- “Big Brother” season 24 winner Taylor Hale became the first Black woman to win the competition.
- After a summer of trial and tribulations, she was able to walk away with $800,000.
- In an interview with Insider, Hale spoke about her journey inside the house, her inspirations, and prioritizing he mental health after her tumultuous experience.
The “sword” of CBS’ “Big Brother” season 24 remains razor-sharp after her historic win.
It’s been more than a month since Taylor Hale stood in front of America and delivered the riveting speech that earned her an 8-1 victory against castmate Monte Taylor on finale night.
Hale walked away from the summer social experiment with $750,000, with an additional $50,000 for winning “America’s Favorite Player” — making her the only player in Big Brother history to win both titles.
Respectively, the 27-year-old from Detroit, Michigan, shattered more glass ceilings by becoming the first Black woman to win the non-celebrity edition of the show.
“I think I’m just now able to grapple with how monumental it was,” Hale told Insider. “I’ve gone through Twitter and seen the reactions to different moments in the house, and it’s been transformative to see and fully understand what my win has meant — not just for the game but for Black women, as well as all women, and for people who like the underdog.”
—CBS (@CBS) September 26, 2022
The Miss Michigan USA 2021 winner’s journey inside the Big Brother house was turbulent, to say the least, as viewers witnessed her get bullied and shunned by her fellow houseguests at the onset. Fans watched the weekly broadcasts and the show’s live feeds, which gave viewers 24/7 access to the activity inside the house. They often cheered for Hale as she was nominated on the block multiple times throughout the competition, including next to fellow contestant Kyle Capener, who pitched an all-white alliance.
Hale credits the Black women in her life for her resilience and the ability to push through the scrutiny.
“My mom never gave up on supporting me and my dreams, and she’s done that at all costs,” she said. “My grandma is a woman in her 80s who grew up in the Jim Crow era in Mississippi, and she was able to find refuge in Michigan where she was able to get a good paying job, find love, build a family and the product of that was my mom. And I’m the product of her.”
She continued, “It would be a disservice to Black women who have done so much for me in my life. They never gave up, so why should I?”
And Hale’s experience as a Black woman in the game was not unique to her. The show has a deep-rooted history of racism allegations and diversity issues, which have been called out by previous contestants. Hale acknowledges that she wouldn’t be in her position if it weren’t for the Black women that paved the way before her.
“But I’m the one who took it to the end and I would not have been able to if they hadn’t played the game before me,” she said. “There’s no Taylor Hale without Bayleigh [Dayton], there’s no Taylor Hale without Kemi [Fakunle], without Da’Vonne [Rogers], without Danielle Reyes,” referring to past Black women contestants.
Hale faced microaggressions, misogyny, bullying, and racism
From the beginning of the season, Hale was made a target by her peers, especially by Paloma Aguilar — who self-evicted early on, citing personal reasons.
“My initial impression of Taylor is she wants to try to, like, use her beauty to allure men, which is a strategy that is so like old,” Aguilar said during a diary session on the second episode. “Like, her demeanor comes across even more cocky when she’s not trying to make an effort with women. She’s just digging that hole for herself with the girls.”
At one point, one of the contestants, Ameerah Jones, said that her mother would be “pissed” at her, and Monte Taylor said he didn’t believe she was the proper representation of Black women. Daniel Durston scolded her in front of the other houseguests and falsely blamed her for Aguilar’s self-eviction, bringing her to tears.
“There were a lot of things that were said about me, about my Blackness, about my womanhood, about my ability to be vulnerable. Who deserves that?” Hale told Insider. “I’m most proud of my ability to ignore the way that people have spoken about me and continue to live in my own world.”
Fans rebuked the treatment of Hale on social media, and so did members of The Cookout, the first all-Black alliance of the series from Season 23.
The personal stylist walked into the competition, priding herself on her fashion prowess. She told Insider that fashion is a way to control her own narrative, serves as a release, and helps “defy any ideas or standards that people want to impose” upon her.
However, her style got her in hot water the first week when she tried on her finale outfit — a gem Jovani jumpsuit — in front of the other houseguests after they asked her to, and then was later criticized by them.
—BB (@bbburner16) July 9, 2022
Ironically, it’s the same outfit she wore on finale night, Sept. 25.
“I think that jumpsuit and sitting final two in that jumpsuit was just a physical manifestation of the way that I was treated in the game,” she said.
Moving forward and prioritizing her mental health
Life outside of the Big Brother House has been fast-paced for Hale, as she is busy traveling, making appearances at events, and sitting down for interviews. She has also been re-watching the show and clips from the live feed the fans have sent her. Most importantly, Hale said she’s been prioritizing self-care and her mental health.
“The funny thing about the Big Brother house is that you don’t know what happens until you get out of the house,” she said. “You’ll learn some things but to see people say exactly what they said and the way that they said it’s a different experience. So I have a therapist to help me heal through that.”
Fans have been raving about her blossoming friendship with fellow houseguest Joseph Abdin, who has been an important ally and shoulder to lean on for Hale inside and outside the competition. The duo said that they are taking things at their own pace and going with the flow — although fans have already given them a couple name, “#Jaylor.”
“Joseph is a beautiful human being, and to build a relationship, a strong friendship, a foundation with a beautiful human being is a very lucky and unique thing to be able to do,” Hale said.
Hale plans to invest her grand prize and take her family and friends on vacation. More notably, she said she wants to donate to causes she believes in — from reproductive rights to anti-sexual assault organizations.
Hale, who has recently come forward about her own experience with sexual harassment, said she wants to make sure women have the resources she didn’t.
“Whether they need mental health resources or resources on how to move forward with allegations, or however they want to pursue it, I want to find an organization that has all these tools available for women who have been in a situation like that,” she said.