Meet The Cast Of 11th 'Big Brother' - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Meet The Cast Of 11th 'Big Brother'

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Chima Simone couldn't think of a better place to spend the recession than the "Big Brother" house.

"I thought it'd be fun," said the 32-year-old freelance journalist, one of 13 contestants who will be locked away for the 11th season. "I wasn't getting any responses to my query letters. I'm not traveling anywhere this summer. I thought 'Big Brother' would be a great way to make a ton of money in a limited time without really having to work for it."

Simone will be among the houseguests competing for the voyeuristic CBS reality show's $500,000 grand prize, awarded to the contestant who outlasts the rest while being monitored by dozens of cameras inside a makeshift two-story house on a soundstage.

This summer's contestants also include a surfer, bikini model, "World of Warcraft" gamer, a neuroscientist, tae kwon do champion and fifth-grade teacher. Before meeting their competitors or entering the house, the cast were individually interviewed by The Associated Press while they were voluntarily sequestered - no television, newspapers or telephones - from the outside world.

Casey "DJ Mingle Mixxx" Turner, the oldest contestant at 41, is a self-proclaimed "hip-hop redneck" from St. Petersburg, Fla. The fifth-grade teacher who moonlights as a disc jockey left behind his wife and two children - including a 9-month-old son - to participate in the show. During production, the contestants will be isolated from their loved ones.

"I'm going to miss my family," said Turner. "It's been really hard for me just the couple of days I've been secluded here in the hotel, so I can imagine how I'm going to feel a month from now. I look forward to meeting some cool people. All of them will not be cool. I'm aware of that. All of them will not like my style. I'm aware of that, too."

Michelle Noonan, a married 27-year-old neuroscientist from Pasadena, Calif., auditioned for the show after her husband forwarded her a craiglist.org posting looking for people with interesting jobs. Noonan, who works as a researcher at the California Institute of Technology, is enthusiastic about representing the scientific community on "Big Brother."

"You don't see too many scientists on reality TV," she said. "I want to be a fun example of a real-life scientist that's not a stereotype. I'm not the typical nerd you would see on a show like 'Beauty and the Geek.' There are actually many female scientists, but you never see them on TV. Hopefully, I can be an inspiration to girls interested in science."

Video store manager Natalie Martinez, who has been a "Big Brother" fan since the show's beginning, is only interested in one thing: winning. The 24-year-old recent Arizona State University graduate from Gilbert, Ariz., said she doesn't plan on telling her competitors that she won a bronze medal for tae kwon do at the Junior Olympic Championships in 2002.

"They're not going to know," she said. "I'm not telling anybody about my tae kwon do. I would be shooting myself in the foot to let people know I'm a competitive athletic person. I don't want people to know that. I want them to think I'm this sweet little girl who's not strong, not smart and won't win. I want them to see me as someone not to worry about."

This season, the California-themed "Big Brother" dwelling will go green with several eco-friendly touches including organic soap in the bathroom, energy-producing exercise bikes in the gym and composting bins in the backyard. Executive producer Allison Grodner teased that one of the three bedrooms, a jungle-themed enclave, will feature a nasty surprise.

"It is a room that will test their resolve," Grodner said during a recent tour of the newest "Big Brother" house. "I will go out on a limb and say that it is the worst room to sleep in any 'Big Brother.' After 11 seasons, that's saying a lot. This is a special treat for the houseguests. Each week, one group of houseguests will end up in this room."

At the start, the cast will be divided into teams. One clique will be joined by a mystery 13th houseguest when the show premieres July 9. Rumors have been swirling online that the 13th spot would go to a contestant who appeared in a previous season of "Big Brother." HTML code on the show's official Web site points to someone with the first name Brian.

The confirmed contestants of "Big Brother":

- Braden Bacha, 28, model-actor from Santa Monica, Calif.

- Kevin Campbell, 29, graphic designer from Chula Vista, Calif.

- Laura Crosby, 21, bikini model from Atlanta

- Russell Kairouz, 24, mixed martial arts fighter from Walnut Creek, Calif.

- Jordan Lloyd, 22, waitress from Matthews, N.C.

- Natalie Martinez, 24, store manager from Gilbert, Ariz.

- Michelle Noonan, 27, neuroscientist from Pasadena, Calif.

- Jeff Schroeder, 31, advertising salesman from Norridge, Ill.

- Chima Simone, 32, freelance journalist from West Hollywood, Calif.

- Ronnie Talbott, 30, teacher from Belpre, Ohio.

- Lydia Tavera, 24, makeup artist from Torrance, Calif.

- Casey Turner, 41, teacher from St. Petersburg, Fla.

___

On the Net:

http://www.cbs.com/primetime/big(underscore)brother/

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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