Big Brother 8‘s Amber Siyavus was one of the most controversial houseguests in the show’s history. Based on the way the episodes were edited together, you’d think she was crying every moment of the day. She polarized viewers with her openness regarding her history of drug abuse and is responsible for one of the most infamous moments of the season with a derogatory comment about Eric and the Jewish people.
Amber spoke to BuddyTV and was very open and willing to share her thoughts on all the topics on viewers’ minds. She talked about her daughter, her friendship with Dustin and Jameka, her faith, her history of drug abuse, and her anti-semitic remark. Below you will find the complete transcript and mp3 audio file of the interview.
Hi, this is John from Buddy TV, and we’re talking to Amber, one of the contestants from this season of Big Brother. How you doing, Amber?
I’m good, how are you?
I’m doing great. Now, why did you initially agree to be on the show?
I initially agreed to be on the show because my sister is a huge fan of the show. And obviously the grand prize was $500,000, second place is $50,000. I did it for my family, I saw on TV a casting call down in Nevada, and I went down there and gave my two-minute video message and hoped for the best and being picked as a contestant.
And knowing what you know now, having been through it, would you still go back and audition if you knew what it would actually be like?
That’s a really good question. I would have to say yes, I would go and do it again, just because I did it like I said for my family. It was definitely a tough experience and I learned a lot about life, people, and myself…everything, and a lot of stuff I can take appreciation from. But like I said, regardless, even though I know what I know now, as hard as it has been I’d still go back and do it again. Because again, I would do it for my family to try and win the money for them.
In that first two-minute audition, is there anything that you can tell us about what you said, or any reason you think why they chose you?
In my two-minute video message, basically I just said, “Hi, you just met one of your 13 houseguests. My name is Amber, I’m 27-years-old.” Gave a little bit of detail about myself. Why they chose me? I don’t know. I’m a really outgoing person, I’m a good person. I know a lot of people may not think so, or they may not see that in me, but I really am. I think in a lot of my interviews I said, I care about people, and I want to be there for people. I’m like the type of person that worries about people, and I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, considering there was gonna be so much chaos and drama in the house. I’d be the person to be able to fall back on and talk to and be there for people. I said I didn’t have a strategy going into it, so maybe that was something they took as well. I’m not really sure why they picked me, but obviously they did.
Now that you’ve had some time outside of the house, I’m guessing you probably watched some of it, or read some stuff about what people have been saying on the Internet and how they reacted to it. What’s your reaction to the people at home’s reaction to what went on?
Well, I haven’t got to watch anything yet. I definitely have spoken to my sister and my family has told me a lot. And I read some things, articles and whatnot, and I’m actually really shocked. I didn’t realize I was so hated by America, and I didn’t think I was being portrayed like I was being portrayed. I’m not gonna sit here and say I didn’t cry a lot, I definitely did. I am a crier, I am a from-the-heart person. Whether people saw that side of me, I don’t know. All I can say is, I was me in the house, everything I did in that house was who I was. I was shocked to find out the way I was portrayed and things people said about me. You know, a lot of it hurt me, but at the same time obviously I made some comments that hurt people. I didn’t mean to offend people in any way, I’m not that type of person. It was hard, it was very difficult and very hard for me to hear all that stuff about me.
But like I said, everyone has their own opinion and freedom of speech. And I’m not upset with anything that was said about me, obviously it hurt. But like I said, everyone has their own opinion of me, so I did the best I could in the house and however people took it, I can’t convince people to like me or not, all I could have done was be me, and it was hard. I was really upset and reading things, I just, all these shows in my diary rooms with me crying., crying, crying, and it’s sad because I did so much more than cry in that house. I had talks with people, I had relationships with people. I was there for so many people in that house, I was outgoing, I had fun. They didn’t show any of that, and it really hurts you, because I think people would have had a different view of me.
Speaking of your relationships with people in the house, obviously Dustin and Jameka I think, were your two biggest friends in the house. How are you moving forward? Are you gonna remain friends with them, are you gonna try to keep it up with them?
I will definitely 110 percent be in touch with Dustin and Jameka. I love them so much, they are two of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. I couldn’t have asked for anybody else better to be in the house with. I found two best friends that I will be best friends with for life, and all three of us had really good relationships with each other. We all trusted each other, and we were all loyal to each other, and I’m very thankful they were in the house. Honestly, I don’t know what I would’ve done without them. And I’m so looking forward to them meeting my family, me meeting their family, and continuing our friendships forward down the line for the rest of our lives.
