“I Didn’t Know ANYONE!”: Big Brother Winner Marley on Meeting His Fellow Challenge Contestants

the challenge australia big brother marley biyendolo
Instagram / @marleybiyendolo

It’s been a little over a year since Marley Biyendolo was crowned the 2021 winner of Big Brother Australia, but now, he’s back and set to compete on The Challenge Australia.

The show will pit 22 reality stars, ranging from MasterChef Australia to Married at First Sight and Australian Survivor against one another in a race to the finish line. Whoever wins The Challenge Australia will then go on to compete on The Challenge: Global Championship. There, they’ll go up against the winners of The Challenge: Argentina, The Challenge: USA, and The Challenge: UK in the hopes of becoming the first ever global winner.

Being the only Big Brother alum on the show, we had to know: was it a disadvantage, or was he a free agent, ready to form new alliances and able to navigate the show without pre-existing bonds?

“I felt that I was definitely at a disadvantage going into the game,” Marley told POPSUGAR Australia ahead of the show’s November premiere. “One, because I was the only Big Brother alumni going into the game [although I’m] very honoured to be the one selected, but two, because I won the damn show!” he laughed.

Despite having competed and won Big Brother just last year, Marley explained that he’s “not really in the scene”, in that he doesn’t really socialise with other Aussie reality stars. In fact, he “had no idea about the cast going in” to filming.

“I was thinking ‘oh God, I hope that these people don’t know that I won’,” he recalled. Of course, that wasn’t the case.

“As soon as I met them they’re saying ‘oh, you’re the Big Brother winner, I know who you are!’, and I’m like ‘oh, s**t, I’m already on the back foot’,” he laughed.

Had there been another Big Brother Australia alum to join him on The Challenge Australia, Marley said he would’ve liked to have been reunited with Katie Williams or Jess Trend.

“Katie especially, because she is such a gritty competitor, she’s absolutely awesome,” he said. “I think she would kill it in the challenges, she’d be an awesome person to align with. I got along with her in the house and I got along with Jess in the house, so it’s a tough decision between those two, but they come to mind right away, when I think of someone I would take in with me.”

Although Marley didn’t have the advantage of built-in alliances entering The Challenge, he did feel as though he — along with Australian Survivor alumni Brooke Jowett and Johnny Eastoe — had a competitive advantage over the alumni from some of the less strategic reality shows.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t,” Marley said. “A lot of the people from The Bachelor and MAFS, they don’t really know how to play a game.”

He explained: “This is completely different from any reality show that they’ve been a part of — this is a game, a social game, at that, and I was able to manoeuvre my way through Big Brother and I knew that I was going to use those same skills, I just hoped that they weren’t going to pick up on many of them!”

Although going in, Marley knew it would be a social game, and he’d “been through this game before”, he said that he “did not do a thing” when it came to trying to suss out who else would be on the show with him.

“How bloody naive of me, I didn’t do s**t!” he laughed. “I’ll tell you who I did have in my corner, I had Tilly [Whitfield] in my corner saying ‘this person might be on! This person might be on!’ and I’m like ‘Til, you’re stressin’ me out! I’m just gonna go in there and see who’s in there’, right?”

He continued: “I wish I could tell you I did, but silly old Marley went in there with his smile on his face, not knowing ANYONE! I promise you, I did not know ONE person who was gonna be in there, and I just went with it. And you know what? It was great, it was great to meet new people!” he laughed.

In fact, the only people he recognised once he arrived to film the series were Cyrell Paule, from Married at First Sight, olympian Emily Seebohm, and maybe Bachelor star Brittany Hockley… but he’s not sure.

“I wanna say maybe I’d seen Britt before, but I don’t know if that was 100%,” he said. “But that’s only, what, three out of however many of us there were, I didn’t know anyone!”

As for whether any of them were offended to not be recognised, Marley said he didn’t think so.

“I played it off well, but I’m surprised I didn’t get more filthy looks, to be honest!” he exclaimed. “There are probably a few people who probably assumed that I did know them, but I’m sorry to tell them all that I did not have a clue who any of them were!”

The Challenge Australia premieres at 7.30pm on Monday, November 14, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.

Want more The Challenge Australia? Read all our content here, and check out the stories below.

Related Posts
Latest Celebrity
The End.

The next story, coming up!