perfect game for him. Making friends with people from different backgrounds comes naturally to Xiao. On GLATD, he explained that his experience growing up in the white suburbs of Maryland made him adept at fitting in no matter where he is.
“I used to date this girl back in college and when we were dating, she would always tell me that I was a chameleon. And she would always say it in a bad way. What she meant by that was like I would like slightly tailor who I was based on who I’m talking to,” he said.
Although Xiao says his ex-girlfriend didn’t see this trait as a strength, he knew it would serve him well on “Big Brother.”
“That’s what happens after you get years of bullying, you just get really good at getting other people to like you,” he said with a grin.