August 02, 2013 2:26pm PT by Philiana Ng
'Big Brother 15': Howard Overby on Season's Controversies and 'Bittersweet' Eviction
Big Brother's Howard Overby was evicted from the house after a nearly unanimous vote.
The 29-year-old youth counselor from Mississippi, portrayed as a deeply religious man, a potential competition threat and a moral center on the CBS series, was part of Big Brother's first alliance of the season, the Moving Company. Though the alliance looked to be strong — on paper, at least — it was quickly dismantled after one of its own members, McCrae Olson, turned. The weeks that followed saw Howard and Spencer Clawson attempting to pick up the pieces — but the damage was already done. When Helen Kim confronted Overby about the all-guys alliance, he initially denied its existence before finally coming clean. (Howard lost Helen's trust for good at that moment.) For the record, Overby is the third of the five-member Moving Company to be evicted.
Following Aaryn Gries' infamous bed-flipping incident, Overby grew closer to Candice Stewart, forming an inseparable bond — with Overby telling Julie Chen in his post-eviction interview that they have a deep friendship. In the fifth post-eviction interview with THR, Overby discusses the houseguests' controversial comments, his feelings about the Mean Girls, his picks for the final four and the two moments he would do over again.
The Hollywood Reporter: How are you feeling after your eviction? Has it sunk in yet that your game is over?
Howard Overby: More and more as hours go by. I was debriefed on a lot of things, leaving the house. From there, it was just taking a deep breath and it's bittersweet. I definitely wanted to be the first African American to win this game. That wasn't for me. I did what I was supposed to do in the house and I'm at peace with that and what's to come is to come. I'm excited about the future. I just wanted to get back to being a civilian, to read a book that wasn't the Bible, to watch TV. I watched TV — movies — until about 4 a.m. last night. I'm still energized right now. Then hearing some of these responses to how the show has been perceived and some of the happenings that happened in the house and what's going on in society, that definitely put a damper on it from my heart. Even though I may be perceived on the good side of it, it still doesn't feel good to be a part of it and have people see that, but at the same time it is good for people to see on the other side because that stuff still does exist and it's very alive and well.
THR: How do you feel about being attached to a season that has been known for some of the houseguests' controversial comments made in the house?
Overby: If I may answer that question in two ways: I'm happy about it because, like I said, I feel like I was in the house for many reasons: personal, social, God. I was glad God was able to use me in a positive light even though sometimes I wanted to respond and retaliate in a negative light, which would have brought more attention but it wouldn't have been a good decision on my part. That would've been stooping down to their level. From a negative standpoint, I don't like it because instead of it being about the game, I think that's going to [supersede] some of the game. It's a great show and a great game and I hate for it to have a little bruise on it like it does with this stuff, but I was anticipating it. But, I never knew it would grow to this height. It is what it is and I think everybody will grow from it. It's still going to be a special part of me no matter what.
THR: We saw you actively remove Candice out of the situation when the bed-flipping incident arose with Aaryn. How difficult was it for you not to lose your temper in the house?
Overby: It definitely was the hardest thing I've almost ever had to do. From that standpoint, being from the Deep South, I'm unfortunately privy to comments and things like that going on or being said, but once you're in the house there's no way to escape or walk away. You have to play the game with the same people making these comments that are personal. This [situation] had nothing to do with the game. It's easy for me to look over it if I was there by myself but when you have Candice, [who] is very emotional and she's going to say what's on her mind, that's going to breed confrontation, especially when we're the minority — whether in race or numbers in the house. That hurt me the most that night because she wanted to fight for what was right, she wanted her bed back. She said, "Howie, I want my bed. I want my bed." And that was the hardest thing. It wasn't removing her from the situation, it was the fact that she knew it was going to happen, it happened and we did nothing about it from a physical or a standing tall standpoint.
What I knew morally was that it was important for us to stand tall because that could've escalated and resulted in me getting sent home because I was going to defend that woman because that is my right. The hardest part was leaving the bed that was hers and sleeping in the Have Not room, which further infuriated me and her. [Candice] wanted to fight [and said] that our people wouldn't like this, our families wouldn't like this. I knew she was right and that broke my heart in so many ways. To sit there and realize what had happened and pray, I kind of lost it for a minute. I wanted to retaliate so bad. The anxiety, the anger and then the fact that we almost ran from the moment. That hurt me more than anything but I'm glad it happened. It was a good moment no matter what because it helped me grow in that moment.
THR: What are your thoughts on the behaviors and attitudes of Aaryn, GinaMarie and Kaitlin, who have been perceived as the Mean Girls?
