One Of Big Brother’s Gay Pioneers Gossips Casting And The Literal Friendship
The mid 2000s truly gave us the best moments of reality television. Back then, shows were fresh and new. We were introduced to different types of people who we likely didn’t know in our real lives. These reality contestants weren’t aspiring to become social media influencers or playing up particular character stereotypes to bounce to the next spin off series. Now, reality television has become a business and their applicants have ulterior motives. Back in the day, there was no social media, which made reality contestants hidden treasures within the nation. These cast members were untouchable, interesting, and refreshing. Now, you can get anyone’s attention… but before, you captivate audiences and were adored, hated, or gone in a flash. It was a healthy relationship for all parties, mostly.
In 2005, CBS juggernaut, Big Brother, was on its sixth season. We were introduced to not only the best years of the series around that time, but arguably the best season of the show. Yes, this is the season of the Sovereign Six versus The Friendship; which had pairs of real-life friends competing in the game for a million-dollar prize, compared to the usual five-hundred thousand. Oh, yeah, how can we forget meeting Lady Liberty herself, Janelle Pierzina, who continues to be a staple of the show today. While she may be the most remembered, it’s important to note this season provided us with the fifth and sixth LGBTQ Big Brother contestants in show’s history. Ivette Corredero was cast as the series’ second out-lesbian. The polarizing character entered the game with her co-worker and friend, the forever fabulous and charming, Beau Beasley.
Beasley would be the reality show’s fourth openly gay male to appear and would live in reality infamy for a spat with Pierzina. After learning he and Pierzina have become inseparable and she saved him from a bar attack while they vacationed together in Napa Valley. I had the wonderful pleasure of getting caught up with the Wilton Manors resident and his journey over the last fifteen years. Beasley, who the show boasted as a personal shopper, had plenty of tea to tell and he sells it well that we’re maxing out our credit cards for the update. Let’s dive in!
Mickey Keating: Okay, wait, but first – piping hot gossip straight off the press! Big Brother alumni, Zach Rance, just admitted to being bisexual and hooking up with Frankie Grande. Did you know?! I feel like there’s so many homoerotic relationships that keep blossoming from this show.
Beau Beasley: I met Rance last year at the Big Brother 21 Finale Party in Fort Lauderdale. He was a ball of gay energy, if you know what I mean. It’s not surprising to me that he came out as bisexual. I’m proud of him. I remember seeing him and Frankie on the show together. It was like the banter that me and Howie Gordon had on my season, [some] flirty fun. Nowadays, it’s more socially acceptable to come out [or be openly gay]. I just hope that people aren’t doing it as a publicity stunt, because it’s trendy. Being LGBTQ is not a trend people, it’s life.
MK: Alright, it’s been fifteen years since you were in the BB house. I’m an old school fan and I’m recounting some memories. Let’s have you rewind and take me back to when you first got approached to be cast.
BB: I hadn’t watched Big Brother before. My friend Hardy Ames-Hill was on the second season. I didn’t have anything to lose. I didn’t audition. I was on the Summer of Secrets (with the secret partners). Corredero auditioned and had to give names of people she wanted to be in the game with. But, she couldn’t tell us that it was even Big Brother. She made it sound easy, I thought it was going to be just a few weeks on a reality show, not months. After speaking to them on the phone, they had me on a flight to Los Angeles [pretty much] the next day. When I arrived at the airport, I had a list of do’s and don’ts. It was almost like I was being kidnapped, I got picked up in a van. One of the people in my van was Michael Donnellan (who would also be cast a contestant on the same season). I got dropped off to a hotel like a top-secret mission.
MK: Was the casting process easy? Back then, heck even still now, they only had one gay contestant, gay guy at least. You were in a niche group to be chosen, but that’s still some heavy competition you went up against.
BB: When I went into my first interview, I was wearing a rhinestone belt with my name on it and I sat [flamboyantly] on the chair and they immediately loved me. Right away, they took me to do a psych test. It was a waiting game, but then it was fast. [Corredero] was confirmed to be in the show along with seven others. Out of the other people they invited on her behalf to be her partner, I was the only one who was asked to take a psych test, so I knew I would get on. Casting eventually called and we’re like, ‘You two are the Big Brother secret twist. The gay twist. And if the both of you get to the end you’ll win a million instead of half that.’ We couldn’t tell anyone besides our immediate family and jobs.
