“I was thrilled and surprised,” he exclusively tells Us Weekly. “I was very confused, but I’m delighted. It was very fun and I’m very grateful that people recognized me as being fun to watch. I can give some of the money to charity and do some good from this wacky experience.”
“It was definitely a lukewarm room,” he tells Us as he voted for Miesha Tate, who ended up winning in a landslide 7-1 vote. “I can only speak for myself and I just wanted to keep it classy and I wasn’t very articulate, but what I meant to say was, ‘I have to vote for the person who I think worked the hardest and with more integrity.’ And that’s why I voted for Miesha. … She was very prepared. She knew the game. She put in the work. She’s incredibly focused and she is really good at the game.”
As for Todrick, 35, whom he’s worked with before on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Carson says, “I think he’s a good person, and I think he probably became very swept away by the game. … You can get lost in that house so easily, so I understand that. And I wish him the very best.”
What did Carson think about Cynthia Bailey’s vote for Todrick? And does he think Todrick will learn anything from this experience? Watch above or scroll down to read our full interview.
Us Weekly: Congrats on America’s Favorite Houseguest! How are you feeling?
Carson Kressley: Thank you so much. I was thrilled and surprised and – I had kind of forgotten there was even that award – because I’m so bad about knowing how the show works. People were like, I’m gonna vote for you! I’m like, it’s too late, that’s not how it works. I got voted off. Like, you don’t vote to keep people on. And then like, “No, for AFG.” I’m like, “What’s that?” And they’re like, “America’s Favorite Houseguest!” I’m like, “That would be AFH.” So I was very confused, but I’m delighted. It was very fun and I’m very grateful that people recognized me as being fun to watch. I can give some of the money to charity and do some good from this wacky experience.
Us: Let’s talk about the jury. The shade! What was going through your mind when people were saying things as they put their key into the box?
CK: Well, I thought we weren’t supposed to really give it away! You know, like, we were supposed to put the key in and say, “I’m choosing this person because of X, Y, and Z.” And there were some reads that I thought were very pointed and I was like, “Guys, you’re giving it away!” I can only speak for myself and I just wanted to keep it classy and I wasn’t very articulate, but what I meant to say was, “I have to vote for the person who I think worked the hardest and with more integrity.” And that’s why I voted for Miesha just because she had won, I think, three HOHs and two Vetos. She was kind of unstoppable. She was very prepared. She knew the game. She put in the work. She’s incredibly focused and she is really good at the game. She won so many competitions, not just the physical ones, like the movie one at the end. She’s really, really good. The only thing she’s not good at is organizing a schedule – I did smoke her on that one.
Us: Right. As much as the jury was voting against Todrick, I suppose at least there was someone to vote for who worked for it and won competitions.
CK: And he worked very hard as well. I think there were some additional things from live feeds that were said about people after they left, which didn’t seem to be necessary. And I think that’s what rubbed people the wrong way.
Us: Jury management! I know you hugged Todrick, but was it as awkward on that stage as it was watching from home?
CK: It was definitely a lukewarm room and I think part of it – to give you background and insider scoop – is that we’re working also under COVID protocol. And they said when the people first come out, don’t get in their shot. And I was still thinking of like when we first got out of the house, we weren’t allowed to hug Julie [Chen Moonves] because it was like also COVID protocol. Like, don’t go near anybody. So I think that for me, it was like, “Oh, can we get up?” I don’t know for other people. I don’t know why they were like, you know, sitting there. But these people won essentially, and they deserve some recognition.
Us: In terms of Cynthia, obviously she’s the only one who voted for Todrick. She must have been so confused.
CK: You know – he’s very charming and they had a bond from the very beginning and I don’t know what all their conversations were, but I could see why she would vote for him. I believed him enough to get rid of Shanna, and when I go back and I watch the tape and I see how deceptive it was, then you change your mind. But she hasn’t seen any of that. So as someone who’s been in there, you don’t have all the information to really make an informed decision. So I think she did what she obviously thought was right.
Us: You privately and publicly apologized to Shanna. Were you happy that you also got to do it on the live show?
CK: Yeah, I was. When you F up majorly, you think of ways, like, how can I make this a positive? The lesson there was don’t listen to people [or] judge them by their actions. See how they treat you. See what they do. I know that, but I didn’t remember that in the house. And I just wanted to reiterate that to people, like, I messed up because I listened to somebody and I should have just paid attention to what they were actually doing. I thought that was a valuable lesson and I just wanted it on the record too. And Shanna was so gracious with her response. That was the only thing that I regretted about the show and that made me feel icky and gross and, like, “Ew, why did I do this?” And when I was able to correct that – and I did it immediately when I got out – I felt better about it.
Us: You know Todrick, to an extent, in real life. Do you think he will learn from this experience and maybe reach out to some of the houseguests?
CK: I hope so. I think he’s a good person, and I think he probably became very swept away by the game. I think when you’re in that house, there’s no sounding board, you’re in your own head. And he probably thought he was doing great and doing good things and playing a tough game and doing what he should. Without people giving you feedback, you don’t know. Like, if you’re singing a song and you’re off tune for part of it, sometimes you don’t know. But when somebody says, “Ooh, that one part that didn’t work,” that’s when you make an adjustment. And hopefully he’ll make that adjustment now that he knows that some of this gameplay seemed a little too personal.
Us: I mean, the sounding board is just other people, but at that point, it becomes like a mob mentality.
CK: You can get lost in that house so easily, so I understand that. And I wish him the very best.
Us: You’ve done plenty of reality TV. Will you look back on this as a pleasant experience? How does it compare to your other experiences?
CK: It’s very, very hard. It’s pleasant in the overall because I made great friends, but it is a precarious show to do because you think you know people, but they’re really just playing a game. It’s like a living game of Clue. But when you’re playing Clue at home, you’re like, “Oh, you’re my friend. You’re just playing the game.” In the house, the lines get blurred. And that’s really hard to figure out for me because I base everything on like, “Oh, that’s a nice person! I’ll be fine!” And I’m just a little too gullible for this game.
Us: Do you think when celebrities go in there, they maybe don’t realize to the full extent that they are constantly being watched?
CK: Yeah. There are so many dynamics to this game that is unlike any other television show that any of us have participated in. First and foremost, you’re in quarantine for a week and you don’t see anybody. Then you go into a house for a week before the show starts, and you bond incredibly because it’s just the 11 of you – making meals together, fixing the clogged toilet together, spending every waking hour together. And then at some point, you have to start turning on each other. And that’s, at least for me, so anti everything I’m about. That was very, very hard. And you don’t realize it until you’re there. Literally I was like, “I have time open in January. This will be fun! It’s a game!” And it just becomes real intense, real quick.
Us: Well, you won America’s Favorite Houseguest! That’s exciting! I would love to learn a little bit more about your charity before we wrap.
CK: It’s called True Colors United. It was founded about 20 years ago by my friend Cindy Lauper. Initially when she started it, she invited me to be on the board. And I’ve been working with them for the last approximately 20 years. We work to eliminate youth homelessness, especially amongst LGBTQ+ youth who are unfortunately more at risk to experience homelessness. It’s been very, very rewarding and we have members even on our staff who were homeless, and are now working for the organization. And we know that this is a totally fixable problem, and we work tirelessly to find a solution.