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'Big Brother Canada' Season 12 finale: Winner Bayleigh Pelham from Halifax ends streak of male champions

"I did play such a loyal game, a truthfully loyal game," Pelham said

Arisa Cox chats with Big Brother Canada Season 12 winner Bayleigh Pelham
Arisa Cox chats with Big Brother Canada Season 12 winner Bayleigh Pelham

Big Brother Canada Season 12 has come to an end with Bayleigh Pelham, a bartender from Halifax, being crowned the winner. The jury voted for Pelham to win over all-star Anthony Douglas from Richmond Hill, Ont.

"Yesterday was the best day of my life," Pelham told Yahoo Canada the day after she won. "I don't think it'll fully sink in for a long time."

The reality TV star left the finale with the most valuable prize in Big Brother Canada history. Pelham won $200,000 in cash and prizes, which includes $10,000 in cash, $10,000 from TonyBet, $10,000 provided by Philips Sonicare Oral Care, a new wardrobe from WINNERS, a $10,000 Samsung Galaxy prize pack, $10,000 from Endy, a vacation with Sunwing, and a 2024 INFINITI QX60 SUV.

Anthony is defeated by Bayleigh to win Big Brother Canada Season 12
Anthony is defeated by Bayleigh to win Big Brother Canada Season 12

In terms of her strategy for the game, Pelham went into the house knowing that she was going to be as honest as possible. That led to gameplay that, in comparison to some of the other houseguests, wasn't particularly deceitful.

"I have tried to be something that I'm not in the past and it doesn't work for me, the real me always shines through and I find that I make more of a mess when I veer off from my character and who I really am," she explained. "I don't have it in me to lie and manipulate like that, it just doesn't come naturally to me."

But Pelham believes that it was that level and honesty and authenticity that made her the Big Brother Canada Season 12 champion, particularly over Douglas.

"I did play such a loyal game, a truthfully loyal game, all of the people sitting in that jury I was close with, and my relationships with them were very real," she said. "I didn't lie to any of them or manipulate any of them, really."

"They knew where I stood this entire game. They didn't have to question me, ... they had to question Anthony. Anthony's motives and intentions weren't very clear all the time, but mine were, and I think the people sitting in jury valued loyalty a lot. I think at the end of the day, Anthony proved his disloyalty more than his true loyalty, and I did the opposite."

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Pelham's win also marks the end of a six-season streak of men winning Big Brother Canada, after the women in the house, from the beginning of the season, attempted to make a pact to stick together so a woman could be crowned the winner.

"It feels unbelievable, I am so honoured and proud of all of the girls because I wouldn't have done this without them, without that commitment," Pelham said. "For us to all work together and just support each other in that way, it felt incredible to be around a group of women that actually want to see you succeed. That doesn't happen very often."

"I felt so safe, any insecurities just kind of went out the window. It was such an empowering experience. I'm so grateful that I'm the woman that got to represent for all of us. It was truly my goal and I'm beyond honoured and proud."

Stepping out of the Big Brother house, Pelham admitted she's just excited to not have to change her clothes in front of people anymore, also "having the freedom to party," and of course be around her loved ones and her dog again.

"You don't really notice the cameras after like day one, I was surprised at how much I did not feel like I was on a TV show at all," Pelham said. "You forget that people are watching, hence why I was getting naked in front of people, because I just forgot."

"You feel very, very comfortable very fast, especially with the other houseguests. I did not expect to get so close so fast with these people."

In terms of what she plans to do with her prizes and money, Pelham said the goal is to take care of herself financially, but also create "experiences" with the people she loves.

"Whether that's taking a trip or helping them out in any way I can, I want to use my money to create memories and experiences, and set myself up for a much brighter future than I could have imagined," Pelham said.