Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
Sunday, February 10, 2008 12:04 PM CST
By EMILY CHRISTENSEN, Courier Staff Writer
CEDAR FALLS --- The last week has been tough for Robin Hart.
It's been about 10 days since her daughter, Chelsia, called her with the news --- she was going to be a house guest on Big Brother 9. The Mason City woman is excited for her daughter --- they both auditioned for the eighth season of the reality show --- but she also worries about how Chelsia will be portrayed and how a mother can potentially go months without hearing from her child.
"We have absolutely no contact with her. I have no idea what is going on," Robin said. "I got the call Thursday morning and they promptly snatched her off the face of the Earth. But, I know this is something she really wanted to do."
Chelsia, a 21-year-old University of Northern Iowa student, is one of 16 house guests on the newest season of Big Brother which premieres Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. on CBS.
A CBS crew was on College Hill two weeks ago taping a segment that is expected to air during the premiere. Some of the show's taping was done at the Mohair Pear store, where Chelsia is a regular customer. Store owner Dave Deibler said he had received numerous calls from the national station, but originally blew them off as a prank. Even after accepting the call, Deibler was still questioning the authenticity of the man on the other end of the line.
"Everyone wants to sell you something. We get a lot of those calls at the store," he said. "I almost said no because he couldn't even tell me what the show was until I had signed the confidentiality agreement."
After a little more research Deibler finally agreed. Two days later they showed up at the store and set up in the piercing room, where Chelsia had been adorned several times before. Deibler believes it was during that taping that Chelsia learned she would be a contestant on the show.
Now, her friends and family in Northeast Iowa must sit tight and wait to see Chelsia again. Robin understands the harsh reality of reality TV. She knows the show could bring out a side of her daughter she hasn't seen before, or even one she never cares to see.
"I say this with a big gulp," Robin said. "I have watched Big Brother. We had many talks when she was trying out and I told her she needed to make her family proud. I do know her head is in the game, but the last thing I want to see is some of that racy stuff. At this point I am just learning how to get a thick skin. Her dad and brother are just as nervous. I know there isn't anything we can do and Big Brother can portray things how they want and encourage things that will bring in better ratings. But, regardless, we love our daughter and are very proud of her."
In addition to the regular television shows CBS also offers a 24-hour live online feed of the house. Robin has never purchased the 24-hour feed in the past and is still on the fence about whether she wants to now.
"Sometimes, what Mama doesn't know won't hurt her," she laughed.