Big Brother’s big winner

SVSU grad wins CBS reality show

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SVSU alum Nicole Franzel on Sept. 21 won season 18 of the CBS reality show “Big Brother.”

Franzel, 24, said she had watched “Big Brother” since she was young, and she applied to be on the show as soon as she turned 21.

“I sent in a short clip of myself talking, nothing special, and there was something about me that they liked,” she said. “The process was super fun, and there was a lot of traveling and lots of interviews.”

The reality game show has contestants, called HouseGuests, living together in a custom-built home with no access to the outside world for roughly 90 days while being under constant surveillance.

The winner of the show receives $500,000.

Franzel, who graduated from SVSU in 2014, described being chosen for season 18 as a dream come true, though there were caveats to her excitement.

“Being filmed 24/7 for 99 days was pretty insane,” she said. “Not one second of privacy. You get used to it, but if you’re having a bad day – there is no hiding time for yourself.”

This season was not the first time Franzel has been on “Big Brother,” as she was a contestant for the 16th season.

The first time around, she said she was shy and was surprised by how her fellow HouseGuests treated one another.

This season, though, Franzel said the funniest thing that happened while competing was when her opponents would tease her about growing up in a small town.

Franzel is originally from Ubly, and she was seen wearing SVSU sweatshirts on several occasions during the show’s airing.

However, as far as challenges, the biggest obstacle she faced was dealing with the discourse of her fellow contestants and not being able to contact her family or friends.

“Living in a college dorm is a lot easier – that’s for sure,” she said. “You can choose who you want to spend your time with. You can lock the bathroom door. You can get some sort of freedom that you don’t have in the Big Brother house.”

Franzel said her life hasn’t changed much since winning the show, as she still enjoys being able to go grocery shopping with her mom and cuddle her dogs.

She plans on hiring a financial advisor to help her manage her show winnings; that is, after she pays off her student loan debt and takes her family on a vacation.

The rest of the funds she wants to save for when she’s ready to get married, buy a house or have kids.

In the future, she plans on going back to work as a nurse.

“I absolutely enjoyed myself,” Franzel said. “I made lifelong friends and lived out a dream of mine. I never thought that I would get a second chance and beat the odds of actually winning the longest season in Big Brother history.”