And with big twist, the America’s Player twist. How does that change, because you seemed to be getting along with Eric and Jessica when they were in your alliance. Then they turned, and it almost made no sense to you, and you were very angry at that. But now that you know all the rationale behind it, how does that change your reaction to Eric or Jessica?
I was upset with Eric and Jessica, obviously because they turned and we had discussed it about the group being loyal, being loyal, being loyal. And I felt like me, Dustin and Jameka were loyal, and then finding out with me going home, then Dustin going home, Eric turning on us. It really hurt me at first, but I remembered always in the back of my mind, everything that happened, remembered this is a game, and people are playing a game, and they’re all here for one reason. You can’t expect everything to go your way, you can’t expect everyone to be loyal. I trusted a lot of people, and I shouldn’t have after everything happened with Dustin’s eviction and mine, that was Eric and Jessica, I had pretty much a lot of that stuff figured out. I knew when Dustin went home, if Dustin went home, that the house was gonna turn and me and Jameka were gonna be like the outcasts of the house. That’s what happened, I was upset with Eric and I questioned in my head a lot of like, why, why, why?
And when we were in the sequester house, I didn’t really talk about it, I didn’t ask anyone anything. I kind of just left it alone, and said to myself I’ll see the tapes when I see them, and made the best of it in the jury house. I don’t have anything against anyone in the house. As far as Jessica and Eric go, they did what they had to do as a team to further themselves in the game. And the whole America’s Player thing with Eric, he did what he had to do, he had to complete tasks and that was part of his job in the game. He had to play a game as well, I know that was probably really hard for him, to have all that going on plus try to play his own game. So I’m not mad at him, it does answer a lot of my questions, and I’m really glad to see that a lot of things I questioned about Eric was wrong because it was America voting.
Exactly. And you said you don’t have any ill feelings toward anyone in the house, not even Dick and Daniele who made the final two? How do you feel about them now that you’re outside of the house?
Well in the house, me and Dick we were really close in the beginning, we had a really good relationship. And then it just kind of fell apart, same with me and Daniele, I knew once Nick got evicted, I know Daniele blamed Nick’s eviction on me, fine, that’s her opinion. I did not want Nick out, but again, I went with the group consensus. And I made my opinions about why I think Nick should stay, why I think he should go. If it was up to me, I would have voted to keep Nick and I should’ve. Like I said, I went with the group consensus, which was really stupid on my part. Nick was like a brother to me in the house, and after he left Daniele had a lot of resentment towards me. I don’t blame her, that’s fine, that’s her opinion of me or whatever. But I’m not mad at them, I don’t hate them, hate’s a strong word. Obviously I don’t plan on keeping in touch with them.
I’m glad they got back together, I’m glad they got reunited, I’m glad they were in the final two. Obviously there’s other people I would’ve wanted in the final two, but they played a good game, especially Dick. Even though he did slander a lot of people, he didn’t have good tactics. He chose to be mean, say mean things. He did what he had to do in the game for his daughter and I respect that, because I’m a mother who loves my daughter. He obviously worried more about her getting to the end than himself, so good for them, and I hope that they continue to keep their relationship after Big Brother’s over.
Speaking of daughters, I’m just wondering, what was the first thing that went through your head when you finally got to see and be with your daughter again after being away for so long?
I haven’t seen her yet, actually. I’m still here in California, I go home in a couple of days once everything’s over with. I’ve talked to her every day, like 10 times a day. Talk to her in the morning, on her way to school, the whole time she’s in the car. I talk her to sleep at night. It touches my heart. My daughter is my life, and I know on the show I did swear on my daughter’s life on two different occasions, once when I said I wouldn’t vote Eric out and once when I told Daniele I would not put her up if I got HoH and I kept my word on both because I swore on my daughter. I know that has held against me, people looked down on me for that, but I only did that because in the house, you can’t trust anybody, and everybody doubts everybody. I thought to myself, “I’m an honest person. I’ve maybe had few little lies in the house that appeared to be a lot bigger than they were.” And I swore on my daughter to prove to people, “Look, I’m telling you the truth.” My word is golden.” But obviously that’s not good enough, because everyone doubts everyone in this house. I just swore on my daughter, you know it’s the real deal. Twice I did that, I only did that on two separate occasions. I love my daughter, me and her are best friends. She’s so proud of me. She’s told me, “Mommy, I love you. I watch you everyday, you’re the best, you’re the best mommy, you have such a big heart.” Everything that she is, I am, and I’ve taught her to be the person she is as much as she’s taught me to be the person that I am. I cannot wait to go home and be with my daughter, and spend good quality time with her.
