Taylor Hale’s resilience carried her straight across the finish line to a historic moment as the first Black woman to be named the winner of Big Brother, CBS’s surveillance-based reality competition series. Hale, who was targeted with bullying and microaggressions from other houseguests early in the show’s 24th season, took home a whopping $800,000 cash prize after scoring the win over Monte Taylor in the finale.
As the first winner to have also won “America’s Favorite Houseguest,” which boosted her earnings by $50,000, Hale made it to the final two alongside Taylor, marking the first time a Black man and woman filled the positions.
In the speech that won the Big Brother jury over, Hale reminded the final seven evicted houseguests who make up the panel of her journey through the tumultuous season. “I have overcome so much in this game and I have come to understand that I am not a shield, I am a sword. I am not a victim, I am a victor,” she began. “If there is one word that is going to describe the entire season, it is resiliency. If you were to ask yourself who the most resilient person of this season has been, it is me.”
She continued, pressing: “I’m challenging all of you to decide what type of winner you want to have this year. Do we want the same thing, where we see evictions and comp wins be the path to success? Or do we want a winner where we choose resiliency, we choose persistence as a reason to win this game?”
The jury chose the latter, making Big Brother history just as host Julie Chen announced at the conclusion of the finale that the show would return for its 25th season next summer.