While she appeared to be happy and care free on Big Brother Mzansi, Iris Miya was deeply challenged by the reality show.
“I auditioned for Big Brother because I thought I needed a break from motherhood,” says the 22-year-old from Vrede. “My daughter was a year old and I told my parents I needed a vacation. But after a week in the house, I missed her terribly.” Before joining the reality show, Miya admits she didn’t understand motherhood as much as she does now.
“I realised that even though I was young, I was different from the other housemates. My life had changed. I couldn’t get into romantic relationships and have sex on TV, because I was always thinking about the effects my actions could have on my daughter.” But controlling herself was not the hardest part for Miya.
“I had to convince myself to stay in the game and not give up. I was scared that by the time I came home, my daughter wouldn’t know who I am.” Miya could not believe it when she found out she and Mandla Hlatshwayo were the last remaining housemates in the house. The mysterious Big Brother voice called her journey to the final inspirational and applauded her on her courage, spirit and personality.
“Your true character shone through whenever an opportunity presented itself,” he said. As the show’s runner-up, Miya walked away with R100 000.
Hlatshwayo walked away the winner – and with R1m.
“My family was so proud of the way I played the game,” Miya says. “I’m happy I didn’t do anything to embarrass them.”
Her housemates also commended her for being herself throughout the show.
“I didn’t know how to be anything else,” she laughs.