12-person Big Brother 11 cast announced, but not the 13th “mystery houseguest” (Sheila?)

Big Brother 11‘s cast was announced this morning on the always-terrible Early Show, and although I suffered through watching that, it had less information that CBS’ web site now does about the men and women who we’ll soon start obsessing over.

While 12 houseguests were revealed on TV and online, a 13th “mystery houseguest” will be added to the group next Tuesday. One pre-cast announcement rumor suggested there would be a returning cast member, and Big Brother 9 third-place houseguest Sheila Kennedy recently wrote on MySpace that her dog needs a home because she “will be traveling for 3 months.” She also last logged in to MySpace Sunday, the day the houseguests were sequestered.

The 12 people revealed this morning are all apparently strangers (let’s hope; Julie Chen said they were “diverse” and had only “two things in common”: “a fierce competitive spirit and the desire to win the half-million dollar prize”). More than a few seem to fit neatly into clique stereotypes that is currently the dominant rumor about how this season’s “tribes” will be organized.

They’re not diverse in age: eight of the 12 are in their 20s, and three are 24. The other four aren’t exactly old: two are 30, one is 32, and the oldest is 41.

Overall, it seems like a really strong, relatively stable group (although the house will surely change that). First impression stand-outs for me are Chima, Jeff, Lydia, Michele, Ronnie, and Russell–basically, the ones who seem smart.

Here’s the cast, whose full bios are now online at CBS.com:

  • Braden, 28, a surfer, actor, and model who executive producer Alison Grodner said on TV is “gorgeous” and “self absorbed”
  • Casey, 41, “a dad, fifth grade teacher by day who is a DJ by night,” Grodner said
  • Chima, 32, a freelance journalist
  • Kevin, 29, a graphic designer and the standard Big Brother flamboyant gay man who calls himself “extra fabulous,” because he’s apparently super-creative
  • Jeff, 30, who’s in advertising sales and played football in college
  • Jordan, 22, a Southern waitress who the editors are already making fun of for being an idiot by including footage of her interrupting her dancing to fix her hair
  • Laura, 21, a bikini model who calls herself the “temptation”
  • Lydia, 24, a bisexual make-up artist who used to be a celebrity couple’s nanny
  • Michele, 27, who has a PhD and is a CalTech neuroscientist; Grodner said, “we’ve never had a brainy female in the house,” an awesome dig at every previous female houseguest
  • Natalie, 24, a Tae Kwon Do champion
  • Ronnie, a 30-year-old married gamer and college debater who’s an obsessive Big Brother fan.
  • Russell, 24, a mixed martial arts fighter whose nickname is “Russell the Lovemuscle”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.