Host Arisa Cox Talks About Season 5 Of “Big Brother Canada”

As the host of Big Brother Canada, Arisa Cox has seen quite a few interesting characters step into the house every season. The Canadian edition of the popular reality show places a group of strangers into an abandoned home, where they must pass a number of challenges or face eviction. Big Brother Canada returns to the small screen tonight for its fifth season, which sees eight newcomers and eight returning contestants moving in together.

Just in time for the first episode of this new season, Real Style caught up with Cox about what we can expect this time around. From the show’s intriguing new theme to a particularly notable contestant who is back for a victory lap, here’s everything she had to share with us.

Season 5 of Big Brother Canada premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

Real Style: What can you tell us about the new season of Big Brother Canada?

Arisa: This is our fifth season, which is incredible. I’m so happy that we made it here. Our theme this year is intergalactic. Our house guests are going to be competing on a spaceship, and we have a season where half of the houseguests are first timers who have never played Big Brother. The other half are people coming back looking for redemption. The idea is that it’s the past versus the present, in a fight for the future.

Real Style: How has the show evolved over the seasons?

Arisa: If you do anything for five years, you’re going to get better at it. The hallmark of the show is that we have evolved and innovated. Our show really does move through the seasons. We’ve upped our game every single season. This season is absolutely no exception. This is going to be a really fun ride for people who have been there since Season 1, Episode 1, and I think people who have never seen it before are going to get a lot out of the season.

Real Style: What is your favourite part of hosting Big Brother Canada?

Arisa: I come from a news background. One thing you have to have, if you’re a journalist, is a good sense of observation. I really like the human behaviour aspect of our show. At its core, it’s a social experiment where you take regular people and you put them in stressful situations and you see what type of decisions people make. This is heightened by the fact that there is a big carrot at the end of this stick. It’s $100,000 cash, $30,000 from The Brick and a brand new Toyota 86 sports car. Being able to watch people and how they interact with each other and try to move toward the same goal can be fascinating.

Real Style: Have there been any memorable contestants over the years who stand out?

Arisa: Some of our most memorable are on this season. For example, Gary [Levy] is the only houseguest from Season 1 who is competing again. He is extremely memorable, because we had a very similar experience on the finale of Season 1 as the Oscars did! The envelope-gate happened on Season 1, where someone had voted mistakenly for the wrong person.

For Gary, it didn’t work out so well, and it caused him to lose the game to his best friend in the house. For someone like him, who is such a colourful person, this really is a road to redemption. He wanted to play to represent all the girls and boys and girly boys who think they could be winners. This time around, he’s already proven all that, he’s eager to win and hungry for it.

Real Style: Are there any surprises that fans should watch for this season?

Arisa: This is Big Brother Canada, so you know that there will be twists and turns! I think the second chances versus first timers, that’s the big one. There are always surprises when we do our show. The first episode, actually, has a really interesting one that fans will go nuts for at the end of the episode.

Real Style: What sets Big Brother Canada apart from the American or British versions of the show?

Arisa: While our show embraces camp in a way too (because it’s a really fun show as well, being about strategy), the costumes and the sets are incredible. We also are a very high concept show, so in some ways we are closer to the U.K. version. The design involved in our sets and our challenges are so high end. We’re kind of a mash-up of different versions of Big Brother that exist around the world. It’s in 50-odd countries, so it was very important for us to have our own identity. There are things that we always do that you won’t necessarily find in every other season. Canada always has a role in voting for a show.

One thing that sets us apart is the amount of diversity we have in our cast. That doesn’t always happen on reality shows, but that’s definitely one of our strengths. Another hallmark of the Canadian version is that we have really strong women.

Photo: Big Brother Canada

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