The Big Brother house was less a contest to win money than a test of mental endurance for Kail Harbick, the 37-year-old business owner from Oregon. After winning HOH in the first week of the season, Kail went from ultimate power to resident punching bag for the more vocal hamsters of the house. Kail, who had applied to be on the show since season 5, was cussed out on a daily basis, condemned to wear a bunny suit, forced to dump funk on herself – not to mention, eat bowls upon bowls of slop. Was it worth it? It certainly wasn’t the summer of wine coolers and tanning by the pool that she might have expected. Kail was quite cheerful on the phone, but was still a bit confused at times about the experience, as if is still trying to figure out what happened.
Good morning, Kail!
(brightly) Hi there.
I’m a feed watcher, and I have to say – I both expected to talk to you sooner than today and yet I didn’t expect to be talking to you today. Does that make sense to you?
Totally! That was my thoughts exactly.
How did it go from Amber screaming like a banshee at Eric to evicting you?
Right. Um, yes, and I just got the full picture that Dustin was supposed to be my fourth vote, and he flipped on me. That comes from Amber, and whatever Amber wants, she gets. There’s a lot of reasons, I think, why she did that. A lot of it was toward me, and maybe Eric said some things – but I have a feeling it was more about me than Eric.
What was Daniele saying to you when you were hugging her goodbye?
(sadly) I would like to know that myself.
Oh no, you couldn’t hear it?
As a matter of fact, I was thinking last night, did I walk away from her in the middle of what she was saying? (heaving a big sigh) I want to know
She was saying on the feeds later that night that she felt bad about you being evicted. She was surprised by it, too.
Oh, she was? Okay. I think that’s what she was probably telling me, you know, “I’m so sorry, this wasn’t what I expected” – all of that. Daniele and I connected the very first week and a half of the season, and then we connected the fifth week. In between, I lost bonding with her because of Nick. I know that if I had just made it past this week, I would have had more numbers behind me and more friends. I just had to get past it, and I just couldn’t.
What was your most nerve-wracking moment in the house?
Evel. Being around him and not knowing when he was going to explode. When the next time would be.
Do you think Dick’s rants were strategic?
(matter-of-factly) No, he’s out of control. You can’t fake that for as long as he did. Someone can go in the house and think, “I’m going to be mean,” but if it’s not you, it’s not you. You can’t live with somebody for five weeks, 24 hours a day, and have them put on a façade. Eventually the true you will come out – and it’s him. He’s trying to cover it by saying it’s strategic, but it’s not. I can see it in his eyes. He means all of it.
When you look back at your first week in the house, was there anything you wish you had done differently?
Yeah, I wish I didn’t believe the thirteen houseguests that came into my HOH room telling me about all the different alliances that were going on. I felt like I was left behind, and I was the only one not in an alliance. Hence, the jump into an alliance.
The feeds don’t come on right away, so by the time we saw into the house things were already pretty lined up.
Right. I don’t know if it was shown either, but Zach approached me, oh my gosh, right off – right away, and hounded me for a two person alliance. I just would not do it. He kept at it, “I want a two person alliance, I want to go to the end with you.” I kept saying, “No Zach, no, no.” That coupled with everyone telling me there were all these alliances, I was thinking, “Oh, my gosh! I better get in one.” I didn’t want to get in one with Zach, so I picked Mike. My gut feeling was that I could trust Mike. So that’s how all that formed.
It turns out you could trust Mike.
Yes, yes, he was very loyal.
You were just one week away from being on the jury – are you sad that you missed it by one week?
I wanted to go out this week or I wanted to make it in the house about four more weeks. I did not want to be the first person in sequester. Send me home to my husband and children – please! Jen and I had a conversation in the hammock on Wednesday night, and I was like, “Jen, if I stay, how many weeks do you think I have? Because if it’s one week, I want to go home. If it’s four weeks, I want to stay.” And I think I could have made it four more weeks, and I did want to stay, so of course I’m very disappointed. But (emphatically) I am so glad that I’m not in sequester with Evel or Amber. That would have been a nightmare!
