Sukhvinder Javeed’s exit from the ‘Big Brother’ house last week proved to be one of the most memorable moments of the series so far, after she followed evicted husband Imran up the stairs and out the front door to freedom.
Now they’ve had time to get used to life outside the ‘BB’ house, HuffPost UK caught up with the couple, who told us all about their reaction to Kayleigh Morris’s shock removal and how the other housemates’ reality TV pasts put them at an unfair advantage, as well as opening up about “segregation” within the house...
How did the experience of ‘Big Brother’ compare to your expectations?
Imran: I think for me, I was honestly expecting there just to be normal people picked from around the country. That’s how it was explained to me. But when we got in there, obviously it became apparent that there were a lot of people who had agents, and large followings, and had been on other television programmes.
Was it disappointing when you found out there would be so many former reality stars in the house?
Sukhvinder: Yeah, it was disappointing because it’s like… you’ve put us all in this house together to see how we interact, and in real life we wouldn’t interact. And I get that that’s the whole point of the show, but we thought it would be everyday people from across the country with no followings really.
Imran: And some of them had definitely had previous training, you could tell. So they were behaving in certain ways, and they knew when to do things and say things.
Sukhvinder: They were able to manipulate the game…
Imran: ...and the format of it.
Do you feel like the former reality stars in the house had an advantage over contestants like yourselves?
Sukhvinder: Yeah, one hundred per cent. They know what sells, they know what makes the papers, they know exactly how to react to something that I would react to very innocently, turns into a big West End show! And I was like, ‘how did I get onto this show?’ It’s a theatre performance.
Imran: But there was a clear disadvantage there [for us] definitely.
Sukhvinder: Yeah, you wouldn’t put two boxers in a ring that were completely different weights, would you?
This year, ‘Big Brother’ said they were trying to portray modern Britain. Do you think they’re doing a good job of that?
Sukhvinder: Do you know what? In a way I think they actually are, because of the way that relationships were formed, and segregation occurred, it was a true reflection, I think.
Imran: Yeah, that’s right. And now you can… now it’s more like ‘Love Island’-style, isn’t it? It’s changing towards that.
There’s new housemates going in, probably the majority of them will be female. You can see Tom, Kieran and Lotan taking the limelight there, and that being the main theme.
Sukhvinder: And Rebecca will go off the handle there… so it works. So we also understand that side of it.
I felt like it was a real privilege just to have a platform, just to have a voice. Obviously it’s diluted down to 15 minutes of 24 hours... but at the same time, it was a huge opportunity for us just to try and send some message out, and to show people that actually you can get there, you’ve just got to fight.
And as long as… I feel like it’s turning into a race thing, it’s not a race thing, it’s just... for Imran and I, it’s a lack of representation. And I want to fight to have that representation. But when you fight for change, you’re always going to be faced with adversity, aren’t you?
You both went in saying you had a clear intention of being role models and good examples. Do you think you achieved what you set out to do?
Sukhvinder: I certainly hope we did.
Imran: Yeah, I think we did. The plan was just to be ourselves, and we were ourselves, and that’s how we came across.
Sukhvinder: They might have only shown the crazy stuff… who doesn’t like to see a good argument? I love to see a good argument. But that’s just one layer of us, you know?
I think what we were trying to say was that it takes multiple layers to build a relationship, to stay together, to know that if you don’t believe in something, it’s OK to stand outside of the crowd. It’s OK to stand up for what you want to say.
A lot of people project… and when people look at me and say ‘oh well, you just argued’, it’s like ‘no actually. I’m dealing with someone else’s projections. I shouldn’t have to really deal with this, and the fact that I am having to deal with it makes me realise how like the real world it is’. We’re so busy sweating the small shit, that we’re not actually moving forward and getting on with the real stuff.
And it’s a shame, that. Because I think when you’re just there to raise your profile, of course you don’t care about what I’ve got to say, of course it sounds like I’m shouting, because I am, because you can’t hear me, you don’t want to know about my life, I’ve got to know about yours.
I’ve got to sit with you, drink with you, chill with you, play with you, stroke your ego, and not once will you turn and go ‘oh actually, Sukhvinder, what do you do?’
You mentioned early on in the series that there could be a race divide in the house, do you still feel that way now?
Sukhvinder: It felt like unless I behaved a certain way, or had certain conversations that verged on the side of vulgar, I was never going to be able to sit in a certain circle.
That’s not got anything to do with race, because I think you can get all manners of race sat on that side of the fence, there just wasn’t enough in the house that made that look any better than the other side. You know, they could have said that about us. I just think when you relate to people, you congregate around the people you relate to.
