‘Big Brother’ winner Taylor Hale dishes to Jalen Rose on ‘harrowing’ show

We all know my talented friend Taylor Hale as the first ever black woman to win “Big Brother.” Or as Miss Michigan 2021. But I know her as another proud product of the Motor City.

On Hale’s journey to becoming a nationwide sensation, the beauty pageant winner had to fight through some real ugliness to succeed on the reality TV show. It’s stuck with her to this day, she told me on “Renaissance Man” this week.

“I faced an unprecedented amount of bullying, microaggressions, racism, colorism from other black people in the house,” Hale said. “I was verbally attacked in front of everybody in the house by one person. It was a harrowing and overwhelming experience. It’s something we haven’t seen before in that house. And for me to come out victorious and win America’s favorite player — an extra $50,000 … Yes, I am bragging on myself.” 

Her spectacular triumph was also in the face of what Hale noticed to be years of nastiness toward “Big Brother’s” black female contestants. She knew she had a responsibility this summer during her Season 24 run to create meaningful change and alter how the 12-week game is played. 

“As I was being recruited for ‘Big Brother,’ I super-binged everything so I could understand what I was getting into. And in that super binge, I realized that the black women — especially the ones with darker skin complexion — were ostracized, bullied, alienated, for little to no reason,” she said. “I knew that my goal, if I were to go on reality TV, had to be bigger than me … We get villainized all the time for just trying to exist, and I wasn’t going to let that fly in the house.”

But her time on the show, despite the viciousness, did come with an incredible silver lining. Not only did Hale win over the nation in her championship run amid the internal venom, but she also scored the heart of fellow contestant Joseph Abdin. In November, the more-than-happy couple went public with their relationship — a move Hale told me was “slightly terrifying, but also a relief.”

“Joseph was one of the very few people to be kind to me when the entire house was attacking me. Even though it wasn’t good for his game, he still spent time with me. He got to know me as a person,” Hale said. “Now, once he got evicted, everybody came back and very intentionally made me believe that he turned on me, degraded me. I had to play the rest of the game wondering who this person that I was falling for actually was.” But then, “he kissed me on finale night. And I just knew that we wanted to take our time to explore our relationship.” 

That’s exactly what the couple did. The 313 supertalent and Abdin wanted to be anything but an eight-week celebrity pair, so they pulled out all the stops to make sure their relationship had legitimate longevity to it.

“We were committed to going to therapy together to make sure our heads were OK … You see all these reality TV couples, they go on TV, they come out, they say they’re so in love, they move in and they break up two months later,” Hale said. “I feel like I’ve found my forever love. And I’m not going to jeopardize that.”

Taylor Hale.
Taylor Hale was the first black woman to win the reality show.

Hale’s confidence to take the world by storm on “Big Brother” came from the many lessons she learned in her pageant days. The Miss Michigan quest taught Hale how she should approach competition for all the marbles — especially while facing off against fellow women. 

“When you stop looking at it as ‘I’m competing against other women’ and you start looking at it as ‘I’m competing to be the best version of myself,’” Hale said, “that’s when you can walk into that pageant — and walk on that pageant stage — and say, ‘This is who I am. Take me or leave me.’

“And if you take me, I’m going to show you over and over again why you chose me. And if you leave me, it’s not going to impact me at all, because I’m confident in who I am.” 

Detroit native Jalen Rose is a member of the University of Michigan’s iconoclastic Fab Five, who shook up the college hoops world in the early ’90s. He played 13 seasons in the NBA before transitioning into a media personality. Rose is currently an analyst for “NBA Countdown” and “Get Up,” and co-host of “Jalen & Jacoby.” He executive-produced “The Fab Five” for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, is the author of the best-selling book “Got To Give the People What They Want,” a fashion tastemaker, and co-founded the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a public charter school in his hometown.

source: nypost.com