In a significant change for reality TV, Jag Bains has made history on the show Big Brother. Bains, who is 25 and owns a truck company in Omak, Washington, has become the first Sikh and Indian American to win the show in its 25 seasons. His win is not just about him winning; it shows how the show, which has had issues including different cultures, is changing.

Bains’ path to winning was full of surprises. He was up against strong competitors: Matt Klotz, a 27-year-old swimmer who has competed in the Deaflympics and is the first deaf person on the show, and Bowie Jane Ball, a 46-year-old DJ and lawyer from Australia. The three of them were all in the final episode on Thursday, fighting for the top prize. In the end, it came down to Bains and Klotz. Bains gave an excellent speech that convinced a group of seven former contestants to vote, and he won five votes to two.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Bains reflected on his unexpected victory. “I didn’t think I was going to make it this far in the game and that I was going to win,” he admitted. His win is a milestone, making him the first Sikh participant and the inaugural winner of Indian descent in the show’s history. This win means a lot to Bains personally. It connects to his own life story, as his parents came to the United States from Punjab, India. He said, “But what I will say is everything I do is for my family,” showing that he values what his parents have done for him.

Bains’ victory adds to a recent trend of groundbreaking wins on Big Brother. In 2021, Xavier Prather became the first Black champion, followed by Taylor Hale, the first Black woman winner in 2022. These victories, however, emerge against a backdrop of controversy that has long shadowed the show. Since its debut in 2000, Big Brother has been marred by allegations of racism, homophobia, and other forms of hostility among contestants. 

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There have been some upsetting events in past seasons. In season 21, Jack Matthews made hurtful comments about Black and Asian contestants, which made a lot of people angry. In 2013, Aaryn Gries made derogatory remarks about Black and Asian housemates, causing a lot of criticism. The show got into more trouble in 2016 when Andrew Tate was kicked off for posting racist and homophobic messages online. These incidents show that the show has struggled to be fair and respectful to everyone.

After the tragic event of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, there were many calls for more diversity in TV shows. CBS, the network that airs Big Brother, promised to make changes. George Cheeks, the head of CBS, said they would make sure that at least half of the people in their reality shows, like Big Brother, are Black, Indigenous, or people of color. This promise was an important step toward including more diverse people in TV shows.

Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Bains said he knew he was the first of his kind on the show and felt pressure to represent his community well. Because Big Brother is a game in which people often compete against each other, it was hard for Bains, who values loyalty and honesty, to play. He struggled at first, trying to be loyal to everyone. But then, after almost being sent home, he decided to be loyal to only one person: Matt Klotz. Their friendship became popular among fans. 

Bains reflected on the initial challenges he faced. “I know I felt it at the beginning of the game—I sucked—I was loyal to a fault,” he admitted. This realization led to a strategic shift. 

Bains’ win is important because it shows someone breaking new ground in the show. It also highlights the challenges of being true to yourself and your community in a competitive TV show. As “Big Brother” tries to deal with its issues, Bains’ story is integral to its history.