And it just goes back to integrating. If you’re giving someone some love, and they’re not showing you love back, you kind of go… what am I doing here?
Did having each other in there make it easier?
Imran: Even though we had each other, you must remember that we realised early on that we were separate housemates. So we couldn’t confide in each other.
I couldn’t really say to Sukhvinder, ‘oh Rebecca’s… this, that and the other’... so even though we were together, there were times when we weren’t together mentally, because we weren’t allowed to talk about certain things.
Did that make things especially difficult?
Imran: It made it really tough
Sukhvinder: [Outside the house] we talk about everything. There’s nothing we don’t talk about, and there’s nothing we don’t say to each other. So people would constantly be like, ‘oh you’ve got each other’, and I’m thinking ‘you know what guys? We’re actually in the same as you lot’. It wasn’t the same as at home, but we got through it.
How do you think your departures have affected things in the house?
Sukhvinder: Well you saw straight away! After an hour there was that huge blow-up explosion.
Imran: We definitely had a parental role in the house, I was looking after children. I left my children at home and adopted 10 in the ‘Big Brother’ house. So yeah, that’s the position I played, and I played it as well as I could.
Sukhvinder: It’s so hard to be a parent for 19 years, and then come into house, and all you see are the attributes of children, and you’re expected to treat them like adults.
It’s like, ‘you haven’t even got basic manners in here’, and we all went through the same process to get in… I shouldn’t have to tell you not to do certain things. You should already know this. But clearly, common sense is a curse.
Do you think ‘Big Brother’ bosses did the right thing in removing Kayleigh over the weekend?
Sukhvinder: I think Kayleigh will stand by what she believes in, whether it’s right or wrong. And I think Big Brother did what they had to do.
I feel like anyone who’s going to be in a house, and make someone else feel like that… Big Brother knows what they’re doing. And I have to say that Chanelle and Kayleigh were both involved in that. That they both took part.
Were you shocked by what happened?
Sukhvinder: No, I wasn’t shocked at all, I wasn’t shocked that she would behave like that. I’m just thankful that I wasn’t on the receiving end, and I wasn’t part of any of that, because I felt like it was just a matter of time before that happened anyway.
I think that’s what my challenge was with Kayleigh… I think deep down there’s a really nice person in there. But I just couldn’t emotionally invest in that.
What was your overriding emotion when you were finally out of the house?
Imran: For me, personally, I was relieved. Because it’s not easy staying in that house. It’s really difficult. You don’t get a lot of sleep. There’s a lot of alcohol around. It’s not a comfortable way of life. It’s draining.
Sukhvinder: But we had so much fun as well! There were times I laughed so much I thought I’d given myself a six-pack, you know? Honestly, I’ve had a great experience.
I tried to stay as true to myself as possible, wear my heart on my sleeve… even though it got battered *laughs* But that’s just who I am, I’m really passionate about stuff and I’m really grateful for things. And I like being that person, I want to be a person who gives a shit about shit. And I want other girls to know that if things enhance your life, that’s amazing. But it shouldn’t be the be all and end all, just be you.
I don’t want our journey on ‘Big Brother’ to be in vain, because we went through too much to get there, and we gave people too much of ourselves for it just to be in vain. So I hope somewhere we’ve sent a good message out - we’ve already had hundreds of people constantly on the phone saying ‘thank you, thank you’ and that’s humbling and really overwhelming at the same time.
Who do you both want to win, and who do you think will win?
Sukhvinder: We both want Joe to win, because he’s been through so much and his reasons for doing [‘Big Brother’], I’m sure he’ll tell everyone one day, are worthy really. And we need to show that sometimes you need to earn your place in life. So that would be really nice. I think Joe could win it if he opens up.
Imran: Yeah I agree, I’d like to see Joe win it but I wouldn’t mind if either Hannah, Deborah or Raph won it, because they’re the realest people in the house.
Raph might have an intelligent game plan, but that’s fine. He’s not nasty to anyone, he’s not mean to anyone, he never disrespects anyone. I don’t think you can ask anything more from anyone
Sukhvinder: But he knows the game too well! You wouldn’t sit at a poker game with a professional poker player, would you? I wouldn’t.
Imran: Yeah but he’s playing by the rules and he’s such a lovely guy. Very intelligent.
Sukhvinder: Yeah but somebody needs to tell him that rules are made to be broken.
Imran: Raph just lacks courage, that’s all it is. But I did work on him, I got him to do quite a few things for the group, and he really benefited from it as well. He grew.
He has a confidence issue with public speaking, I think. But he’s getting there.
‘Big Brother’ airs nightly on Channel 5.