House Proud

Anisha Vasani catches up with Asiana model Deana Uppal to find out what life was really like on Big Brother

Posted: 03.10.12

Congratulations on coming 3rd!
I never expected to get to the final – it’s amazing! I thought I’d be third out, not third left!

Why did you apply to be on the show?
I’ve always liked living on the edge and Big Brother is a once in a lifetime experience so why not?

It wasn’t the nicest of receptions that you received going into the house. How did that make you feel?
There was a mixed reception, half boos, half cheers. In my introduction they said that I had maids in India, which is quite common - everyone has a maid in India. But when the public hear that, they think you’re from a very wealthy background so maybe I came across a bit stuck up

You certainly looked the part! Tell us about your entrance outfit.
It was a gorgeous white outfit by Sati. I wanted to show who I am, that I’m proud to be Indian. I wanted to show off our culture and show how beautiful our clothes are. Though I did my make up myself that night as we weren’t allowed a make-up artist! Going into the house was so top secret that they couldn’t let anyone know so even make-up artists were a no no! The only people who knew were my mum and my best friend!

You were the first person in the house to be given a task which was to nominate a housemate for eviction, before you’d even had a chance to get to know anyone. How did you feel?
When I was first told about the task, I thought it would be quite easy. I thought I’d immediately spot people that I don’t feel comfortable around but actually I couldn’t find any bad points in anyone, so it was just a case of picking the person that came into my eye-shot.

It turned out that Connor had it in for you. Do you know why?
In the first couple of weeks I found it hard to get close to anyone, I think everyone was a bit wary of me, especially because Connor clearly didn’t like me from the beginning and he was quite a strong character in the house, so he tried his best to turn everyone else against me. I asked him many times what his problem was with me and he could never give me a valid reason. So I still don’t know to this day, what his problem was. I never felt that comfortable when he was in the room and I felt very intimidated that he was talking about me behind my back.

What was your relationship like with the other housemates?
I got along best with Adam, Luke, Lauren and Sara – I never had arguments with them!

Have you gone back and watched any of the episodes?
No. People were saying horrible things about me with no facts. I felt very isolated and I felt every time I’d say something, people would try and put me down and make a sarcastic comment back. So it was just a case of feeling isolated and not feeling involved with the group. I don’t really want to watch that back. Connor was very offensive. At one point he said he wanted to hit me which received a thousand complaints but Big Brother did nothing about it.

How does it make you feel now?
It upset me because I trusted Channel 5 to protect me and I did feel like I was being bullied, but then I thought if it was happening, Big Brother will intervene and do something about it. I thought that if they weren’t doing anything about it, then maybe it was me being paranoid. But now I know all of my suspicions have been confirmed it’s upset me that they didn’t do anything about it and instead he left with £50,000.

Is there anything you would have changed about yourself if you could go back?
I wouldn’t change anything because I was completely myself in the house. So whatever happened was meant to be. I’m just glad I did go in there and I stuck to my morals and to what I believe in and that took me to the final.

What was the best experience of being in the house?
Being saved every Friday because I always expected to go and I couldn’t see a reason why anyone would vote to keep me in. It’s a big confidence boost to know people have picked up the phone and have spent their money to save you. I’ve also had a lot of e-mails saying that I’ve inspired people to overcome bullying. A lot of young people are e-mailing me saying they’re being bullied at school and by watching me, they’ve learnt to gain confidence and defend themselves against the bullies.

You were known for getting tipsy in the house, is that a damaging image to have, being an Asian woman?
In the house I’d never walk around in a bikini, and with the drinking, I think it’s important to find a balance. As a British Asian you can’t be too overly cultured in this industry because it’s not possible. But at the same time it’s important to keep your morals and not embarrass your family or yourself. I was never drunk out of my head. A lot of Asians drink these days - I don’t know any girls that don’t. I went in their with the title of Miss India UK, so I wanted to make people proud and I don’t think I changed, I was still myself in the house. How I acted in the house, is how I would act in the outside world.

So how different was being on the show to what you imagined it would be like?
It’s a lot harder than I expected. When you watch it you think it’s easy. They get free food and there’s parties everyday. But mentally, it’s hard.

What have you learnt from being on the show?
I’ve learnt how I deal with different situations, how I interact with people, how I cope with things. And I’ve learnt negative things about myself, things I can improve on. I’ve learnt a lot about myself - things I would have never learnt had I not been in the house. I worked out that I take time to understand people, I don’t like bitching and I don’t like confrontation, so I’ll try and stay away from that as much as possible. But I’ve learnt that I’m stronger than I thought and if it comes to it and I have to defend myself, I will.

You’ve modelled, been Miss India UK and already starred in a Bollywood film - what’s next for you?
I’m just going to continue with what I was doing before, with my modelling and acting and see what comes up. I’ll always stick to my morals – I’ve turned down modelling in men’s magazines – that doesn’t appeal.

And what’s life like post Big Brother?
When I came out it was amazing to see the support. When I first when online and checked my e-mails, Facebook and Twitter, I couldn’t believe it!. There were hundreds of forums with people saying how well I’d acting in the house. That was amazing to see. In Birmingham they had posters of me which my best friend organised, it was so sweet!
 Overall I just feel proud I did it. I’ve got some interesting jobs in the pipeline but more than that, some great tales to tell my grandchildren.

Photography: Alexandre Pichon
Location:  Ninety Eight Bar (
Hair & Make-Up: Ambreen (
Outfits: Harkirans (Birmingham)


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