Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Meet Vanessa Rousso - Will the Lady Maverick Show Her Cards This Summer? #BB17

1.  Jeff sat down to interview Vanessa Rousso live in the Diary Room during the press junket for BB17.   Vanessa is 32 years old and lives in Las Vegas.  She is a professional poker player and DJ.  Right away, Jeff recognizes her from playing poker on TV.

2.  Vanessa says she's a fan of Big Brother, and says it is actually a lot like being a tournament poker player.  The game progresses by eliminating the other players, and most of the big money is at the top.  In poker to be successful she's had to learn to read people, and she thinks this skill will help her in the BB house this summer.

3.  She also studied Game Theory at Duke University, and thinks those learnings will also give her an edge in the game.  Jeff was impressed.  He's heard of Duke.  He asked Vanessa if BB will be one big head game for her and she admits it will, but she's going to have to get in there and watch the action first.

4.  Vanessa thinks a disadvantage for her would be if anyone recognizes her as a tournament poker player, since she often plays on TV, because she doesn't plan to share that information with anyone right from the start.  Instead, she plans to say she is a DJ in Las Vegas, which is true, but she admits that most of her earnings have come from playing poker.  If someone recognizes her, then she has a story ready to explain how her career has shifted over time.

She says she's been promoting her DJ work a lot more in the past few years, so she thinks that will help her support her story about changing careers if she gets found out.  (But how?  Because the only thing more sketchy then telling someone to "watch the tapes" is to tell them to "check my YouTube when you get out".  Right?)

5.  When asked what she's leaving behind this summer, Vanessa said she never would have believed that she's missing this year's World Series of Poker to be on a reality show.  She said that this is the busiest time of the year in her profession, and she will be missing a lot of action at the tables. She said she did get to play in 3 of the 50 WSOP events this year. (Not sure if I got any of that right or not.)

6.  I don't follow professional poker, so I might mangle this information, but Jeff asked her if she's "won the bracelet" and she said no.

Jeff:  That's not a stone!  I'm just asking!

Vanessa:  Oh, I know.  I'd love to win a bracelet someday.

Jeff:  Oh, I know you're killing it at poker!

Vanessa said she's made it to a "couple of final tables", and won an international table and also two World poker events.

(Whew. Hope I got that right.)

7.  Vanessa is very elegant with her hand motions, and seems graceful.  She touches her hat a few times during the interview and Jeff points out that she's not representing any sponsors on today's hat and she laughs.  I think touching the bill of her hat is a reflex for her and may be part of her personality.  (Maybe a tell?)

8.  If Vanessa wins the money, she will probably invest part of it, and do something for her parents and sisters, too.  Then she drops some new info on us:

Vanessa:  And I have a girlfriend...I'm sure winning would mean some sort of new jewelry or other big gift for her!

Jeff:  Of course!

Vanessa explains that her girlfriend is taking care of everything for her this summer while she's away, and that is a big deal, so she will owe her a lot for that.  She's never been more than 4 days without seeing her girlfriend ("Mel"?) and Jeff tells her to remember that her girlfriend can see her, and to remember that she's doing it for her, too.

9.  If Vanessa was a zoo animal, she'd be a horse, but she had to check with Jeff to see if horses counted as zoo animals.  Jeff didn't know, obviously, but he said her answer could be anything she wants it to be.  Vanessa said her poker nickname is Lady Maverick, because mavericks are wild horses that can't be tamed.  She likes to "blaze her own path".

10.  Vanessa would like to be able to say that she's a robot when it comes to Big Brother, but she knows she's not, and will have emotions and feelings like everybody else.  She crosses her fingers as Jeff wishes her well.


 I'm impressed with the way Vanessa carries herself, but I have a few concerns, as follows:

a.  Anyone who conceals a major part of their identity is taking a huge risk in Big Brother, but she might be better at it than others due to the skills she's learned in her profession (see: Derrick).  But there is a poker dealer in the house this summer, too  (Da'Vonne)  who as of right now is planning to conceal her profession as well.

Will Da'Vonne recognize Vanessa?  And if so, will she use that information to help or hurt Vanessa?  That's the risk right there.  Because anybody with half a brain should know that if Vanessa "forgets" to tell them that she also plays poker and gets found out, she's sure to take a seat on the block.  And fast.

b.  Yes, Big Brother winners get a nice prize, but Vanessa has already made a lot of what people consider Easy Money, so the motivation to win might not be so strong, after all.  Especially if she is a relative newcomer to Big Brother and doesn't know the hardships that she might be in for.  (I'm pretty sure Vanessa was recruited, since she indicated she would not have applied due to poker season.)

