We can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that early ’00s Channel 10 was the greatest of all time. You had Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson bringing his British-twanged sass on Australian Idol, ya boy Bert Newton moonshining on Good Morning Australia, bangers and high-cut briefs via Aerobics Oz Style, ‘What The?’ on Rove Live and of course, the crème de la crème: Big Brother.
We’ll never forget the feeling that washed over our 5-year-old bodies when the opening title of Big Brother blasted out tele on April 23rd, 2001. Were we too young to be watching? Yes. Did our parents not realise that yet? Also yes.
The dramatic 90s trance beat that underscored the high tech, choppy opening sequence gave us a feeling we would only come to recognise again years later, high on ecstasy. It was exciting; dangerous even. How would these adults survive in this post-millennium hot house? Will this spark an era of privacy invasion? Will they do kisses on the lips? None of us knew what would transpire.
17 years on from that first fateful season, we take a look back at the biggest personalities that descended upon the Dreamworld compound, and where they wound up.
SARA-MARIE FEDELE – SEASON 1, 2001
Sara-Marie is hands down the most famous Aussie Big Brother contestant, ever. Why is she famous? She did something called… The Bum Dance. Which, once she exited the house, became famous.
Do you know what’s even more terrifying than that video and general concept? That song reached #12 on the Aussie charts at the time. Good lord.
She had a wild D-grade celebrity time after BB – from Dancing With The Stars contestant, to fixture in the Celebrity Big Brother house, to Totally Wild presenter to… being featured on an episode of John Safran Vs. God. Like, she really got shit done.
These days, Sara-Marie is pretty off the radar. In fact, the only info anyone can really score is a strong rumour she now works in mining in WA.
JESSICA ‘JESS’ HARDY & NATHAN ‘MARTY’ MARTIN – SEASON 2, 2002
Their names were Jess and Marty, but true fans knew them simply as The Country Couple. These young love birds met in the confines of the Big Brother house and got on like house on fire.
Not convinced their love was real? Then try explaining this gif of Jess hand-crafting Marty a “magical” daisy chain necklace, which is possibly the most 2002 romantic gesture conceivable:
After they were evicted, they went on to star in their very own spin off show, Marty & Jess: An Outback Wedding.
They divorced in 2006.
Given the deep anglo-ness of the names Jess Hardy and Nathan Martin, finding intel on them on the internet has proven rather challenging.
Jess last appeared on our screens on Fox8’s 2012 season of Dating in the Dark. According to LinkedIn, the 40-year-old law graduate currently works as an ‘Entertainer’ at Ardent Leisure Group, the company that owns Dreamworld.
What that means exactly is unclear, but she’s been there since November 2017 and she writes that she’s “Back for the holiday season ????”. Cryptic.
There’s pretty much no info on Marty on the web, which is impressive in and of itself. The last nugget of info on Marty came via Mamamia in 2012, that reported he went on to “remarry and have three kids, and now runs his family farm.”
CHRISSIE SWAN – SEASON 3, 2003
Being a long-time, much-loved fixture in the Australian media mix, it’s easy to forget Chrissie Swan was once a housemate in Dreamworld’s incestuous playpen.
While Swan came second in the 2003 series, behind fish and chip shop owner Regina ‘Reggie’ Bird, she went on to host numerous high-rating radio shows on commercial radio, as well as The Circle on Channel 10.
At the moment she’s one third of Chrissie, Swan and Browny on Nova. You can find her on Instagram posting pictures of her cats, her favourite hummus and herself in $20 chemist sunnies.
MERLIN LUCK – SEASON 4, 2004
The most unforgettable exit interview in Big Brother’s long and storied history was without a doubt Merlin Luck’s.
Luck infamously smuggled tape and the sign reading “FREE TH REFUGEES” into a shirt he wore into the house, later brandishing it on stage in a move he described to News.com.au as an “adrenaline rush unlike anything I’ll ever experience again in my life.”
The silent protest left producers and host Gretel Killeen positively shook, and Luck was eventually escorted by numerous security guards.
Following the protest, he practiced what he preached, spending a year campaigning on the issue and speaking at protests, schools and universities.
These days (again, according to LinkedIn, thank ye) Luck works as a manager in commercial sales for Salesforce, a cloud computing company.
He has described himself as “a middle-aged corporate dad.”
WES DENING – SEASON 4, 2004
Season 4 was a boonta year for mining highly-marketable media personalities outta the general public, and Wes Dening was no exception.
With soft frosted blonde spikes, a broad white smile and a penchant for wearing vests, Dening was the quintessential Hot Guy every season requires. I, and most other pre-pubescent girls I knew, had a big fat crush on him.
Evicted on Day 69 (babey), he went on to score a plum gig promoting the Goldie with Tourism Queensland, as well as a turn as a Totally Wild host. In 2008 he hosted Channel 10’s New Year’s Eve telecast.
In 2009 he made the move to ‘Murica, lining up a bunch of producing and directing roles. He founded WD Entertainment Group in 2010, and produced the weirdly successful The Stafford Brothers series.
A quick stalk of his ‘gram reveals he’s got himself a picture perfect nuclear family to boot, so yeah. He did really bloody well for himself on all fronts.
Good on you, Dendawg.
HOTDOGS (SIMON DEERING) – SEASON 5, 2005
Hot diggity dog.
No other contestant has prevailed to such heights in shitposting circles as the beloved Hot Dog. We all know the reason you clicked in this god forsaken pile of trash article was to hear what ya boy Simon Deering was up to.
We started by Googling him. The result?
Thankfully, Hotdogs is most certainly not deceased. He’s alive and kicking it in Western Australia, and according to an audiovisual morsel of hotdoggedness, working for real estate agent Purple Bricks.
