The day after he helped crown Derrick Levasseur the sixteenth winner of the CBS reality show, Frankie spoke to PEOPLE about not being able to be with his family when his grandfather died, the charity he will donate his Team America prize money to, and what is next for his showmance with fellow houseguest Zach Rance.
What is it like being back in the real world?
The first thing I did was go look up my sister‘s performance on the VMAs. I was blown away. I’ve never seen her do anything so epic. And I was shocked and saddened to find out about the deaths of Joan Rivers and Robin Williams. I loved them both.
It must have been difficult to not be with your family when your grandfather passed away in July.
It was one of the most difficult choices in my life and one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to face. He is like my father. He was the patriarch of the family and I knew how devastating his loss would be to my mother and sister and grandmother. The fact that I couldn t be there for them was destroying me. I think it led to my first big errors in the game because I was emotionally compromised and unfocused. It was very, very hard.
Anything you were surprised to learn about the game now that you’re out of the house?
I was surprised that Cody was a Frankie-hater from day one. And that’s a testament to his social game. I had no idea that he was gunning for me so early on in this game. So well done, Cody. I didn’t see him coming.
Why do you think Derrick deserved to win?
Derrick is flawless. To have done what he did and still have all of us love him the way that we do is unbelievable. He literally slit all of our throats and we still believe he’s the greatest human being on the planet. How do you do that? That’s unbelievable.
With your large social media following, were you surprised you were not a finalist for the Fan Favorite prize?
I wasn’t surprised. I think that a lot of people made assumptions based on my popularity outside the house, but ultimately this is Big Brother and there have been fans of this show for 16 years. Those are the people who are voting. I’m just grateful for the general support I have gotten since I got out of the house. I feel like it’s been so overwhelmingly positive so I feel like I have won fan favorite.
But you did win money as part of Team America.
I had a blast doing all those missions and it was such an honor. Plus, I got to win some money! I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to build a school with the charity I work with, Build On. But I will say, once I was evicted, I realized it was ultimately my downfall in this game. I was loyal to Derrick because we were both in Team America. If we hadn’t been, I would have turned on him a lot earlier. I saw him working and I made excuses for him. I even called him out on being a cop. But I wanted to believe he was with me because we were part of Team America.
You had a very special relationship with your fellow houseguest Zach, despite the fact that he identifies as a straight man. When is the "Zankie" reality show?
The Zankie reality show should happen as soon as possible. I am just now seeing some of the footage and there is no doubt that we love each other. I felt it in the house but I didn’t realize how ridiculous it looks to everyone else because [we look like] we are a couple. It’s very strange. It’s unbelievable. I love Zach so much. I’ve already told him the answer is “yes” if he proposes. [laughs]