Matt Klotz’s Journey on Big Brother as a Deaf Contestant

Diversity and inclusion is becoming more commonly considered in reality television, and not just an afterthought.

Reality television has long been a platform for individuals to showcase their diverse backgrounds and unique stories. In 2023’s Big Brother season, one contestant has stood out not only for his strategic gameplay but also for breaking barriers and inspiring millions with his presence. Matt Klotz, a deaf contestant, has captivated the hearts of viewers worldwide with his resilience, determination, and unwavering spirit. In this blog post, we’ll delve into Matt’s journey on Big Brother and the impact he has had on the show and its audience.

Matt Klotz: Brief Background

He was born on May 24, 1996 to Dean and Linda Klotz and has an older sister, Stephanie. He grew up in Cameron Park. He was born in a time before universal hearing screenings were required which led to his parents not finding out about his deafness until he was two. Matt Klotz is not completely deaf, but needs hearing aids to pick up noise from regular conversation. He does not have cochlear implants. He received speech and lipreading training at the deaf oral school before he switched to mainstream school to be with his hearing peers.

At Vista del Lago High, Klotz pursued competitive swimming and was the HS All-American, All-American, League and Team record holder. All four years of high school he was: 

  • The All League and Section finalist.
  • Varsity letter winner.
  • All-City Sports Athlete Award winner.
  • School-record holder in the 50 free, 100 back, and 200 free
  • All-American record holder in 100 back.
  • SVC League record holder in the 50 free and 100 back.

To date, he is one of the most decorated U.S. Deaflympians of all time with 22 medals. Klotz was named the 2013 USA Deaf Sports Male Athlete of the Year and won two gold medals in the 100 and 200-meter backstrokes at the 2013 Deaflympics in Bulgaria. He holds three deaf world records in the 50, 100 and 200 back and was 2013 USA Deaf Sports Federation USA Male Athlete of the Year. Klotz was also a USA national qualifier, a US Open qualifier, and USA Jr. national finalist. 

In college, he was a member of the Louisiana State University (LSU) Swim Team from 2016 to 2020 while pursuing a degree in kinesiology. Klotz closed out his LSU swim career in 2020 with the third-fastest time in school history in the 50 free and the 200 back, as well as the fourth-fastest time in the 100 back. He was a part of the 200 Free Relay team that broke the school record at the SEC Championships.

Trailblazing through the Big Brother House

From the moment Matt Klotz entered the Big Brother house, he made it clear that his deafness would not define him. As the first deaf contestant in the show’s history, Matt took on the challenge with grace and confidence. His presence not only added diversity to the cast but also opened up important conversations about inclusion and representation in the world of reality television.

Overcoming Communication Barriers

One of the most significant challenges Matt faced in the Big Brother house was navigating the various communication dynamics. In a game where alliances are formed through whispered conversations and strategic planning, being deaf presented unique obstacles. However, Matt’s ability to adapt and find alternative means of communication showcased his resilience and determination.

Strategic Gameplay and Alliances

Matt Klotz didn’t just participate in Big Brother; he played the game strategically, forming alliances and making calculated moves to advance in the competition. His strategic prowess proved that being deaf did not hinder his ability to navigate the complex social dynamics of the Big Brother house. In fact, Matt’s strategic gameplay served as a testament to the idea that success in the game is not limited by one’s abilities, but rather by their intelligence and adaptability.

Inspiring a Global Audience

Matt’s journey on Big Brother has inspired a global audience, particularly those within the deaf community. His presence on such a widely watched platform sends a powerful message about breaking down stereotypes and challenging societal expectations. Viewers have witnessed Matt’s journey not as a deaf contestant, but as a formidable player who happens to be deaf, reinforcing the idea that one’s abilities should never limit their aspirations.

With the ending note, like the other reality shows’ predecessors, Nyle DiMarco and Marlee Matlin, Matt Klotz’s appearance on Big Brother marks a significant milestone in the history of reality television. As a deaf contestant, he not only shattered preconceived notions about the capabilities of individuals with the deafness but also left an indelible mark on the hearts of viewers worldwide. Matt’s journey is a testament to the power of diversity, inclusion, and the strength of the human spirit in overcoming challenges. As we celebrate Matt’s achievements, we also hope that his trailblazing path paves the way for more representation and inclusivity in future seasons of Big Brother and beyond.

You can watch Matt’s season of Big Brother on CBS.

Until next time, ta ta! 😄🤟🏻

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