Big Brother 13: Interview with Daniele Donato's Bestie - Eric Stein aka America's Player from BB8
The other night on the live feeds, Daniele mentioned that Eric Stein, America's Player from Big Brother 8, was her bestie. The second I heard that, I knew I had to contact him for an interview about her! Who knows ya better than your best friend? Bonus when your best friend has also been in the house and made it really far in the game!
Eric's insight into both the game and Dani is a joy to read. Enjoy! :0)
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BBDish Carolyn: Hi Eric, Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me. Last night on the feeds, when Dani told Porsche you were her bestie, I knew I had to interview you about her.
Eric Stein: Thanks for much for asking me, Carolyn. Ha, yeah I suppose the cat is out of the bag on our bestieness. She has indeed been one of my closest friends over the course of the past 2 years.
BBDish Carolyn: Daniele said that 2 years after your season, you apologized to her in Vegas, and you've been "besties" ever since. In a game that's so often described as strategic, but that most players take very personally, how did the 2 of you make amends and move forward?
Eric Stein: Actually, it was really quite simple. The game is the game and real life is real life. When BB contestants initially meet our fellow houseguests, they are complete strangers who are trying to take $500,000 out of our pockets. The game provides obstacles in getting to know each other in the way that we would customarily be able to in our real lives. For example, two people who might normally get along extremely well in their everyday lives might strategically end up on opposite sides of the house. For the astute feed viewers, Dani & I actually had some truly great times during our season...and also some not so great times. The minute the game ended though, I went back to my normal daily life & what happened during the game was irrelevant to how I was going to lead my life from there on in. It took us a little while to reconnect, but the millisecond we did, it was easy to realize that it was going to be the beginning of an amazing friendship. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather an incredible friendship than hold onto petty nonsense from a game that happened several years ago.
BBDish Carolyn: Are you watching Dani on the feeds this season? If not, how are you keeping up with the goings on in the house?
Eric Stein: Although this is going to probably surprise most people, I'm actually not much of a feed watcher. However, it's a vastly different experience when you have a vested rooting interest in the outcome of the game. It never even occurred to me that I'd ever have the chance to watch a close friend play the game. It has given me a lot of perspective on what it must have been like for my friends and family during my season. It's stressful! So quite obviously I try to stay on top of the goings on as often as I can. If you're reading this anywhere but http://bbdish.blogspot.com it's been stolen without permission. Please let us know.
BBDish Carolyn: After what turned into a horrible week with the Jeff backdoor plan blowing up and losing her chosen alliance partner of Dominic, Dani came through and won her 1st HoH, during the 1st week she was eligible to play, following the golden keys.
Taking all that into consideration, what have you got to say about Dani's game thus far this season?
Eric Stein: I think she is doing really really well. There's no right or wrong way to play the game...and I trust in her decisions all the way. She is a savvy game player and a fierce competitor. I've read in a bunch of places that the endurance comp was tailor made for Dani. Well, it's only tailor made for her because she's an amazingly fit athlete and has enormous heart (especially when her back is against the wall). Everyone had an equal shot of winning...she's just that good. There's an enormous difference between the other HGs wanting her out of the game and actually being able to get her out of the game.
BBDish Carolyn: Did Daniele do anything special to get ready for her return to Big Brother? Any pre-sequester strategizing with her bestie? If so, has she been able to stick to the plan?
Eric Stein: Hahaha, the last thing in the world Dani needs is to strategize with me. She beat my ass on our season, so I don't think she required any pointers. However, knowing her well...it's clear that she came into the game with a stronger emphasis on her social game this time around, which should allow her to keep her options open as she gets deeper into the game.
BBDish Carolyn: Several of the HGs have mentioned that in the 1st days, Dani told them she wanted to get rid of her dad. That ended up taking care of itself through the great mystery of ED. Was that part of the plan before she ever knew about the Golden Keys?
Eric Stein: I honestly would have no idea. Anything that happened pre-feeds is as much of a mystery to me as it is for you. If you're reading this anywhere but http://bbdish.blogspot.com it's been stolen without permission. Please let us know.
BBDish Carolyn: What are your favorite Daniele moments from the show thus far?
Eric Stein: Well, the first is obvious...her HoH win. I was at a charity event with a multitude of other past reality contestants and we were all celebrating her victory. It gave me great satisfaction to see her prove to them that they messed with the wrong girl. I've also loved her DR sessions, as I feel she's been given an edit that has allowed her to give us a great deal of insight into her gameplay & the thought process behind it. But most of all, I love it when she's at ease and being herself. Daniele has an irreverent, enormously funny sense of humor and a huge heart, so I like when she just gets to chill out and enjoy things for a few minutes.
