Big Brother

Big Brother Reindeer Games’ Winner Nicole: ‘I kind Of Do Better If I’m Coming From Behind’ And Also Claims She Is Retired

Nicole Franzel won the inaugural championship of “Big Brother Reindeer Games” after making two comebacks on the final episode, thus saving Christmas.

The “Big Brother 18” winner took down Season 23 champ Xavier Prather in the semifinal despite having a 30-second delayed start and then defeated Season 24 winner Taylor Hale in the final after being well behind in the first two of three rounds. But the final round, during which they had to stack 32 snowflakes, leveled the playing field.

“Mentally, for me, it’s easier to be like, ‘OK, nothing lost if you don’t get this, they have an advantage, they’re kicking your butt. Just chill.’ I think her being so ahead of me is what helped me with the antlers because I was like, ‘I got nothing to lose at this point. I don’t even know if I’m gonna get these antlers out,’” Nicole tells Gold Derby (watch above). “And once I got [to the snowflakes], it was a pretty even playing field. I think she had two bags of snowflakes and I had one, and so I was like, ‘You can do this.’ I kind of do better if I’m coming from behind than [when] people are expecting great things from me, I guess.”

Nicole took home $100,000 for the victory and kept it all a secret from her entire family except for her mom. She told her husband, fellow “BB” alum Victor Arroyo, that she had finished second. “I thought it’d be so much more special for them to actually see it than to just hear it and I was actually so giddy for two weeks because I’m like, ‘There’s this huge secret!’” she shares. “The fact that Taylor was so ahead of me — I swear I was working on the antlers for, like, 15 extra minutes — I’m like, ‘It’s gonna look like, Nicole, you’re doomed,’ so this is a perfect cover story. I think I initially wanted to tell them in person and then I realized, how fun would it to surprise them? So I did.”

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After competing on three seasons of “Big Brother” and “Reindeer Games,” Nicole wrote on Instagram that she’s now retired. But she would definitely return to the franchise in other capacities. “I’m retired. I would be an Elf Ambassador for sure,” she says. “I’m excited for the contestants for next year because it was such a fun experience. It’s something that you can never even explain or describe because it’s so much in one day, but then if you look back, you’re like, ‘Wow, that was so fun.’”

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