Twenty-seven year old Maggie Ausburn was the captain of Big Brother's "Friend Ship" alliance. And not only did she steer that ship to victory, Ausburn herself took home the show's $500,000 prize.
Like everyone else in this game, she started with a secret partner, her friend Eric Littmann. But when he was evicted she tells The Early Show co-anchor and "Big Brother" host Julie Chen, "It became immediately game-on.
"Everything was turned upside down," Ausburn says. "I had to get intense, get aggressive and start playing. And I really wanted to enjoy my time in the house. The only way to enjoy my time was to meet friends that I would have for the rest of my life, and I did that. I have four other people after Eric left and we formed an amazing alliance. That's why we were called 'The Friend Ship,' because we really cared about each other."
Some of her fellow houseguests wondered, however, if, as the mastermind, she used the "alliance" to further herself at their expense.
"That's really hard to hear, to be totally honest," Ausburn says. "I didn't know I was seen as the mastermind, first of all. But every single person within that friendship thought it was an equal alliance. We thought we were all leaders."
First runner-up Ivette Corredero says, "I think Maggie did watch out for everybody in the group. I do. I hate to be part of that friendship now, to be honest. That sounds horrible to say. I never liked the name 'Friend Ship' anyways. It's hard to play that game and say that you have a friendship going on."
At the end of the game, it looked as if the 25-year-old waitress from Miami Beach had given up after rejecting Janelle Pierzina's proposal to stick together to the end.
"The way I saw it, was it came down to Maggie, April and myself," Corredero explains. "There was going to be no way I was going to win either against Maggie or April, just because of the people who were going to be on the jury. Even if I were against Janelle, throwing the competition or having to now pick me; it wouldn't have worked out."
And so on Sept.13, the Friend Ship sprung a leak. April Lewis was shown the door. After a major blowout, Corredero did her in.
"I was so emotional in the house," Lewis told Chen. "I am not really like that on the outside world. I would definitely have to say that the house has a lot to do with it. Normally, if there is a person that's annoying you, you walk away. But in the house, you can't. I would definitely say that just the stresses that are put on us in there definitely add emotion to it and takes an emotional toll on you."
Now, $50,000 richer, Corredero plans to give part of the money to her family. As for Ausburn, after 80 days cut off from the rest of the world, she plans to buy lots of gifts.
"I couldn't be here if it were not for the people within my alliance," she says. "I won't forget that."
With the show's record 47 cameras and 76 microphones, the backstabbing and back scratching didn't go unnoticed. Click on the links in red below for strategies and secrets uncovered:
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The 14 houseguests — the biggest cast ever — compete for up to $1,000,000, double the usual jackpot. They are seven couples, each made up of friends, partners or co-workers.
Catch "Big Brother 6" Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.