PART I: MENTAL PREP BEFORE THE ADVENTURE
Let me explain something real quick: I’m not the type of person whose dream is to be on any type of TV show that involves me publicly chillin’ in my raggedy pajamas with the whole world witnessing my most intimate moments, such as the notably unglamorous nose-pick, or worse, me possibly (and perhaps passionately) making out with someone. I am, however, the type of person who, when invited to stay at the Gran Hermano house in Mexico City for a few hours without having to deal with footage of me ever making it on national TV, will immediately say: “Hell yeah, lock me in that sweet house!” And, well, the latter is exactly what happened to me.
In a nutshell: It was pretty dope.
So, first things first: I wanted to really allow myself to believe I was going to be in the show. When you enter the Gran Hermano house, you may be in there for three whole months. So I thought about what that would be like, being away from my family, my friends, all technology, and my dog…for three entire months. It made me a bit sad.
I woke up the morning of the day I’d be entering the house and tried to take in as much of the outside world as I could. I looked out my hotel window and soaked in a beautifully juxtaposed view of gleaming modern buildings rising against miles of robust greenery and sighed. Well, I won’t see any of this for three months, I thought. Actually, prolly never again ‘cause I don’t even live in this fancy hotel, HA. (But you get the point…)
I decided to text my mom, my two sisters, and my best friend goodbye, but I was kind of in a rush tbh, so my message was short and completely lacked context — but what did it matter? I think suspense is good. (Just look at Hitchcock! He’s a friggin' legend for a reason.)
Anyhow, I was having my final breakfast on a lovely terrace before entering the house, and some odd kind of anticipatory nostalgia set in: As I ate the last bit of a chocolate croissant and drank my last sip of guayaba juice (sounds like a terrible combo, but I swear it was good), my surroundings began to seem rather gloomy. Reality was sinking in — what if this were the last time I’d get to truly eat whatever I wanted wherever I wanted for three months? I pulled my croissant a little closer. (In the Gran Hermano house, an allowance of $100 is all each housemate gets to buy food weekly, and the groceries are probably everybody’s business.)
I was still chewing when the Gran Hermano team introduced us to the host, Giselle Blondet. She glistened like a diamond under the sun and said things that made my spine creak with both fear and excitement at once, including the fact that a chick on the Denmark version once got preggers while still in the house. Naturally, me persigné.
(She didn’t actually say either of these things.)
After Giselle sent us off to the house, all that was left was darkness. Not because she irradiated the divine incandescence that’d make heaven’s angels jealous and once without her presence the world seemed dull and gray (which, it kinda did), but because at that point I was suddenly blindfolded and directed into the van that would drop me and my future housemates off at the Gran Hermano crib.
PART II: INSIDE THE HOUSE
Next thing I know, someone straps a microphone around my lonjas, and I’m inside the house. It’s the backyard — I’m able to see my feet standing in grass when I look down. We are instructed to take the blindfold off, and in front of us is Giselle (whose natural glow continues to make my retinas sore), there to give us a quick tour of the home. The backyard has a pool and is cute AF. There are three bedrooms, including one suite; a huge living room; and a kitchen. Then, she’s out.
I’m left in an incredibly multicolored home with 11 people I hardly know. We all gather ‘round in the kitchen. First thing we do is pop open some champagne, ‘cause, I dunno… it’s there and it’s free(?). I picture how it’d be to socialize with these people for three months. Boris stands out, a man with enviable natural swag whose socks have more colors than the rainbow and *almost* more personality than me. He is the house dad — he pours the bubbly, grabs some lasagna and stuffs it in the oven, then sets the table for us all. I’d nominate him for expulsion, I think to myself. He’s just too charming — and, honestly, I wouldn’t want all that charisma to kill my own charisma and thus my chances of winning 250,000 bucks. I fantasize about having all that dough, talk to some people, and then decide I need a little solitude to take it all in.
I head to the backyard, my eyes set on what I can best describe as a cushiony floating egg made of what I think is plastic yarn, and jump into it with the grace and elegance of a baby hippopotamus, only for my skull to be partially crushed by rounded metal bars disguised as plastic yarn. I curse (or say something along the lines of “Ay, no mames, ¡me estampé!") then I think, OMG, if this were the real deal and my mom saw me cursing on TV, she’d be like, “Hija de su fregada madre, ¡¿quién la enseñó a hablar así?!” I get freaked out at my sudden vulnerability. I look around and there are six cameras on the walls pointing at me. I think about how natural it is to snap a bunch of selfies on the daily, but how odd the sensation of being surrounded by a bazillion cameras feels at that moment. I usually think technology is badass, but realize then that when infringed upon me in the way of several devices capturing every second of my life, too much of it could become rather unsettling. Still, I'm intrigued. Maybe if the whole world were looking at and listening to me, I’d buy a decent pair of pajamas, I think to myself, and probably learn to only fart silently.
I see one of the guys, Guadalupe, lying on a lounger near me. I head over and we get to talking. Turns out, there are five Guadalupes in his family: his dad, his girl cousin, his boy cousin, his Aunt Lupe, and himself. Then he explains they all abbreviate their names differently, like “Don Lupe," "Tía Lupe," "Lupita," etc. to know which of them they are talking to during family gatherings. It’s a fun conversation…and I’m sure glad it is, ‘cause in the end, talking is just about all you can do if you’re living here for three months, unless you want to go use the house gym... *cringes* *se persgina again*
I look around and notice that Valeria, another housemate, is now chilling inside the treacherous, cushiony egg. I yell something like, “¡Si viviera aquí nunca me saldría de ese huevo!” (It was actually very comfy.) Guadalupe cracks up and says I would’ve just said something dirty had I been somewhere in South or Central America (I think he said Venezuela, or maybe Spain...?). I laugh and think of how funny this household will be when the actual inquilines move in, all Latinos from different backgrounds. I bet some debates about language will take place. I notice we’ve been talking for two hours, and I’ve already forgotten there are cameras documenting everything we say and do. Whoops. Big Brother knows what he’s doing.
We all start getting called into the confessional to nominate the people we want (hypothetically) expelled. Look, nominating people you hardly know to get kicked off should’ve been easier. But the people I got to be in the house with all seemed chill AF, so it was kinda hard for me. My solution and strategy, given the circumstances, was to nominate those who I believed would eat the most food. They weren’t chubby or anything; they just seemed to have a good appetite. BUT I MEAN if each houseguest has 100 bucks a week to spend on food, and we decide to share the food, I don’t want to keep people who are going to eat most of it. That’d just suck for me — I eat in spurts! People who vacuum huge meals at once would just leave me hungry and desolate, and I’d just rather not have to stuff conchas under my pillow, you know? Boris, sadly, but for sure, is out too — he’s just too charming. Too charming.
Anyway, we all go in and out of the confessional, then sit down to munch on the delicious lasagna my fab frenemy Boris has baked. No nominees are announced before our time at the house ends since this is only a sort of test run, per se, but by the funny staring that happens at the table after everyone is done nominating each other, you can only imagine how weird it must be to do it during the real deal. The drama must be intense. *cheers internally*
So, what’s my conclusion? Well, the experience definitely made me think. Mainly about my mom caring zero about me not contacting her for three months... No, but seriously, it must be bizarre to have your life documented for 90 days nonstop and to be part of a social experiment that brilliantly meshes a bunch of people with diverse personalities who probably wouldn’t ever meet in real life, much less end up living together. Strategies would be hard: I mean, who would you nominate to leave the house? The people you dislike or the people you like ‘cause they may beat you to the prize of 250k if the public likes them more than they like you? IDK. It’s messed up…but in a good way. I’ll be watching them, just like el Gran Hermano, but from my couch wearing my old pajamas with my fat dog (and my phone) by my side.
Watch Gran Hermano every Sunday at 8pm/7c and check out who will be nominated every Wednesday at 7pm/6c!
All images belong to BuzzFeed unless otherwise stated.