INTO THE NEXT STAGE: The First Asian American Male to Get Some Lovin’ in the ‘Big Brother’ House


A few weeks into their stay on “Big Brother” (the CBS summer reality show where 16 hopefuls live in a house with cameras and mics recording their every move and try to avoid weekly evictions to win $500,000), Natalie Negrotti, a cute, ex-NFL cheerleader, told fellow contestants that when choosing a boyfriend, she never considers looks, just personality.

Yeah, I thought, I’ve heard that before. Would you give someone like good ol’ James Huling (a Korean American from South Carolina) here a chance? In fact, with comedic timing, James said he felt he had a great personality and would throw himself into the ring.

Well, wonder of wonders, they soon began flirting, often tickling each other in bed. On the July 10 show, the 26-year-old told diary room cameras that James (32) was definitely someone she’d date in the real world.

But on the July 21 broadcast, he almost blew it: While in the kitchen, Natalie asked a houseguest to ask James (who was outside) if he’d like her to make him some slop. James hollered back that he’s a grown man, and he can make his own food. In the diary room, Natalie (who’s originally from Caracas, Venezuela, but now based in New York) said, “That’s not nice! I think we’ve just had our first argument.”

James Huling and Natalie Negrotti on “Big Brother 18.”

James Huling and Natalie Negrotti on “Big Brother 18.”

Talking with James in private in their room, Natalie tells him how she feels. “I should’ve not started liking you. You’re free to cuddle with whoever you want now.”

James, who continues to look at the ceiling, says, “Honestly, I apologize for your [sic]comment.”

Natalie: “Yeah, well, you hurt my feelings bad.”

James: “I didn’t know how you felt towards me at all.”

N: “How do you not know?! I’m always hanging out with you. I always try to make food or try to do something nice for you… It’s so obvious! (smiling) America knows who I like!”

J: “I really do like you.”

N: “I like you too.”

J (finally looking at her): “Like, all giggles aside.”

N (laughs): “Like I honestly have the best time with you.”

They stand and happily hug each other.

Bridgette waits for Frank to tell her what to do next on “Big Brother 18.”

Bridgette waits for Frank to tell her what to do next on “Big Brother 18.”

In the diary room, Natalie says, “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. And James, I’m glad you admitted it and apologized. And you’re out of the doghouse! Guess what, America? I guess James and I are BB official!”

Back in the room, Natalie’s been tearing up. “My nose is running.”

J: “Ah! Boogers!” They laugh.

Later, while James tries to outlast his competitors to win the Head of Household contest, Natalie tells him she’ll give him a kiss if he wins. When he does, she plants one on him.

Awww! I’ve watched “Big Brother” every year they had an Asian American contestant. And I can’t recall an Asian man ever getting romantically involved with someone on the show. At most, it’s a nice guy who’s “the best friend” of one of the women, but no sparks ever fly. In fact, last year, James had the hots for the adorable, blonde Meg, but she didn’t see him as romantic material. All I can say is, it’s about time.

On the other hand, the other Asian (half Filipino) in the house, Bridgette Dunning, is an embarr