Overby: I definitely don't promote that. I don't look down on them and I'm not going to say anything bad about them. The only thing I'm going to say is we had a very young cast this year. We had a lot of young girls in there and for the most part I hope that some of those comments were coming from just being young and immature or wanting attention. None of it is acceptable. I don't care how young or old you are. In the realms of me looking over in the house, I can accept it more from Kaitlin [Barnaby] and Aaryn because they're young, but with GinaMarie [Zimmerman], she's a bit older. I still think she has a good heart but I think she goes along with whatever's hot and maybe they wanted some attention after this show. I wish no ill will toward any of them. I hope that they can grow from this moment and re-establish any good credit with people.
THR: This game rests on several big decisions that people usually have to make during the course of the game. Looking back, what was the biggest mistake or decision that you wish you could do over?
Overby: If I had to do it over I wouldn't change a thing. As far as staying in the house, I would've never left the Moving Company. I would've added two women to that. I knew that McCrae and Amanda [Zuckerman] had flipped [when Moving Company alliance member Nick Uhas was on the block in Week 2], but he was only going to do it if me and Spencer agreed out of all of us. That was a set-up, I found out later. I definitely had my inhibitions about leaving but I would've stuck it out. [The Moving Company] was really five guys and three girls because GinaMarie, Kaitlin and Aaryn were going to do whatever Nick and Jeremy [McGuire] wanted to do, so we could've rolled that out ourselves. The only other thing I might've done better was, after Jeremy kind of ratted [the alliance] out, I would've told Helen everything instead of just telling her one lie, withholding one and then coming back and telling her the truth later on. That was the point in the game where I was being 100 percent with who I am and what I want to stand for; I think it kind of damaged Helen on me, but at the same time I didn't think telling her everything would've helped either.
THR: Why do you think Amanda and McCrae were targeting you for weeks?
Overby: From an age standpoint, there are only six really grown people in the house and Amanda being a very dominant person — very conniving, malicious and willing to do whatever to stay in the house and make this money — I recognized it early on and I was one of the first ones. When we were in the Moving Company and I saw her with McCrae, I already knew what she was up to so my thing with McCrae was, "Look, man. If you don't stay with her and stay loyal to us, let it be known. I just wanted to make sure you're not going to sell us out to her to hurt us. If anything, bring her in. I'm going to support you either way." I knew she had to go because she was going to spread the word and she was going to find out and get information out of him. I wasn't going to be one that she could manipulate. She is the henchman for him to keep his hands clean and keep him right and to do all the dirty moves that she does.
THR: How did the MVP twist this season damage or help your game?
Overby: This season, we have a lot of people who were a little timid and want to float along. I didn't think this was what this season was going to be. The MVP really shocked me. It made you have to account for numbers so in order to keep numbers, it's really not about the game or the competition. They can save you as far as POVs, but it's really about how can you manipulate the weak-minded in the house. We had a lot of Indians and not chiefs and no one wanted to make a power move when they had the chance and unfortunately, I didn't win any HoHs. I didn't win the POV so I put that on myself. I was just hoping someone would step up and do something different. As it is right now, I think you have your final four pretty much drawn out. That makes for a boring season to me because the same thing's going to keep happening every week.
THR: Were you throwing competitions? It looked as if we didn't get 100 percent Howard.
Overby: When I was with the Moving Company, definitely not. That wasn't my goal. When I was in the Moving Company, I needed Jeremy, who is a great competitor, to keep the bravado up, to keep the girls on his cake, to make sure they would never leave him as far as GinaMarie, Kaitlin and Aaryn [are concerned]. In the long-term, if we made it to the final five or six or seven, [we would] use how good he is, or appears to be, in competitions against him to get people to vote him out. And then I could turn it on. That was my ultimate plan.
THR: Who do you think Candice should team up with now that you're gone?
Overby: Honestly, who knows? I instilled whatever I could into her. I told her she's going to have to get over personal things to just try [to stay] in the house. I think she'll get back in the good graces of Helen and Elissa [Slater]; they'll feel sorry for her. She and Andy [Herren] are kind of the same; they're on the outs. They aren't main players. But at some point she's going to have to decide to either join the house and go against the four or stay close to Elissa and Helen and hope that everything plays out. I think that's going to be her best bet. I told her to go with her gut.
THR: Who do you think is in a really good position right now? You said you think there's a final four basically set.
Overby: Three people come to mind. McCrae: he's a strategist, a game historian. He has Amanda doing all the dirty work but everybody likes him. So he's in the best position right now. Helen: she does do the dirty work but she's a mom, she's happy-go-lucky and talks, and she covers her bases well. People, I guess, respect that to the point that they fear it and don't want to see her gone because they don't want to break her heart but she's willing to break your heart. The wild card is Andy. Andy has no enemies in the house. He's way more athletic than people give him credit for and he plays the best social game. In a season where it wasn't supposed to be about floating, it really was advantageous for you to float. And of course, my personal preference is Candice. I would love to see her persevere through all this and really turn the game upside down and have a great comeback.
Big Brother next airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS.