My sister did some cleaning up and asked me if I wanted an old magazine with Sauli on the cover. Boy did I! You have probably seen the pictures before, but maybe not the whole text. Voltti is a Finnish Gay magazine. The interview was made in January 2008, soon after Sauli won his season of Big Brother Finland.
Voltti Feb/March 2008
Cover: Big Brother's Sauli - The gentleman of reality television
A young Gentleman
Sauli Koskinen lived the last fall in the reality television's 24/7 camera survalence like a gentleman and smile on his face. He charmed the whole Finland. Now the big Brother -winner is getting back to his regular life and using a calendar again. Sauli wants to become a stylist.
It's a dark Monday night in January, and Helsinki is suffering through a snow storm. Barefooted, tanned Sauli Koskinen, the latest winner of Sub-tv channel's reality television series Big Brother, sits on a warm and beautiful looking sofa in a one room flat in Töölö. On the windowsil stands a framed photograph, taken by a friend: Elegantly dressed Sauli bends backwards in a solo dance. On the floor lays a pillow that is familiar to the the most dedicated BB-fans. Sauli's Father bought it for his son from the Big Brother house's charity auction.
Sauli holds pairs of pink and violet shoestrings on his lap. He offers a pair of black boots to look at.
"Tell me, which ones should I put on these?"
Both colors would fit in Sauli's T-shit print and his wristband. The deliberately casually dressed man in his hat and trashed jeans could be swiped from his sofa at home straight to the hottest parties; the only thing yet lacking is getting his shoes on.
Sauli is just as real, relaxed and happy as what he was in television screens. The young man, turning 23 in the spring, boyish charm is complemented with a manly edge of no need whatsoever to act snobbish. Sauli trusts his own skill in valuating situations and people.
"I have never been able to think myself as a particularly positive or social character. I just happen to be like this."
Sauli is single, but he has experiences in longer dating and also for living together as a couple. He has grown to be a social person in his childhood. In his childhood in Hyvinkää, the boy's favorite things was to play children's games in their house's yard with his twin sister and the neighborhood kids. As a teenager, Sauli liked to go to Helsinki to party around. About five years ago, after he turned eighteen and after living in the Canary Islands for a short awhile, Sauli moved to Helsinki. He took a job frying burgers in Hesburger (translator's note: Hesburger is a local equivalent to McDonald's).
"Schools just weren't for me. I get along without, with experiences and connections. The burger joint job got me right away a lot of new friendships. A couple of years later I transfered to sell clothes in Spirit Store."
The customers of the clothing store and his sisters encouraged Sauli to apply to Big Brother, which he had himself followed in previous seasons.
"I dreamed that it would be me walking through that black corridor, the background music playing, that they use for the ousters of the contestants," Sauli laughs. "Only that my dream never did get true, as for the winner, the corridor was brightly lit and there was no music!"
The four-stage applying process went so well that Sauli had decided to quit his job even before the process ended. "I just trusted the feeling that I would get in it."
His mother encouraged strongly for his son that was now dipping himself into the reality tv production world. The Big Brother format was familiar to her beforehand. "My dad, though, didn't know a lot about the show before. When I left to start at the BB house, he said "lets keep in touch" - dad didn't know that the contestants are kept completely isolated from the surrounding world. However he got very enthusiastic about it and even followed the 24-hour tv-channel."
Along with his family, Sauli's success was followed with a great enthusiasm also in his favorite bar Dtm (translator's note: Dtm is a gay bar/club in Helsinki). The bar produced a bottle of sparkling wine for every week that Sauli stayed in the BB house. Eventually the bottles were so many that Dtm had to reserve a separate shelf for them. That got cleaned in the New Years with Sauli and his friends.
Sauli felt good living in the BB House.
"If anything, I was left missing for the parties we had and the team spirit. We genuinely had fun. Production issues were banned topics in the house, so we made up pseudonyms. Cameras were "flies", and in the warm showers we pretended that the water was cold so that the producers wouldn't notice that they had forgotten to turn off the heat. My experience was that the people in the house were quite themselves - it would be really hard to keep up a role 24/7. When running character roles came as challenges, like in the pissis-challenge, then we adopted roles. (translator's note: Pissis is a term for teenage girls who try to act and look sexy and know-it-all, but end up looking and behaving like stupid teenie pact-animals.)
Sauli tells that he learned patience in the house. That has been needed after his win in the real world, too. For example, in the first three days after his win, he slept only two and a half hours -combined.
"This time after the BB has been a bit chaotic. Sometimes it feels like this wouldn't be my life that I'm living, but all this has still been really wonderful."
Sauli is very aware that the publicity from BB should be utilized in a very fast pace. He already has a sole proprietor name, of which bookkeeping his father is helping with.
"For the first time in my life I had to buy myself a calendar to keep up with all the interviews and projects. Only after all this will be a bit settled down, I will know how the BB experience changed me. It sure feels funny when people recognize me. When I went to the house, I was like anyone else in the street, but now people recognize me, throw greetings, come to talk or yell after me. Sometimes I don't even know if I know the person greeting me or not. Some people also have come to me to open up for their own lives. I haven't experienced these encounters as awkward and they don't feel uncomfortable, but for example, I couldn't go out with a hangover anymore."
In big Brother, Sauli was also open about his sexual preference. It didn't effect, at least negatively, in his popularity among the voters.
"I went to the house with a principle that if anyone asks, I'll answer honestly."
One of the most moving moments in big Brother was the phone call that Sauli got to the house, where his sister told that he had a new nephew. Sauli, moved to tears, saw the baby later through a video camera. The little one spend his Christmas with Sauli and the rest of the family in Hyvinkää and on January, Sauli became the godfather of the boy.
The big Brother contestants have kept in touch after the show. The finalist quartet Sauli, Kadi, Niko and Riitta with her daughter, trawled to Tenerife soon after the contest was over. Also Farbod, that has previously left the show, joined them. Later the same bunch also gathered in Sauli's place in Hyvinkää, of which yard can be found the same kind of open air bath barrel. (translator's nore: Kind of like a jacuzzi, only more rustic.) The group also went together in Kaija Koo's concert.
"No-one else than a person living in that house could truly understand the experience, so for that aspect, too, it's nice that we have kept in touch," Sauli tells.
Sauli and Niko have become especially good friends. The friends are already taking event host duties and the men also dream of continuing their tv careers.
"A job of a stylist and fashion interest me and I hope that I could somehow combine these and a tv work," Sauli tells about his future vision. "I think that it would be a cool idea to pick people from the street and re-style them, show them that other styles of dressing up would be available. Then they could choose if they would want to continue with their former styles of with mine."