After years of criticism, CBS today announced the most diverse cast in Big Brother’s history.
This year’s crop of contestants is noticeably less white than previous seasons, after CBS pledged last November that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) contestants would make up at least 50 percent of its unscripted series’ casts.
The fans have long been asking for a cast that truly reflected the United States more accurately – with a diverse lineup of contestants of different ages, races, backgrounds, and sexual orientations.
The new casting crew finally listened to the public after seeing how things played out last season when All-Star winner Cody Calafiore led an all-white ‘committee’ which systematically eliminated all minority players.
CBS casting has also learned from The Circle, Netflix’s successful Big Brother-type show that has been praised for its diversity.
Big Brother has been accused for years of casting racist players, with a clear lack of diversity.
No African American male has ever won the show in its 22 seasons.
CBS CEO George Cheeks said in a statement: “The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling.”
To combat the hive mind and large alliances that have dominated recent seasons, Season 23 will split the houseguests into teams, which will be determined following a live comp on the premiere.
While a diverse cast, ageism continues to be a problem.
The cast is very young, ranging in age from 21 to 40.
Of the 16 contestants, 12 are in their 20s.
Here’s a brief bio of each:
Hometown: Sarasota, Fla.
Current City: Sarasota, Fla.
Occupation: Swimwear Designer
Three Adjectives: Witty, Sarcastic and Outgoing
Favorite Activities: Weightlifting, videography and video editing, boating with friends, going to the dog park with my dogs Jeter and Piper, and going to Siesta Key beach to watch the sunset.
Azah Awasum (30)
Hometown: Baltimore, Md.
Current City: Baltimore, Md.
Occupation: Director of Sales Operations
Three Adjectives: Charismatic, crafty, clumsy
Favorite Activities: : I love cooking! It’s one of my favorite pastimes. I am also an avid biker (just completed a century earlier this year) and a world traveler (26 countries and counting!)
Brent Champagne (28)
Hometown: Cranston, R.I.
Current City: Cranston, R.I.
Occupation: Flight Attendant
Three Adjectives: Adventurous, passionate and confident
Favorite Activities: Sports, working out, stock trading, hiking, fishing and traveling.
Britini D’Angelo (24)
Hometown: Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Current City: Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Occupation: Kindergarten Teacher
Three Adjectives: Driven, compassionate and loving
Favorite Activities: Dancing, karate, softball, tennis, theatre, spending time with my family and friends, swimming, biking, running, fitness activities, playing Mario Kart and making Tik Tok’s!
Christian Birkenberger (23)
Current City: Harwinton, Conn.
Occupation:General Contractor Assistant
Three Adjectives: Charming, friendly and determined
Favorite Activities: Being with friends, disc golf, mini gold, basketball, fishing and flirting.
Christie Valdiserri (27)
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Current City: North Hollywood, Calif.
Occupation: Professional Dancer
Three Adjectives: Determined, energetic and passionate
Favorite Activities: Dancing, teaching dance, traveling, going to the beach, cooking vegan food, and of course enjoying a nice stiff spicy margarita on a rooftop at sunset!
Derek Frazier (29)
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Current City: Philadelphia, Pa.
Occupation: Safety Officer
Three Adjectives: Loud, outgoing and assertive
Favorite Activities: Going out, dancing at the bars, CrossFit and binge-watching TV!
Derek Xiao (24)
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Current City: New York, NY
Occupation: Start-Up Founder
Three Adjectives: Funny, logical and thoughtful
Favorite Activities: I’ve been really into chess and surfing recently. I just spent a month in Hawaii, and I would surf every morning and then play chess on the beach.
Brandon “Frenchie” French (34)
Hometown: Camden, Tenn.
Current City: Clarksville, Tenn.
Three Adjectives: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, compassionate and exuberant
Favorite Activities: “Yes” days with the kids, fishing, playing with the baby animals and grilling out.
Hannah Chaddha (21)
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Current City: Chicago, Ill.
Occupation: Grad Student
Three Adjectives: Calculated, composed and versatile
Favorite Activities: Dancing, fashion/styling, traveling, and binging Real Housewives.
Kyland Young (29)
Hometown: San Bernardino County, Calif.
Current City: Venice Beach, Calif.
Occupation: Account Executive
Three Adjectives: Optimistic, Dynamic, Engaging
Favorite Activities: I’m a HUGE movie fan, especially watching them at the theater. Popcorn is literally my favorite food. Also, games – whether chess, escape rooms, football, or poker, I LOVE to compete in pretty much any type of games!
Sarah Steagall (27)
Hometown: Boiling Springs, SC
Current City: Ft. Myers, FL
Occupation: Forensic Scientist
Three Adjectives: Sweet, quirky and self-driven
Favorite Activities: Shopping, partying with friends, reading manga/watching anime, sewing and singing.
Tiffany Mitchell (40)
Hometown: Detroit, Mich.
Current City: Detroit, Mich.
Three Adjectives: Kind, funny and outgoing
Favorite Activities: My favorite actives are entertaining my friends and family no matter what we’re doing; working out, reading, and boating.
Travis Long (22)
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Current City: Honolulu, Hawaii
Occupation: Tech Sales Consultant
Three Adjectives: Rambunctious, curious and strong-willed.
Favorite Activities: Spearfishing, cliff jumping, cinematography, soccer, bouldering, skydiving, shark diving, sand volleyball and surfing.
Whitney Williams (30)
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Current City: Portland, Ore.
Occupation: Make-Up Artist
Three Adjectives: Resilient, quirky and outgoing
Favorite Activities: Anything adventurous. Traveling with my sons. Working on my business, laid back days with my besties.
Xavier Prather (27)
Hometown: Kalamazoo, Mich.
Current City: Milwaukee, Wis.
Three Adjectives: Personable, confident and fun-loving
Favorite Activities: Playing basketball, spending time with family and friends, exercising, kayaking, hiking, and chillin’.
The season will kick off with a 90-minute premiere special on Wednesday, July 7 at 8 p.m. ET. T
Then, beginning Sunday, July 11, Big Brother will air Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m., with the latter featuring the live eviction show hosted by Julie Chen Moonves.
The 16 new cast members who live and compete together for the grand prize of $500,000.