Overwhelmed and devastated. That’s how finalist Nicole Franzel is feeling after being evicted at the final three of the Big Brother: All-Stars finale on Wednesday, October 28.
The social media influencer, 28, who won back in season 18, was in shock and tears when close ally Cody Calafiore decided to cut her and take Enzo Palumbo to the end.
Nicole and Cody played together in season 16 and had built a strong bond early on in this season. But as a former winner, he knew she was harder to beat and decided to not make the same mistake twice after he took Derrick Levasseur and lost to him in his first season.
Cody ended up winning unanimously against Enzo, even securing Nicole’s vote despite her being upset.
Us Weekly exclusively caught up with Nicole right after the finale to talk about Cody’s big decision, rumors that they had a pre-game alliance, why she dislikes Janelle Pierzina, and more. Check out our interview.
Us Weekly: How are you feeling after Cody evicted you?
Nicole Franzel: I’m overwhelmed and I am devastated even though I am smiling because I don’t know what else to do. I just cried for a while. And now I’m … I don’t know.
Us: Did you ever consider he might cut you in the end?
NF: I never thought that he would cut me in a million, zillion years. I thought I would cut him first. And he told me when he was walking to the Diary Room. He was bawling and he just said, like, “I don’t want to blindside you.” And that’s all he pretty much said. I was just like, “Are you kidding me? Like, don’t even think about doing this.” I was so prepared to sit final two on finale night. No matter which way it went. And so I just look like a fool.
Us: Yeah, you looked upset right before he did it, so we assumed he gave you a quick heads up.
NF: I couldn’t have prepared for that moment. He kept it very secretive. I couldn’t tell. The thing that’s the craziest is he’s so good at making me feel guilty. One time, we were just sitting at a table and he’s just like, “You’re saying this because you feel guilty because you were thinking about cutting me. Me and Derrick never talked or acted like this.” I couldn’t believe it. It’s like he Derricked me right there.
Us: Did you consider maybe he didn’t want to make the same mistake twice?
NF: See, the thing is, I really thought that even if he took me, he would freaking sweep it. Maybe not totally, but, but yeah, I think it was a little too close to home for him. Yeah, I think he probably had in the back of his mind that it could happen again, but it didn’t even cross my mind a little bit. And that’s what’s so alarming. The relationships you build in that house, it felt so real. And I am just so loyal that it just wasn’t even an option. And I knew him and Enzo were close, and I talked to him about it. I said, “Enzo looks like you’re taking him. He looks happy.” And he would come back with just saying all the right things.
Us: So are you still friends or will it take a little while to recover?
NF: I feel like we’re still friends, but as far as like talking all the time, I already feel like the fact that we are separated, and we’re not locked in a house together, that we’re just going to go back to our normal lives and maybe talk here and there, but nothing crazy.
Us: So if you thought Cody would beat you in the end, why were you willing to go to the end when you could have potentially been the only two-time winner?
NF: That’s a good question. I went back and forth, and I lost a lot of sleep. I lost a lot of sleep at night and Cody was very good at making me feel guilty for even considering it. Because there was a time where I wanted to just go to Cody and say, “Look, whoever wins the final thing, let’s just each take Enzo.” Right? So I got the right mindset, but I didn’t have the guts to say that. So then I was like, “You know what? I wouldn’t live with myself if I cut Cody. Me and Cody, we’re so close. How am I going to live with myself? Because he’s like my brother and I’m not afraid to sit next to him. The thing is, everyone’s like, “Oh my God, you take him, you would lose.” Not everyone. Nobody said that to me actually. But I can see in people’s faces. Let’s see what happens. I think I could have lost Enzo. I thought I could lose Enzo. I thought I could lose to Cody. And I’m closer to Cody, and Cody had my back throughout this entire game. So that was an easier decision for me. Just like why Cody took Derrick. I think it’s a simple explanation. Until you’re in that house and you’re feeling all these emotions, it’s not just picking someone to sit next to you, you’re giving that person $50,000.
