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July 07, 2021

Philly native booted from Big Brother after testing positive for COVID-19

Christie Valdiserri will be replaced by Claire Rehfuss on the new season

TV Big Brother
Big Brother Source/CBS

A Philadelphia native was removed from the 23rd season of Big Brother after testing positive for COVID-19.

A woman from Philadelphia who was supposed to star in the next season of Big Brother was sent home before the show started after testing positive for COVID-19.

Christie Valdiserri, a professional dancer, posted the news to Instagram Monday that she tested positive, despite being vaccinated.

"I don’t want to be sharing this news but I just tested positive for COVID," Valdiserri said. "I have no idea how I got it. I have the vaccine and have been following all of the guidelines up to this point. I have absolutely no symptoms. I feel perfectly fine. So I’m really grateful for that but it’s really frustrating because I won’t be playing in Big Brother this summer."

Valdiserri was one of the 16 cast members set to compete for $500,000 on the reality competition series that premieres Wednesday.

In her Instagram video, she said she's experienced a "rollercoaster of emotions" over the past few days and said believes everything happens for a bigger reason. Valdiserri, who has alopecia, said she was grateful for being able to raise awareness for the condition in her brief time tied to the show.

"I have put myself out there and shared this vulnerability of being bald and all the comments, good or bad, are affecting everybody else that also is bald and experiences this vulnerability, so spread love," Valdiserri said. "And whether you are just finding out about alopecia or you know what alopecia is, you know that we're unstoppable and I'm going to bounce back in one way or another."

Valdiserri was replaced by Claire Rehfuss, a 25-year-old AI engineer from Ohio, just days before the new season, People reported.

Rehfuss said in her Big Brother bio that she plans to create alliances and identify her biggest threats early on. 

"I’ll win with my intelligence, drive, and adaptability! I’ll sniff out the big threats quickly and navigate my way through the game by creating advantageous alliances … I’m also going to try to get out the strong alpha dudes early, that way I don’t have as many challenge threats or egos that I have to tiptoe around,she said.

Season 23 of Big Brother airs Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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