By John Powell – GlobalTV.com
In the sporting world Matt Klotz has already made his mark as one of the most decorated swimmers, deaf or not, in the world today. Surviving a hundred days in the Big Brother house though presented its own set of unique and often frustrating challenges to the first deaf houseguests ever to play the game. Matt overcame them all to finish second next to his Minutemen alliance partner, Jag.
John Powell: Hey, Matt! Great to be talking to you tonight! Congratulations on finishing second and making the finale!
Matt Klotz: Thank you! I appreciate that so much!
John Powell: Matt, I know you haven’t had much time to think about this but do you have any plans for the money?
Matt Klotz: No, I haven’t had any plans. I know I owe my parents a little bit of that. They’ve always taken care of me. I haven’t worked a job in my life because I’ve always been swimming and swimming doesn’t make money. So, it’s nice to have a little bit money in my account. (laughs)
John Powell: We saw a little bit of this on the live feeds. You explained to the houseguests that it is hard for you to discern what’s going on when everyone is talking in a room all at once. Can you detail some of the obstacles you have had to overcome being deaf in the Big Brother house?
Matt Klotz: There were a lot of things that I had to overcome. If I can’t see someone’s lips I’m not going to understand where their conversation is going. For example, during COVID I couldn’t understand anyone with the mask mandates in place. In the Big Brother house, there’s whispering everywhere so I’m not listening to or in on those comments at all. I would say 85 percent of the conversations and 75 percent of the comments I did not hear fully.
There were a lot of times where I would just sit in the room and zone out because I just can’t make out what was being talked about. It’s too much at once. The only way to communicate with me properly and get the message across is one-on-one facing me. There were some situations where it was me, Jag and Blue talking and Blue would face me because she knew I had to read her lips. If people are talking to the side I’m not going to understand a single thing. So, it’s very visual. You got to be looking at me and I’ve got to be seeing your lips and then most likely I can read your lips very well and I’ll know what’s being said.
John Powell: The houseguests seemed for the most to be very accommodating when it came to your situation weren’t they.
Matt Klotz: Definitely! I think once I was able to connect with them all and give them that understanding but it took a little bit. The first week was a little nerve-wracking and over-stimulating. Having to explain myself to each person every day is hard to get that message across but once I got there, eventually, everything was smooth. I think the first half of the season was very hard and challenging with that but the last half went super smoothly. I didn’t feel frustrated or flustered with all the whispering anymore.
John Powell: If you had won the final head of household who would you have taken Jag or Bowie?
Matt Klotz: Jag. I didn’t make a lot of promises. There were promises I made and I was saying things that people wanted to hear sometimes. I was loyal with him. I stood by him the whole time. My whole finale speech was going to be about loyalty. If I had to back-stab Jag in the end that wouldn’t work with Bowie. I knew I needed to bring Jag with me to prove that I played a loyal game and I went the whole way with him.
John Powell: In your sports career you’ve made a lot of strides for people who are deaf. How important was it for you to represent the deaf community and essentially blaze the trail for future deaf Big Brother players?
Matt Klotz: I think it was a very important milestone. No one has done it before. I was the trial run, the pilot. (laughs) I knew I had to do a good job of representing well…I couldn’t be in there half doing things. I needed to be my full self, be proud of my disability, express the challenges I faced and show everyone, not just houseguests, but all of America what I could accomplish. I think I did that. I had 100 days to do that. That was my biggest goal of playing this game and my biggest motivation was representing the deaf community. I did that in the swimming world and now I got to do it on TV! I was really glad to have that opportunity.
John Powell: When you have such a large group of people not everybody gets along. That’s just human nature. You didn’t seem to really get along with America all that much. What do you think stood in the way of that? What was it with you guys?
Matt Klotz: I really don’t hate anyone. I’m a very social person. I roast people a lot, like my friends outside of this. I roast them hard! I kind of got that a little bit in the house. You get so comfortable in the house. You’re in there and we’re all family. Some people will perceive it differently though but you make fun of your family all the time, living with them all the time. I’m living with America every day so the little comments I would make were just because I’ve been living with her all day but at the end of the day, I love her. I don’t hate her.
John Powell: You able to spend some time with Riley at the beginning of the show and then she was evicted. What are you hoping for the future?
Matt Klotz: We’re about to find out! (laughs) I think what was really awesome was getting that letter from her when I won my first HoH which I kind of ignited me little bit. It got me a little excited for the last day. There’s going to be money at the end and Riley! (laughs)
John Powell: As you mentioned many times in the house you you took off time training to be on Big Brother. You put your sports career on hold. What are your plans for the future?
Matt Klotz: It’s definitely time to get back into shape…I gained 30 pounds. I gained some weight. I came in at 185 and I’m leaving 213. That’s a lot of weight! I’m someone that trains for five hours a day so that took a mental toll on me and halfway through I kind of just adapted at the situation. I chose to be on Big Brother. This isn’t a ‘me move’. This is I’m doing this for the deaf community! I’m doing this for my family! I’m doing it for other people! I have to suck it up! I’m going to make it work and that’s what’s going to happen! I’m going to get back into training! I’m going to lose those 30 pounds! I’m going to go (and represent) Hungary soon!
John Powell: During the finale Jag did paint himself as the mastermind while in reality, you did work side-by-side making mutual decision the majority of the time. How did you feel about him pitching the mastermind role?
Matt Klotz: I wasn’t going to sell out anyone during the finale. I had the better social game and that’s what that was. For me, I can’t hear everything right on the spot. So, being in front of the jury was intimidating, hearing something right away, the pressure of being live so I got a little choked up.
I’m going to talk back but I wasn’t expecting those questions. Yes, he masterminded some things but I did as well. I’m the reason why he was safe in the Seven Deadly Sins. He was always a target and I was always trying to protect him. I literally saved his game! He got evicted! He didn’t masterminded everything but he did that a lot. He did a lot of winning. He did a lot of the competitions and I did a lot of the social talking and social priming. It is why we worked well together…He played a better competition game and I played a better social game.