It was the perfect ending to this season's Big Brother when Donny won America's Favorite Houseguest. Donny, the groundskeeper from North Carolina, was a fan favorite from week one, continuously proving himself to be a fierce competitor with a heart of gold. What's not to love? So it was anything but a surprise to fans when Julie Chen announced that he would be taking home the prize of $25,000 and the title of America's favorite, but to him, it came as a huge shock. "I did not expect to win on that stage that night, especially by five million votes," Donny tells me.
Throughout the season, it felt like Donny was consistently being attacked by his other houseguests. He was put up on the block as a pawn and as a target almost every other week, he was partnered with people who tried to throw competitions so he'd lose — ahem, Christine — but week after week, he'd survive. And each week that he survived another eviction, America grew to love him even more. But what was it about this 42-year-old simple guy that America loved so much?
"I watch reality shows a lot, and they have a lot of young, pretty people, and you just watch all of the drama, but people want to pull for someone they can relate to," Donny explains to me. "I was genuine, I tried to play with integrity." That is all true of Donny's game play in the house. Most importantly, he did something his fellow houseguests didn't seem to feel was necessary, "I tried not to bash people, I even tried to be careful behind people's backs not to say anything too bad about them."
Because in Big Brother, while betraying and lying are part of the game, "bashing" people — like how Christine said Donny "creeped" her out... Um, no Christine, that's just called being a nice person — isn't something you need to do to win. Take Derrick, for example. He never bashed people in the house and he went on to win Big Brother 16. "I knew that not only was my family watching, but their families' were watching, also," Donny says on why he kept it kind inside the house.
"Since I've been out, a lot of people have told me I was someone they could relate to, a real person," Donny says of his time since he left the Big Brother house. So future houseguests, take a page out of his book, because Donny is proof that nice guys do finish first.
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