MK: During your live chat with Pierzina, you mentioned that you may have essentially been typecast to be the next version of Big Brother All Stars player, Marcellas Reynolds. Which is fine…but both of you are gay and African American, so that’s kind of sounding slimy? Especially since production has been called out in recent years for having a bias in who they select to participate in the show.
BB: When I got to the hotel, they gave me VHS tapes to watch and that season was Big Brother 3. I was watching five episodes with Marcellas in them and I realized this is who they wanted to mold me into. I was like ‘Can I watch [another season]?’ I knew I was going to be my own person though, he’s like ten years older than me, I think. I went in there with my own plan. But, things change at the drop of a dime and I had to change up everything. Corredero didn’t get along with Pierzina, so I couldn’t get along with her either. I was trying to win a million, not half, so I needed to work with Corredero. We ended up as the final pair in the house, but I was evicted before her…as I sat on the nomination block next to her.
MK: Were you actually BFFs with Corredero?
BB: We weren’t really best friends. Her best [gay] friend from childhood wasn’t chosen, but I was. We were more coworkers than friends. I think they may have chose me to mold me more into Marcellas and they maybe wanted to have the lesbian, Latin girl with the gay, black guy [for that angle].
MK: From the second week, your season was completely divided and lines were drawn down the middle. It was your alliance, dubbed The Friendship, versus Pierzina’s alliance, The Sovereign Six. But, sometimes when torches are snuffed or keys are crushed, bygones are bygones. When you got into the sequestered jury portion of the game, was it still the Capulets and the Montagues?
BB: It was split still. I was with my alliance partner, Jennifer Vasquez, so we were bonding and eventually were joined by April Lewis. They tell us not to discuss game in jury [unless cameras are rolling]. You’re constantly overthinking [so we stuck with who we trusted originally]. When we talk about the pros and cons of each person during the jury roundtable approaching the finale, that’s when realizations come to fruition. Jury was fun. We were getting drunk everyday. But, if I had to be doing that for five weeks, I would’ve been [a mess]. It’s just us and a producer who is deemed the ‘House Mother’. There’s still nothing to really do.
MK: Who do you still speak to from your season?
BB: Well the entire universe knows that Janelle and I are the closet, but [Corredero] and I still talk casually. She has her own life. She has a long-term girlfriend and they have two, beautiful kids, a boy and a girl. She was going through a life changing process [of settling down with a family] as I was going out every day. That’s how I started hanging out with Pierzina. We we’re going out and working in the same nightlife industry. When you’re in the Big Brother house, you become close to those people. You experience something no one else can relate too. We were living in the same city and just said ‘who cares’ and started hanging out. I love her and we were in each other’s weddings… well, I’m divorced now. And I became super good friends with Ashlea Evans [the first evictee who left sequester due to the illness of a family member]. We were twenty-five years old, working at bars, being cute reality stars getting paid to party. There was no social media in 2005, so we got to live in the moment. After my season ended, the whole Friendship alliance went to Las Vegas together, except for Corredero. She was still pissed that Maggie Ausburn beat her in the finals. She wanted to go on the first All Stars season to get her redemption edit, but didn’t make the cut. t’s her fault she didn’t win. In her goodbye message to Rachel Plencner she called her something like, a dried-up horse-face. Plencner turned the whole jury against Corredero, so it wasn’t really us that did anything to her. Plencner convinced Gordon to not vote for her to win and he was the deciding vote. Oh! I also still talk to [the aforementioned] Gordon and James Rhine from my season, too.
MK: Let’s talk about your infamous fight with Pierzina. It’s extremely entertaining, but I wouldn’t even list it as a fight. You guys were laughing the whole time, both of you were clearly wasted. It seemed kind of fun?
BB: Oh, it was. You didn’t even get to see the aftermath of that. The next morning, she had a bucket next to her because she was throwing up. I had a garbage bag. We never had that much wine before in the house, but we made it to the halfway point [and got to celebrate]. The fight obviously doesn’t define us.
