A Bohemian both in hometown and outlook, Long Islander Nicole Anthony was unveiled Wednesday as one of the 16 "Big Brother" alumni on the CBS reality competition's all-star 22nd season. Following that live, two-hour move-in premiere, the season will air from 8 to 9 p.m. on Sundays, Wednesdays and, broadcast live, Thursdays.
Her parents, retired state worker Jerry Anthony and housewife Kathy Anthony, say they're proud that Nicole, 25, the youngest of their three daughters, had reached third place last season and additionally won the $25,000 America's Favorite Houseguest prize. Still, Kathy Anthony tells Newsday, "It's nerve-wracking seeing her on that show again. I can't believe she's going through it again. But it's something she wanted to do, and they liked her, her personality, so they picked up her up" for the all-star edition. "She's got that upbeat personality. And they love her on her podcasts."
The aforementioned podcasts are the weekday "Hello, Friends!," with co-host Eric Curto, which concluded Wednesday after 89 episodes, and Nicole Anthony's solo weekly "Tea Time," which had its season 1 finale on July 28. Anthony had been a preschool aide at Sayville's Leeway School, which serves both developmentally delayed and typically developing students from 18 months to 5 years old, but left that job after "Big Brother."
Being on the show made her "a lot stronger person," her father says. "She's more confident. She makes decisions on her own now. She's more grown up, in other words." The Connetquot High School 2013 salutatorian, who went on to a degree in adolescent English education from St. Joseph's College in Patchogue, has invested her "Big Brother" winnings, Jerry Anthony says, and wants to buy a car.
Nicole had gotten the phone call inviting her back on March 10, and left for the production site in Los Angeles on July 21. There she and her fellow castmates — including former Atlanta photographer and now Los Angeles sales representative David Alexander from her season last year — were quarantined for two weeks to ensure they were free of COVID-19.
On the final "Hello, Friends!" podcast, recorded July 10 but not broadcast until Wednesday, Nicole Anthony told Curto, "It was a very exciting phone call … I was smiling, I was laughing, I was screaming, I was crying!" She has promoted her "Big Brother" return on social media, including Twitter and Instagram videos in which she embodies the rom-com trope of the quirky-looking young woman who takes off her glasses, wears an off-the-shoulder dress and suddenly becomes conventionally pretty.
Still single and not looking for a "showmance" with a fellow contestant, she "wants to make it through the first five shows. That's the hardest part," Jerry Anthony says his daughter told him. "Then you make it onto the jury. But the show is always changing," he cautions. "I think everything's by luck mostly. But we love her and we're just hoping ... [the pandemic] doesn't get worse out there and they have to send them all home early."