Big Brother’s Reggie Bird Wants to “Educate People” on Eye Condition

reggie bird big brother final three eye condition blind
Instagram / @reggiebirdbb

Back in 2003, Reggie Bird charmed her way into the hearts of Australians everywhere, as we fell in love with the little Aussie battler from the Tassie fish and chip shop.

Since then, life has had many challenges for Reggie — she’s losing her vision, with only nine degrees of her central pin hole vision remaining, and no peripheral or night vision.

On top of that, she was scammed out of a significant chunk of her original Big Brother Australia winnings, she’s faced eviction, and her son Lucas was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at just four weeks old. Still, Reggie keeps battling, and on Big Brother Royalty Vs New Contenders, she’s proved she’s still the same old Reggie we fell in love with all those years ago.

Chatting to POPSUGAR Australia about her time on the new season, Reggie said that the reception has been “honestly so humbling”.

Of course, anyone on social media knows that even the most beloved people will find themselves with haters and trolls, and unfortunately, Reggie is no exception.

“I’m getting trolled a lot online about my eye conditions, saying that I’m faking it and that I’m not blind,” Reggie shared. “People will say, ‘she’s just a con woman trying to fool everyone’, I’m coppin’ it!”

“There’s a lot of love but a lot of negative stuff out there, as well, which is like, I’m not faking it!” she exclaimed, adding: “I don’t know why someone would wanna kick someone down like that, when they do have a disability.

“I thought people would be more inspired to see someone getting out there and having a go, but you’re always gonna get your haters, you know,” she laughed her trademark Reggie laugh.

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“I knew what I was in for because social media’s quite brutal, and everyone has an opinion,” she said. “I was ready for it, but I’ve had days there where I’ve been like ‘why, why, how can I educate people?’

“That’s all I think of, is ‘how can I educate people about having low vision, vision impaired blindness, that’s a lot of my drive, instead of getting angry I would love to be able to educate people,” she said.

For people who don’t understand what pinhole vision is like, Reggie explained it as such: “I can see a pencil across the room but I’ll trip over a hundred elephants to get to that pencil.”

Although she can’t “see anything up close” at all, Reggie said that she “can still get out there and do stuff”, and can “still walk without [her] cane” at times.

“I take my cane when I go out to the supermarkets and out to crowded places,” she said, adding: “I mean, I bang into people even when I do have my cane, but yeah, the perception that people have is that they’ve gotta sit down and not live our lives, it’s crazy, it’s crazy.”

In fact, Reggie was inspired to “get out there and have a go” after watching the paralympics, and it was that determination that saw her fight through the Big Brother Australia challenges.

“They were brutal, those challenges,” she said. “I mean, even for the normal housemates, you know, they were really, really, really hard, and to do it with the limited vision that I have, it was hard.”

Reggie said that even though her “heart used to sink every time [they’d] walk into the yard”, she was determined to do her best.

“That’s what I had in my head, ‘I’ve gotta do it, I’ve gotta do this and get through this and do it for Mia and Lucas’,” she said.

Although Reggie said she certainly didn’t expect them to change anything for her, and doesn’t think the challenges were set up unfairly against her, she did have one suggestion.

“I don’t think it was unfair but I maybe would’ve loved just one challenge if the housemates would’ve won glasses and put pinholes in the middle of it, just because that’s what I can actually see,” she said. “It would’ve been interesting to see how everyone else would’ve done with it.

“It would’ve just been good to see one in Reggie’s eyes, but look, I didn’t expect them to change anything just for me, because I wanted to go in there and give it my all, and I’m proud of myself!” she said.

As for other changes the show could make, well, Reggie said that it would “definitely be awesome to bring back the live voting, the live-ness and the interaction with the fans”.

“The fans look forward to live shows and live streaming,” she said, adding: “You could watch us sleep 24 hours a day if you wanted to! It would be good to bring that back again instead of the pre-recorded version.”

Reggie went on to say that while she knows “they had to change things up”, she still believes “it would be good to see more of the characters” and perhaps less of the fast-paced strategic elements of the new format.

“This one was just super fast, it was so fast and you didn’t get to fall in love with a character like you could back in the day,” she explained. “A lot of fans don’t get to see all the newbies, for example, the fans know who we are, the OGs, but they didn’t get that chance for people to actually fully get to know who they were, because there was so much strategy.”

Voting for Big Brother Royalty Vs New Contenders is now live. Big Brother Royalty Vs New Contenders live finale will air Tuesday, July 12 at 7.30pm, only on 7 and 7 Plus.

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