Big Brother – A Potential Intruder Reveals His Frustration At The Casting Of The Show
Big Brother – The Experience From The Housemate That Never Was
This year on Big Brother we were told it was going to be different than previous seasons that it was not going to be the usual suspects. Fans of the show interpreted this to mean diversity in casting both ethnicity and age. However the reality was very different, only two housemates, George and Ava, were from a different cultural background and the oldest person was Benjamin at 32.
The majority of the cast were good looking young white people.
Early in this season executive producer Alex Mavroidakis stated that they just did not get the older person auditioning, see blog post here, however commenters begged to differ.
However unlike The Block where they say people from different backgrounds don’t apply, there did not appear to be a lack of people from varied ethnic backgrounds applying to get into the Big Brother house.
Peter Nduati a 31 year old was one of them. This good looking university educated father of one is an Australian citizen who was born in Kenya. This was the second time he has auditioned for Big Brother and was shortlisted as an intruder, but did not make it on the show. He says in auditions there was concern that casting him might be seen as a stunt and there was concern he might also attract a lot of criticism on social media sites.
Peter wanted to share his Big Brother experience.
Let it be noted, Peter is not attacking Big Brother nor Executive Producer Alex Mavroidakis as he believes he is a very smart individual. He was just frustrated that he felt he ticked a lot of the boxes but fell over at the last hurdle because he had no major insider secret like being a ‘secret millionaire’ or a ‘hidden fear of birds’ when he thought the show was meant to be different.
A lot of viewers, myself included would have liked to see someone like him in the house.
That is the real Australia these days and this would have been a great story to see on screen rather then people macking on and meeping.
It would have been interesting to see this social intelligent, articulate modern day Australian who could have changed many perceptions people may have of immigrants and Africans. Hell he may have hooked up as well!
Here Peter Nduati talks about his Big Brother experience and wonders why casting was not that much different from previous seasons.
“I came to Australia 11 years ago as a university student, obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce. One the reasons I wanted to get on the program was to show a different more modern face of Africa then what Australia sees portrayed in the media and through World Vision campaigns and wildlife safari videos.
My adaptation to Australia has been for the most part smooth and trouble free as I grew up in the cosmopolitan city, Nairobi, which has all the modern day luxuries and advancements you would find here, including people of all race and colour.
My first attempt to sign up to Big Brother was in 2008 after winning Mr Africa Perth. This gave me some of the confidence to now try to take on mainstream Australia.
I unfortunately did not get in that year after making it into the top 50.
However four years on I applied again for this year’s Big Brother now on Channel NINE. After wondering whether I should go through it all again. I fell for the marketing about it being a fresh reboot of the old show and now they just wanted REAL people from all walks of life, with no agenda and who possessed warmth, intelligence and humour.
I attended the Perth Audition along with 1000 other people and was placed in a random group of about 20 people for the first round of auditions. They played a few psychological and opinion based games , for example, lining us up in order of who would most likely be arrested to least likely. I jokingly told a lady truck driver who put herself first that considering I’m black and have dreadlocks I deserved the number one spot. I then got through to the next round.
The next round was more in depth. They sat us in a group and you had to explain to one of the producers what you believed in in front of the group to encourage debate. The aim was to see how the participants handled social interaction. I controversially mentioned I did not support Gay marriage from a Christian Church based context. A response that had me at odds with most of the group but gained some noticeable respect or attention from the producer.
After passing this round I got to meet Alex Mavroidakis, the executive producer, who kindly tried to put me at ease as I was quite nervous by this stage. He even joked that I was probably only the second black man at these Perth auditions so the whole audition must have been a walk in the park for me
At this point, as much as it was simply a tease to bring out the elephant in the room because I knew he meant nothing by it, it did strike me that race would be a factor – whether in a positive or negative way I was yet to find out. He even asked whether I believed I made it this far in the audition because I was black. I replied that other black people had applied and I thought my engaging personality was also a factor. I also mentioned my previous audition and encouraged them to look at the video from that.
The rest of the interview was about myself, work, day to day life, relationships and opinions on current political issues. Interestingly contrasting my more conservative views on gay marriage, my views on carbon tax is maybe more left wing I told them people suffering now in terms of expense has to be endured if we were ever going to start trying to save the environment in any way for our children and other generations to come.
A month later I was asked to attend the final audition tour for only those who are potential housemates. Again another lengthy questionnaire was completed. I was back to where I was four years ago which was nerve wrecking, coming so possibly close twice consecutively!
Audition was again at a hotel and followed largely the same format as the last time except they threw in a speed dating step, where you speed dated all other potentials which was an interesting twist. Also there was a one on one interview in a dark room with nothing but the camera. Questions were varied covering the personal and general.
At the end of all that process about four of us including myself were told to hang back.
I again then met with who I believe was Alex’s associate from the last round in Perth and someone I believe was their chief psychologist on the show. When probed why I applied I mentioned that Australia is a much more diverse country now and I wanted to portray to the rest of Australia that not all African’s are war-torn refugees, but can be tertiary educated and well-spoken individuals too, some of who arrive here as international students.
I then again met with Alex, but this time simply for copyright and legal purposes.
Alex however commented that I was extremely well spoken but was at odds to cast me, especially as people might take it as a stunt if cast. He also wondered if I was ready to take on some of the comments and negative abuse that may come my way, being black of course.
My response was that this is why I wanted to be on the show in the first place…to shock people but in the totally opposite way. To show that beyond appearances the audience would find we actually share many of the same experiences, and that stereotypes can be not just defied but over turned.
Long story short I actually made it to the intruder list. However after all the criticisms in the media about the casting I felt it right to speak out and say that there were actually people applying who were of culturally different backgrounds but that were just not selected
To finish, my name is Peter Nduati. I live in an apartment building in Central Perth right opposite an Irish pub that won an award for being the highest seller of Guinness in Australia but that I am proud to call my local even though I can’t understand half their accents but now know some Irish history and can even sing a song or two (when drunk 😉 with a Neighbour from El Salvador who has a girlfriend from the Czech republic. Shop at my suburban Coles where I am served by the always pleasant Nella from Sicily (Italy) who apparently doesn’t share my love for the TV show Sopranos as it depicts Italians as nothing but organised crime Mafioso individuals. Work with mostly Aussies and English who have no idea I could probably even write anything like this or even think this far about things but have hired me because I’m good with computers. Eat at the Asian lunch bar run by Vietnamese down the road from my work every day to the point that they now know my lunch choices off by head and kindly try reserve me a table with my daily newspaper. I’m Kenyan Born but my son will be considered an Australian Kenyan-Canadian who if I have anything to do with will speak at least two languages like his father, English and Swahili. That Mr Mavroidakis and Co. is a REAL story based on TRUE diversity that I believe most people would prefer to hear about…and not the number of different guys Estelle can make out with before her inevitable eviction ;)”
There was a good looking, smart, articulate, new Australian from Africa on the show. Considering Zoe has said she doesn’t like refugees and comes from regional Australia how would she have interacted with him? How would his views on gay marriage gone down with Ben? How would his views on carbon tax gone down with George who works in the mines?
With Big Brother expected to be renewed for 2013 maybe this time we will see a diverse cast shut in the Dreamworld compound.