BED-STUY, BROOKLYN — A Brooklyn make-up artist took home $100,000 in cash in the season finale of Netflix reality show, The Circle.
Born in Bed-Stuy, Sam Carmona kept it real on the reality TV show, which is based on isolated competitors communicating only via a social media app, leaving room for plenty of tricks and deception as player vie to not get voted out of the game by their peers.
While many other players used the protection of the in-game social media to embellish, or outright lie about themselves and forge complicated alliances and strategies, Carmona prided herself on playing a game absent of any deception or strategy.
“I had no idea what I was doing,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “It was just like my eyeliner — I winged it.”
“I didn’t want to go into the game and create this reputation for myself that I’m a person who thrives off of malice or shadiness. I wanted to just be my true, authentic self and hopefully it worked — well, it did work [laughs] but I went into it hoping that it would work.”
Carmona, 35, said she hadn’t even heard of the show prior to auditioning, she told Parade Magazine.
“When it closer to actually being a part of it, that’s when I finally tuned into the first two seasons. And I was like, ‘Oh, what did I sign up for?'” she told Parade.
Her Brooklyn — and Nuyorican — instincts served Carmona well as she instantly figured out one of the biggest tricks of the season, when produced allowed an opposing player — an allegedly middle-aged dog trainer named Jessica who was actually played by model Xanthi Perdikomatis and social media influencer Brett Robinson — pose as Carmona’s closest friend on the show in a chat.
But the exact words used by the player, an inside joke only known to Carmona and her friend, fellow contestant Chaz Lawery — who she called her “gusband,” made it clear that you can’t trick this Brooklyn girl that easily, since she recalled a group chat which included the fake Jessica where the affectionate term was used.
“Something that I could attribute to my Nuyorican heritage is that we pay attention to details,” she explained to Entertainment Weekly. “Don’t tell me you’re going to the store at 7:00 and you’re back at 7:15 and you didn’t buy milk.”
When Carmona found out she won, it only took her a moment to say on the show what she would spend the money on: her beloved grandmother who lives in public housing.
“My living grandmother lives in the projects,” Carmona said in Wednesday night’s finale, “she lives on the 14th floor. She’s highly asthmatic. If that elevator breaks, she sits in front of her building. I don’t want that for her — I want to take care of my family.”