Big Brother‘s latest season hasn’t even begun, but the twists are already underway.
Professional dancer Christie Valdiserri, who was announced as a Season 23 houseguest earlier this month, has exited the series just days before its return after she tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I have no idea how I got it,” Valdiserri shared in a video message on Monday. “I have the vaccine, and I’ve been following all 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 on Big Brother this summer.”
She also addressed her struggle with alopecia, a condition that can cause complete hair loss on the scalp and body, and the feedback she’s seen online since her casting was announced.
“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,” she continued. “Whether you’re 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 will be replaced by Claire Rehfuss (pictured above, right), a 25-year-old artificial intelligence engineer who hails from Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Per Rehfuss’ official Big Brother bio, her strategy will rely on “my intelligence, drive and adaptability,” and she plans to “try to get out the strong alpha dudes early.”
Big Brother returns for Season 23 on Wednesday, July 7, with a live, 90-minute premiere at 8/7c. The show will then air on Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning July 11 at 8 pm.
Watch Valdiserri’s full announcement below: