Reality Rewind: Tully Smyth’s Unfiltered Take on “Big Brother” and Life Beyond the House

tully smyth

Introducing Reality Rewind, your monthly rendezvous with your favourite reality stars! In this column, POPSUGAR Australia will be catching up with your favourite reality TV stars. We want to go beyond the headlines and delve into their incredible journeys, both on and off the screen. In this Q&A series, there’s no edit. We want to hear about their time in the spotlight, in their own words. Get ready to relive the unscripted moments that made them unforgettable, and discover what they’ve been up to since their TV adventures.

Ever wondered what it’s truly like to be a contestant on “Big Brother“? As part of our Reality Rewind series, we had the privilege of catching up with former contestant Tully Smyth. Known for her memorable appearances in both 2013 and 2022, Tully takes us behind the scenes of one of Australia’s most iconic reality shows.

From her favourite memories to the challenges of life in the house, Tully offers a candid, unfiltered look at the reality of reality TV. She also talks about life after the show, and even dishes about that one show she turned down.

Not only does Tully provide a glimpse into her time on the show, but she also discusses the upcoming season. This year, “Big Brother Australia” is ready to spice things in the house up with a dash of dating. As someone who found love in the house back in the day, who better to ask about the new format than Tully?!

Whether you’re a hardcore “Big Brother” fan, secretly dreaming of your own reality TV adventure, or just curious about what goes on behind the scenes, Reality Rewind has what you’re looking for. Here’s Tully Smyth, in her own words.

Related: Huge Twist Teased for “Big Brother Australia” 2023 — Here’s Your First Look!

Tully Smyth on Her “Big Brother” Experience

What’s your favourite memory from your time on “Big Brother”?

Gosh, that’s a tricky question! Which season? I have so many favourite memories.

2013 would have to be the HotPantz/Man Date challenge where we split into boys and girls and recorded an original song, filmed a video clip and then performed it live. That was such a fun week, pretending to be part of a girl band.

2022 would have to be the Panic! at the Disco challenge — we all jumped in the pool at 2 a.m. in our undies and had a dance party. Both are memories I’ll cherish forever. 

You had a very tumultuous time on “Big Brother” the first time. Do you have any regrets about your time on the show? What about last year?

I don’t live life with regrets — I don’t think it’s productive. Every decision I’ve made has provided me an opportunity for growth and made me the person I am today. It was a very humbling experience, that’s for sure!

Round two, I was incredibly proud of my time in the House. My only regret was that I didn’t manage to get rid of Drew before he stabbed me in the back! 

What’s the most challenging thing about being on “Big Brother”?

Not having any of your creature comforts or “self-soothing” tools. The House is a very stressful environment, you live life on the edge, constantly walking on eggshells, always waiting for a twist or turn. A snap eviction. An early wake-up call. You have zero control. For someone with anxiety like me, it can be overwhelming.

Not having your loved ones, your pets, music, books… the ability to go for a walk and clear your head can make you feel a bit like a rat trapped in a cage. It can be suffocating at times.

What was it like coming back for a second time?

Kind of a dream come true! The number of nights I’d spent fantasising about what I’d do if I had another chance… plus as a lifelong Superfan of the show, it was an honour to be asked back and included alongside some of the iconic Housemates such as Reggie and Trev. I had grown up a lot since 2013 and was excited to show Australia the person I had become.

You know first-hand what it’s like to form romantic connections in the house. What are your thoughts on the new season adding dating into the mix?

Personally, I love watching a love story blossom on reality TV, so the prospect of several excites me, however, I am worried it might take away from the original premise of the show.

I also like watching people of different ages and walks of life living together, so the fact that it’s a bunch of super hot 20-somethings… I don’t know. A bit of diversity would have been nice!

The relationship dynamics in the Big Brother house can be intense. What was it like to fall in love in the “Big Brother” house?

Everything in that House feels exaggerated. Time moves both slowly and at the speed of light — you spend all day doing nothing but getting to know each other and one week feels like one month. You form a bond and a friendship first which we know makes for a great romantic relationship. But imagine moving in with someone after a first date?! That’s kind of what it’s like.

