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Second jury member and fan-favorite of Big Brother 23, Derek Xiao previously guessed the six-person alliance The Cookout as a joke while he still competed in the house. However, after his eviction, he discovered the group did exist, noting he believes “they’re playing an amazing game” in an exit interview.

Derek Xiao poses for 'Big Brother 23' cast photo
‘Big Brother 23’ houseguest, Derek Xiao | Cliff Lipson/CBS/Getty Images

Derek Xiao unknowingly closely aligned with The Cookout female members

During the first couple of days in the house, Derek “Big D” Frazier, Azah Awasum, Tiffany Mitchell, and Xavier Prather agreed they wanted to work together secretly to ensure a Black player won the season the first time in the history of the original series.

Shortly later, the group included Hannah Chaddha and Kyland Young, calling themselves The Cookout “for the culture.” They decided to pair up with a designated pawn to remain undetected and keep their members in the house for as long as possible.

Therefore, the Cookout would have the numbers to save one another if nominated alongside their person. Derek Xiao formed strong personal relationships with Tiffany, Azah, and Hannah early in the season, perceived as a duo with the latter.

However, Sarah Beth Steagall backdoored him during Week 7, and the Cookout took the opportunity to take out the biggest physical threat remaining.

He and Claire Rehfuss previously jokingly clocked the six-person alliance

Derek X. served as Head of Household during Week 5 and already planned on targeting comp beast. However, he still held the typical one-on-one meetings after getting to his HOH room.

During his conversation with longtime ally Claire Rehfuss, she admitted she believed Xavier posed the biggest threat in the house because she couldn’t get a read on him and feels nearly everyone protects him.

Claire also pointed out that she doesn’t see him talking to anyone outside of the five other Cookout members, naming them all. Additionally, they both brought up the racial dynamics in the house a few times, noticing the other white players were already evicted.

During Week 6, Claire and Derek X. joked about it, wondering if another alliance existed. While laughing, he noted that if it’s true, he would consider it “the best game” because he didn’t see it coming. The two hinted at the possibility of the alliance existing a couple of other times but seemingly never put it all together. 

He commented on their ‘amazing’ gameplay in an exit interview

Following his eviction, Derek X. acknowledged the “fairly lowkey alliance” in an interview with Heavy. When asked why it didn’t “concern” him and Claire more once they seemingly discovered it, he explained they only jokingly pointed out the group could be working together.

According to the fan-favorite, the two weren’t trying to find anything but now realizes the two “literally hit it on the head.” Although he thought the main alliance (Big D, Tiffany, Azah, and Xavier) might include Kyland but not Hannah, he admitted the group is playing “well” together.


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“We literally stated out this alliance but still didn’t think it was happening.” He explained. “So kudos to them; they’re playing an amazing game.” During his goodbye messages, Kyland admitted he worked with a group since Week 1, but Derek X. didn’t put it together at the time.

Therefore, it’s unclear exactly when he discovered the validity of The Cookout. Big Brother 23 airs Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 8/7 Central on CBS.