Brenton for ‘Big Brother’

An invitation for CBS to make my childhood reality show dreams come true

Most kids dream of the day they turn 21.

In that sense, I am “most kids.”

But my 21st birthday won’t be spent out at bars with buddies or forcing myself to drink 35 Bud Lights. Instead, I’ll be counting down the days until I’m locked in a studio with complete strangers for the entire summer.

Since I was 11 years old, one of my dreams has been to make it on CBS’ reality show “Big Brother,” and next summer I'll finally be old enough to compete.

The show, for those of you who are missing out on one of life’s greater joys, revolves around 16 contestants who are locked away in a television studio-home with no contact with the outside world. They compete in mental and physical competitions all summer to eliminate each other, with the last one standing winning a grand prize of $500,000.

I started watching the show with my mother when I was maybe four or five. I had absolutely no idea what I was watching, and honestly thought the show was about old people having pool parties, but as I got older, “Big Brother” started making sense to me.

When season 11 came along, I was old enough to finally get a grasp of the show and started watching on my own. Once I saw contestant Jeff Schroeder walk into the house and use his ‘coup d’état’ power to take over the game, I knew I had to be there.

But there was one problem; I was too young to sign up for the show… by 10 years.

All contestants had to be 21 or older, and as my childhood somehow flew out the window, here I am now, old enough to compete when the new season starts.

To say I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life preparing for a reality television show would be a half-truth and frankly embarrassing, but as I’ve grown up watching “Big Brother,” I’ve realized more and more that I could actually win given the opportunity.

My experience as a college journalist alone has given me the tools I need to win “Big Brother.” As a journalist, my job is to be attentive, unbiased and diligent –– three traits that could very well earn me the $500,000. 

Being attentive as a journalist is no different from being attentive in the “Big Brother” house. When I walk around campus, I keep my eyes open for anything deserving of questioning. I’m aware of my surroundings at all times, looking for stories that deserve to be told. In “Big Brother,” I’ll need to pay attention to my environment and watch my back at all times, making sure I’m not seen as a threat. 

My lack of bias can also win “Big Brother” for me. Through my work at The Spectrum, I’ve learned talking to sources on both sides of a story and presenting yourself in an unbiased, professional manner is a must if you ever want to be taken seriously. When I’m fighting for a half-million bucks, I’ll have to align with both sides of the house to survive in the game. I’ll talk to each side while leaving my personal views at the door, so everyone around me will see me as an ally.

The most important skill I’ve learned as a journalist, however, is diligence. When I fact-check a story or ask questions, I’m always making sure I’m 100 percent accurate and I’m never leaving any questions unanswered. In the “Big Brother” house, I won’t be afraid to ask questions if I feel uneasy about another houseguest and I certainly won’t let any lies get past me.

I’ll also absolutely slaughter endurance competitions in the BB house. Most endurance competitions on the show require houseguests to hold on to a floating platform or hang on a rope for a long period of time. As someone who used to run long distances every day and now runs occasionally –– thanks to my time-consuming friend journalism –– I’ve never been afraid to keep pushing.

Let’s not forget, “Big Brother” and UB alum Mark Jansen unofficially passed his powers down to me last year. After having Mark and fellow-houseguest Elena Davies –– both BB royalty –– come down to The Spectrum office last Fall, I unintentionally harnessed both of their reality show skills. I still remember Mark telling me one of his goals in college was to be featured in The Spectrum. Well, my goal is to be where he was. If I make it on the show, I will not only be playing for myself, I’ll be playing for my friend Mark and UB itself.

So this is now in your hands, CBS and –– namedrop alert –– Robyn Kass of Kassting, Inc. casting company. I am more than ready to win “Big Brother,” just as I was 10 years ago. 

Brenton Blanchet is the managing editor and can be reached at and @BrentBlanchSpec


Brenton J. Blanchet is the 2019-20 editor-in-chief of The Spectrum. His work has appeared in Billboard, Clash Magazine, DJBooth, PopCrush, The Face and more. Ask him about Mariah Carey.