EXCLUSIVE: Big Brother Canada Season 12 Winner Bayleigh Pelham on Her Winning Game and Anthony’s Biggest Mistake

Big Brother Canada Season 12 winner Bayleigh Pelham
Photo Credit: Courtesy of GlobalTV

Big Brother Canada Season 12 has officially come to a close, with Bayleigh Pelham from Halifax named as the winner in an almost-unanimous 6-1 vote from the Jury. She sat next to Anthony Douglas in the Final 2, after Anthony won the final Head of Household competition, and cut one of his closest allies, Lexus Jackson. Reality Tea caught up with Bayleigh the morning after her win to discuss her game, unconventional style of playing, and why she thinks the Jury just weren’t vibing with Anthony when all was said and done.

Some major Big Brother Canada accomplishments

Photo Credit: Courtesy of GlobalTV

Daniel Falconer: Congratulations on your win! Let’s list some of your accomplishments. You’re the first woman to win Big Brother Canada since Season 6; you’re the first new player to beat a returnee in a Big Brother Canada final; you’ve broken the curse of the first person entering the house never winning; you took every single vote except one sitting next to an All-Star in Anthony – how are you feeling right now, has any of it sunk in yet?

Bayleigh Pelham: It truly has not sunk in yet. This feels so surreal. I felt that if I didn’t win that third part of the HOH I didn’t have a shot of winning, let alone even sitting in the Final 2 chairs. So, this is all very overwhelming for me. But yesterday was the best day of my life. I’m just living on cloud nine right now.

Things started out rough for Bayleigh

Big Brother Canada Season 12 - Donna Marshall
Photo Credit: Courtesy of GlobalTV

Daniel: You lost Donna in the second week of this game, but you adapted and made it all the way to the end despite your closest ally going home. What was your strategy once she had gone?

Bayleigh: When Donna left I realized that maybe my alliance with the girls wasn’t as solid as I thought, and I also realized that Anthony is making all of the moves in this game. She essentially left because she wanted him out; I also wanted him out, so I knew that I had to adapt and make him feel that I didn’t want him out because I didn’t wanna be next on the chopping block. I’m sad that Donna left, but I’m grateful because it made me adjust my game, reassess everything, and work on the relationships I needed to work on.

Daniel: Early in the game, you had what felt like the first major blowup in the house with Vivek. Were you ever worried your honesty would get you in trouble in situations like that?

Bayleigh: I wouldn’t say worried, but I did expect my opinionated and unfiltered self to get in hot water sometimes. But again, that was the game I knew I was going to play. I wasn’t really afraid if that got me or painted a target on me … I can’t really change who I am, so that’s just how I played the game. If people were afraid of me or wanted me out of the house, I knew I would adapt accordingly. I just had no choice but to be who I was, and that fight is exactly who I am. (laughs)

Changing the game to become BBCAN12 winner

Photo Credit: Courtesy of GlobalTV

Daniel: You said in your final speech, you changed the game for you, rather than changing yourself for the game. Do you think that’s a big part of the reason why you’re sitting here as winner today?

Bayleigh: I do think that is a big reason. I think that the Jury are people that appreciate honesty, the way that I was, and appreciate loyalty. They value that, and I knew that, so incorporating that into my speech was the cherry on top. I was hoping that people would appreciate and respect the game that I played, but I definitely didn’t expect it to be a 6-1 vote.

Daniel: Your journey is quite an unconventional one for a winner – what do you think that says about how a game like Big Brother Canada is evolving with every season?

Bayleigh: I’m really proud of the way that I expressed myself this season. I very much was all of the things and I wore my heart on my sleeve, and I really do hope that in the future, people feel comfortable being more themselves, opening up more and being vulnerable, instead of hiding behind these shields of “Master Manipulator,” or “Backstabber.” People wanna see the real rawness of the game and of human beings. So, if it inspires some people to be more themselves and love themselves more, that’s really my mission.

Why Anthony lost Big Brother Canada Season 12

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Daniel: Looking at Anthony’s game, what do you think his biggest mistake was?

Bayleigh: I think it’s the way he managed the people in the Jury. He definitely made all of the biggest moves in the game: he got pretty much everyone out of the game except for Matt and Tola, but I think the way that he handled the Jury members; it left a bitter taste in their mouths. His final speeches also weren’t landing with them because they were already so bitter. He didn’t do a great job of mending the fences while people were leaving.

Daniel: Tola’s vote for you was shocking! Why do you think he sided with you over Anthony in the end?

Bayleigh: I was truly shocked, only because I know how much of a loyal person Tola is. But, I was pleasantly surprised that he did think with his head and not his heart. He looked at this as a game and I truly think he voted for who he thought played a better game. He respected my game, which I was shocked about, but very pleasantly surprised.

My jaw was on the floor, but again, he might be a little bit bitter as well because Anthony didn’t vote to save him when he was leaving. I don’t know if it was because he was upset with Anthony, or if he just really respected my game. Either way, I’ll take that vote!

Daniel: The biggest shock for viewers was Anthony cutting Lexus over you. Did you ever expect him to do that?

Bayleigh: Anthony’s been promising me Final 2 since we were down to seven people, but I didn’t believe him. I couldn’t see him cutting Lexus, I know that they had been working together the entire game; they had a really close bond. She has been so loyal to him, not so much me, so it led me to believe he would pick Lexus.

I hoped for the best but I expected the worst; I was just as shocked as you were. As soon as he said he wanted to sit next to someone he could beat, I thought, ‘That’s it, I’m done.’ I felt Lexus was more beatable than me. I’m not even sure if he believes that; I think that he just wanted to take me. I actually think that our relationship in the game was just a little bit stronger than his and Lexus’ relationship.

Would Bayleigh return as an All-Star, and how is she going to spend her prize money?

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Daniel: You are undoubtedly now joining the ranks of Big Brother Canada All-Stars. So, this may be a little early to ask, but if you were ever asked to play again, would you return for a future season?

Bayleigh: A thousand percent! I would come back, especially now that I’ve won, I have nothing to lose! I might have to get my anxiety in check, because that truly took years off my life, but it was the greatest experience I’ve gone through.

Daniel: Feel free to tell me to mind my own business on this one! Do you have any plans just yet for your prize money?

Bayleigh: I do have to pay off some debt that I have first! My girlfriend and I, we are starting off our relationship and we have plans for our future. I want to put that money to that future. It’s gonna go there, and helping out my friends and family as much as I can. I really want to give it back and just celebrate with everyone that’s been supporting me.

This interview has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

Big Brother Canada Season 12 is available to stream now.