Reality bites

Alex Vautour was close to being on the big screen (Cara Smith/AQ)
Alex Vautour was close to being on the big screen (Cara Smith/AQ)

While every other seven year old was watching cartoons and in bed by 8 p.m., I was staying up with my parents watching Big Brother – tuning in three nights a week to Julie Chen and the houseguests became a summer tradition.

When Slice TV announced there was going to be a Big Brother Canada, I immediately started planning my audition video.
It had to be perfect. It took a month to plan and a week to produce. Once it was done, I knew it was good. I remember thinking, “All I need is for one person to see my video and like me.”

On Sept. 8 2012, I completed the online application. All there was left to do was wait.

Eight days later, I was getting ready for work when my phone rang. It was an unknown number but I could see the call was coming in from Los Angeles. I stepped outside to take the call.

“Hi Alex, this is a producer from Big Brother Canada, we loved your video.”

I don’t think I had ever been happier in my life. I was shaking and crying. Trying to talk through the tears was hard. She asked me to come to Halifax for an on-camera interview. I was a semi-finalist.

She talked for about 10 minutes; I can barely remember what she was saying because I was still in shock. All I wanted to do was update my twitter and Facebook to let everyone know that I, Alex Vautour, was actually a semi-finalist. What she said next took me by surprise.

“You can’t tell anyone about this. Confidentially is extremely important. Don’t post anything on social media and only tell your parents if you must!”

That part was hard. A lot of people knew about my love for the show and encouraged me to apply, and I would have to pretend like I heard nothing. I hated lying.

The producers sent me lots of paperwork to fill out. It took me eight hours to finish, but I took my time. I made sure to answer every question as carefully and as honestly as I could.

“Have you heard anything from Big Brother,” my friends, co-workers and family members would ask.

“No, not yet, hopefully soon.”

Keeping them in the dark was tough, especially since I’m an open person.

On Oct. 8, my dad and I got up early and drove to Halifax for my interview. The car ride went by fast. I was excited, nervous, happy and scared. It was the biggest rush I’ve ever felt.

The Big Brother audition process is extremely secretive, so secretive that we aren’t even allowed to talk about it. My interview went well, and they said I would be contacted by Nov. 16 if I would be moving on to the final round. I checked my email every day.

I was on my way to work on Nov. 12 when I got the email from Big Brother. I started screaming because I thought it was good news. I took a deep breath and read it. After reading it three times, I finally accepted that I didn’t make it. I had a face-palm moment and the tears rolled down.

I got to work. By then, I was balling and had a hard time catching my breath. I think the girls thought someone died. When I told them what happened, some of them starting to tear up too. They knew I wanted it badly. I eventually calmed down and the Pseudio girls helped me realize that I should be proud of myself. I was in the top 100 out of 10,000 applicants. Looking back, that is pretty cool.

When the Canadian version aired in February, it was extremely bittersweet. Yes, it’s my favourite show, but I want to be on it. But watching it gave me more motivation to apply next year. It was the coolest experience of my life. Being on Big Brother would be the equivalent to an aspiring singer getting on American Idol. It’s that big of a deal for me.

The only people I told during the process were my parents. They were extremely supportive and believed I would get on the show.

Next year I plan to apply again. My biggest mistake was probably over-thinking everything. Until then, I will certainly continue to watch Big Brother Canada and the American version this summer.

And to future applicants: my biggest advice to you is to just be yourself and don’t over think anything. You are allowed to make mistakes, and chances are, being you is good enough.

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