Finally, I just want to ask about, because you are leaving this game a thousand dollars richer thanks to your appearance on Power of 10, which was more than most people. What was that experience like for you, just getting out of the house and looking back on it and watching that? How did you enjoy that at the time?
Well when I played the veto competition and got to be chosen to be on Power of 10, I didn’t know what it was at first. It was a mystery trip. When I found out, I was really excited. Obviously my choice would’ve been Jameka to go with, but I went with Daniele, we had a good time. It was really nice to fly in a private jet, I’ve never done that before. I got to Power of 10, went through the whole process. Then me and Daniele had the elimination round. I felt really bad that she got eliminated, I wish we both could’ve tried to win, I wish we both could’ve seen our people that were there for us. But unfortunately under the circumstances, it was one or the other, and I made it onto the next round. When I made it onto the next round, and I saw my cousin was there, it made me cry, obviously. It was nice to get out of the house, it was nice to see someone, considering I hadn’t won HoH yet, just to see a fresh face like one of my family members there, that meant a lot to me, and it gave me a little boost of encouragement to try to keep forward in the game. Playing Power of 10 was really fun, it was such an experience, I love game shows any way. So that made it just all the more fun, it was nice meeting Drew Carey.
As far as the percentage, the process of getting to the point where I got to the money, when I got to $10,000 I was gonna stop and just felt like that’s enough, don’t be selfish. But at the same time it was like, lose $9,000 or go for $90,000, and I thought I’m gonna go for it for my family. And unfortunately I lost and I got eliminated. I still walked out of there with $1,000, that’s more than I had when I came in there, and I got to go on Power of 10 and have a good breath of fresh air out of the house and get my head clear a little bit and think about things. It was really nice, I was really appreciative and grateful that I was blessed enough to be able to be on Power of 10 and get ouf of the Big Brother house for a break.
Because the house is so confined, what was the experience of going out? Were you still herded and not allowed to have certain interactions, or did you like, sneak a look at a newspaper on a stand or anything?
No, we were blindfolded. We had headsets on turned all the way up, we were not allowed to talk to anyone. I couldn’t even talk to my cousin, I got to see her when she helped me through the process of elimination during the actual game. But when it came time to do anything, I was off, like whisked away in a room, in a private room. I saw nothing, I talked to nobody, it was very confidential. They were really good about keeping everything away from everything, it was really sequestered, the whole process. I didn’t get to sneak anything, I didn’t get to talk to anyone, it was all really thick security. Everything was really private, I had no clue what was going on at all. I had no clue people hated me like they did, and people thought things about me. I just I had no idea at all, until I actually got done with the show, and talked to my sister and stuff.
And I said that was my final, but I guess one more, because it just fascinates me on a personal level that you are isolated from everything. Since you’ve gotten out, is there anything that’s happened in the world or in the news that you’ve heard, and has surprised you?
In the real world, I saw some clippings about my crying, and that definitely surprised me. Not that I didn’t cry, but at the same time they counted the minutes and everything that I cried. I’m proud of it, but at the same time I’m upset with it and disappointed, because like I said they didn’t show any other part of me except that I cried a lot. I went out to dinner, I’ve seen people, no one’s really said anything to me, no one’s noticed me or anything. So once I get back home I’m sure it’ll be a lot different, obviously. I’m sure I’m gonna get a lot of people making comments to me, and probably not so much good comments. But it was an experience, and I’m glad I did it. I was me when I went in the game, and I was me when I came out of the game. I learned a lot about a lot of different things, and a lot about myself, so I learned to appreciate things more now, family and life, and everything. Freedom, I learned to appreciate freedom. I have yet to get on the Internet or cbs.com, I haven’t had access to any of that yet, but I will do that. I’m not, like I said, I have to take everything with a grain of salt because I have to know that everyone saw me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and everyone has their own opinion. I know I’m gonna see horrible things, my sister’s told me a lot of things that were said about me. And it sucks, but it is what it is and I just have to deal with it and try to make the best of it.
