reality tv

TULLY SMYTH: An open letter to all Big Brother auditionees. This is what you should know.

You would have to have been hiding out in some cabin in the woods on a self-imposed digital detox to have missed the big news in reality TV land this week… Big Brother is coming back.

I’ve been tagged and sent various links only about 178,380 times since the story broke. Not surprisingly, I have a lot of feelings on the matter.

Instantly, I felt nauseous. Which tends to be the way I feel when I re-watch any clips from my own time on the show. Why? Hard to say. 

As I’ve mentioned previously, we have a secret ‘BB13’ group on Facebook and it seems as if the other housemates from my year are feeling equally conflicted. Are we excited? Anxious? Jealous? Irrelevant? 

Again… hard to say.

Watch: Tully talks to Drew on Big Brother. Post continues after video.

However, as is often the case when the casting call goes out for any reality TV show, our Instagram inboxes have already started blowing up with hopefuls wanting tips and tricks on the audition process. Influencers-of-the-future desperately looking for that winning angle, for some sort of insight into how to make themselves stand out from the pack. To get noticed. To get picked.

So, I thought I’d do us all a favour and write this open letter to you, dear Big Brother fan looking for a shot at $250k and a chance to be locked in a house and filmed 24/7. You’re welcome and godspeed.


Dear Housemate Hopeful #2947,

Firstly, get used to being referred to only as a stupidly large number because from now on, you’re not allowed to use your real name.


In fact, you’ve somehow got to talk about yourself, without actually giving away any personal details like, where you work or live. Sounds tricky? Welcome to the Big Brother audition process.

I assume you’ve already answered the 500 page online questionnaire and submitted your short two minute video. Well done. The video definitely helps and may even get you “fast-tracked” through the first round of auditions which is a humiliating game of “run around the room and act like your favourite animal”. 

It did for me anyway. 

You’ve still got at least three more rounds to get through, including the five minute face-to-face with the executive producer where they will try to poke any and all of your buttons in order to get a response. They need to get to the crux of you who are and fast.

I’m pretty sure I left that chat supremely offended and unsure if I even wanted to be on the show anymore. 

Don’t falter now!

Before you go any further, however, I do think it’s my responsibility to give you a little list of “dos and don’ts” just to make sure you’re fully prepared for what you’re about to sign up to.

Tully Smyth, host of Mamamia’s Social Squad podcast, talks to Elle Ferguson about Kimye’s house, how she handles haters online, and her upcoming marriage to Joel Patfull. Post continues after audio. 

So here goes.


  • Be yourself. This might sound simple but trust me when I say, this is the only way you’re going to get through. These producers and casting guys have done this a MILLION times. They’ve seen it all. They have amazing bullsh*t detectors, so they will see straight through your “hilarious” or “controversial” act or whatever character you’ve decided to be so just… don’t. You’ll embarrass yourself. I was bored and disgustingly hungover at the auditions and look where it got me!
  • Be prepared to have your entire life flipped on its head. And I mean everything. That job and boyfriend you love so much? Be prepared to lose them. This experience and show will change your life in so many ways you can not even begin to imagine… so think this through. It might seem like a fun and “wacky” idea right now but it will affect the rest of your life. This I promise you.
  • Give detail. Whenever you can. In the online application, when asked a question by a producer. One word answers aren’t going to give them an idea of who you are as a person so open up. Be honest. If you don’t agree with another person in the audition (Hi Tim!) speak up. This kind of thing will get you noticed and show who you are and how you interact with others.
  • Be observant. It’s actually very easy to read these casting guys if you’re paying attention. Keep an eye on them. Keep an eye on who they’re looking at, talking to and taking notes on. If you think there seems to be a favourite fellow auditionee, make them your best friend or your worst enemy. You’ll probably both end up in the house (Hi again, Tim!)
  • Audition because you’re a big fan of the show. In my opinion, this is the best reason for applying. It’s the reason I applied. If you audition simply because you love the show, you’re fascinated by the social experiment side of things and you just want to have fun and make a bunch of new friends… you can’t lose. Everything else that comes your way will just feel like a bonus. 


  • Do not audition just to become Instagram famous. Do not audition because you think it’s going to lead to a career in radio or TV. Yes, these things MAY come after but they also may not. So many of the housemates from my season went straight back into their lives, to their jobs. You have to be prepared for that. So if that’s the reason you’re thinking of trying out, don’t. 
  • Do it for the prize money. I often forgot we were all in there to play for a prize. It was never about that for me and I think that’s why I had so much fun. Besides, statistically, you probably won’t win. So don’t count on that.
  • Audition if you don’t have thick skin. Be prepared to hit rock bottom. To be attacked from every angle. The audition process is brutal, every skeleton in your closet is pulled out and studied under a microscope. The show itself is savage… some people in that house will not like you. You will be up for nomination. You will question every aspect of your personality, mainly because you have so much downtime up your sleeve you’ll probably have an existential crisis. But none of that compares to what comes after the show. The online trolls, the Instagram comments. The bullsh*t tabloid articles written about you where the journalist has Facebooked your primary school friend trying to get dirt on you. The paparazzi following you everywhere, even when you’re crying. The people in the street shouting things at you, calling you a c***. Your friends who are no longer your friends. Your future potential employer who has decided on a version of you he’s seen on his telly. It is ROUGH. And you need to think about whether or not you can handle all that. And whether it’s worth the risk. 
  • Audition if you get stage fright. There is a camera in the toilets. It has a little flashing red light that blinks at you, reminding you of the 20+ camera crew and production guys that are all watching you trying to do your business. If you can’t poo in public, this isn’t going to work.

In all seriousness, auditioning for Big Brother was honestly the best decision I ever made and being a part of the show was the most fun I’ve ever had. If I could do it again, I would in a heartbeat. 

So I guess that answers my question… I’m jealous.

Jealous you might just be about to begin the craziest, most exhilarating, transformative journey of your life.

So fasten your seatbelt.

I’ll be watching.

X O X O 

Tully, Big Brother 2013