Omarosa Manigault-Newman, an accomplished reality-TV villain and ex-White House aide, finally met her match on CBS' first “Celebrity Big Brother” on Sunday, as she was evicted by a 2-0 vote over Ariadna Gutierrez nearly halfway through a two-hour season finale, leaving four competitors.
Was she surprised? Hardly.
"Julie, I would have evicted me five evictions ago," she told host Julie Chen in an exit interview during the broadcast. "I can’t believe I lasted this long. I took out the biggest target in this game, and that was James (Maslow). Once I did that, I knew there was no chance of me staying in the house any longer."
The truncated 20th season of the show, designed to compete with NBC's Winter Olympics coverage, premiered Feb. 7 and aired for less than three weeks. While celebrity editions are popular overseas, where the show originated, this marks the first on CBS, which has aired the show since 2000.
After evictions of Mark McGrath and Gutierrez later in the show, the competition narrowed to actress Marissa Jaret Winokur ("Hairspray”) and Ross Mathews, an E! correspondent. And after a final vote by a jury of former "houseguests," Winokur was named the winner, and gets a $250,000 prize.
The combative Manigault-Newman, a three-time contestant on Donald Trump's former NBC reality series “The Apprentice,” left her post as director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison in January in dramatic fashion. And she caused a stir in the first episodes of “Big Brother” when she tearfully told Mathews things were "not going to be OK" under Trump. A few days later, she called Vice President Mike Pence "scary" and "extreme" and in a be-careful-what-you-wish-for vein, predicted Americans would be "begging" for Trump if Pence replaced him.
Asked if she "really believes" things won't be OK, she said she changed her mind: "I think that we can — I’ve had a lot of time to think inside of the ‘Big Brother’ house — we can if we make a pivot as a nation. I was a part of and on the front row of probably one of the most divisive elections in our history. And as a nation, we’re better than that, we’re bigger than that, and we’re bigger than just two parties, am I right?” she said to applause from the studio audience.
Suggesting she's acted her way through her entire public life, the self-proclaimed “Big Brother” superfan claimed, "I’ve never had a chance to let my hair down, and just really be authentic and engaged with people, and this was a chance, without television, without sunlight, without family, to let my light shine, and let people know who the true Omarosa is."
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