Us: Did you consider voting for Enzo in the end?
NF: Enzo played a great game, but no. Cody played such a good game that I didn’t really think about it.
Us: Settle some rumors. Did you and Cody have a pre-game alliance?
NF: No. Cody and I didn’t talk at all. We were on Big Brother 16 and our moms stayed friends. They talk like a little bit here and there, but Cody and I had nothing. And in the house, I think I saw him and I immediately felt comfort with him because he is somebody that people gravitate to. And I was like, “OK, there’s my ride or die right there.” I usually pick my ride or die day one or two. And that’s when we … I knew he had other ride or dies, but I knew he would be my best choice because he’s very good at competitions and very likable, and things like that.
Us: You and Dani were super close, but she was quite critical of your game in the jury, which you haven’t seen yet. Thoughts on that?
NF: I’m confused, Dani and I were friends outside of this house, and I think something in jury … I’m not really quite sure why she has a feeling toward me. I still have to figure that out. I don’t get it.
Us: Talk about the Ian vote. You said that was the hardest one for you, but we also saw you playing it up on the live feeds, saying you needed to put on your acting skills. How much of that emotion was genuine?
NF: That was the hardest game move I’ve ever done. And then what came after that, with having to lie about it, it was all real, all my feelings. I think I sat and sobbed in the DR for three hours in my freaking cereal box. I mean, freaking show the footage! I’m sitting there rocking back and forth. I don’t want to freaking vote him out. And the thing was, I begged Dani. I don’t know if you saw this on live feeds. I’m like, “Let’s just let it be 7-1. Let me vote that way. Let me vote that way.” She didn’t want me to vote that way in case it went 4-4, she’d have to show her cards. So, I was protecting her. No matter what, she’d look at me, like, “You cannot do it. You cannot do it.” I wanted to give Ian my vote because I was the only other winner with Ian. Ian and I had a bond. Once he was gone, that’s when I gravitated more toward Cody. Ian was the one person in that house that I related to. He was the person who I hung out with the most. He was the person that I freaking love spending the most time with. And so everything, all of that, is real as it can be. And I can’t act at all. So I don’t.
Us: Do you regret not telling Da’Vonne the truth about that vote earlier?
NF: So as far as game strategy goes, lying about that, if it was just blowing up my game, I would have blew that up. And I think I said that. I’ve said that in the DR. I don’t know what’s shown, whatever. I said I would freaking blow up my game because that’s how hard this is hurting my heart. When you have your best allies, Dani and Cody, telling you you’ll blow up, not only Dani’s game, you’ll blow up The Committee because she’s going to go around and figure out you’re part of something bigger. So when I have freaking seven games or six games on my back, and because I just want to tell the truth to just do that, that was a lot of added pressure. If I could have just blew up my game and told Da’Vonne, yeah, absolutely. And I’m sure watching it back … it was purely game. And it hurt my heart. It hurt my heart a lot. And I want to talk to Da’Vonne about that.
Us: You and Janelle were adversaries from the beginning. What is it about her that you guys don’t get along?
NF: We got along fine before the show, but right before the show, people were calling me [and] telling me that she was saying stuff about me and about my wedding. And so I think that got brought into the house. And then, next thing you know, Nicole A. came to me and said, “Janelle called you a B-I-T-C-H.” And I was just like, “Oh, I’m so sick of this. I had enough. I’m sick of shutting my mouth. All I do is shut my mouth and sit there and take all this frickin’ hate all the time. So I’m going to stick up for myself.” And so that’s all that is. I’m sure she’ll continue to say stuff and I’m not getting into Twitter fights. I’ve never gotten in a Twitter fight and I’m not going to start now.
Us: Will you ever play Big Brother again?
NF: I’m done. I’m retired. My heart can’t take anymore, so I’m out.
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