Julie Chen has an eye for the social petri dish of the Celebrity Big Brother house, and she thinks she has Omarosa Manigault pegged.
The Celebrity Big Brother host caught up with Entertainment Weekly about the show’s latest developments. They talked about every cast member, but Manigault continues to dominate the conversation. The reality TV veteran had a brief fling in politics, working for the Trump campaign and then in the White House for a year, and she’s using her insider knowledge to terrify co-stars and audiences.Manigault first came up when the interviewer asked Chen about Shannon Elizabeth, and whether she was really as great at the game as everyone hoped she would be.
“Shannon. Wow. You know how some people are book smart but not street smart?” Chen said. “That was Shannon. Valedictorian of the school of Big Brother, but not the best when it comes to her social game. She is the opposite of Omarosa.”
“Omarosa is a master at manipulating people and playing the social game,” she went on. “Genius at it. Can’t take my eyes off of her. Simply put, Shannon just isn’t a phony. She is real and she is nice and she is student of the game but not a student of social manipulation, which you need to be in order to succeed in Big Brother.”
Manigault has already pulled off some pretty eye-catching stunts on the show, some of which have made headlines beyond the realm of reality TV. Early in the game, Manigault left the house overnight to be hospitalized for an asthma attack. Many fans — and Chen herself — accused her of embellishing her condition for sympathy, or exemption, or for some ot her nefarious reason.She has also used her knowledge of the Trump administration to tease co-stars and viewers, indicating that she knows something that the public doesn’t.
Chen seemed optimistic about the show in general, noting that the celebrity contestants have quickly assumed the same patterns of behavior as any other group that has ever stayed in te house.
“The celebrities quickly became just like any other group of houseguests. They are playing!” she said. “And they are not concerned about their celebrity image. They are there to compete and win — and I love that! They are normal.”
As for Manigault, Chen has criticized her harshly in the past, but she found at least one nice thing to say.
“I like seeing Omarosa in her glasses and sweats. It makes her seem more genuine. I want to see the good in everyone. With Omarosa it might be just that she wears glasses?!! Stay tuned.”