You eat meals together, brush your teeth together… you see each other in PJs with bed hair. It’s quite a wholesome and old-school way to start something. But everything happens on fast-forward. On top of that, you’re basically trauma-bonded from the whole experience, so it’s intense, to say the least! 

Do you think people can form romantic relationships in the Big Brother house that stand the test of time in the real world?

I mean “Big Brother Australia” specifically doesn’t have a great track record, does it? But I’m a hopeless romantic, so I want to say yes.

In saying that, I think it’s hard to find people these days who genuinely sign up to these shows for love and not, say, a social media following. 

Let’s talk about the edit: How did you feel about the way you were portrayed at the time?

It is what it is! I said what I said, I took full responsibility for my actions and I never once blamed the edit. In 2013 the show was live, airing a day after it was filmed, so they weren’t able to chop and change scenes from different days to create a different storyline. There were no Frakenbites.

I did notice a bit more “creative license” with the 2022 season which was pre-recorded, but that’s how it works these days! 

Are you still in contact with anyone from the show?

Absolutely! I only really ever had an issue with maybe one or two housemates over both seasons. I’m in regular touch with most of them… Gab, Aleisha, Estelle, Tim, Boog, Johnson, Reggie, Trev… I saw Tahan at an event last week, Jazz was at my birthday dinner on Saturday and we bumped into Drew later on in the night.

The 2022 group WhatsApp chat is still pretty active! It’s an experience that bonds us all forever, whether we like it or not! Haha

Being on reality TV often comes with a spotlight that brings lots of new opportunities. Was that true for you?

Absolutely! I’ve been a social media influencer for over a decade now thanks to “Big Brother” 2013. I’ve been paid to travel the world and worked with some of my favourite brands. I’ve been the host of two podcasts and am about to write my first book. None of that would have been possible if it wasn’t for the show. I am incredibly grateful for all the opportunities the show has brought me!

If so, what was the best opportunity that came your way after the show?

It’s hard to go past being invited to Coachella VIP with Revolve. Kendall Jenner and Louis from One Direction were at the pre-party. That was a real “pinch me” moment! I also got to take my best friend to the Cook Islands, and explore middle America with Contiki — the travel is the best part of the job. 

Did your time on “Big Brother” teach you anything about yourself that you didn’t know before? If so, what did you learn?

How long is a piece of string? It was the single greatest learning experience of my life.

It’s not often you get a birds-eye look at yourself, and I didn’t love everything I watched back. But I was 25. I was young and had a lot going on back home that I hadn’t ever really dealt with — I had undiagnosed anxiety, for one. I try to give myself grace when it comes to that time in my life. We all make mistakes. It’s about how we deal with them and move forward, and I’m proud of how I handled it all. 

Have you turned down any offers to appear or compete on other shows? If so, why?

Absolutely! I’ve been asked if I’d do “MAFS” and I said, “over my dead body”. It’s just not the show for me, way too much drama. I just want to lie by a pool and do fun challenges! I’m not built for a “MAFS” dinner party!

Are there any other shows that you’d like to do?

I have been DYING to get the call up for “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!” — I think it’s a really wholesome show where we get to see another side of the participants. It touches on important topics. It’s lighthearted and warm. It’s kinda like “Big Brother” meets “Survivor”, which I like.

I want to push myself a bit and most importantly, it’s all about raising money for your chosen charity. I’d love nothing more than to raise money for Dementia Australia in memory of my late mother, Kay.

What’s your best advice for the cast of the upcoming season?

It’s a cliché, but be yourself. Be yourself, get a good psychologist and block the trolls. Haha

But most importantly, have fun! It is (usually) a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it’s over before you know it and you’ll spend the rest of your life wishing you could go back in and do it all over again!

What advice would you give someone who wanted to apply for “Big Brother”?

Do it! You won’t regret it… and even if you do, it makes for a hell of a good dinner party story! 

“Big Brother” 2023 is coming soon to Channel 7 and 7Plus.

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