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PBB'S Fil-Aussie teen winner James Reid bares story behind move to the Philippines

CEBU, Philippines - Filipino-Australian teen James Reid believes that having been linked to three girls inside the “Pinoy Big Brother” house—Tricia Santos, Anne Li and Cebuana Devon Seron—helped him secure the highest votes and eventually emerge as the winner in the reality show’s latest “teen clash” edition.

 “It did help that I had three loveteams because it widened my fan base,” the 17-year-old “Dashing Dude from Australia” told The FREEMAN in his charming Aussie accent when asked what he thought endeared him to viewers who were expected to normally pick a pure Filipino over a foreigner to win the Pinoy contest.

During his stay inside Big Brother’s house, James almost got booted out from the show when he was rushed to a hospital after he complained of chest pains and difficulty in breathing. Doctors diagnosed him with costrochondritis or muscle pains in the rib/chest area. It was learned later on that he has a hole in one of his lungs that makes it hard for him to participate in strenuous activities. But as luck would have it, he was able to return to the PBB house and came out of it a millionaire.

After his victory, there were some quarters who were quick to point out he didn’t deserve to win because he isn’t pure Filipino. His young, ardent mostly-female fans, who supported him all the way ‘til the Big Night, thought otherwise, and that is what’s important to him.

James said that his father is Australian while his mother hails from the province of Cavite. What brought him to the Philippines after living in Sydney, Australia since he was born?

“We had financial troubles back in Australia. We lost a court case and so we had our house taken away. My family was living off government allowance for at least five years because we didn’t have any money. Me and my dad decided to move here to start anew,” replied James, who added that his parents had separated since he was a two-year-old toddler.

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He continued his studies here at the Makati Science High School but had a difficult time adjusting in a regular Filipino school, so his dad enrolled him in an Australian distance-learning center.

In Australia, they have to complete six years of high school. James said he is now on his last year. Asked what he wants to take up as a college course, he divulged a passion for cooking, which makes him want to enroll in a Culinary Arts program.

“I’ve been living in the Philippines for a year now. There hasn’t been any culture shock since me and my dad have been visiting almost every year during holidays,” said the naturally bashful James.

Home-schooling bored James because it didn’t allow him any social interaction among kids his age. That’s what encouraged him to join PBB, so he could meet people and make new friends.

Now, it’s safe to say that his family’s financial woes have been solved, thanks to James’ decision to join PBB. As grand winner, he took home P1 million cash prize, a condo unit worth P3 million, a water-refilling franchise worth P1.5 million, an Asian trip for two, and a 46-inch LCD television. More blessings should come in for him and his dad, what with a youth-oriented TV show that’s being cooked up by ABS-CBN for him and fellow housemates Devon (whom he’s being paired to), Bret Jackson and Fretzie Bercede.

“The first weeks, I was really shocked with all the attention and having everyone know my name. But I’m getting used to it. Now, I’m doing workshops and studying Tagalog. I really look up to Sam Milby since he’s now good in Tagalog. Bret and I also want to make an album of our original compositions,” the showbiz newbie shared.

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