“It Feels Like a Dream”: Big Brother Winner Marley Told Us What He’ll Do With His Prize Money

Marley Biyendolo big brother australia 2021 winner
Channel 7

“It still feels like a dream,” said Marley Biyendolo, chatting to POPSUGAR Australia the morning after winning Big Brother Australia and the $250,000 prize.

Running on “about two hours” sleep, Marley said that “it still hasn’t truly his [him] just yet”, but he’s “feeling really good, super excited”.

After telling us on Monday that he was “getting a little more anxious” in the lead up to last night’s live finale, we had to know: what was yesterday like?

“It was intense!” he said with a laugh. “Last time we spoke I was pretty calm, but yesterday it was really starting to build up, I needed a little bit of champers before I went out there just to calm my nerves!”

Throughout the finale, Marley told us, he was just trying to take it all in and be in the moment.

“I knew that this was going to be one of the most unique and best experiences of my life and I kept telling myself, ‘Marley, just live in the moment, enjoy it. Talk slowly, enjoy this whole experience because it’s gonna go in the blink of an eye’,” he recalled.

Still, with nerves running so high, the 26-year-old basketball player and disability support worker isn’t sure he was able to actually take his own advice.

“I don’t know if I took my own advice because I’m thinking of last night and I can’t remember bloody any of it!!!” he laughed. “When I was sitting and talking [with host Sonia Kruger], I wanted to just take it in and talk from my heart and be me.”

What he does remember, though, is what was going through his mind in the long pause before hearing his name announced as the winner.

“I was just praying and talking to Mum, like ‘okay, let’s do it, let’s get through this’, and then ‘come on Sonia, bloody call out the name already, we’re sweating bullets!’” he laughed.

The fact that it was out of his hands once the voting closed, though, eased some of the tension in the moments leading up to the win.

“Once the voting got cut off, there was a kind of weird calmness there,” Marley explained. “At that point, it is what it is, whatever happens, happens, and you’ve just gotta move on with the result.”

Luckily for him, of course, he’s now moving on with $250k, a result that he is “so thankful and blessed” to have received.

“It was just a beautiful moment, even within that long silent pause, I was still trying as best as I could to enjoy that moment, because being three out of 55,000 across the whole of Australia and being in that position, come on,” he said. “I mean, how is that even possible? That in itself is an achievement, and those girls are truly amazing for being in that position themselves, too.”

Given that it was such a blur in the moment, Marley said he watched it back after it aired last night.

“It was so special to see, and it was so cool to see how great the outfit turned out that Dad made for me,” he said, adding, “isn’t he the coolest?”

Marley credits his father for his own personal style, and was thrilled to be able to wear an outfit designed and made by his dad in just three days.

“That’s where I get my style from, I get my swag and my drip from my Dad and my craziness from Mum,” he said, adding that his father also made his own outfit, and his brother’s.

“He’s just so talented, he’s so cool and so amazing at what he does,” Marley said. “It was a pretty special moment wearing something designed by my dad standing there next to him.”

With the recent coronavirus restrictions in place, of course, it was a somewhat more subdued grand finale than Channel 7 had originally had planned for the evening, but it didn’t dampen the celebratory spirit of the housemates who were able to reunite for the first time in months.

“It was the first time I’d seen a lot of them!” Marley shared. “We all went through such a unique experience and created such a cool bond.

“We didn’t have a crowd out there last night but we had each other, so that’s where we got our energy from,” he said.

With only a small, 30-minute, masked up celebration for the cast after the cameras cut, Marley said that a big reunion will be on the cards as soon as possible.

“I’m sure that in the next couple of months or so we’ll organise a reunion and have a proper celebration, because it deserves to be celebrated,” he said, adding, “and the drinks are on me!”

Drinks aside, anyone who’s been watching the show will know that Marley plans on using his prize money to support his father and his family, but he’s not sure what his first big purchase will be just yet.

“The first thing I wanna do is just sit down with Dad and talk with him about whatever he needs to take care of himself,” he shared. “Honestly I haven’t thought about what I might spend it on, but this is all I’ve ever wanted to do, to take care of him and my family.”

Thanking Australia and the people who voted for him, Marley told us what the win meant to him.

“It was a beautiful moment for me to represent a minority group within Australia and within this world, and to stand up there and hopefully inspire people and kids who look like me, and to allow them to see that regardless of where you come from or what you look like, your ethnicity, you can make big things out of this life that you life,” he said.

“We’re blessed with this life and you can truly do anything with it,” he continued, “and now I’m able to set up my Dad for life and give him the life he deserves.

“It’s a really special, emotional and sentimental moment for me,” he finished. “It’s probably the best moment of my life, to be honest.”

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