The mixed martial artist, 35, won in a 7-1 vote against her closest ally, Todrick Hall, who rubbed a lot of fellow houseguests the wrong way – so much so that some even threw shade at him while voting in the finale. Miesha was caught off guard by their remarks as she and Todrick, 36, have been cut off from the outside world and were unaware the jurors were so fired up.
“I am overwhelmed right now,” she exclusively tells Us Weekly after her win. “I’m flooded with emotion and I can’t believe that this is real. I really am still processing. I mean, I feel like I probably looked like a deer in headlights when I came out on that stage.”
Miesha thought the vote would be way closer than it was. “Carson [Kressley] surprised me the most. I really thought he would’ve been Todrick all the way and I didn’t expect anything less,” she says. “They definitely had a closeness, and Cynthia [Bailey], and it was all kind of understood that they were more team Todrick than myself. But I haven’t seen any of the show and I guess that there’s some perception change there.”
She also mentions Todd Bridges who heavily rolled his eyes during Todrick’s speech and expressed his disgust by comments that were made about him on the live feeds: “That surprised me. …. I thought I might get his vote just because we worked so closely as an alliance member the entire game. But he definitely seemed pretty miffed at the end.”
The athlete had yet to get her phone back or see any social media backlash when she spoke to Us about her friend. “I just want to remind people that it’s very difficult to be under surveillance for 24 hours a day,” she tells Us. “I didn’t know anything about Todrick before this show. However, I feel like he is a person with a good heart from what I know inside the show.”
She goes on to say that he’s a “superfan” and was just playing the game. “Todrick, I think, played a very heavy social game, so a lot of celebrities in his house didn’t really understand how the game could be played,” she says. “Like, this is not real life, you guys. This is not real life. We are playing a game. There are no rules and you are allowed to socially experiment and go to whatever lengths you want to win this game.”
So what did Miesha have to say about Todrick’s jury management? And who does she plan on talking to now that they’re outside the house? Watch above or scroll down to read our full interview!
Us Weekly: Congratulations. How are you feeling?
Miesha Tate: I am overwhelmed right now. I’m flooded with emotion and I can’t believe that this is real. I really am still processing. I mean, I feel like I probably looked like a deer in headlights when I came out on that stage and I was like, “Oh, my God, there’s people. And it’s the stage and there’s Julie [Chen Moonves] and I’m the winner and there’s gold everywhere. I was like, “I don’t even know what to say right now.”
Us: I know you said you thought it would be a close vote. Were you surprised it was a landslide?
TM: Yes, absolutely.
Us: Whose vote surprised you the most? Whose vote did you think you had and whose did you think you needed?
TM: Well, Carson surprised me the most. I really thought he would’ve been Todrick all the way and I didn’t expect anything less. They definitely had a closeness, and Cynthia, and it was all kind of understood that they were more team Todrick than myself. But I haven’t seen any of the show and I guess that there’s some perception change there. So, I don’t know. That surprised me. And then, Todd’s delivery surprised me. I thought it was 50/50. I thought I might get his vote just because we worked so closely as an alliance member the entire game. But he definitely seemed pretty miffed at the end.
Us: Let’s talk about then. When they were voting and throwing shade at Todrick, what was going through your head?
TM: Oh, my gosh. I was very surprised, let’s just put it that way. I was very surprised. I was very taken back. I just want to remind people that it’s very difficult to be under surveillance for 24 hours a day. And I didn’t know anything about Todrick before this show. However, I feel like he is a person with a good heart from what I know inside the show. He was a superfan of the show. I think we need to understand too. There’s a [distinction] between Celebrity Big Brother and regular Big Brother. Todrick, I think, played a very heavy social game, so a lot of celebrities in his house didn’t really understand how the game could be played. Like, this is not real life, you guys. This is not real life. We are playing a game. There are no rules and you are allowed to socially experiment and go to whatever lengths you want to win this game. Through all other seasons, up through 23, you see that happen, or so I’ve been told. But I don’t think it was as well-received when we’re playing the Celebrity Big Brother. People were playing it a little bit more like it’s real life, including myself because I didn’t know that you could do it any other way.
Us: One of the big components of this game is jury management because they leave the house and get to watch the show. They might see some things they don’t like. Do you think that’s where Todrick slipped?
MT: Absolutely. I think that people being able to leave the house and watch the videos before they come back and vote, that’s also something that’s not allowed in the regular Big Brother seasons. People are sequestered and they have to make their votes based off of the gameplay. Because they do tell us, you know, in our diary room sessions that no other houseguests will hear it, but they don’t hear it until they leave the house. And I just feel like, of course, when you’re playing a game and especially somebody who is such a superfan like Todrick, he wants to entertain too. I mean, there’s an element of it that he just wants to be extra and funny. Sometimes things are funny, but not funny to you, or if they’re about you, you know? So I just hope that people judge him for his heart more than anything that he said. And I’m confident that if there’s something that he is able to reflect on and be like, “You know what? That was wrong.” I’m sure he will apologize and fix the situation.
