Paulie Calafiore was a houseguest on the CBS TV show, Big Brother 18. He was part of the sibling twist, after his younger brother, Cody, came in second place on the 16th season. Paulie used his national exposure to enact positive change and inspire and motivate others.
He is also an athlete, a student, a public speaker, a deejay, a HUGE Bruno Mars fan, and a businessman. He uses all of his expertise and passion for pursuing other projects and making a difference in the world.
I had the privilege of talking with Paulie about his time on Big Brother, what he did after, how he is making a positive difference in the world, and what he is up to next.
Here is our interview:
How did being on Big Brother impact your life? Did you learn anything new about yourself?
Paulie: This whole experience, if you use it the right way, allows you a lot of time for self-reflection, and that’s exactly how I used it. I actually found out a lot about myself, which were things that I think I secretly already knew, but now I looked at it as 'how are these things affecting my life in a negative way, and how are they affecting me in a positive way?'
So I figured out a lot of things about myself in terms of how I interact with people who are closest to me, or not so close to me, and how I interact with people in the business and social sense. Reevaluating life from that aspect, how to maximize profits while minimizing cost in every aspect of my life, in the sense of the people you surround yourself with. What is the cost of having a negative person in your life vs. the cost of having a positive person in your life?
I touched on some of these things in one of my blogs in the house, where entering a state of nothingness, where all you have is your thoughts and inner peace because there are no distractions. It is just you in that house with 16 other people to start with. But you really have those moments of isolation. You really have that time to dive in.
Did you notice any similarities between being on Big Brother and playing soccer?
Paulie: The fact that is was a game, when you approach anything as a game, like if you are somebody who plays sports or if you’re just a competitive person by nature, you wanna win, so you start preparing yourself mentally, and that was the similarity that I found. I started preparing myself up mentally as if it was a game. So, all of the same mental techniques that I would use against opponents, as well as for myself, were all part of it.
It was a different type of game because we’re not going after each other, in a physical sense, of going after the ball or working as a unit. It’s basically you vs. everybody else, and you try and piece together teams that are trustworthy, but everything is a mindset.
Every time a competition comes you had to get yourself mentally prepared, but you also have to prepare yourself so your adrenaline isn’t going too much. You are getting yourself prepared the night before you think it’s going to come, so that you are resting, eating, hydrating, and doing all of these things to give yourself somewhat of an edge for the competitions. Then on the social aspect of it, it’s like what are you doing in order to get your competitive edge to know them and manipulate them to your advantage in the sense of making them not operate at the most optimal levels.
You will be happy to know that friendships you make inside of the house can last a lifetime.
Do you have any friendships that lasted after you left the house?
Paulie: Yes, I do. I’m still very close with Zakiyah. We talk on a regular basis about what we are doing and what we have coming up. We plan visits to see each other. Corey is somebody that I have stayed really close with. We, again talk and plan to see each other on a regular basis, and we have a business together. Victor and I call each other all of the time just to talk about life and about what we have going on. I talked to Paul every now and then when we are coming to each other's cities. (PP reunited! I guess you could say it’s #FRIENDSHIP!). And then I talk to Nicole, every now and then.
The Big Brother house can really create lasting friendships!
After he left the house, Paulie used his national exposure to enact change. He started working with the Cybersmile Foundation, which creates a positive digital atmosphere for all.
You can check out more about this amazing foundation here: https://www.cybersmile.org/
What impact has this foundation had on you and do you plan on working with them in the future?
Paulie: The Cybersmile Foundation is doing so many good things. This is more than a foundation, this is more of a national and worldwide problem that we are dealing with, and that we are standing behind of because it really really is something that I can dive into levels about.
Diving into the mentality of kids nowadays, from ages 8 years old, all the way up through high school, through college, even into their 20’s as they are going through it, is just a really big, big problem of how everybody needs instant gratification. Everybody has social media at their fingertips, which is a blessing, in some regards, and also such a negative thing in other regards, and these kids, have on accountability because they have no consequences for their actions, whether it’s the parents telling them that they can get away with all of this stuff, and they really start to bully one another, on a harsh level, online, and it causes these young kids to want to commit something or feel as though they are less than nothing.
