History was made on the “Big Brother 23” finale last night. Xavier Prather became the show’s first-ever Black winner and took home the biggest prize in “Big Brother” history: $750,000.
Xavier was a member of The Cookout, an alliance that had each other’s backs from day one and managed to make it to the final six together. It was Tiffany Mitchell who came up with the strategy that got them there. Although Tiffany was the first member of The Cookout evicted, the viewers at home recognized her contributions to the cause. She was named America’s Favorite Houseguest with Derek X. close behind her in second place.
Tiffany talked to Heavy about where she went wrong in the game, what this season would’ve looked like without The Cookout, and why she doesn’t mind being underestimated.
Did Derek F. Really Start The Cookout?
While answering the jury’s questions on finale night, “Big Brother 23” runner-up Derek Frazier credited himself with starting The Cookout. Tiffany told Heavy that The Cookout really began as more of a collective realization that the group should stick together.
“Love Derek but…his ego is a little big. His sense of awareness might be a little off sometimes. We all collectively walked into that house and looked around and saw five other African Americans and I knew when I saw them, I cannot target any of these people,” she said.
However, Tiffany admits that Derek F. “did take the initiative to go around to each and every one of us and say ‘hey, the six of us are gonna work together.'” Although she thinks all of them already knew this, Derek F. “did put it in plain English for everyone to understand that. And Xavier actually put the name Cookout on our alliance.”
Tiffany says she’s okay with Derek F. saying he started The Cookout. “Everyone wants to have something to take credit for. I’ve got the master plan, Chaddha (Hannah) broke the High Roller Room, Kyland’s got all the blood on his hands,” Tiffany told Heavy. “If Derek wants to take credit for the fact that he came and put everybody together, I’ll let him have that.”
How Would Tiffany Have Played Without The Cookout?
As a “Big Brother” superfan, Tiffany has been thinking about how she would play the game for a long time. When The Cookout formed, some of her plans went out the window. So what would she have done this season if she hadn’t been part of the historic alliance?
“I would’ve been ruthless and flipped that house inside out, upside down,” she told Heavy. “I would’ve sent Xavier home a long time ago right with Christian. I would’ve kept Derek X. Me, him, Chaddha (Hannah), and Claire and Kyland, I would’ve taken us as far as we could have, then probably cut Ky.”
She says that even without The Cookout, she still would’ve gone to the final two with Hannah if she’d had it her way.
Where Did Tiffany Go Wrong?
As the first member of The Cookout evicted, what does Tiffany think she could’ve done to stay in the game longer once it was down to the six? What would she do differently if she had the chance?
“Maybe I wouldn’t have tried to flip the house with Sarah Beth and Christian on the block,” she said, laughing. “You know, I can’t help it, it was the fan in me. I was so excited.”
“I’ve got this little thing in me that likes to do what I want to do,” she added. “I am not easily controlled as you can tell, that’s probably why they cut me at six. But I think if I would’ve just laid a little low and made them think that they were controlling me, I would’ve lasted a little longer.”
Compared to Tiffany, Xavier played a relatively safe game. He managed not to ruffle any feathers until he nominated Kyland for eviction in the final four. Tiffany says she would’ve liked to see Xavier make more big moves.
“I would have liked to see what Xavier could really do. I still do not think that we know his potential. He’s someone I want to see play the game again as well but alone,” she told Heavy.
How Long Would The Cookout Members Have Lasted Without The Cookout?
Throughout the season, members of The Cookout talked about sacrificing their own personal games for the sake of the group. But would they have fared any better without the safety of a big alliance? Tiffany doesn’t think so.
“Honestly, I do think that without The Cookout, I don’t know if any of us would’ve made it to six,” she told Heavy. “I don’t wanna toot my own horn but I don’t think my name was being said for a long time. Hannah’s name came up week 4, Kyland was on the block week 1, Xavier was being talked about throwing competitions week 3.”
“Azah was very emotional and she could’ve gone out a lot earlier and Derek, we knew that he was gonna be the perfect pawn, so he could’ve gone out week 4,” Tiffany said. “I probably would’ve lasted the longest but I don’t think they would’ve let me get to six either.”
“That was one of the things that allowed us to remain loyal to The Cookout as well is, we knew we can’t survive without each other. So it was just in our best interest for our own personal game as well to stay together,” Tiffany told Heavy.
Tiffany On Being Underestimated
During the finale, evicted houseguest Brent Champagne congratulated Tiffany for her gameplay. He admitted that he had no idea how much she was running things when he was in the house and thought she was just “braiding hair.”
Did Tiffany intentionally try to conceal her intelligence at the beginning of the game? “The story of my life is that people underestimate me,” Tiffany told Heavy. “I did try to downplay myself a lot but my personality jumps out at times.”
“One of the funniest things that Sarah Beth said to me in the jury house, she goes, ‘oh my gosh, she’s five-three. I didn’t know you were five-three, why do we allow her to boss us around?” Tiffany said.
“I’ve always been underestimated and that’s fun for me because I know what I’m capable of,” America’s Favorite Houseguest added.