The Vegas performer gets into the emotional outburst he had on Taylor, and his thoughts on whether people were "playing the game."
Big Brother’s house is open once more! Every week, Parade.com’s Mike Bloom will be bringing you interviews with this season’s houseguests as they get evicted from the game.
It’s impossible to talk about Daniel Durston’s time in the Big Brother house without mentioning Taylor Hale. The Vegas performer used his power early on to target her and leave her “All Shook Up.” When she survived, she was “Always on My Mind,” culminating in a vicious personal attack. That stoked other “Suspicious Minds” in the house, who formed a new majority due to Daniel’s actions. And the past couple of weeks left him “All Shook Up” as his closest allies started getting taken out. Finally, on Day 37, Elvis had left the building.
Daniel immediately came into power by becoming the first Head of Household. He immediately shored up with Nicole Layog and Paloma Aguilar, with the latter fabricating a narrative to convince him that Taylor was not to be trusted. As such, he decided to backdoor her, hoping to set up an easy target that would not get blood on his hands. Unfortunately, Paloma chose to leave the game that week, which affected Daniel substantially. Not only did he lose who he felt was a number, but it kept him hyper-focused on Taylor. That all came to a head in Week 3, where he laid into her for incorrectly believing she was trying to get Nicole to leave the game as well. He even went so far as to blame her for Paloma’s departure, which reduced her to tears in the process.
Daniel thought the conflict would open the eyes of the other houseguests. And it did, only in a very unexpected way. The people from the fringes of the house came together to oppose Daniel and his alliance, calling themselves “The Leftovers.” They carved a warpath through the rest of the perjury, evicting Daniel’s tightest allies. But Daniel still had his role to play, like when he misinterpreted Monte Taylor’s motives with telling him not to use the veto, leading him to backdoor and subsequently evict his closest ally in Nicole. After her eviction, he knew he was a dead man walking, especially after losing HoH to Michael Bruner. Daniel and Terrance Higgins made a last-ditch effort to have Michael go after Monte, but it was all for naught. Daniel was backdoored and evicted near-unanimously, though he had some words of choice for the “bozos” left in the house on his way out the door.
Now out of the house, Daniel talks with Parade.com about his thoughts on people “not playing the game,” his history of personal comments against Taylor, and why he thinks she’s set up to make the finale.
Related: Everything to Know About Big Brother 24 (Including Who’s Been Evicted)
This past week, even before Nicole’s eviction, you disparaged the gameplay of the others in the house. You called them “losers” and “clowns” who didn’t know how to play. Even in your interview last night with Julie, you said that you were teaching people how to play the game. Now that you’re out of the house and learning more about the dynamics, how do you look back on your assessments?
At the time, I definitely felt like I was teaching people how to play the game. But I am aware that there’s a new school way of playing and an old school way of playing. I try to toe the line of both because I’m such a huge fan of the show strategically and socially. But I respect that The Leftovers were created. And they obviously are playing the game. It’s just not necessarily to my liking as far as strategy, obviously, because it didn’t benefit me.
Because I was aligned with Alyssa and Indy, I was hoping that not only would that benefit my game because I lived with them, but that they had a more strategic approach. And maybe they do. I look forward to watching it back to see where they really are coming from. But yeah, they obviously are playing the game. I’m outside the house; they’re in there. It just wasn’t my style. So I felt like I was teaching them my way, which is not the way to play the game! (Laughs.)
Obviously, we want to talk about Taylor. But I want to rewind from the beginning. You backdoor Taylor during your HoH reign, and you go so far as to say, “The moment I saw her, I knew she was bad news.” And you reference moments like her calling Jasmine fat, which, for the record, did not actually happen. What specifically was Taylor saying or doing made you feel like she was trouble for you and your game?
Well, first, the “bad news” comment was that I saw myself in her, a badass who would absolutely kill this game. And not that I’m saying I’m a badass! But I saw my personality in her. I was aware that if I went out there, she’s going to come after me. I actually wanted to align with her that first week until the Paloma thing happened. And once I had to make a replacement, everyone but Nicole wanted Taylor out or at least was okay with it. They all had their experiences with her. Mine necessarily weren’t negative at the time.
Once the Paloma thing happened, that’s when I got emotional about it. And once Monte, who I trusted, really doubled down on the fact that she needed to go up on the block and needed to go, that’s when I was like, “Alright, I think this has to happen. Especially if the house is telling me.” And Nicole was the only one that was like, “I have no problem.” I actually liked Taylor! But I felt it was the best move for the first HoH to go with what the house wanted. As much as I hate that term and how much I hate people using that as a ploy throughout the season. For the first HoH, it’s very hard to nominate someone when you are just meeting them. But yeah, it was a rough first week.
I’m not sure if you know this yet. But not only was Paloma spinning a false narrative about Taylor to get her targeted (she indeed was going after the guys), but she also wanted to go after you next week because she felt you were too emotional and unreliable. How do you feel about that, knowing how many times you invoked her name in the house after she left?
It sucks on a personal level, but I respect the gameplay. I had only known her for a week. And I’m a tall male, so I could be considered a threat or whatever. So I respect it. They made a girl’s alliance, and I’m a guy, so it makes sense.