For example, Wikipedia states that so far she has career earnings of $3,500,000.  Plus she has sponsorships and was also part of the "Poker Stars" team until earlier this year.  In fact, her Wikipedia page is chock-full of information, such as how she started playing as a minor, and how she eloped with a guy named Chad Brown after meeting him at the final table of a 2006 WSOP final table.  They separated in 2012 ---and I guess she's a lesbian now.  I also learned that she lived in Paris for 10 years and has dual citizenship.

What am I telling you for...you can read it all yourself here.

And just look at this video.....this is Vanessa's "house" in Las Vegas. I wonder if that is her girlfriend on the far left, with the striped shirt.

 She also has a Lamborghini Gallardo and some other fancy cars.  You can easily find videos out there featuring that as well.  So she earns, but she spends, too.  It's Vegas, baby.

Since I'm not that familiar with tournament poker, I enjoyed watching this video of Vanessa "shutting down Tony G".  She's sporting a Beastie Boys hat and seems to be doing some good work here, holding her own with that table full of men and is sarcastic as well.  You go girl.  She went from Zero to Hero somehow.  It all moved a little fast for me, but her poker face is frightening, right?   Damn girl.  And she's a humble winner, too.  At least on the outside.

 How great would it be if someone finds a poker tourney video where Da'Vonne is her dealer?  I'll let someone else look for that...

OK.  I like Vanessa and think she will make a valuable team mate for someone lucky enough to align with her.  She will have good instincts about people, which is one of the most important things for any Big Brother player, and will also know how to keep her mouth shut when it counts.

But it's risky.....I think she will be very recognizable for anyone who follows poker, which will expose her as a liar.  And there's that whole Da'Vonne situation. I hope she does well, but I have a feeling she will be able to rejoin the poker tour later this summer, before the BB jury is seated.

I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not ALL IN on Vanessa's chances.

Meet Shelli Poole - Chock Full of Southern Charm #BB17

1.  Shelli Poole sat down with Jeff for a live interview in the Diary Room.  Shelli is 33 and is from Marietta GA, a suburb of Atlanta (also the home of Malcolm and Parvati from Survivor, and yours truly the FeedWatcher...) Shelli lives in the cool part of Atlanta now and is a home stager and interior decorator.  Shelly has to explain her job to Jeff before he understood that she works with realtors to prepare homes for sale.

2.  Jeff wonders if she will want to make any improvements to the Big Brother house while she's there, and she says she's sure it will be perfect.  (Uh....just wait Shelli.)  Jeff ties in this idea and tells us that Shelli did "some touch ups" in the DR before the interview started.  (Each house guest has a small make up bag in the DR that they can use before sessions to reduce the shine, etc.)

3.  Shelli already has a great tan and is very energetic and excited to meet Jeff.  Jeff says he likes her already because she recognized him.  This makes me wonder if all of the house guests that Jeff has met so far are really SuperFans, because even if you aren't a big Big Jeff fan, you certainly know who he is.  (That group would include Jason, Meg, Becky, Audrey, and Austin....who may or may not have watched BB11 and BB13..)

4.  Shelli is leaving behind a big family and group of friends in Georgia, and says she misses them already.  She makes it crystal clear that she is single and has no significant other.  So, of course, Jeff asks her if she's single and ready to mingle.  She says she's ready for the unexpected, and will just have to take it one day at a time.

5.  Shelli doesn't have much of a southern accent, so if you watch the live feeds her voice may blend in with some of the other girls until we know her better.  She says she thinks her ability to meet people and form good relationships will be a big help this summer.  She is used to living with "a lot of people and having chaos".

6.  If Shelli wins, she would like to fund a big family vacation in Europe, because her parents have never left the US.  She might also want to buy a house, who knows.  Jeff notes that she's very family oriented and says he is, too.  (This isn't a date, Big Jeff...)

7.  She knows that only one person can win Big Brother, and knowing that "you have to do what you have to do".  She wants to lay low in the early days of the game, to give her time to observe the dynamics and determine who she can trust.  She doesn't want to stand out and be the first person people think about in the house.  She plans to constantly adapt her game to the circumstances.  Jeff says that is a good idea, because she "doesn't know what they will throw at her".  She wants to have a chance to get to know everybody before making any sort of big moves.

8.  Shelli talks with her hands a lot, and some of her gestures are very corporate.

9.  She had a hard time answering Jeff's "loved or hated" question.  She said she wants people to love her, but then kind of argues with him when he pushes back and tells him he gave her a choice to pick one or the other.  After Jeff told her she can say what she wants, she admitted she wants to win and be loved.

10.  Now that Shelli is older, she has a much thicker skin than she did in her 20's, and thinks this will help her in the house.  Jeff expressed surprise that she is 33 and she seemed flattered, of course.  (Big Jeff:  Wow!  Your dat old??)

