'Big Brother 15' winner Andy Herren: 'Nobody deserved it more than I did'
Congratulations! How does it feel?
"It feels amazing. I worked my a** off in that house! I feel like I played a game where you couldn't really tell how much I was working my a** off. My game was very strategic and very mental. The fact that it all worked out and my hard work was merited feels very rewarding and very good."
When did you really start thinking you might win this thing?
"Once we got towards the middle of the summer, when we got to jury, I was like, 'Oh my god, I am playing every corner of this house. I am ratting people out, I'm doing whatever I can to get further, and nobody is noticing! Nobody is talking about me, nobody sees me as a threat and if I can keep this up, I could win this.'"
People have been critical of your game, calling you a floater and saying you played a "non-game" -- how do you respond to that?
"Anybody who says that I played a non-game is totally, completely wrong. Oh my god, I think I played a harder game than anyone else in that house and I think nobody deserved it more than I did. I had personal relationships with every single person in the house. I was able to back-stab people, I was able to turn on them. For example, I blindsided Amanda and even as she was leaving the house, she tried to set me up to be in the good graces of everybody else. That's a testament to a very strong game, I think.
As to claims that I was a floater, if you think talking to everyone in the house and playing everyone in the house is a floater, then sure, that's what I did. But I knew where my loyalty lied and my loyalty was unflinching. In the first part of the game, if anyone even brought up that they wanted to get rid of Amanda, I told Amanda and that person went home."
The internet was really buzzing when you chose to take GinaMarie to the finals with you over Spencer -- the thinking was that you'd easily beat Spencer, but with GM the vote would be close. Why did you choose to take her with you?
"I took GinaMarie for a few different reasons. Number one is that we pledged loyalty to each other at the very beginning of the game and I really did uphold that throughout the game because I trusted her. She was loyal to me and why would I want to get rid of someone who is a good competitor who's never going to get me out? I thought the jury might see me as disloyal [if I didn't take her] because I really did back-stab a lot of them. I thought if I could play the loyalty/trust card at the end, I thought it might push me over the edge for the win.
I also thought GM hadn't grasped the game as well as I had and I thought I could kick her butt in the debate. ... I thought Spencer would've been tougher in the debate, but I think my game merited a win over Spencer as well. I think I could've beaten Spencer too."
Were you surprised the vote was 7-2? We thought it might be a little closer than that, to be honest with you.
"Honestly, I wasn't. I thought that I played a much stronger game than GinaMarie and I thought the jury was full of people who love the game and they would award a well-played game over being bitter."
We don't know how much you've seen, but there's been a lot of backlash about some of the offensive things that were said or done in the house. How do you react to that?
"When I was in the house and I knew that it was happening, I didn't realize the magnitude it was happening and how it was offending so many people. When it did happen, I did not take it lightly. I pulled Howard and Candice aside a couple times and told them I don't condone the things that have been said to you, I do not condone the actions that have been displayed towards you and I'm sorry that it happened.
It sounds like people are ostracizing for not speaking up when we were in large groups, but my goal was to never put a target on myself or be in the middle of trouble, so I think it was just as effective to pull them aside and more reflective of the type of game player I was.
Any comments that offend people or come from a place of hate is not something I condone whatsoever and I apologize that I've even been associated with it."
Would you go back on "Big Brother" if they asked you?
"Oh my god, yes. Yes, I would, for sure. Towards the end, it was so tough, but this was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I would love to do it again, just to see if I could."
What's next for you? Are you running off to Hollywood?
"Hell no! I am going back to Chicago, I miss my friends and my family so much. I cannot wait to be back in the city."
"Big Brother" returns for its 16th installment in summer 2014.