Now that move ends up leading to some very personal comments you made against Taylor, even up to the days leading to your eviction. You’ve been saying things like she was stalking you, she’s not a good person, and she doesn’t deserve to “live normal.” Just a few days ago, I saw you and Terrance mock that she could have only won Miss Michigan if Michigan “was a restaurant.” In retrospect, how do you look back on the way you consistently treated her in the game with these comments?
So something like “live normal,” I can tell you right now that, not that it’s justified, but I’m speaking of the Big Brother world. Not the outside world; that’s not who I am. But things like that do matter to me. I look forward to watching back feeds and watching back the show as soon as possible, just to be aware of how it’s portrayed or how it was received, and how I was acting. And I look forward to correcting my wrongs, obviously with Taylor and anyone I may have offended in the house. Because that’s most important. But of course, in the outside world, people were offended. I will absolutely approach that as well. I just want to make sure I watch it back and I’m aware of what I’m apologizing for instead of just saying it out loud.
Let’s get into the personal attack you make on Taylor back in Week 3. You mistakenly believe that she was wanting Nicole to leave, while really she was in the next room praying with Monte for her mother’s health. When Nicole spoke to me, she said she did not tell you to go after Taylor on her behalf. So what made you decide to do that and be so aggressive as to accuse her of being the one behind Paloma leaving the house, which left her in tears?
When I give my loyalty to someone, even in the real world, I trust them 100%. They just have to say one word to me, and I’m going to believe it. That may be my flaw in the real world. And of course, in Big Brother Nicole, once she had explained to me that essentially Taylor said, “You can quit the game,” it really set me off on an emotional level. Nicole was my number one and now my best friend in real life.
But looking back, it was also a trigger of feeling from what I was told and felt inside the house. I’m learning differently now. But at the time, it was a trigger of what had already happened with Paloma, my other close ally in the house, at least what I thought was. So having this second trigger was like, “Oh, this is a thing that Taylor is doing.” And it was affecting me on an emotional level and a game level. There’s definitely a better way to go about it. But at the time, the emotions got the best of me.
It seemed like you did often react to information that others were bringing to you. In that instance, it was Nicole’s misread that Taylor was trying to get her to leave. I mentioned before about Jasmine saying Taylor called her fat when that wasn’t the case at all. I want to bring this up because it seems this conflict was different from when you talked with Monte after Nicole’s eviction. There, you opened up the conversation for Monte to respond to your arguments. Whereas with Taylor, you quite literally told her not to talk to you or even give a response to your outburst. Why was the nature of those two talks so different?
What I tried to do was learn from my current mistakes in the house. Approaching Monte, I was trying to do the opposite of what I did with Taylor. Because I learned the next day after the Taylor blow-up that I had done something wrong, and I didn’t feel okay with it. So moving forward, I was like, “If I have to confront anyone, I need to approach this differently.”
And Monte’s talk was a whole different situation. I wanted to let the house know he was lying in front of me right now. He lied to Jasmine and me. He told us different stories. At least that’s what I was told in the house. But yes, ultimately, it was the approach of, “I’m not going to blow up again; I learned from my mistake. And here’s another way I could possibly go about this.” Unfortunately, I wish I could reverse how the Taylor situation went.
Julie let you know that the blow-up on Taylor was one of the reasons the Leftovers ended up being formed. I can also tell you that Alyssa told Kyle about the Old Skool alliance, which was another reason everything came together the way it did. We saw your face fall last night when you heard that. How do you look back on knowing what you specifically did is one of the reasons why this majority ended up coming together?
The Leftovers forming because of what I did or how I blew up, I respect on a personal and a game level. I think it’s great to see an underdog situation of these seven coming together because of something negative that happened in the house or to someone they care about. So as a fan, I love that. I respect it. And on a personal level, it makes sense.
I had no idea Alyssa revealed Old Skool! But Old Skool wasn’t really a big deal. When you form alliances in the house, you don’t really have meetings. It’s more like, “Hey, we’re working together. Let’s just move forward.” But it makes sense. She probably felt it was best for her game to reveal that to Kyle, her showmance. But as far as I’m aware, I think she’s not in the Leftovers. And I tried to give her that information. So hopefully, she’ll learn from that. Hopefully, she’ll get further in the game because of the information I gave her.
To finish, let’s get your rapid-fire thoughts on the remaining houseguest. Starting with Alyssa.
Head in the clouds. Head over heels with Kyle.
Oh my gosh. Entertaining.
Oh, I just love her.
A brother! After the house, I cannot wait to reconnect with him.
Ultimate Big Brother player. Best I’ve seen in a long time.
Genuine and loving.
Final three of this season.
I want to go back to your Taylor assessment. Because that is a huge leap in my opinion from how you were talking about her in the house.
Yeah, well, removing the emotional outburst stuff, when someone survives the block three times in a row, those people often survive very long in the game. What she’s doing and how she’s aligning herself, and even with Monte realigning himself with her, they’re playing such a smart game. I do think Taylor will be in the top three.
Next, check out our interview with Nicole Layog, who was evicted in Big Brother 24 Week 4.