Big Brother

EXCLUSIVE: Big Brother royalty Reggie Bird reveals the horrifying accusation she's received from trolls

''They don't know me, or the challenges I deal with every day.''

By Laura Masia
Reggie Bird still can't fathom how she became a household name.
In 2003, she was just a regular 29-year-old who walked into the Big Brother house ready for a holiday.
But as the down-to-earth fish-and-chip shop worker from Tasmania soaked up the sun by the pool, she had worked her way into the hearts of viewers without even realising it, winning Big Brother by the biggest margin in history.
Reggie won Big Brother in 2003 by the biggest margin in history. (Image: TV WEEK)
Nineteen years later, she still finds it pretty surreal.
"I haven't even watched my series back," Reggie, 48, admits to TV WEEK. "I don't know what they had shown back in the day and why Australia fell in love with me."
Since her time on the show, Reggie has watched every season of Big Brother, dreaming of the day she could give it another crack. Although she knew this time around would be very different, she wasn't deterred.
"I couldn't say no – I love Big Brother so much," she says. "I wanted to do it for my kids."
Reggie says she couldn't turn down the opportunity to enter the BB house again. (Image: Seven)
Reggie is a proud mother of Mia, 15, and Lucas, 12, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. While they were extremely supportive of their mum going on the show, Reggie says they don't totally understand her fame.
"They think of people on Instagram and TikTok as famous," she says.
"Then they'll ask me if I'm famous and I'll say, 'Well, yeah – I was, and still am in some kind of way.' But they don't quite get the concept of it. I think now this season is on TV, they'll be impressed."
Since her first time on the show, Reggie has faced some medical hardships. Along with Lucas' condition, which requires constant medication and physiotherapy, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic condition that causes loss of vision and blindness.
These days, she says her vision is like looking through a straw. Her deteriorating eyesight made the show's challenges so much harder.
"The Big Brother team really looked after me," she explains, noting that she'd be fully briefed before any challenge.
"I was disadvantaged by not having much sight, but I gave it my best."
But even before this season, which features new and returning contestants, went to air, Reggie had been trolled online about her eyesight.
Reggie and her daughter. (Image: Supplied)
"A lot of people are saying, 'Oh, she's faking,'" she says. "But who would ever want to fake being blind? They don't know me, or the challenges I deal with every day. I'm a strong person and I think people who leave comments like that have issues."
This time around, Reggie is determined to make it to the end – not only to be crowned the first two-time winner of Big Brother worldwide, but to raise awareness for the optical condition that has so profoundly affected her life.
"I want to educate people about my eyesight," she says.
"That's one of my big goals – to prove to people that just because you're going blind doesn't mean you have to sit on your bum and not do anything."

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