On season 23 of Big Brother, fans of the show and new viewers met Alyssa Lopez. Her social skills, intelligent gameplay and infectious personality took her far in the game as she made it to the final seven of 16 houseguests. Before making her mark in the house, Alyssa made her mark in the swimwear industry with her own business: MollieBird swim. She was an avid fan of the show since she was nine years old, so it was a lifelong mission of hers to be a part of the cast. It’s safe to say she encapsulates the phrase “you can do anything you put your mind to.” As a superfan of Big Brother myself, I admired her drive on and off the show. This week I got to talk with her and chat about all things Big Brother and MollieBird.
Her Campus (HC): What inspired you to audition for Big Brother?
Alyssa Lopez (AL): I have been watching every season of Big Brother since I was nine years old, so you could call me a super fan of the show for sure. I always thought I would be good on the show and always had the dream to be selected. I tried out once I turned 21 and every year after that. I finally got the call on my third try when I was 23. Unfortunately, this was when COVID-19 officially happened, so they had an All-Stars season that year instead. I got to go on season 23 the following year!
HC: What advice would you give someone wanting to audition?
AL: Be 100-percent yourself. They don’t want perfection, they want YOU. My video was only 35 seconds long and I was cursing at myself, spilling my drink on the floor and my dogs were barking like crazy, but I sent it anyway. I think I got a call back from that video because even though all the craziness was going on, I was showing my true authentic self. In my video auditions before that, I was just trying to be someone I thought they wanted. Also, think of things like characteristics or life experiences that make you stand out from other people, things someone would not expect by just looking at you and then talk about it in your audition video. When you talk about what kind of player you would be in the house, talk about what moves you would make. Nobody wants to hear that you are just going to “go with the flow.” Figure out your Big Brother plan.
HC: What was your favorite competition and why?
AL: My favorite competition was definitely OTEV. Not only because it is an iconic Big Brother competition, but also because I won it! I made history being the first Person of Color to win OTEV.
HC: The fans instantly fell in love with your personality, how did you stay true to yourself in such a unique environment?
AL: Honestly, you get used to being in the house pretty quickly. I forgot the cameras were even there and our cast immediately hit it off, so I was very lucky to be able to be completely myself in such a new environment. It really didn’t hit me that I was on a TV show until I got out of the house. I have always been a very blunt and outgoing person, so no matter the situation I am always the same Alyssa.
HC: What is your biggest takeaway from the show?
AL: My biggest takeaway is definitely that if you put your mind to something you can achieve it. Being on Big Brother has always been a dream of mine, I even had the logo at the center of my vision board. It was at the top of my bucket list. I really do believe putting things into the universe makes it come true. I was super nervous I wouldn’t be able to get on the show because I suffer with mild anxiety, but I continued to stay confident in myself. Once I was on the show, I even almost quit because the first day I was in the house I was throwing up for hours due to my anxiety, but I was able to stay positive and made it all the way to day 65. What is awesome now is I am so much more confident than I ever was before, and the show almost helped reduce my anxiety in real life.
HC: When did you start your swimwear line and why did you decide to start it?
AL: I started creating Molliebird back in February 2019. Because of COVID-19, the process of starting the brand took longer than we originally expected. We launched on Jun. 24, four days before I left for the show. I always knew I had the hard work and dedication to run my own company or brand, but I was never really sure what it would be. I helped design the women’s collection in an apparel brand I was a videographer for, and the products were selling out. I started feeling like maybe I could run my own apparel brand. I was born and raised in Sarasota, FL so swimsuits were a part of my weekly attire and I felt like I could create a brand that women my age can relate to and feel confident in. And then Molliebird was born!
HC: What is the inspiration behind the name Molliebird?
AL: My business partner, Meredith Mickelson, and I wanted to create a swimwear brand that was chic and dainty. We wanted the name of the brand to resemble those two words. We wanted the name of the brand to be a woman’s name so we can branch out into other parts of apparel and since our business is run by women. We loved the name Molly, I thought of it because that was my childhood dog’s name, but we changed the spelling to Mollie. Mollie itself didn’t feel bold enough so we started thinking of different words to connect with it. We just liked the flow of the way Molliebird sounded and felt like it resembled our brand perfectly.
HC: What advice would you give to young women who also want to start a business of their own?
AL: If you want to start a business, you have to put 100-percent of your effort into it. There is no room for slacking or, (sorry for my language,) “half-assing it.” Also, have a product or products that you are passionate about. You will realize you are investing much more into something that you are passionate about. You will also want to make sure it is perfect and won’t settle for less. Lastly, ask for help! Don’t hesitate to ask someone in the industry for tips or advice. I didn’t know a single thing about business when I started. I asked tons of questions and did even more research and still had hiccups. Don’t let the worry of failing stop you from doing something that makes you happy because failing is part of the learning process.
HC: How has Big Brother affected your swimwear line?
AL: Big Brother helped my brand so much! I was able to use free advertising to show off Molliebird. The show not only helped sales significantly, but also, I was able to connect with so many Big Brother alum and other reality stars to help promote my brand after the show.
HC: What was the biggest change to acclimate to after the house?
AL: I always remember thinking to myself when I was leaving for the show, “My life will never be the same when I get back.” It was super crazy to go from being away from the outside world for a total of 95 days to being back to your “regular” life where now everyone knows you and you have fans and a following. It was definitely a very weird feeling and something that I am honestly still adjusting to. Also, trying not to think or talk about the game is so hard! For so long, that is all we were allowed or could do in the house. So now being out of the game, it’s hard to not think about what I should have done differently or “what ifs.”
HC: What’s next for 2022?
AL: I am super excited for the new year. I didn’t win the show, so I want to be able to take this amazing opportunity and use it to win in different ways! I am planning to travel much more and be able to launch new collections of Molliebird every other month.
Though she didn’t win the show, Alyssa won in so many other ways. She became a role model for young women who want to start a business, she was a part of a season with so much diversity and monumental moments and she achieved her own dream of being on Big Brother. Alyssa took her two passions and put everything she had into them, she stayed true to herself and her goals through everything. I was always a fan of Big Brother, but now I am also a fan of Alyssa Lopez!