Cody Calafiore went from big man on campus and business-school graduate to “Big Brother” contestant.
A 2013 alumnus of the Fox School of Business and former Temple men’s soccer player, Calafiore finished runner-up on the 16th season of “Big Brother.” The reality show, which airs on CBS, thrusts strangers into a shared living arrangement without contact or connection to the outside world.
An outgoing 23-year-old with a larger-than-life personality, Calafiore adjusted well to the world of “Big Brother,” where cameras occupy every corner of the house and provide nowhere to hide from scrutiny, speculation and sabotage from his fellow housemates, with whom Calafiore said he forged quick bonds.
“I’m proud of where I came from and I wanted to brag about it, so I’d always talk about that,” Calafiore said. “I wanted to tell people I graduated from the Fox School of Business. Having that confidence to talk about where I came from was nice, knowing people couldn’t look at me like just another college kid.
“I’m not just another college kid. I came from Fox. That was huge for me.”
Calafiore’s connection to “Big Brother” was organic. He said he encountered a casting agent for the show while working a weekend job with an entertainment company in early 2014. The Howell, N.J., native said he doesn’t recall much about the conversation, other than the agent asking him if he’d have any interest in a casting call for the show.
“I remember telling the guy, ‘Are you kidding? I’m obsessed with it,’” Calafiore said.
From there, Calafiore said, it was a perfect fit. A recent business-school graduate and a self-described “superfan” of the show, Calafiore said he was told he was an ideal candidate – one who survived all three months of the show’s duration.
Calafiore’s family made the trip out west for the show’s Sept. 24 finale. His parents, Paul and Linda, brother Paulie, and sister Angelina were in the CBS studio when it was unveiled that a panel of Calafiore’s voted-out housemates had chosen Derrick Levasseur as the season’s winner. Levasseur took home $500,000, while Calafiore won a $50,000 second prize.
Despite finishing in second place, Calafiore called his three months on the show “an amazing experience.” He said he had ample preparation for the show’s rigor during his Fox School career.
“Getting through the house was brutal,” he said. “It’s probably the unhealthiest thing I’ve ever done. I mean, you’re staying up until 2 or 3 a.m. on the West Coast and, now that I’m home, I can’t fall asleep until 6 a.m. some nights. But at Fox, I had to put my work in. I spent so many hours at the TECH Center. Between Fox and playing soccer for Temple, that was without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
Calafiore had a superficial complaint about the show. He said he was not permitted to bring into the house any clothing that bore a corporate logo, which meant most of his Temple and Fox School gear had to be removed from his suitcase.
“Trust me,” he said, “I would’ve been wearing a Temple shirt every day if that wasn’t the case.”
Calafiore’s Temple pride dates to 2010, when he transferred from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J., following his freshman year. Desiring a career in business, he pursued schools with stellar marketing and risk programs.
“I gravitated to Fox,” said Calafiore, who majored in Marketing. “My uncle works in corporate America for Cisco, and he always told me Fox was amazing,” Calafiore said. “That weighed heavily on my decision. Then we came for a visit and my father just was enraptured with everything Temple and Fox had to offer. I loved the city, loved the school. I was sold.”
Before heading to California and the “Big Brother” house, Calafiore had filled his resume with a few different ventures.
Following graduation, he had attempted to make a go at a soccer career. The midfielder – who played three seasons with the Owls – signed with Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew in February 2013 for a preseason trial, during which he suffered an ankle injury and was released. Calafiore went on to become an associate district manager and sales rep for ADP, LLC. He also had tried his hand at modeling.
“More photos came out while I was on the show than I would’ve liked,” he said with a laugh. “Those got leaked, so I guess I missed out on a good pay day.”
Calafiore had to resign his position with ADP in order to accept his casting call to “Big Brother,” so Calafiore is unemployed for the moment. In between jobs, he held down a two-episode stint on CBS soap opera, “The Bold and The Beautiful,” and he said he might go into business with his brother, Paulie, who owns and operates a gym in New York City.
“Worst-case scenario, I’ll be his business consultant with the gym,” Calafiore said. “That’s not a bad way to make a living, and going into business together is something we always talked about anyway. I can’t complain, really. Life has been great.”