Ariana Grande's Brother Frankie to Compete on Big Brother
"It will put an unnecessary target on my back," Frankie Grande tells PEOPLE of why he plans on keeping his identity a secret
“I’ve always said I was funny and I should have my own reality show,” Frankie, 31, tells PEOPLE of what inspired him to audition for the CBS reality competition’s 16th season. “And then I thought, ‘Maybe I should be on somebody else’s show!’ ”
While he initially auditioned for Survivor, a chance meeting with a Big Brother casting director led to Frankie becoming one of the 16 contestants competing for a $500,000 prize this summer.
Big Brother has had cast members with notable relatives in the past – former Survivor super-villain Russell Hantz‘s brother Willie and Big Brother season 13 winner Rachel Reilly‘s sister, Elissa Slater, both competed in previous seasons – but Frankie is actually more worried about being recognized as a YouTube personality than as a Grande.
“I don’t want people knowing I have an online following because it will put an unnecessary target on my back,” says Frankie, who has a YouTube channel with more than 185,000 subscribers and nearly 10 million views. “If there is an America’s Vote or America’s Player, they might assume that I will win it.”
But don’t expect that Frankie is going to openly admit who his half sister is, either.
“I’m going to drop Grande and just use my father’s last name, Marchione,” says Frankie, who only plans on revealing his famous relative towards the end of the season. “If I get recognized, I’m going to have to win Head of Household and do damage control. If I don’t, I plan on flying under the radar the first few weeks.”
Regardless of how Frankie does in the three-month-long competition, he knows he will have a fan in his little sister.
“I got to call Ariana on camera and tell her what I was doing and she just said, ‘I know how much you love the show. Go make them fall in love with you but don’t show them all of you because a lot of people will hate you for that, ‘ ” says Frankie. “We both get so much hate online but it is usually about ourselves. I’m hoping there is more love than hate on me while I’m on the show because Ariana was like, ‘I’m going to kill myself if I have to read hate about you too.’ ”
As for Frankie’s love for reality competition, he would still jump at the chance to compete on Survivor – but if it is another season of Blood vs. Water, don’t expect Ariana to be competing alongside him.
“She could never. She isn’t a Survivor type. She’s a diva,” he says. “I’m a diva too, but I’ve done charity work in Africa and spent weeks in huts without electricity and running water. She’s never done anything like that and I couldn’t ask her to.”
“But if they wanted to helicopter her in from a hotel every day for like 20 minutes, I think she’d win.”
The new season of Big Brother starts June 25 on CBS.