Big Brother 25 champion Jag Bains addressed the jury with confidence during the Thursday, November 9, live finale — but it took some time for him to find his footing in the game.
“I think my social game got better and better as the season went on. Obviously, I got evicted at the beginning of the season,” Jag, 25, exclusively told Us Weekly on Thursday, hours after he was awarded the $750,000 grand prize. “I will never stand here and claim that I was the best player in the house at the beginning of the game. I frankly think I sucked. I’m very self-aware of that. I think I was a dumb player, but for me, I became more and more intentional.”
Jag was unanimously evicted in August, but a twist — and his friend Matt Klotz— saved his game. Matt, 27, won the Power of Invincibility earlier that week and used it to negate Jag’s elimination. The duo went on to form a final two alliance called The Minutemen, which Jag honored right up until the bitter end when he won the final Head of Household competition and chose to take Matt to the final two over their ally Bowie Jane.
While both Jag and Matt played impressive games, Jag was clearly more prepared to face the jury. During his final speech, he boldly owned up to being personally responsible for nearly all of the jurors’ evictions. “My hands are covered in your blood,” he told the group of seven, adding that the game played out the way it had because he “willed” it to be so.
Jag told Us that he knew the tone of his speech was a “risk,” but he felt it was the best way to make a case for himself.
“I didn’t lie in my speech. I got a lot of blood on my hands this season. I sent a lot of people home or to the jury, and it was strictly because of me,” he said. “The jury is comprised of really intelligent people. They know that I sent them home, so if they’re bitter, they’re going to be bitter anyway. The best I could do was just own up to my game and hope at least they can respect the game that I played. I’m owning up to it, and I truly felt like I deserved to win the game.”
While Jag said that he’s “not someone that has a big ego” in real life, he knew he needed to come across as self-assured as possible during the speech.
“For me, the purpose of this speech is to get a reaction, to be punchy,” he said. “I’m not going to be wishy-washy. I’m going to make a stand right then and there. And I have to say things that stick with the jury. … Now, did I alone do everything? Did I do it without a team? Absolutely not. But they know that as well. This was just the best way I could convey my message.”
Despite his no-nonsense appeal to the jurors, Jag told Us that he does feel guilty about sending so many of his allies home.
“On a personal level, it was difficult because these are my friends,” he said. “You’re hanging out with them all the time. You’re learning about their family, you’re learning about their childhood and random things that they like to do, little quirks about them. And so, every person that I evict, it does feel hard; everyone who leaves, it does. There’s an absence in the house after they’re gone, and so there’s that weight to every eviction.”
Jag is the first Sikh to play Big Brother. In a July post shared via his official Instagram account, Jag wrote that he felt “deeply grateful for this opportunity to represent my community and share my story with the world.” He decided that the best way to do that was to be himself.
“I’m going to be the positive person that I am. … I’m going to just share who I am, and not just everything about my identity as someone who’s Sikh-American, but just as a person,” he told Us. “I’m goofy. I make jokes. I do whatever it is and represent my community in a light where it’s like, we’re all human and it doesn’t matter if you look different. We all are human, and we deserve to be loved and treated with respect.”
After Jag was crowned the winner of Big Brother 25 on Thursday, Cameron Hardin was named America’s Favorite Houseguest. When host Julie Chen Moonves revealed the results, Cameron, 34, began to tear up.
“I don’t have a word for that feeling other than just at a complete loss for words,” Cameron exclusively told Us on Thursday. “Big Brother has been my favorite television show since 2001, and to have people name me their favorite player of season 25 — a monumental season — I still do not have enough thanks in my lungs to tell the whole nation, ‘Oh, I cannot believe this. What an incredible honor.’”
Like Jag, Cameron received a second life in the game, and was therefore eliminated twice. Despite being a house target for much of the season, he proved himself to be a competitor, racking up three Head of Household wins and two Veto victories. He told Us that if he had to guess why viewers were so fond of him, it’s his perseverance.
“The only thing that I can think [of] is — I’m a fighter. I wasn’t going to quit. I wasn’t going to roll over,” he said. “I had a lot of people that just weren’t in my corner, and I had to come out swinging basically every week.”