Big Brother star Paulie Calafiore has come out as bisexual in a heartfelt new interview.
On the 17 August episode of CBS’ The Challenge: USA, the reality TV star alluded that he identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community during a chat with his co-star Tori Deal.
“I came through athletics, so that forced me to repress who I was sexually. I didn’t know if I was attracted to women, attracted to men, or if it was just like an energy thing,” he explained.
Shortly after the episode aired – which featured him getting eliminated by his fellow competitor Johnny Bananas – Calafiore confirmed that he was bisexual in an interview with GLAAD.
“I’m bisexual. I am sexually fluid. I feel good about finally being able to talk about this,” he revealed.
The 34-year-old went on to say that he was scared to have that conversation with Tori, describing it as “nerve-wracking”.
“It was hard. I found it easier to talk to like producers about it, like in the confessional room and everything,” he said.
“I didn’t have any friends coming into the game, so like having to have conversations like with people who, like, I wasn’t on the best terms with coming in was scary.”
When asked how his life has changed since coming out, Calafiore said it felt like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders.
However, his path towards self-acceptance was no walk in the park.
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“I remember like growing up playing sports like you have to have this mindset, you have to almost beat your competitor not just physically but mentally,” he continued.
“You almost have to like to keep your cards super close to you because you don’t want people to know what can get to you, like what they can say to you.
“So for me [coming out] was kind of like breaking down like all the aspects of what I guess would be toxic masculinity of feeling like you always need to dominate, dominate, dominate.”
Towards the end of his statement, Calafiore revealed that he “almost felt guilty” over waiting to come out. But fortunately, that feeling didn’t last for long.
“I really had to change my perspective and be like, ‘Well, you know there might be other people that are going through this exact same thing,'” he explained.
“Maybe there’s a younger version of me somewhere who gets to see this and is like, ‘You know what? I don’t have to pretend to be this because I’m an athlete.'”
Following his The Challenge: USA exit and GLAAD interview, Calafiore took to his Instagram to give further insight into his emotional journey
“My heart is bleeding with gratitude. My soul is burning with humility,” he wrote.
“I’m so sad I had an early exit, but I am also so happy that I was able to show you another layer to myself and my journey… I finally feel seen and free.”
Check out Calafiore’s full GLAAD interview here or below.