This is really something that should not only have national exposure, but should have worldwide exposure, to create change, not just from the kid’s perspective, but from the parenting level. They need to do something about it. And for me, it’s not like I was cyber bullied or bullied, or attempted to be, it was just because of the way I was raised. I was always able to use it as fuel and fire and overcome it.
So if there is anything I can do, in that regard for the Cybersmile Foundation, is to show everyone that they should use this stuff as fuel, even though it hurts, even though it’s terrible. Even if the things that you see and read, and the things that people try to do to you are awful, use it as fuel to become successful, and that is the message I wanted to get across with that.
I really had a soft spot for this foundation because, at the time, Zakiyah was going through a lot, and I just thought it was the most disgusting thing in the world. That people can make up these fake accounts, and just constantly on a daily basis just harass people, is not ok. I wanted to put a stamp on it, and turn a negative into a positive. I wanted to Go and show these people that you are only adding fuel to the fire. So if you want to keep doing this, I am going to show anyone who has ever been cyberbullied or bullied, exactly what negative energy can do when channeled in a positive manner, and that’s why this foundation was so huge for me.
After working with the Cybersmile Foundation, Paulie started his own campaign called The Rise Up in September 2016, which is a movement to affect change in the world through positive actions. If you would like to donate and find out more about this organization, click here: http://theriseup.org/
Why do you think the Rise Up campaign is needed, and what is next for this organization?
Paulie: It is needed because we live in a world, where all we see majority of the time is negative reports, muse, and talking about negative things, it may allow people to forget that there is so much good in the world, some positive in the world, and so many good things that can be done. The Rise Up is a movement that is calling on our individuals to “rise up” as leaders in their communities, not to try to impact the world, but to impact a few people within their community and see what those people can do from you impacting them, and create a domino effect of people who stand behind the same message of creating positive change through ACTION, not through words, cause words can be ignored, and pushed off to the side. If you have calculated action, there is no ignoring one person that can impact two or three people who then impact two or three more people, and then you have ten people that can impact the community, a state, a nation, or the world.
You can’t ignore calculated action with strong voices and passion attached to it.
There are a lot of plans for The Rise Up. We are planning a Rise Up tour! It is open to anywhere and everywhere. We are looking at schools first, but this isn’t just for kids. I hugely believe in investing in our youth because they are our future. This can be for anybody at any age. We are looking at corporations and any type of events where the audiences are a little more diverse in, not only age but their walks of life. The whole idea is people coming together to stand up for one another.
We are going to be looking towards the charities that we have worked with in order to have more speaking engagements in more areas to talk about these topics. We are looking to get more exposure, not just on social media, but through different news avenues and organizations to talk about this. The Cybersmile Foundation is going to be a huge, huge help in allowing us to spread the message on their behalf.
Photo credits: Barrett Stinson - The Grand Island Independent
What inspires you to motivate and give back to others?
Paulie: For me, I’ve always been self-driven, self-motivated. If I ever was going off of my path, I had people there to kind of remind me what the end result was. Then I looked at the world, and different environments, and I thought to myself, ‘Not everybody will always have people around them to push them back to that path, and make them realize that there is a bigger picture than what may be happening right now. ’m huge on talking about the bigger picture
So what inspires me to motivate and to do this is, and it’s been something that I have been doing since high school, no matter how hard I work at the things that I am passionate about, I always felt as though I should be helping others in the community. They may not be doing it at the level that I am doing it, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t. I’ve been an athlete my whole life, and others out there may want to be a doctor or an artist, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t be the best in their realm, and you have to find your own definition of success and what you want out of life, and then being the best at it by their own definition. Everybody’s going to have a different definition of success.
That’s what inspires me to motivate and to talk to people. I feel as though, yes, the topics are super, super important, but in order to deal with these serious topics, there needs to be a level of empowerment and motivation that comes with it.
This year Paulie launched his new business, My Time, My City, a clothing company that is so much more than just a clothing line, with his brother Cody and fellow Big Brother contestants and friend, Corey Brooks.
You can buy the very comfortable clothing here: https://www.mytimemycity.com/
How did you come up with this concept?
Paulie: Everything that I do follows a similar theme of empowerment, walking your own path, and creating a community, and brand. My Time, My City was created with the idea that we are leaders, and we are creating this brand from walking our own beaten path in life. If you believe in yourself, and what you are doing, and if you want to be successful, and you eat, sleep, and breathe success, and never accept failure as an option, MTMC is the brand for you.
