“Not many people would be thankful for a harsh upbringing, but honestly I wouldn’t change it for anything – it’s made me who I am,” she explains.
“I’ve seen how life can be, from the lowest of the lows, and I don’t want to go back there ever again. That’s why I’m making sure I’m taking life into my own hands and making a future for myself. Because at the end of the day, that’s up to me.”
It’s this can-do attitude that’s seen McDougal find herself in Big Brother’s top five. But it hasn’t been without its hurdles.
“Going into the house I knew that people would underestimate me because of my age,” she divulges. “It really grinded my gears.”
While she flew under the radar early in the game, the reality star has been able to play this to her advantage.
“I went in there with a goal, I went in there with a strategy and I played out that strategy 100 per cent,” McDougal continues.
“And a part of that was to really play up my age, that really bubbly, young, naive 19-year-old.”
While she’s proud of herself for getting this far, she is ready to take it all the way.
“I just want to prove everyone wrong, because in that house no-one thought I stood a chance,” she tells.
“Everyone thought I was going to be out within the first week or two, so I really wanted to prove to everyone that I can win.”
As for the $250,000 prize money, you won’t see the teen splashing the cash any time soon. McDougal insists she wants to help her family pay off some debt, put a deposit on a house and “hopefully start up a youth development organisation for disadvantaged teenagers”.
A win might not be certain, but one thing is –McDougal is wise beyond her years.
“I want to use Big Brother as a platform to inspire younger people,” she adds. “So they know that no matter how you were raised or what cards you were given in life, you can still make a life for yourself. And this life is pretty darn great, so make the most of it.”
Big Brother continues Mon.-Wed. 7.30pm on Seven
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