After her shocking self-eviction from Big Brother 24, Paloma Aguilar elaborates on raising mental health awareness and how she feels that “cancel culture” is to blame for the rumors about her since she left the game. The 22-year-old interior designer from San Marcos, California, left the game before the first live eviction of the season due to “a personal issue,” which she later revealed was related to the deterioration of her mental health while inside the Big Brother house.
Although it was apparent to Big Brother viewers who watched both the live feeds and the television episodes that Paloma was struggling mentally, many social media users thought that her self-eviction might have been related to the microaggressions that she and some of the other houseguests directed toward Taylor Hale, a Black woman. The plan was to backdoor Taylor until Paloma’s exit led to the first elimination of the season being cancelled. After Paloma left the house, she insisted that she was not racist toward Taylor, and that she is actually good friends with her. She explained that the real reason that she left was because $750,000 was not worth the cost of her mental health.
In a new Instagram post, Paloma once again addressed her Big Brother self-eviction. She blamed social media cancel culture and Big Brother production for her negative portrayal since she left the house saying, “It is such a shame how social media tries to tear a person down through cancel culture because of the way things were being portrayed to fit a narrative for ‘good TV.’ People see it as ‘the ultimate truth of reality’ when in actuality everything is cut to fit the narrative they want, even the live feeds cut from room to room when things are said that can jeopardize the storyline their [sic] going with.” Paloma’s choices of videos revealed how Big Brother production works. In one video, she laughs with Taylor as she cleans the mirror above the bathroom sink at Big Brother’s request. The video reveals that the mirror is actually a two-way mirror that is transparent on the other side so that Big Brother can watch the houseguests. Paloma even called it a window. Another video shows how the live feeds were cut during one of her conversations.
Paloma then went on to explain that she left Big Brother because of “an ongoing mental health battle I faced which began once inside the walls of an idealistic utopia of a reality set.” The former Big Brother houseguest said that she quickly became obsessed with game, and the result was that she “forgot how to take care of myself. FOMO [fear of missing out] consumed my every move.” She said that she only got 2-4 hours of sleep at night and could not function because “everyone keeps each other up gaming.” Paloma also shared that she “did not see the sun for 5 days so I began to loose [sic] touch with reality.” She said that the lack of windows and 100 cameras working 24/7, even during sleeping hours, “ate me alive.” She emphasized, “No one understands the psychological challenge of reality television unless you have first hand EXPERIENCED it.” Controversial Big Brother star Paloma concluded her post by saying that she feels that mental health is something that she believes she must “stand up for” with her platform because “it is so stigmatized & belittled in a world where the majority of us face something mental health related in secrecy.”
Although many Big Brother houseguests have done very well in the reality television environment, there are some, like Paloma, who have expressed how difficult it is to be continuously watched in the house. Also, although many people have criticized Paloma’s assertion that the show manipulates the narrative because the live feeds show everything, long-time viewers know that the show does cut the feeds often. The videos also show Paloma and Taylor laughing together, which was not aired on the show. Big Brother is supposed to be a fun, exciting, and challenging game that tests contestants’ physical, mental, social, and emotional abilities. Paloma was right to leave the house when she reached her limit. Hopefully, she can use her experience on Big Brother to help raise awareness about mental health.