“I was very calculated from the beginning of this game”
When he saw Big Brother 2020 Marley Biyendolo knew he had to change his gameplan for 2021.
Reality TV winner Marley Biyendolo had been a longtime fan of Big Brother across successive years but had to change his strategy when he saw the 2020 series on Seven
It was then he realised this was a new game.
“I’d watched plenty of Big Brother growing up, especially with mum. We loved the show and watched it all the time. But I think last year, when I was watching it, and I fell in love with the show again, I watched it a lot differently,” he tells TV Tonight.
“I’d watched the way that people moved throughout that house and what allowed people to be successful. I loved Chad (2020 winner), especially towards the end.
“Going in this season, we came in with a little bit of an advantage compared to last year, because we could understand the way the game operated.”
Biyendolo acknowledges flying ‘under the radar’ early in the season worked to his advantage and insists it was part of his plan.
“I wanted to hold my cards very, very close”
“Going into this game, I wanted to be very, very calculated. I didn’t want to say a lot, I wanted to hold my cards very, very close. Even to people that I trusted. I never explained my game plan to them,” he continues.
“I was working in the background and kind of having shields ahead of me that could be deemed as the alphas, per se. Everyone in that house is always (scheming) to be the alpha of the group. But I was more than happy not to be, because I knew that being an alpha figure in that game, other than Danny Hayes, is kind of putting yourself up as a huge threat, and probably the next person on the chopping block.
“I was very calculated from the beginning of this game, with every single move that I did, right up until the end.”
Biyendolo is Aussie born, raised in outer eastern Melbourne by his Congalese father and Australian mother, who sadly passed away to cancer 4 years ago. Dad Clotaire made his way from the Congo to study at University in China before coming to Australia. Biyendolo is a similar success story, already having played basketball in the USA for 5 years and completing a Psychology degree.
His Big Brother win proves nice guys don’t always finish last.
“That’s what I wanted to prove coming out of this experience. I think we see so much in the world, people in high places and we kind of associate those people, potentially -not everyone, obviously- but some being corrupt, lying, cheating and stealing to get to the top,” he suggests.
“You’re squeezed so heavily to deceive, and lie and manipulate .. you can throw all of that out the door”
“I just wanted to prove to myself and prove to Australia that you can go through a game like this, where you’re squeezed so heavily to deceive, and lie and manipulate …that you can go through a game like this throw all of that out the door, if that’s who you are. Be very honest, integral, and trustworthy and follow through with your word. I wanted to prove that could make it to the end of a game like this. That could allow you to have successes in life.”
“Most of it is luck, trust me”
But the complexity of the competition also required him to be versatile with his alliances and manoeuvre when the time was right.
“That’s what makes it such a difficult game,” he agrees. “So much of it is about luck and timing within this game. Most of it is luck, trust me. You’ve got to be very precise on when you make a move, what kind of move you make, how the house is going to react to it. But also in the back of your mind: how Australia is going to react to it. There’s so much thought that goes into this in order to get to the end of this game.”
Save for Tuesday’s grand final, filming was completed in Sydney late last year. As he watched it play out on television, how did the experience differ?
“I think what surprised me the most is how much is missed out. They’re fitting in three days of content, 72 hours, into an hour and a half episode. I realised watching it back that so much of the crap we said and did we thought was interesting in there, was just not compelling and entertaining for TV,” Biyendolo explains.
“They’re going to put in the drama, the intensity, the fights, the bickering. We’re thinking all this other stuff might be aired. But honestly, they don’t care about 70% of the crap we do in there!” he laughed.
“There’s one official diary room and there’s other rooms”
Biyendolo also cleared up some web rumours about the way the show is produced.
“There’s one official diary room and there’s other rooms that we go into in order to do interviews, which kind of looks like a diary room. But there’s one live and always active diary room,” he reveals.
“The main Big Brother voice you hear on air is who we mostly hear throughout the day. That was a big surprise. Obviously, he’s got to sleep!
“So you don’t hear the same Big Brother at all times. There’s two main Big Brothers and then there’s others, especially throughout the night. But we’re all familiar with them. It’s almost like they become Little Big Brothers. They have their own personality.”
He also confirmed contestants have access to a psychologist or the wellness manager at any point throughout the game.
“Whatever you need they will tee up, almost the same day. Probably within the hour.
“I never went in and actually saw one. I believe it would be through the camera and the microphone. I assume if it ever got too intense you probably could arrange as face to face. I don’t think it got like that with anyone.”
Both the ‘basement’ and the yard for challenges are off-site with contestants blindfolded when they are transported.
“You go through a van to get to the arena and stuff like that.”
“I would tell people they can’t possibly put me in a bad light”
Biyendolo also confirmed he was happy with the edit and portrayal by producers. It had never been a concern even before joining the show.
“People would ask me before going on… ‘Are you nervous about how they will edit the show? What if they put you in a bad light?’ I would tell people they can’t possibly put me in a bad light with the way I was. I was me! So I knew exactly what I said in that show, exactly what I did. I know I did everything from a kind place at heart,” he says.
“I was so proud of the game I played. So watching it back was such an amazing feeling, knowing that who you are as a person is who they see on TV. It was a beautiful moment for me, I think.”