Wil Heuser always knew he was destined for big things. Now it’s time to prove it.
Known for his outrageous personality and silly YouTube music videos, the Louisville native will soon go from local notable to household name.
Heuser was recently chosen to compete as one of 12 house guests in season 14 of CBS’s “Big Brother.” He left the River City on June 30 to begin filming the popular reality television series, which features a group of people living together in a large house, isolated from the outside world.
Though fame is something Heuser, 24, has been chasing since childhood, his opportunity with “Big Brother” happened by accident. He’d had no idea the show was casting in Louisville until one of the show’s directors saw him at a local establishment, tapped him on the shoulder and asked Heuser to consider auditioning.
“Of course, Wil went (out that night) in his usual style of fur and short shorts and crazy long hair,” said Heuser’s brother, Chip. “And (the ‘Big Brother’ casting team) apparently were there and tapped him on the shoulder. It was a pretty random occurrence.”
Heuser was handed a business card and asked to come through the VIP line at the “Big Brother” casting call. After quickly winning over the casting director, he was whisked away to Los Angeles for a personality test and physical. Days later, he was confirmed as one of 24 finalists.
“In all the years that Wil’s been in the entertainment industry, it’s been so hard (for him to find his big break),” said Heuser’s mom, Peggy, who is chief operating officer of the Heuser Clinic. “The timing was so right for Wil. He was coming back to Louisville (from New York), he didn’t have obligations to an apartment. Once he got the notice that he was cast, he was ready.”
Heuser will premiere on “Big Brother” at 9 p.m. Thursday, July 12. Under the surveillance of cameras placed throughout the Big Brother home, he must relinquish contact from the radio, his cell phone and the internet, where he first gained fame as host of the YouTube sensation “The Wil Show.” Heuser also temporarily deactivated his Facebook and Twitter page, and took down some of his most notable music videos, including the one to his hit single, “I’m Still Hot.”
It’s quite the sacrifice to appear on the reality TV show and is far different from what Heuser faced when auditioning for season 8 of “American Idol.” Though he didn’t make it through to the next round of the musical competition, his slightly off-beat performance did evoke laughter in some of the judges, and surely much of the audience watching from home. But that didn’t faze Heuser, whose song and dance routines are typically sprinkled with comedy. It’s his ability to laugh at himself that will likely make him a popular contestant on “Big Brother,” yet his flamboyant personality has drawn some criticism amongst the public support.
“There’s been some critical tweets about him and some positive things about him,” Peggy said. “But any press is good press, so bring it on.”
Should Heuser survive eviction to win the final cash prize on “Big Brother,” he’ll be gone from Louisville up to 95 days. The public will be able to observe Heuser’s every move on the show, which will air three times a week – Wednesday, Thursday (the live eviction show) and Sunday this summer. For $30, viewers can also access a live cam inside the house revealing footage not seen during the three-month duration of “Big Brother.”
While Heuser – who was not allowed to be interviewed for this story – is certainly excited about the chance to appear on national television, he’s also looking forward to shedding light on a cause that’s close to his heart. Before he left, Heuser designed a T-shirt with the word “LOU” spelled with a heart in the middle and a tiny fleur de lis printed in place of a period at the end. He plans to wear it on the reality show while his family will sell copies at Work the Metal and Big Bar for $20 a piece. Proceeds will benefit the Fairness Campaign, a broad-based community effort with the primary goal of comprehensive civil rights legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Heusers are hoping Louisville will help support the cause while also backing Heuser in his endeavor to finally catch his big break in the entertainment industry.
“He feels like his life has sort of tested him and so he feels like he’s ready for a game like this,” Peggy said. “He’s kind of played the game in life already. We’re very hopeful; we really are.”
“Big Brother” Season 14 premieres Thursday, July 12, at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. Big Bar, 1202 Bardstown Road, will host a “Big Brother” watch party to show support for Heuser at 9 p.m. Thursday, July 12.
Tune in to CBS this Thursday, July 12, at 9 p.m. to see Wil compete against his fellow house mates in season 14 of “Big Brother”!