BBDish Carolyn: Apart from Daniele, which house guests are you enjoying the most/least this season and why?
Eric Stein: This is a tricky one on a few levels. First of all, I am watching the season from an incredibly Dani-centric viewpoint. Therefore, I have stopped short of forming much in the way of personal rooting interests, because I am 100% rooting for whatever and whoever is in her best interests. In addition, I have learned thru the years that the "show" version of somebody & your feelings towards that character is not necessarily an indication of how you'll feel about them in real life. So generally I try to reserve judgment on my personal feelings towards the HGs until I have the pleasure of meeting them personally.
From a pure game standpoint, the house dynamic reminds me a bit of BB11. In that house, there were so many larger than life personalities (Jeff, Russell, Jessie, Ronnie, etc.), that it ultimately benefitted some of the more under the radar players who watched the big dogs fight right over their heads. Hence, those who are not making waves might just wake up one day and find themselves deeper in the game than you might expect. That said, I have been quite adamant from the beginning that one of the vets would win this game and I stand by that.
BBDish Carolyn: Daniele has the advantage of time and distance from the Big Brother experience to shape her perspective and aid her. What other advantages does Dani bring to the game?
Eric Stein: Oh, so very many. For one, she does a 7 mile warm-up at the gym before starting her actual workout. I probably haven't ran 7 miles in the past 4 years combined. She is a true student of the game, but more importantly, she has endless respect for the game. That true passion allows her to put an immense value onto this opportunity, which translates into pouring every ounce of her heart and soul into it. And, she's extremely personable. Keep in mind, you are seeing her play a game for a potentially life altering sum of money. For those of us who know her away from the game, it's no coincidence that nearly every past houseguest is pulling for her. She's outrageously fun, compassionate, and very sharp when conversing with her. She can bond with anyone that she sets out to bond with.
BBDish Carolyn: If you could have a 2 minute phone call with Daniele right now, what would you tell her?
Eric Stein: I would not talk one ounce of game with her...she knows the game like the back of her hand - she doesn't need my ramblings to cloud her brain. I would probably babble incoherently about a slew of inside jokes, resulting in us laughing for 1.5 of the 2 minutes. Daniele and I speak every single day, so there's a definite void with her gone...so I might need to ask her for some advice about my dating life, vent about someone who annoyed me today, ask what she's having for dinner, or any other minutia that we'd normally discuss. Lastly, I'd want her to know that she has a huge network of support outside of the house, so she shouldn't worry about us for a millisecond - just do her thing & keep on kicking ass!
BBDish Carolyn: As things stand, Dani's aligned herself with Kalia and Lawon, and she's making overtures to Porsche. She also seems to have a 1 week deal in place with Jeff and Jordan, as well as Shelly and Adam... If anyone but Rachel wins the next HoH, she *ought* to be ok. Can you please comment on her chosen alliance, as well as her deal making of the past week?
Eric Stein: Well, I think we all know that deals in the BB house can go either way, but hopefully everyone will abide by them. As far as her alliance, the honest truth is a vote is a vote regardless of who it's coming from. So any loyalties she can get, she is willing to take. It probably doesn't hurt her to know that she'd absolutely smoke Kalia and Lawon in the late season competitions, so if she can get them there, they look like good choices to me. If you're reading this anywhere but http://bbdish.blogspot.com it's been stolen without permission. Please let us know.
BBDish Carolyn: Thanks so much for your time, Eric!
Eric Stein: My pleasure! I'm going to use this final answer to campaign a little bit. If a houseguest is brought back into the game, please please please vote for DOM to return. Nobody wants to see a season in which 2 preexisting couples steamroll everyone. It's such an enormous advantage to play this game with your fiance/significant other, rather than relying on complete strangers. The viewers should be looking for anything at all to mix things up and counterbalance that. Dani's army could greatly use some manpower, so let's make sure that we make this the best battle possible & bring back the only other houseguest to march to the beat of his own drum in this game.
Also, some of Dani's best friends (with an assist from literally dozens of past houseguests) are running a Dani-sanctioned Official Facebook Fan page. They've been offering up insights, fun facts, bonus materials, and all other kinds of fun Dani-related goodness. So if you're a Dani fan, please join up, help us show her some support and root her on!
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to show my bestie some love! GO DANI!!!
Labels: BB13 Interviews