Audrey Middleton seemed almost destined to be evicted on Big Brother 17. The dynamic house guest and hard player had been on most people’s radar for several weeks. But it took one of her closest allies, Shelli Poole, to name her as a replacement nominee and ensure her eviction.
Prior to the veto ceremony, where Audrey’s fate was all but assured, she retreated into a state of self-isolation inside the house. It was a surprising turn of events for the Big Brother superfan, who’d seemed anxious to play the game on all cylinders.
She became the first Big Brother player in history to miss a veto ceremony. She was nominated in absentia and received one penalty vote on eviction night for breaking the game rules.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, host Julie Chen said Audrey made the right decision by not showing up for her nomination. She denied that she was disappointed in Middleton for breaking the have-not rules by eating in the days leading up to her ouster. In Chen’s view, Audrey was simply choosing to make her personal well-being the priority.
“It didn’t disappoint me at all. Audrey made the right choice. She put taking care of her soul ahead of the game.”
In the press interviews that followed her eviction, Audrey was blunt about what happened. She admitted to CBS’s Jeff Schroeder that she might regret the decision to sit out the veto ceremony, but she just couldn’t muster the necessary strength.
“I just couldn’t physically get myself to do it [sit through the ceremony]. As a superfan, I know I will watch it back and smack myself across the face for not going through with it, but in that moment, my emotions dominated all my decisions.”
Audrey told Entertainment Weekly that she is an introverted person by nature, and the close quarters of the Big Brother house took their toll. Middleton famously spent hours inside the diary room in her final days in order to get a safe haven from the game.
As for the label that followed her into the house, “the first transgender contestant,” Middleton told EW she was relieved at the reaction of her fellow players when she delivered the news.
“[I]t was such a relief how well everyone responded to it. It made me feel so accepted. It was really a beautiful moment, and it was history for a group of people to exemplify acceptance like that and to embrace someone totally different. I just feel so special. And the people who didn’t like me on the show just didn’t like it, it wasn’t for anything personal.”
Since leaving the game, Audrey said she’s had some time to realize “life is beautiful,” and that her Big Brother journey was amazing and unique, “even though it was a stressful experience.”
Big Brother 17 airs Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays on CBS.