Claudia Campbell may have come second in Big Brother Canada Season 11, but the Kensington, P.E.I., woman said she has no regrets about being a house guest on the show.
During the show, 16 people live together in a house with television cameras and microphones recording their every move. They do competitions, use strategy — and each week, they vote someone out.
Campbell spent more than 70 days in the house.
"I knew it would challenge me physically, mentally, emotionally, and I was ready for that and I wanted to embrace it and just enjoy the journey," she said.
"It's something that I could never have prepared for. It's an amazing experience. It's challenging, ... but it's something so unique, and an experience that I'll cherish for the rest of my life."
Campbell said it was a spontaneous decision to apply to be a house guest on the show.
"It was something that I had thought about in previous years. You know, if I was going to go on reality TV, it was going to be on Big Brother Canada. I couldn't see myself on anything else," she said.
I feel like I didn't know quite as much as I thought, being in there with some of the big fans. - Claudia Campbell
"I did watch some of the earlier seasons, from 1 to about 5. But I did fall off in the last few seasons, so coming into the house and being around super fans ... tested my knowledge on Big Brother. I feel like I didn't know quite as much as I thought, being in there with some of the big fans."
A 'completely surreal' experience
Campbell said the thing she missed the most while shooting the show was communicating with friends and family.
"To be cut off from your support systems when you're going through something in that house and you don't have those people to confide in, it's definitely a very challenging experience. But it also pushed me to grow a lot in my own ways as well," she said.
She hasn't watched the whole season yet — only a few episodes, and some highlight clips online. But Campbell said she's "definitely excited" to watch the whole thing.
Even though house guests are being filmed constantly, Campbell said she feels what appeared on air was different from the actual experience.
"We lived it and we have different perspectives from what necessarily the show is displaying. So it's going to be interesting, definitely, to watch it back."
She said that, overall, she's felt very supported since the show ended.
"It's absolutely amazing. It's been an overwhelming feeling to get the messages and all the support that I have from my friends, my family, Islanders, East Coasters. It's completely surreal."
Campbell was part of what's known as a "showmance" with the show's eventual winner, Ty McDonald.
"I think anyone who watched it and anyone who was in the house knows that Ty and I had a pretty interesting relationship in there. For a lot of the game, we battled on our approaches to the game and our outlooks and how we wanted to play ... But in the end, you know, we were able to come together and go to the end together."
Campbell chose to go up against McDonald in the show's finale.
She said people on social media have had a lot to say about that.
"Honestly, I think I was going to get second either way ... I know some people have different perspectives on that, but even talking to the jury and the other house guest after, I definitely think it wouldn't really have changed the outcome for me," Campbell said.
Now we're in the real world and we're all just excited to be out here and experience everything with everyone in the house.
- Claudia Campbell
"Ty and I are definitely still on good terms and hanging out and talking, and we'll see where it goes. You're in a little Big Brother bubble in that house. So now we're in the real world and we're all just excited to be out here and experience everything with everyone in the house."
As the runner-up, Campbell won $20,000. But aside from that, she said the relationships she's made with the other house guests are invaluable.
"It's been a bit overwhelming getting back in the real world after three-month's cutoff. So I'm, you know, I'm just excited to soak up some time with my family and my friends this summer — and just see what opportunities come my way."