U of M alumnus wins $25,000 and America’s heart on reality TV show
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 22:11
University of Memphis alumnus Frank Eudy’s likable, outgoing personality, wide grin and curly, groomed hair became iconic when he was shown on TV sets across the nation this summer as he competed on CBS’ hit reality TV show “Big Brother.”
Eudy, 28, hails from Marion, Ark. and graduated from the U of M with a degree in marketing in 2007. He lives in Naples, Fla., but for three months this summer he was sequestered into a house with 11 strangers as he plowed through social and mental competitions on “Big Brother,” a show loosely themed after George Orwell’s novel “1984.”
Twelve houseguests were filmed 24/7, and clips were meshed to create three episodes each week. Houseguests voted out one of their own every Thursday on the live eviction night, with the goal of being the last one to remain to accept the $500,000 prize.
“At times you’re super aware you are being watched, but there are times where you completely forget about it,” Eudy said. “I was always pretty aware of what was going on, and kept myself from saying something that might get me in trouble.”
Eudy competed on the 14th season of the show and made show history for being nominated for eviction more than any other previous player for a total of six times. He eventually was voted out of the house on day 62, and was then sequestered into a jury house with other evicted houseguests to wait for the finale night when jury house members voted for the winner of “Big Brother 14.”
The jury voted live on Sept. 19 for Ian Terry, a 21-year-old engineering student at Tulane University, to win. Also announced was which houseguest won America’s Favorite. The $25,000 prize went to Eudy, who said he wasn’t sure that he would get it.
“I didn’t know how I was edited,” he said. “So, I knew there were those times that I got heated and raised my voice.”
Eudy said he doesn’t know what he will spend the money on yet, but he will likely save it since he is unemployed. After the show ended, Eudy took a trip to Las Vegas with his show romance Ashley Iocco, his best ally on the show — Big Brother veteran and former winner Mike “Boogie” Malin — and a group of hometown buddies that rallied behind Eudy while he was in the house.
Eudy’s two best friends became known as “Zebra-Cake Chris” and “Jungle Juice Dan” after Eudy told his housemates on national TV about how one would always get a zebra-cake before school when they were younger and the other would always have jungle juice.
Daniel “Jungle Juice Dan” Robertson, “Zebra-Cake” Chris Miller and others developed “Team Frank,” equipped with a website (frankbb14.com,) Twitter handle (@teamfrankbb,) and T-shirts for sale iconizing Eudy’s bushy hairdo.
“I mean when I came out and saw that, it just meant the world to me to know that they had my back like that,” Eudy said.
Robertson said he had plenty of time to prepare the social media support for Eudy.
“I knew I was going to do a T-shirt the whole time,” he said. “Frank had been trying a few years to get on the show and whenever I found out he finally made it I was like, ‘Okay, it’s time to get the T-shirt going.’”
This was Eudy’s third year trying to get on the show. He was a finalist in 2010 and an alternate in 2011. There was nothing he didn’t do to prepare himself, from finding someone to live with him on couchsurfing.com so he could test his social skills to reading strategy books.
“It’s just all about trying to work on my mental and social game,” he said.
His blonde-and-carrot-colored mop was immediately recognized as he landed in the Delta. His first night back in Memphis, he went to Beale Street where he was bombarded with fans asking to take photos with him.
Local fans said they rooted for Eudy because he was a likable hometown guy. But fans and friends weren’t all Eudy had going for him.
He said his younger brother, Gunner, 19, capitalized on his summer of fame by starting a Big Brother lawn care service in Marion.