MK: Social media now plays a huge part of the Big Brother game and I don’t think anyone denies that. It’s forever changed by people who want sponsorships, like Nicole Franzel, or those who want to go on other reality shows afterwards and use the game as a stepping stone into reality stardom. Do you think social media not existing back then was a benefit for you? People like Franzel have gotten tore apart recently for their misbehavior and she’s lost those cherished sponsors she survives on.
BB: One-hundred-percent. There’s a reason some people are not on Twitter. People go to town. I started my Twitter in 2009, years after I appeared on the show, and some people would send me homophobic and racist messages, under fake accounts without a name, of course. I can’t imagine being a part of the show now with the crazy fans. Some people take the game so seriously. I’m not saying we got away with murder, like what we did in my season. But, I think [my season] dodged a bullet in that sense. Yes, you can play a clean game. Some people do tell lies and make alliances. Back then, people went on Big Brother because they had a passion to play the game. I think the ‘old school’ Big Brother is from season two until fourteen. After that, I think people go on the show and want to be on for three or four weeks so they can be a social media influencer afterwards. It can work for you or against you. Some people do make names for themselves.
MK: It stinks that your old school friends got cut so soon in the last season!
BB: [I know!] With the latest season of All Stars, [the old school players] got targeted right away without even winning anything. It’s like, what the fuck? Why are you targeting the old school players when there’s other people who should be taken out first? There’s unexperienced people who didn’t get targeted like, David Alexander, or floaters like Kevin Campbell, but I guess he did.. okay. He came out of his shell later in the season. But, there were rockstars who should’ve been targeted first like Memphis Garrett and Cody Calafiore.
MK: Speaking of douchey male Big Brother alumni… what the heck was so hypnotizing about Eric “Cappy” Littmann? You guys were pretty obsessed with him… especially Corredero. He was like a cult leader.
BB: I was dragged into that whole Cappy situation! I was like okay, he’s a great guy but, in the beginning, he was against me for being gay. He was talking shit about me. He immediately put me with the girls while he was trying to make a guy’s alliance. But, Corredero loved him and she was my partner. I couldn’t tell her anything, she’s very opinionated. I didn’t want to create a disturbance with my partner. I was like how did I end up in this situation? There were conversations that were made as a group that I wasn’t a part of, [but had to abide by]. When you’re in the house and there’s an alliance, that’s your lifeline. I knew I had votes from The Friendship and not the other side. The power was shifting every week and we had to stick together. Your mind gets messed up when you’re playing. You’re emotional.
MK: What was it like after leaving? Did they give you a number for a therapist or do they shove you off the plank?
BB: Okay, so after you’ve done your exit interview with Julie Chen they put you in a conference room and you get to phone your loved ones. After you get some love from them, without talking game, they give you a pamphlet that says your life has been recorded for the last however long, etc. They recommend you not going on the internet to read comments and give you some numbers to call if you are experiencing some PTSD from it once you return home.
MK: Are you close with any other Big Brother alumni?
BB: The contestants definitely do eventually become a family. I didn’t watch that much of the show after my season. I moved to Europe for awhile after getting married. But, I’ve been watching non-stop for the last four years. I’ve became friends with fellow LGBTQ alumni like Andy Herren, Tommy Bracco, Kaycee Clark, and Christie Murphy, and Kathryn Dunn from Big Brother 21 are my friends. Kat and I have gone live on Instagram a few times, I love her to bits. I think a lot of people knew I’m close with Pierzina and wanted to get information from me on if she was going to be a part of the latest All Star season. Outside of Big Brother alumni, I’m friends with a lot of women from the Real Housewives franchise.
MK: Has Big Brother ever contacted you to reappear?
BB: No. For the first All Stars, I knew Corredero wanted to go on. I was on a short list to be a guest host in a competition on Big Brother 14. And for the most recent All Star season, Pierzina asked me if I would go on [as an old school player] if Kaysar Ridha didn’t join… but he did. I’m happy he did it. He deserves it. I was [on my season] for fluff and didn’t take it as seriously as I should’ve. But, I do think towards the end I was playing well and I started winning competitions. I would appear on reality television again though. I would do The Amazing Race with my boyfriend, he’s a brainiac and so calculating. I’m the more athletic one, so I think we’d have a good chance. I would also definitely do MTV’s The Challenge.