Yes, the clothes are going to be comfortable, yes they the designs are going to be cool, but when you wear this, you’re representing where you come from, and the time you are spending on this earth. What are you going to do with your time? And your city is where you come from whether you like it or not, whether you want to represent your city or don’t, your city is what either makes you or breaks you.
This brand stands for a group of leaders creating a brand for other leaders that want to be successful and bring about change. And that’s where this concept was thought of.
Look for new MTMC merchandise coming out this summer. There is also plans for a tour.
Paulie: We plan on just going out and talking to people about what it means to represent their city and their time, and open up the conversation about ‘what it does mean to be a leader to you?’ What does it mean to impact a community? What does it mean to impact and inspire change? That is something that we have been talking about. We are just trying to figure out how we are going to do it. If we are going to do something, it’s going to be big because we don’t like doing things small. (laughs).
Photo Credits: Aaron Laszlo
Where does your passion come from?
Paulie: Maybe it’s because I’m Italian (laughs). Italian people are very passionate people.
I grew up in a family where passion was just oozing out of everybody. Everybody knew what we loved. Everyone in my family always said to me, ‘If you’re going to do something, make sure you love it so that you’re doing it with such a passion that nobody can ever question what you do or who you are.’
When I played soccer I was so passionate. I wore the game on my everything. In a game, you knew I was the most intense, passionate player on the field. I would do anything to score a goal, to safe a cross, to get to the ball. I dove into my passion for countless hours, repeatedly.
When soccer ended for me, I went into this transition phase of “What do I do now? I have all of this passion and what do I put it towards now?” You go through a path of trying to figure it out, and you never lose that passion.
Now, I have found things that I’m passionate about, and I just dive every single ounce of my being into it. It’s something that you have to inspire yourself to be passionate. It just doesn’t come from your blood, it comes from within. You can’t live life without passion. If you do, you’re missing out on so much. There is no purpose. Passion drives purpose, which drives what you give.
Paulie has put this passion to good use by working as a soccer coach for young children. At the training camp, Paulie tries to inspire the children to not only play the game, but love what they do, and do it with passion.
How do you put that passion into being a soccer coach to kids?
Paulie: It’s easy for me to inspire the kids because when I’m speaking, I’m not just feeding them a line because I’m supposed to say it. I’m real with them. I don’t sugar coat. I give them realistic goals and expectations. I say to them, “Out of all of you here, who want to become the greatest, I’m letting all of you know that only 2% of you are going to make it to the next level, and once you 2% make it to the next level, only 2% of you are going to make it to the professional level. Look at your goals.”
When it come to inspiring them, to come to that next level, I’m going to bring it all because my passion forces me to do it. I can’t accept not giving my all to these kids. And that is what inspires them. They’re energy almost inspires me to have more energy and I love it.
Photo credits: Zakiyah Everette
As for any other upcoming projects, Paulie has a few things up his sleeve that people should be looking out for.
In the soccer world, he is working with Tab Ramos, former soccer player and US men’s national coach of the US-20 team, and Frank Rizzi, the Ceo of CTR soccer.
For the Big Brother fans, Paulie will be doing a business endeavour in South Florida with Zach Rance (Big Brother 16).
In the fitness world, he is working with ShawnT, who is coming out with a new 7 day workout program, and Paulie will be featured in the videos for Shawn Week. That comes out June 12th. You can check out the video at beachbody.com. For more information, you can check out: Shauntfitness.com/shaunweek
For fun, knowing that Paulie is a HUGE Bruno Mars fan, I asked him which one of his songs was his favorite, and he had a very hard decision just deciding on one. But, if he had to pick one, he would pick Uptown Funk because it just gets him moving.
Comeon, Bruno, hit him up with some tickets!
Paulie had a message for his fans, thanking them for all they have done.
“At this point, I don’t even call you guys fans, I call you family. I love the support you guys have. You are all such strong individuals. I have gotten to meet some of you and I hope to meet more of you. What you guys do as a community, it is everything that I am preaching. You are it. You inspire me to continue me to do bigger and better things and challenge me to raise the bar for myself, the same way I challenge you all. Thank you guys so much for everything that you do."
Make sure to follow Paulie to keep up on everything he is working on.
I would just like to thank Paulie so much for doing this interview and for continuing to inspire people every day! I really appreciate it!