They would have to change the cameras over to the sequester house.
(laughing) Exactly, that would be the show. The twist is we’re moving the cameras to the sequester house!
At one point, you seemed to be telling Daniele to separate from her father. Do you think she could have been convinced to vote against her father under the right circumstances?
No, and that came evident to me in week five. There’s no way. She’s leaning on Evel. She leans on him to be her voice. She tells him – all this came out when she was HOH – she tells him, this is what’s going on in the house, and he activates it.
So you think she’s the brains behind those two?
Yes, yes she is. She’s smart. Well, the both of them really. They studied the game, but why he would pick intimidation as his strategy – I don’t understand, that’s why I don’t think it’s a strategy, I think it’s him.
You were a fan of the show beforehand. How does being on the show differ from being a regular viewer?
It’s ten times harder than I ever expected – so much harder than what you see. But I loved the experience, absolutely.
The show last night highlighted the fact that you own four businesses in real life. Do think that put you too much in the mode of being a boss?
Yes. Again, you can’t hide. You can go in and say you’re going to fly underneath the radar, but if you don’t fly underneath the radar in real life, you’re not going to go in that house and fly underneath the radar. If you’re a boss in real life, if you’re used to managing sixty or more employees, and that’s the norm, and it’s something you’ve done every single day for the past ten years, you can’t go in and not be that. That’s how I feel about Evel, too. If he doesn’t cuss people out every day of his life, he’s not going to go in the house and start doing that.
The only thing I felt was a little bit different is that because of Evel, I don’t feel like I laughed. I don’t feel like I smiled in the house. That’s just not me. I had to be on my guard all the time.
You kept details about your life away from the others. There was even speculation from other houseguests that maybe you were making up having a family since you had such a good figure. What did you hear that other people were saying about you?
(laughing) I haven’t heard anything! I don’t know, and I’m dying to know how people portrayed me. I know in my real life, I’ve been told, “You’re a mystery.” So that doesn’t surprise me. I’m a better listener than a talker, and I pretty much don’t care to share things unless people ask, because if they’re interested they will ask me. And I’d love to share, who wouldn’t? But no one asked! (laughing) I was waiting for someone to ask me, “How do you stay married for eighteen years?” but I’d get one question, I’d answer it, and they wouldn’t ask another one. So, you know.
Just to go back to those beginning days, Evel did a lot of damage to me in the first few days. He took a lot of personality traits and turned them. I don’t know why he chose me out of the thirteen houseguests, but he did. I don’t know why he didn’t pick somebody else to do that to. I don’t know if that’s because I was the first HOH, or because he wanted to work with me and I didn’t want to work with him. So he’s like, “Fine then. I’ll be your enemy.”
What are your views on homosexuality, and did you share them with Dustin?
You know, I – (nervous laugh) I didn’t share them with Dustin. I never told him, like, “I disagree with your choices.” I never verbally told him that. But maybe he knows by just how conservative I am, maybe it came across and he figured it out. Dustin and I were very close, but we had to downplay how close we were because of Amber. Amber was very territorial about Dustin. But Dustin and I were the first ones up every day. We always had a morning hug, and I cried on his shoulders numerous times. I let him use me as a pawn, and he made me my coffee every morning for me. I was the only one that voted to keep Joe in the house, so I didn’t look at that – I just looked at him as a person, not his personality.
What did you think of what Dustin said to you in his goodbye message about needing to grow up?
Um, I’m not sure. I don’t know. I do know that he told me, “I had fun with your goodbye message because I know you’re not leaving.” But apparently, he didn’t vote for me so he must have known I was leaving. So I don’t know. I didn’t hear – I was kind of in shock from leaving the house. I heard it but I didn’t hear it. My mind was racing somewhere else, so I need to review it. I’m pretty much stumped right now about that.
Are you going to watch the feeds and keep up with the house?
I’m assuming my husband did. I’m not sure, so yes. I’m definitely going to watch out the rest of the season.
Thanks for talking with me today, Kail!
Many thanks to both Kail and CBS for the interview.