MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you watched the premiere of “Big Brother” Wednesday night on WCCO, you met two houseguests from Minnesota.

“I have to win this HOH because I don’t want to be the first one booted out of this house,” said the long-haired McRae Olson.

He’s a pizza delivery guy from Oak Grove. And Kaitlyn Barnaby is a bartender from Vadnais Heights.

Both were picked at an open audition at the Mall of America. So as the new season begins, we spoke with another Minnesotan who’s been on the show — all-star Janelle Pierzina.

Pierzina says she’s retired from Big Brother now…but she’s certainly an expert on life inside that house.

My normal life isn’t to live with 14 other people in a house, my normal life is to be here in Lakeville, Minnesota, and have a family,” she said.

In fact, she’s spent more days in front of the Big Brother cameras than any other contestant.

“Over the three seasons, I think I have the record…I think it’s like 178 days,” she said.

In the sixth season, she finished third. In the seventh, she also finished third. And in the 14th season, she came back as a coach.

“If you play with too much emotion you can make bad decisions. You just try to play strategic, take the feelings out of it,” she said.

This year, two Minnesotans made it after a big casting call at the Mall of America.

“I’m a pizza delivery boy, and I’m proud of it,” Olson said. “I think there’s a lot of people out there who are a lot like that. Not trying to be super models or anything like that.”

Living with more than a dozen people would be a challenge for anybody. Throw in the TV cameras, game play, and half-million dollar prize, and it helps to get some advice from someone who’s been there.

“You’ve got to have your strategy,” Pierzina said.

She says it’s social game. You spend more time talking with other houseguests than anything. And Barnaby is prepared.

“I’m gonna be very sweet to everybody in that house, and then I’m gonna get in that diary room and be a little bit more backstabbing,” she said.

In fact, that’s why host Julie Chen singled her out during a conversation with our Jason DeRusha.

“She knows the game, she’s very smart,” Chen said. “I think she’s going to be a very good player — someone to keep eye on.

You can watch Big Brother on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday nights for the next 14 weeks on WCCO-TV.


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