SimplyBhangra's Monika Plaha caught up with the beauty queen Deana Uppal who finished a very respectable third, in the big brother 2012’s final. After an emotional roller coaster in the house, her optimistic attitude, sincere persona and resolute attributes left a lasting impression on viewers.
1) Before you entered the big brother house & after the crowd watched your audition tape you were welcomed with a mixed reception of cheers and boos. What do you think it was that triggered the boo’s? Was your audition tape a true reflection of yourself?
I believe it was partly because I said I have maids in India and many people do not know that it is a very normal thing to have maids there. In the audition tape I also said that I am very straight forward, honest and a good friend. I hope this side of me came across in the show. I do believe the audition tape was a true reflection.
2) Following your arrival, big brother set you on a secret task to nominate 3 housemates once all the contenders had entered. This task made you immune from the following week’s eviction. Subsequent to your decisions, there were some negative responses made towards you by your fellow housemates. Would you of preferred not be chosen by big brother to nominate thus avoid confrontation so early on?
The task was very hard. Choosing 3 people after just talking for 10 mins left me without any strong reason to nominate anyone. I didn’t mind having the task as it is part of the big brother experience and I wanted to get as much as possible from the experience
3) After receiving a whopping 31 nominations throughout the show, you must be over the moon that you survived until the final and finished in a very decent third place. Why do you think you got nominated so often?
Yes I am very pleased, I never expected to get too the final. I believe certain housemates had issues with me from the beginning and would have nominated me no matter what I did.
4) Throughout the series there was a constant divide between the outsiders and insiders. The three ‘soldiers’ were the last three standing in the final. Even when Conor and Becky left the house you still described the experience as being in a ‘battle’ between the two groups. Did you have a game plan whilst in the big brother house?
No I did not have a game plan. I went onto the show just wanting to make friends, be myself and have fun. At times it did really feel like a battle as no matter what I did I would constantly be put up for eviction so I began the solider talk as a psychological way to deal with what was happening and make the other outsiders and myself feel strong.
“.feel disgusted that a grown man was allowed to verbally abuse a woman.”
5) You kept head strong and focused even after being faced with severe name calling & abuse in the house. Conors despicable behaviour towards you triggered over 1000 complaints to the media watchdog ofcom. Did you feel his behaviour in the house towards you would cause such a stir in the outside world? Have you yet to receive an apology from him & if so would you forgive him?
Inside the house I knew he was bullying me but he would never say anything to my face so at times I was scared to complain about what I was feeling as people would make me feel like I was just being paranoid. Since leaving the house I have seen videos of his verbal abuse to me and it makes me feel disgusted that a grown man was allowed to verbally abuse a woman and get away with it. He has not apologised and I don’t expect him too as I know he is not sorry.
6) In the white room, Conor deceived Luke S and pressed the buzzer to walk away with half the prize funds total of £50,000, whilst Luke S got a ticket into the final. Were you glad of Conors exit with the money? If you were in the white room up against Adam, Luke A or Sara what would you have done in this situation?
I was happy that Conor left the house as I was very uncomfortable living with him, I trusted big brother in protecting me. When Conor took the 50 grand it made me feel like I was just being paranoid about the bullying as I never thought they would reward a bully.
7) Towards the end of the show we saw a different side of your personality. You became much more confident & challenging towards some of the housemates. Would you say this is revenge for what they had previously put you through?
I believe I have always been confident throughout the series, if anyone said anything too my face I would defend myself. After the nomination awards night I saw how Luke S would nominate me every single week for no valid reason and it made me feel angry so yes I did want to get my revenge. However I don’t feel like what I had said in that week to Luke S was insulting or bullying as he had been to me.
“..and they used to eat everything with their hand..It’s the culture”.
8) Scott made a comment about you eating with your hands saying you do it because your Indian then carried on to say "my dad owned an Indian takeaway and they used to eat everything with their hand..It’s the culture”. Following this, bosses warned the housemates, asserting the comments could be interpreted as racial stereotyping and bullying. This echoed the race dispute involving Shilpa Shetty in 2007’s celebrity big brother. What is your reaction to this? Do you think this is racism? Or do you think it was said innocently? Are we all guilty of stereotyping?
I have not yet seen the clip of Scott saying this. If Scott was my friend in the house and he had said this then I would say it was just innocent, but Scott had always tried to avoid me in the house so I feel he had no right to say this about me.
9) You’re honest, upright and you can stand your ground which is why as a nation we warmed towards you. There was a moment in the house where you confronted Luke S about his ‘fake’ relationship with Ashleigh. Do you think your honesty got you into trouble in the house?
Yes my honesty also gets me into trouble in the outside world sometimes but I never would intend to hurt someone by my words. I confronted Luke S because I felt like he was trying to put me down so therefore I had to defend myself
10) In your audition video you stated you need an hour a day on your own. It must have been terrible for you in the ‘good, the bad & the ugly task’ being chained to Ashleigh and Adam for all that time. Following this was the face to face evictions, where you and Ashleigh both nominated for each other, was this the turning point of yours and Ashleigh’s relationship?
Yes it wasn’t very nice. I have only ever lived with my mum so I am not used to being around people 24/7 so the task was particularly hard for me. I believe the turning point for me and Ashleigh was when I confronted Luke S about his relationship with her
11) What are your reactions towards housemates now you’ve had time to watch some of the episodes back? Are your opinions all the same? Are there any nominations that have taken you by surprise?
Yes my opinions remain the same. I will only stay in contact with Adam, Luke A and Sara. I was very surprised at Lydia’s nomination as I thought I had a friendship with her
12) You were favourite to win the show. How do you feel about coming third? If you had come first and won the 50,000 what would you have
spent it on?
I am very pleased at coming third, I never expected to get too the last week. I would have given 10k to charity if I had won and spent the rest on paying off my mortgage and looking after my mum
13) You had an emotional roller coaster in the house, what have been your most memorable moments? What have been your biggest downfalls?
The best moment for me was when I was saved with the most public votes against Aaron, Conor and Becky. Getting saved every week was always an amazing feeling to know that people took the time out too save me. The lowest moments where times where I needed a friend too talk to but no one was there for me and when I wanted to be silly and relax but every time I did I would get criticized
14) Overall, how would you sum up your big brother experience?
I would sum up my experience as an emotional rollercoaster. I had some of the worst days of my life in the house and some of the best. I have learnt things about myself both positive things and also negative things which I can work on to improve myself.
15) If you had the chance to do it again is there anything you’d do differently?
No. I was myself throughout the series and wouldn’t have wanted to be any other way
16) Now that you’re out the big brother house, what are your plans for the future?
I will continue acting and modelling in the UK and will return to India in a few months for projects there
17) Finally for all our readers any messages?
Thank you to all the SimplyBhangra readers and everyone who has voted and supported me it means so much to me. I hope my time in the house has shown people that if you are strong, believe in yourself and never let anyone bring you down you can always beat the bullies.