‘Big Brother’ stars Jackson Michie and Holly Allen find a new reality in Playa Vista
By Kellie Chudzinski
Reality TV has become a staple of culture in the U.S. and around the world, often in the name of a guilty pleasure.
Fans of CBS’s mega-hit reality show “Big Brother” may recognize two familiar faces from the show’s recent 21st season: new Playa Vista residents Jackson Michie and Holly Allen.
In the world of “Big Brother,” they are an anomaly. Jackson was the most recent winner of the show’s $500,000 cash prize and Holly was his runner-up, and they are the first couple to ever make it to the show’s final two. Along with an unprecedented number of wins, they both left the show with more than they ever expected – each other.
“Big Brother,” which takes its name from a character in George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” falls under the competition and social experiment categories of reality shows. A group of strangers move in to a house, built on a soundstage, where they are isolated: no phones, no computers and no contact with the outside world. The contestants, known as HouseGuests, compete weekly in challenges of knowledge, endurance and skill, all while navigating relationships and game dynamics with their fellow contestants as they vote weekly to “evict” a player and end their run at the cash prize.
“Relationships on the show definitely become targets,” Jackson says. “Because it’s automatically assumed you’re inseparable.”
But despite the odds Jackson and Holly made it work. Before they were a couple, they knew they were at least kindred spirits when they both showed up on day one in blue jeans, cowboy boots and blue plaid shirts.
“We just gravitated to each other,” Jackson says, while Holly adds, with a small laugh, “I think we were kind of typecast as opposite sex versions of each other.”
They say the intense competitions and bond they formed working together strengthened their relationship. On the show, they spent 100 days with each other 24/7.
“We were on a fast-track of a relationship,” Jackson says. “It strengthened our foundation better than we ever could have imagined.”
“It’s a deeper kind of relationship, with everybody,” Holly adds. “You know these people at their best and at their worst, so it inevitably brings us closer together because we’re the only ones that will understand what we went through.”
When Holly and Jackson’s individual leases were coming to an end in January, it was the clear choice that they’d make a move together. Holly was previously in Sherman Oaks and Jackson was in Hollywood, the urge to get away from traffic and be close to the beach led them to the heart of Playa Vista.
“We walk out on our patio and we’re looking at our pool, palm trees and lights, and it’s just cool and it’s just calm,” Jackson says of their new digs that they moved into in January.
Another family member they say is loving the area is Holly’s dog, who she’s had for four years and is coincidentally also named Jackson. The couple has taken to the walkability of Playa Vista and the many dog friendly spaces and parks nearby.
“We love cooking, we love to go to the beach and going on walks, we love hiking,” Jackson says of how they spend their time. “We just love spending time with each other, whether it’s cleaning the house or making it messy, if we can do it together we’ll find a way.”
Holly, a wine safari guide and sommelier, is working on bringing a podcast to life that will be aimed at teaching millennials about wine. She is also in the very early stages of another project that she wants to benefit people who are experiencing homelessness.
Jackson is still a personal trainer and is developing projects around his passions fitness and nutrition. “I want to be able to do things that I love and be able to help other people while doing it,” Jackson says.
Regardless of where their professional or personal lives take them, they both are confident in the strength of their relationship and the balance they give each other.
“We had to have each other’s backs and we did, and that hasn’t stopped. It’s good because we’re complimentary, there are times when one of us needs to push the other or pull the other back,” Holly says. Jackson adds, “We love excitement, we love change and we love to take risks.” Sounds like Playa Vista is the perfect place for them to call home.