That’s a very mature outlook, and probably the right and the best one to have coming out of a situation like this.
So thank you very much for talking to us Amber, we really appreciate it.
Can I say something about my comment that I made in the backyard about the Jewish and the people from New York, am I allowed to say something about that?
Yes, if you’d like to clarify about that comment, our readers would be Interested in that.
OK, I just want to tell everybody out there that when I was in the backyard and I was talking to Jameka and I made that comment, it came from a bad place. What I should’ve said, and what I wanted to say and how I meant it was, not selfish. Jews, people from New York, they’re not selfish, they’re just very goal-oriented and they’re very hard workers, and money-motivated. Those are the words I should’ve used, money-motivated and hard working, and goal-oriented, instead of saying selfish and money-hungry, I didn’t mean those in rude ways. I can’t stress to all of you out there how sorry I am I said that. I’m not a horrible person, I’m not prejudiced. I have friends from all walks of life, and I really wish I could individually apologize to every single one of you out there that I offended.
I did not mean that in a rude way, I was upset with Eric, and it came from a bad place. It’s not me to sit around and criticize people, I’m not prejudiced, I love everybody. I think everyone has something special about them, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart. I am so sorry if I offended anybody out there in any way, shape or form. I have nothing against anybody, and I mean, apology is not enough. I’m sorry, I can say it a thousand times, and I know it probably doesn’t mean anything to anybody out there. But I want you to know that I wish I wouldn’t have said it. I’m sorry I did, there’s no excuse for it. All I can do now is justify to you guys and tell everybody out there in the world that I meant no harm by it, I was upset at the time, and I’m so sorry. I can’t say I’m sorry enough and I mean that, and please forgive me. And if not, I understand as well. Any comments you guys have to say about me or anyone has to say about me, it’s fine, and I respect whatever you just have to say to me. Again, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I can’t tell you that enough.
Thank you very much for that, it’s very brave to admit when you’ve made a mistake and admit when you’re wrong. We appreciate your sincerity in wanting to get that off of your chest.
And can I say one more thing, and then I’ll be done?
You absolutely can.
I just want to tell everybody out there that everything I did in the house was me. I went into that house and I was me, I had no strategy. The reason why I was so confident about being me and so proud about the person I am is because I am proud of the person I am. I’ve been through so much in my life. I’m 27-years-old, I had a daughter when I was 19, I’ve been in a off-and-on relationship for four years with a guy that I’m so in love with. My dad left when I was younger, I was on drugs for a year of my life. I did lie about some stuff that was really serious when I was on drugs. I want everyone to know, I spoke about those things because I want to inspire people to see that the grass is greener on the other side. You can change your life. I used to be such a different person a couple of years ago, my life as opposed to now. I’ve changed so much, I’ve done a complete 360 in my life.
I’ve made my life so much better. And I’m sorry if on Big Brother, when I said things and I told things about my life, I told them because I care and because I am proud. I know it seemed like I was talking about myself a lot, but I just want everyone out there to know that I did it because I’m proud of who I am today. I don’t mean that in a bragging way, I don’t mean that to sound like I’m better or I’m this or I’m that, it was nothing like that. It’s just, I wanted everyone to know and see me for who I was. And I’ve just changed so much, and I’m proud of it. As far as everything that I talked about in my life, and the world knows now, it’s really embarrassing. A lot of things are really embarrassing that people know about me now. But I want everyone to know that I spoke upon it, because I was proud of the change I made to become who I am.
And as far as my religion goes with God, I know I prayed inside the house, and then to find out that I did drugs and things that I lied about in my life. That doesn’t coincide with “How could you be to God and how could you do those things and say those things?” The reason why, when I did those things I wasn’t into God, I didn’t pray. I didn’t take the time to take five minutes to make a prayer and ask God for help, and I don’t go to church every Sunday, I go when I can. I work a lot, and when I would say the prayers on Big Brother, it was because I’m thankful for who I am and I really feel it had a lot to do with God. I’ve had so many life-changing experiences in my life, and I’ve learned so much from those experiences that I was just talking about them because I’m proud of them. So I hope I didn’t offend anybody. If I did, again, I’m sorry. And I know a lot of people out there don’t like me, and I just want everyone to know that when I was in the house it was me, and that’s all I knew how to be was me.
-Interview conducted by John Kubicek
Image courtesy of CBS)