Even by the standards of a show where a contestant once inserted a wine bottle into her vagina on camera out of boredom, Celebrity Big Brother 16 was an amazing supernova of dramatic happenings.
Seriously – the warning message that informs viewers of a sensititve disposition to get the xanax bottle ready now, ended up almost as long as the show itself.
Amongst the forgetable housemates (someone from the Bill, a Loose Woman, a Baldwin who was Alec), were four housemates for whom the viewer warning message was made: former porn star Jenna Jameson, who quickly teamed up with former porn actress and Teen Mom Farrah Abrahams; noted fashion skeleton Janice Dickenson and super-ripped reality TV star Austin Armacost.
The theme of the series was supposed to the be USA VS UK but Farrah, Jenna, Janice and Austin – all Americans – having decided that none of the other housemates were worth their venom, decided to fight with each other. Every. Single. Minute.
And readers, it was was glorious. I’ve seen countless series of Celebrity and non-Entity BB and the Celebrity Big Brother 16 was one of the best. It was so genuinely vicious that even the viewers developed PTSD.
In fact, there was even a lawsuit stemming from an incident on spin-off show Big Brother’s Bit on the Side (presented by Rylan Neal Clark). Police were called to the show’s studio after Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace, herself a former Big Brotherer) threw a champagne flute at Farrah Abrahams after Abrahams told her “Hag, be quiet”.
Unfortunately, the missile missed its intended target and ended up hitting poor pannelist Vicki Michelle square in the face. Every one else was unharmed (this didn’t stop Farrah from showing up to court in a wheel chair and neck brace) though Janice Dickenson who was also present, was later accused of throwning a chair at Abrahams, like a frazzled lion tamer, in an attempt to stop the Teen Mom throwing glassses.
And that was just what happened in a random post-show panel discussion, so you can imagine what Celebrity Big Brother 16 itself was like. That’s right: awesome.
So, when the opportunity to interview Austin Armacost, one of the combatants in the war of CBB 16 came up, I snatched it, like Farrah snatching a bitch’s weave. Armacost returned to the show earlier this year for BB All Stars, but was a shadow of his former feisty self, owing in part to the dissolution of his marriage. He did manage to squeeze in a few firey rows with housemates Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, but was booted in a surprise eviction after being labelled the dullest housemate.
But I digress. I caught up with the handsome devil ahead of his appearance at SweatBox tonight to chat boys, Big Bro and the Blarney Stone…
Hi Austin! So, are you looking forward to visiting Dublin? CBB is a pretty popular show over here so you’ve got more than a few fans on our shores!
I am very excited for my visit as it will be my first time seeing the city. I have flown through a couple times but never left Dublin airport as I used to fly with Aer Lingus. Not a big fan of Guinness but will probably do the “tourist” route and go see the factory, the Blarney Stone, etc. I always find it so interesting the countries in which the show is extremely popular even though Republic of Ireland is excluded from voting. I was recently visiting Los Angeles & was stopped by a group of girls from Azerbaijan who said CBB is big there as well… RANDOM!
When you first signed up for CBB in 2016 did you have any idea what you were getting yourself into (namely the intense fighting and unexpected bromance)?
I had no idea what to expect going into the series. I knew that we as housemates had to bring the drama because that, after all, is what makes for good reality TV. I feel I was at an advantage being in the house with a few others from the reality TV world (Farrah, Janice.) We didn’t hold grudges against one another after our “massive rows.”
We knew were there to make good TV and I would have to say we succeeded. The bromance with James was not expected but simultaneously did not surprise me. Most of my friends back in the states are straight, I had two older brothers growing up, I am more of a lads lad so tend to gravitate towards the boy-o stereotypical men. Although, James was extremely metrosexual – HaHa!
Do you regret returning to the Big Brother house for CBB All Stars? It seemed like a much less enjoyable experience for you…
You definitely got that right, it was so much more less enjoyable this time around. I think a combination of things made this experience not nearly as good as the last: not having James to “play” with, this season was in winter opposed to summer, and mostly being that 7 of us had been there before we were all thirsty for the “All Star” title. There was a lot more game playing going on than the first time.
Also, the first time in I had no idea what to expect and everything was brand new to me… this time I knew what twists and turns were around every corner. Also, I didn’t fully connect with anybody in the house. I felt like a bit of a drifter this season and also I was massively missing my boyfriend. We got into a relationship 4mos before I entered the house… Going from spending every day together to not being able to even speak was difficult for me, as you saw. The breakdowns I had were genuine and more than once I contemplated walking out.
Do I regret doing the second season, no. Everything in my life is an experience that I try to learn from. This experience helped me learn how much my partner truly means to me. We are now seven months in and have already discussed marriage (seriously) more than once.
Does being a reality TV persona make it difficult to sustain relationships?
I don’t feel it makes it difficult to sustain them but definitely difficult to initiate them. I was extremely hesitant to open myself up to dating after my split from my ex husband of 9 years. I didn’t know what people’s intentions would be in wanting to get to know me. I was very lucky in meeting Darren (my boyfriend) because he actually did not know who I was before our first date. Then after a few people wanted selfies he began to wonder, Ha! Also, I give him a massive amount of gratitude for understanding the business I am in. Many times being judged, sexualised and graphically discussed on social media is a daily occurrence. I signed up for scrutiny, he didn’t. Unfortunately, “guilt by association” applies in this instance and he has handled it extremely well. We tend to twist negative comments and make them comedic between us opposed to letting them bother us.
Would you ever consider returning for a third time to CBB?
I would. Both times I have done the show were so drastically different who knows what a third stent in the house would bring. I was definitely disappointed with the way I left the house this time around as well. Not evicted, not kicked off, not voted off… that really bothered me. I felt robbed of my opportunity to have another chance in the house and prove why I was runner up the first time I participated. I was also just getting to the point where I wanted to enjoy myself and stop f*cking crying every day. It is such a rare experience and opportunity I didn’t want to squander.
Who would your ideal housemates be? Who would your nightmare housemates be?
Ideal housemates would be clean, outgoing, interactive, funny, and able to carry a conversation. Some of my former housemates who fit that category would include: James Hill, Bianca, Colleen, Jasmine, Natasha, Bobby and Scoop.
Nightmare housemates would be annoying, obnoxious, game-playing, malicious. Those would include: Farrah, Heidi and Spencer, Jedward and Stacey.
I am a pretty easy guy to get along with so hopefully I would be cast as an (ideal) housemate. The only times I argued was when people acted like pricks.
What’s next on the horizon for Austin?
Well rarely in my life is anything constant so I am not sure what the future holds. One thing for certain though is my wonderful, loving, beautiful relationship with one of the most amazing men I have ever met. Darren had helped me in so many ways become a better man and I am ready to take the next step with him.
Professionally, I recently signed with a new TV and film agent in London so hopefully grow my “scripted” career a bit more. I was an actor before getting into the realm of reality TV and would like to explore that further moving forward. However, I will always have a soft spot for reality TV and do enjoy it. University is also a possibility as I am always looking to further my education. Only time will tell…
Catch Austin at Sweatbox, Eustace Street, Dublin, Ireland at 11pm. Tickets/ info here.