Us: There were a couple things – and I’m sure you’ve heard a little bit – but there were instances with Shanna [Moakler] and talking about what she wears. And then there was an instance with Chris Kirkpatrick and talking about his family. Do you think Todrick will talk to them or reflect on those moments? Did you think, in the moment, maybe he went too far?
MT: Um, no. So honestly, I only remember him talking about … oh, OK, what she wears, because most of the time he is like, “I’m here for it.” Like, “She looks fly. She looks amazing.” If anything, I might have even been someone pointing out this, like, “Hey, I feel like she’s playing the game in a different way.” She’s like wearing more revealing things. I just don’t want people to … I don’t know, this is really tough. I am not apprised to all of this, and I didn’t know that those two things were focal points. So I’m just processing this. I still haven’t even got my phone back. So I don’t truthfully know a lot of those things that have been said or how they were taken in context, or out of context, or I don’t know. I don’t know, truthfully.
Us: You won, but could you sense there was some tension on stage when you came out?
MT: Yes, I could sense there was tension on stage as people were putting their votes in. And I was like, “What is going on right now?” I was blown away. I had no idea. And that’s, I think, part of the element of surprise and the intrigue of Big Brother is that we are completely in the dark about what is going on in the outside world. We’re meeting these people for the first time. I had never met anybody in the house. I didn’t know anything about anybody in the house. Except maybe I knew Lamar [Odom] was a Laker, and that’s it. So, I’m just playing this game with these people that I don’t know, and they could be lying to me or they could be honest. We have to just try to gauge as best we can and realize that this is a game.
Us: You certainly dominated the competitions. Do you think winning that first HOH was a crucial moment in setting up the rest of your game?
MT: It was a huge moment in my game. I didn’t know if I wanted to try to fly under the radar a little bit because I knew that this game wasn’t really designed for athletic people to win, in my perception, because it’s a visible target. When I walk in the door, and I have this presence about me that, “Oh, she’s strong.” It’s the first assessment. And I felt like I had a target immediately. I was like, you know what? There’s no laying low in this. I just have to win, period. And I have to win everything that I need to win. Winning that first HOH gave me control in a sense, and it let my team formulate and people were trying to make deals with me and were attracted to staying close to me in the beginning, or at least some people. Enough to where we could control the house vote. I think people felt like they could trust me for the large majority of the game until we got to the point where we were honest that we were had to come for each other. And that was OK too.
Us: When you guys convinced Carson and Cynthia to turn on Shanna, you must have been thinking, how is he believing this right now? She just used the veto on him!
MT: So, I don’t know how it was shown, but I would like to clarify that Shanna absolutely was working both sides of the fence. There’s no question about that. It’s not something that we made up or fabricated. She certainly was sitting in my HOH room after asking Todrick to help her come talk to me. She told me that Carson wasn’t really talking to her and Cynthia, and they didn’t really include her and she wanted to be on our side. I was like, “All right, well, it seems a little whatever, but OK. We need your vote anyways. So sure.” And she did agree. She wanted to be in a final four with myself, with Chris Kirkpatrick, Todrick and her. She never told Cynthia and Carson about that. So, we were not making up a situation. This really did happen. It happened before the feeds went live so I don’t know if that’s part of this, or how it’s even been told, but I do want to let people know that was the truth.
It was the truth. It was Todrick who saved me. He basically was like, “If somebody’s gotta leave this house, and if I’ve gotta kind of turn my back on my girl based on the deals, at least let me just try this last shot in the dark.” So he really saved me, I look at in that situation. I’m grateful for that because that was the big swerve of the game where it was, like, we really had to rely on the social game and he was clearly a lot stronger in that department than I was. So just bringing that even to the attention because I tried to bring it up to Cynthia. I was like, “I’m not so sure you can trust Shanna,” but she was not hearing it. She was ultra loyal. I totally respect it.
But Todrick was the one who was able to get through to her, Like, “Hey, this just so you know.” Cynthia, she didn’t really know how the game was played either. And so she was very upset that Shanna would do these things or say these things. He did pull Carson down, but she immediately apologized to me. So why would she say, “I’m so sorry.” Why would you be sorry to me if this was your team? You were sorry to me because you told me you were gonna pull Cynthia down or not pull anyone down at all. And then you blindsided me with a Carson pulling down. And so, there was very much truth to what we said and we were just fortunate that this was a Celebrity Big Brother season, and everyone prided honesty and an upfront presentation. When Shanna was caught in the middle and exposed, [I was] just lucky that Carson and Cynthia were like, “Yeah, makes more sense to get her out of the house than you.” I’m like, “Well, great. Let’s do that.”
Us: Which was certainly not in their best interest. Anyway, I know you’re close with Todrick, who do you see yourself being friends with outside the house?
MT: I adore Carson and Cynthia. It’s crazy that we were on opposite sides of this game the entire time, but what amazing people they are. I hope to continue a relationship with just about everybody. Honestly, even Shanna. I know we will probably never be the best of friends, and there were certainly times in this game when I felt very like betrayed by her, but I look back on it and there’s nobody in this house that I am judging harshly because there are no rules to this game. It can be played however you want. And if that was her strategy, then I am not going to chastise her outside of this house. I think that she’s probably a nice person outside the house. We weren’t the closest in there but it’s a game.