11.  Jeff asked her what her guilty pleasure is, and she said shopping and eating chocolate.  This led Jeff down a strange path of talking to her about wearing chocolate clothes, which she said she would eat. Then Jeff commented that then she would be naked and she agreed.  I think Jeff's Earpiece told  him to ABORT that line of questioning so he said they were headed down the wrong path and she agreed.  But to her credit, this didn't phase her one bit....so maybe she can roll with the punches.  (Girls, this is how men think, if you don't know.....but I'm sure Shelli knows....)

 12.  She's not worried about anything the Zingbot might tell her.  (I mean, what could he say at this point?  She seems too perfect to even hate on right now.)

13.  If Shelli was a zoo animal, she's be a zebra, because they are "so cool and different, and everybody loves zebras".  Jeff is mesmerized by Shelli at this point and can't even think up a response to that.  She assures him that she "likes elephants, too".


I've been living in Atlanta for a long time, and after doing a little research on Shelli's life, I can't figure out why in the world she'd want to be on Big Brother.  On paper, it certainly looks like she leads a perfect life.

She works at a company called Simply Staged, which works with real estate agents to prepare properties for sale.  If you've even watched one episode of Million Dollar Listing on Bravo, you know what this means.  The work displayed on the Company's website is tasteful and attractive.  Just like Shelli, apparently.  Here's her profile on their website.

(I can't image the horror Shelli may feel when she walks into the BB17 house, particularly those horridly furnished bedrooms.  Bless her heart.)

And Shelli has a blog with tasteful and attractive photos of her lifestyle.  It looks like she hasn't written much since 2013,but you can certainly get a feel for the World of Shelli there..  Here is a sneak peek at how Shelli spent Derby Day in 2013.  That is (was) her boyfriend Matt, and her 13-year old dog, who also looks perfectly well-behaved and accessorized.  On her blog she also has some gorgeous pictures of gorgeous plates of food---trust me that she visited all of the right places in 2013.

From her interview with Jeff, it is clear that Matt is no longer her man, but the relationship sure looked fun while it lasted.

Yes, they have a family farm.  With horses and shit.  So that doesn't suck, either.  She has a hunky twin brother who is a foot taller than she is, and it looks like they have a great relationship.

Another look at Wes, who is quite a looker if you ask me.  Where has Wes been all of my life?  She also has another brother, too.

Shelli may have sort of abandoned her blog in 2013, but her Etsy shop seems to be going strong.  It is called Sweet Clover and as you can see below, she did announce she would be taking a break over the summer.  I couldn't see any of her current listings, but she does have 325 reviews, with an average five-star rating.  Some of those reviews were posted in late May of this year, and according to Etsy she has had 1,848 sales transactions.  You can see pictures of the jewelry purchased in the review section.

I know you're hoping for me to say that her creations are ugly and tacky.  But they're not.  They are attractive and tasteful, just like Shelli.  (DAMN DAMN DAMN!)

I'm not sure if Shelli was a Big Brother fan prior to casting, but she does seem to have a decent grasp on what it takes to get through the early parts of the game.  She will be one of the older house guests this year (maybe the oldest, depending on who the two "secret" house guests are...) but she doesn't seem old.  That maturity edge may be just what she needs to seek out the best people to align with.

I think the young guys are going to be on her like "white on rice", as we say in the south.  If she's smart, she can make this a benefit and not a threat to everyone else.

I think Shelli will make the jury, and might even be able to go deep this summer.  But I hope she knows what she's getting into.....her summer in Atlanta (and on the farm) might not have been too bad, either.  Sure looks good to me...

#BB17 House Guest Selfies

CBS has announced 14 of the new BB17 house guests, via a series of selfies they each took.


1.  I'm pretty sure there are two more house guests, so I guess they will be a surprise until the 2-night premiere next week.  (I'm guessing they will be from Survivor...but of course I have zero inside scoop on that.)

2.  Production obviously didn't let them take the selfies from up high, which is how at least 95% of selfies are taken.  Because it is more flattering for most of us, particularly if you are over 30.  And it keeps us from seeing that unfortunate area of the arm.  There's a reason our arms are designed to rest in the "down" position.  Just ask Meg...sorry, hon.

3.  Jeff just tweeted out that he is about to go live with the house guests.  I think that means he will be in the DR interviewing them.  That's kind of exciting, right?

4.  As a semi-perfectionist, I am trying not to have a complete panic attack right now.  I just feel the need to do my "Meet the Houseguest" writeups on everybody IMMEDIATELY.  But that's just not possible.  Hence The Panic.

5.  As I always tell myself, the Big Brother season is a marathon, not a sprint.  I may not be the first with all of the house guest information, but you know I will be thorough and make my introductions and assessments based on my own impressions.  (I do not look at other BB websites to see what they are doing until after I finish all cast introduction posts.)

6.  So please be patient with me as I try to be patient with myself during this hectic process.