Bi(g) Brother

Reality TV Star Paulie Calafiore Comes Out As Bisexual: “I Am Sexually Fluid”

Paulie Calafiore is a reality TV veteran, having appeared on Big Brother, Ex on the Beach, and several seasons of The Challenge. But it was only in his most recent run on The Challenge: USA that Calafiore finally opened up about his bisexuality.

Though Calafiore was eliminated on Thursday’s episode, he had a revealing heart-to-heart with fellow contestant Tori Deal before leaving the competition.

“I came through athletics, so that forced me to repress who I was, sexually,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was attracted to women, attracted to men, or if it was just like an energy thing. I’d be like, ‘I need to prove that I’m the most alpha human in the world.’”

Calafiore elaborated on his sexuality in an interview with GLAAD, saying, “I am bisexual. I am sexually fluid.”

Before becoming a reality TV staple, Calafiore was a successful college athlete, having played soccer for Rutgers University and briefly going pro after graduating. He said his athletic background was a big reason for staying in the closet.

“Growing up playing sports, you have to have this mindset. You have to almost beat your competitors not just physically, but mentally,” Calafiore explained. “For me, this was breaking down all of the aspects of what I guess would be toxic masculinity, of feeling like you always need to dominate, dominate, dominate, and actually being able to open up.”

Now, Calafiore says he hopes his coming out will open the door for other athletes to follow suit.

“Maybe there’s a younger version of me somewhere who gets to see this and [says], ‘You know what? I don’t have to pretend to be this because I’m an athlete,'” he added.

Not everyone is happy to see Calafiore back in the spotlight. He was a controversial figure in his appearances on Big Brother and The Challenge, known for getting into explosive arguments. His feud with fan favorite Da’Vonne Rogers on Big Brother 18 is especially notorious, culminating in an argument where Rogers called out Calafiore’s tendency to talk down to women.

But in new interviews, Calafiore has said that he attributes his past aggression to having to hide the less macho side of himself.

“When I got out of college and went into professional sports … I was like, ‘Alright, let me bottle this back up inside,” he told Us Weekly. “And then when I went on national television for the first time, I was like, ‘Let me definitely bottle this up inside.’ And by doing that, I kind of showed that really aggressive athletic side of me. And I never got to also show the softer side of me, which I feel came from suppressing that again.”

While on The Challenge, Calafiore revealed that he’s also gone to therapy to “break the cycle” of his aggressive behavior. Coming out could be the start of Calafiore’s redemption arc.

“From here on out, I just know that I’m staying true to myself,” Calafiore said in his Us Weekly interview. “That’s the only thing that I think we can do in life.”

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