My story is a bit different from most. I’ll try to keep it short.
In 2007, I was on a CBS reality show called Big Brother. I was the villain who people either loved or hated, and I was OK with that. I won, so what the hell.
I was invited back on the show in 2013. I went back into the Big Brother house and my goal was to become the only two-time winner in the history of the show.
Six days in, I was called to the Diary Room, where the producers had me sit down with the show doctor, who told me I had tested HIV positive. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. I felt as if I was walking through a dream.
Because I was fortunate enough to be well known in reality TV, I went on VH1’s Couples Therapy a few years later and revealed to the world that I was HIV positive. I figured that I could unburden myself of this secret I was keeping as well as help others living with the same fear of stigma as I had.
What three adjectives best describe you?
Outgoing, outspoken, infamous.
What is your greatest achievement?
Living my life on my own terms.
What is your greatest regret?
Having a failed relationship with my daughter(who was on both seasons of Big Brother with me. The season I won, she came in second.)
What keeps you up at night?
My HIV meds, LOL. That Atripla is a bitch for sleeping.
If you could change one thing about living with HIV, what would it be?
I have come to terms with it now and am OK with things the way they are.
What is the best advice you ever received?
That my sex life didn’t have to end.Since I was well known, I was afraid of revealing my status to potential dates, for fear of them going to a tabloid for a payday.
What person in the HIV/AIDS community do you most admire?
I don’t want to sound cliché, but when I was diagnosed, it was the 20th anniversary of Magic Johnson’s reveal of his HIV-positive status, so that really helped me a lot.
What drives you to do what you do?
You only go around once, so you have one shot to do as much and see as much as you can.
What is your motto?
Why worry about what people think of you—chances are, they are way more fucked up than you are anyhow.
If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
Three things: my dog and two cats—hands down, no question.
If you could be any animal, what would you be? And why?
A monkey because there are some people who really deserve to have shit flung at them, LOL.