Never one to subscribe to societal standards of acceptable grooming habits, in 2014 he was rocking some serious fucken handbars:
Would I trust Hotdog with the sale of my bricks and mortar? I think we all know the answer to that question.*
MICHAEL BEVERIDGE – SEASON 9, 2012
Bevo was the first contestant to enter the house on the 2012 series, and he was an instant favourite with his witty quips and general quirky demeanour.
This big ‘hook’ of this series was that every contestant was harbouring a big secret, and his was that he had a genius-level IQ. He has gone on to use his superior intellect to concoct memes, such as this one, which I became momentarily deceased over:
In the years since his time in the BB house, Bevo has gone on to host numerous radio shows, including cult hit YouTube Hits and The Drop on the Hit Network. You might have also noticed him in a cameo role in 2016’s hit TV mini series Molly.
He tweets and they’re funny, too.
TULLY SMYTH – SEASON 10, 2013
Tully Smyth was undoubtably the most talked about BB contestant of recent years.
She burst into the house as an edgy 25-year-old social media strategist hailing from Bondi, and set the internet alight after cheating on her girlfriend with regulation hottie Drew inside the house. She also cried. A lot.
After leaving the Big Brother house, Smyth proved her digital marketing skills by carving out a healthy 227K following on Instagram as a lifestyle blogger.
These days, Smyth can be found in front of a many varied media wall. If you wanna nurture a deep sense of FOMO, her carefully curated feed is the one to follow.
DREW – SEASON 10, 2013
Hot damn, was Drew the babiest babe to ever enter the BB house? Yes, is the answer to that. A thousand times yes. His hook up with Tully (as explained above) was the hottest news to come out of season 10, and the pair continued their romance in real life for a solid year or so.
Since then, Drew’s become a v successful model who dates another successful model and has for years.
We personally love that he’s still repping the man bun. Continue the good work, Drew.
SKYE WHEATLEY – SEASON 11, 2014
Skye Wheatley was a handful and a fuckin’ half on the show, and we mean that in the best possible way.
The 20-year-old barista was a fun, capricious fixture in the 11th season, coming third behind Travis Lunardi and winner Ryan Ginns.
These days she tends to a healthy garden of almost half a million Instagram followers, travelling to various tropical locations in various bikinis.
LAWSON REEVES & CAT LAW – SEASON 11, 2014
Has there ever been a more controversial couple in the Big Brother house than Cat and Lawson? Sure, you COULD say Tully and Drew. But while Tully had a GF on the outside, she didn’t reeeeeally properly hook up with Drew in the house. Whereas Cat and Lawson? They proper went for it.
Not to mention Lawson had been with his outside-the-house GF for years and years.
The pair were – shock – STILL LOVED UP for years after the series wrapped. Like, super-cute loved up. In fact, we covered their ongoing relationship in full last year.
Since then, they’ve sadly split. Cat’s still a midwife – her occupation while on the show. Lawson’s still a magician. However the pair have really made it good in terms of their social media influencer standing – they’re constantly posting from fab sponno-looking holidays and events.
AISHA JADE & TRAVIS – SEASON 11, 2014
Aisha and Travis made headlines as the adorably cute couple to come out of Season 11. It all seemed extremely on from the get-go – pleeeenty of rumours flew about whether the two actually boned IN the BB house, since they were together for so long.
After emerging, things just kept heating up – Travis moved to Sydney to be with Aisha, and the pair dated for 2 years. Eventually, mid-2016, they announced they were splitting up.
Individually, Aisha’s made a gun career for herself by getting onto the blogging trend early. She launched her lucrative fashion label, Boy By Her, a couple of years ago and it’s gone gangbusters. Travis seems to be gunning for a travel influencer vibe, if his Insta account is anything to go by.
BLAIR MCDONOUGH – SEASON 1, 2001
We’re getting deep here, folks.
A 19-year-old McDonough starred in the inaugural series of the show, and boy did we have massive boners for him. He was the regulation hottie of the show, and he went on to score a role on Neighbours after finishing runner-up.
name a more iconic duo
In 2017, McDonough turned his back on his Ramsay St roots and hightailed it to Summer Bay, guest starring as a dad in Home & Away.
These days he’s a bonafide family man, posting cute baby-based snaps to his Instawow.
BENJAMIN NORRIS & STACEY WREN, SEASON 9, 2012
Fuuuuck guys, were these the best team to form in the BB House, ever? We fucking frothed Ben and Stacey’s friendship so hard. Why did no one give these guys a radio show? We’ll never know.
Anyway, these two became firm in-house friends, probably because they were two of the funniest/wittiest folks in their season. Ben went on to win that year of BB and proposed to his boyfriend on stage, while we cried in front of our TV screens.
These days, Ben is a radio presenter on LGBT channel JOY 94.9, and Stacey works at a brand agency. The absolute best news? THEY’RE STILL PALS, GUYS.
Also did they have a mad glow-up or what? 10/10’s.
ESTELLE LANDY, SEASON 9 2012
Estelle was a real force of nature in what I classify as the BEST season of Big Brother ever. She had a few emotional breakdowns, carried that toy horse around for a bit and had a really sketch hook-up with Michael right before he left the house.
She came in third, even though she was always such a controversial housemate that found her way to the bottom 3 loads of times. In short, she’s the true definition of an Aussie battler.
Estelle made headlines last year because she somehow managed to become pals with none other than Justin Bieber.
The pair apparently met on some ski slopes and have been pals since – although Estelle was quick to deny any romance between ’em.
Nowadays she’s a reiki practitioner, which seems pretty apt for an ex Big Brother star, no?