MK: Circling back, you mentioned you’re divorced now – and I see that you have a tattoo on your arm that says “I Love Me”. Does that stem from a bad marriage? Was it…an older man?! Did you marry an older man?!
BB: [Laughing] No, I had this tattoo before I got married. My mom always said you have to love yourself before you love someone else. You have to say things with meaning, conviction, and reason. I was drunk one night with a best friend and we got matching tattoos on the way to SET nightclub. I moved to Germany and got married a year later. Yes, he was German. We were married for four years, together for six, and I got divorced from him February of last year. I don’t even know where [Pierzina’s comment] of dating older men came from while we had our famous fight. At that time, I was only seeing someone who was like five years older than me. That comment was taken out of context.
MK: Oh my God! Imagine if you had to be in quarantine amid a pandemic with him right now!
BB: [Puts up a big X with his arms] I was just saying that to one of my best girlfriends! Absolutely not! Now, I’m dating a great guy who is fantastic and is in the travel industry. We have similar backgrounds and are in the same field. I was working for an eco-friendly Brazilian company as the Sales and Marketing Director. I was partnering with hotels, opening up boutiques, doing wholesale and retail. When COVID-19 happened, that company went straight to being online. The pandemic had me do a complete reset and now I don’t want to make money for anyone else but myself. I have extensive experience in styling. I’ve styled Gabrielle Union, Britney Spears, and many others.
MK: Wait! Pause! You need to tell me a Britney story!
BB: Okay, so in 2008, a year after the whole head shaving. She was doing The M+Ms Tour, it was a small showcase in a few states. So, I’m in Miami and I get a phone call that she needed me. I arrive at the Four Seasons and I’m going through her clothes like okay this is what we can do and what we can’t do. It was a private performance only for fans who paid some amount of money for this particular tour. I’m at her hotel for a few hours. This was when Alli Sims, her cousin, was her assistant and wanted to be a singer, too. Fast forward a couple hours: My assistant and I ran to Atrium to do the clothing pull and Britney pulled up, in the trunk of the car, and walked barefoot into the front entrance of the store. My jaw dropped as the paparazzi went crazy. Then, we’re back at Mansion Nightclub and I have all of her clothes on me. I can’t spill too much tea, but she was very chill. As I’m fitting her, she looks over to the left and she’s like ‘Who put purple rhinestones on my bra?!’ [Laughs] Someone in Los Angeles had put them on. You aren’t allowed to touch her hair, which was all extensions. At the end of her number, the back of her bra pops [off]! But, not in a way that she was revealed to anyone. Afterwards, her dancers and I got shuffled to an SUV waiting outside and there was paparazzi everywhere! Flashes of lights like I’ve never seen. Police had to shut down the streets. It was beyond! This was in the middle of her turmoil, so [everyone wanted a piece of her].
MK: Lastly, and probably most importantly, who do you think are the hottest Big Brother boys?
BB: Umm…me?! Look at me now! Maybe Hardy Hill… back in the day.
Talking with Beasley is exactly like catching up with one of your best friends who you haven’t seen in a year over daytime cocktails. He’s not bitter that you haven’t spoke in awhile, because he’s lived such a full life that he has tons to tell you about. While Beasley has been off riding sunsets, he hasn’t forgotten his reality roots or even that he’s a revolutionary gay reality star. Seriously, Beasley paved the way for the many gay and African American persons who have walked through those BB doors. An update on his life is thrilling because it proves the reality behind reality television. Some friendships, pun intended, may squander while others flourish off camera and prove to be long lasting. He’s not catty, mean, or a victim – traits which tend to be highlighted on a check list of what to choose in current LGBTQ reality contestants. Beasley is like champagne: Bubbly, strong, and goofy. His laugh is contagious and now I can’t help but wonder where he’ll end up next.
Ironically, Beasley turns forty-one-years-old today (Happy Birthday, Beau!) and would like to invite you to donate to Give Kids The World as a gift to children in need.
Writer’s Note A: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.
Writer’s Note B: Quotes have been edited for clarity.