“Mum Had to Have Been There”: Big Brother’s Marley Opens Up About Emotional Final Challenge
“A lot of people have asked if I’m nervous or anxious, and I hadn’t really thought about it too, too much,” he said.
Describing himself as “so surprised and so honoured” to have made it to then end of the game, Marley said: “Obviously it was my goal to make it to the end, but to be so confident, especially at the beginning, I think it’s too hard to realise that you actually could”.
It was Marley’s winning performance in the final challenge of the season that cemented his place in the Final Three, and Marley told us that “there was no possible way” he could’ve done won without the help of his late mother, who passed away four years ago.
“I was just praying to Mum being like ‘please help me get this frickin little ball in this little hole and let’s finish this thing off’,” he recalled of the emotional experience.
In fact, he credits his mum with helping him make it this far in the game.
“There’s no way I could’ve completed a lot of what I did in that house, especially what I did in that last challenge, she had to have been there with me,” he shared, adding that her presence was a “calming” force for him.
“She’s someone I’ve leaned on for my whole life and could always go to whenever I was going through hard times, so I knew that she’d be right up there helping me along,’ he said. “I felt some comfort in that, I felt she was there.”
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility, and winning the challenge meant it was up to Marley to decide who he’d evict from the top four as they went into the finals. In the end, he chose to evict the house’s resident rat, Ari Kimber.
Although it wasn’t an easy decision, Marley said he felt it was the right decision to make, especially when Ari refused to hug him on the way out of the house.
“He wasn’t someone who I was working with ever throughout the game, he’s not someone I could ever trust,” Marley explained.
“It’s the hardest thing to pull someone away from such an amazing opportunity, but I felt like after I saw the way Ari reacted when he got up and walked away and didn’t say a word to me–especially after all the stuff he was saying in the pitch–it kind of confirmed my decision.”
Although Marley respects the game that Ari played, he said that it “didn’t align” with the game he was playing or his strategy for success.
“I was very calculated in how I played this game,” Marley shared. “I wouldn’t open up about exactly what I wanted to do, but I would make moves happen around me without having to say and expose my game plan to anyone else.”
Marley explained that it wasn’t so much that he didn’t trust his allies in the game, but he knew that “if you tell one person something, that someone also has trust in someone else and they’ll tell them the same thing”.
“I had to keep my cards real close and I think it worked well, because it allowed me to get to the end of this game in a sly and calculated and sneaky way without having to expose my gameplan throughout,” he said, adding: “I’m proud of the game I played.”
It’s Marley’s honest, trustworthy game that he believes makes him the most deserving winner, and he hopes that his game has resonated with viewers nation-wide.
Regardless of the result, I was gonna walk into that house and be myself through and through,” he said. “I wanted to prove to myself and prove to Australia that you can be an honest person with an amazing heart, a trustworthy person, and you can succeed in this game and you can succeed in life.”
Reflecting on his time in the house, Marley said that the best parts of his experience were the friendships he formed along the way, and the discoveries he made about himself when everything else was stripped away.
“It’s so emotionally and mentally and physically draining, you’re very vulnerable,” he explained, adding: “It’s such a cool social experiment being detached from everything you know and you’re comfortable with, your loved ones; it’s pretty cool to see how you react.”
With no one around to reflect the person you believe yourself to be, Marley explained, you end up finding out for yourself who you are as an individual.
“This is what’s so amazing about this,” Marley said.
Through his time in the house and the public’s reaction to him, Marley said that he came to really believe that he is the person his loved ones have always told him he is.
“My mum, my girlfriend, my family [have always said] ‘you’ve got such a beautiful soul and beautiful heart’,” Marley explained, “and you know, I feel that I do have a big heart, but you feel like ‘oh, you’re just saying that because you have to say that, you’re my family, you have to say that’.
“Hearing the response and getting the overwhelming amount of beautiful messages from people that don’t even have to like me–who am I to them?!–that say these exact same things, it has allowed me to understand that that is me,” he said.
“That’s the person I’ve always strived to be, and to have this response from people, I can’t even put it into words how beautiful it is to hear that that is who I am,” he shared. “It’s like, wow, that is who my mum raised me to be. I’m proud of that.”
The Big Brother Australia live finale airs tonight at 7.30pm on Channel 7 and 7 Mate.