Warning! The interview under comprises spoilers for all of Netflix‘s The Circle season 4, which aired in May. Please do not continue if you do not wish to be spoiled on who was blocked in those episodes.

Frank Grimsley made a promise to producers, the audience, and himself on his very first day in The Circle: He was going to win. The school social worker felt he had the social skills and savviness to make it through. And throughout the twistiest season of the Netflix series yet, Frank was the constant. He finished at or near the top of the ratings every blocking, always making a great first impression that would segue into solid relationships. And those relationships not only got him to the finale, but they earned him the number one spot. Frank surrounded himself with people he liked, and in turn liked him. And in the end, he exited The Circle victorious, earning the show’s highest money prize up to now in $150,000.

Read on to listen to Frank’s ideas on her time within the recreation. And try Parade.com all through The Circle season 4 with the assorted gamers and catfishes alike.

Related: The Circle Season 4: Everything You Need to Know

First off, congrats on the win! What has it been like watching all the things again, contemplating how you know the way it ended?
It’s so bizarre. People are like, “Oh, my God, I’m rooting for you.” I’m like, “Bitch, I did it!” (Laughs.) But I feel my greatest response is definitely a whole lot of the stuff that I say, just like the one-liners and stuff. I’ve no recollection of claiming them. I’m listening to it with you all for the primary time. And I’m like, “You’re really a fool. You really have no sense.” (Laughs.) Because that really exhibits that I’m not calculating my pondering. I actually simply say no matter’s on my thoughts typically. So I’ve been laughing with y’all.

You mentioned within the remaining minutes of the season that you just felt The Circle at all times wanted you. What made you suppose that and determine to use for the present?
I feel that I’m not like anyone else on this world. I knew that I couldn’t solely play the sport, I knew that I might win the sport. And I felt like I might do this by genuinely simply being my genuine self. My pals discover it so humorous. They’re like, “They probably think that you’re just doing this for TV, and you’re like this in real life.” I watched a whole lot of reality TV. So I knew what I wished to characterize in that area.

I wished to be optimistic; I wished to be comfortable. I don’t wish to have an entire lot of drama. I really like NeNe Leakes and Tiffany “New York” Pollard. So I knew I gotta include the one-liners; I gotta make some humorous traces. I gotta have bits that make individuals LOL, even when it’s only for 5 seconds. I wish to at the very least make individuals snicker at the very least as soon as each episode. So I gotta actually simply go on right here and be humorous. That’s all I actually wish to do.

So you by no means gave any thought to taking part in a catfish?
I actually wished to indicate little fats boys, little fats women, and different women and men of massive dimension. I actually wished to indicate that we might get into these areas and be simply as standard. I feel rising up, I had this concept that you just’ve acquired to have washboard abs to be standard. You by no means actually see someone my dimension being in an area and never solely occupying it, however proudly owning it. Because I imagine each area I stroll into, I personal it. That’s why I really feel like my confidence is so excessive. So I feel I needed to present not solely that I knew that I might do it, however I needed to present the world that I could possibly be in these areas, and I could possibly be hottest, and I might win this recreation by being fats and Black.

Let’s begin with the place issues ended. How shocked have been you that you just ended up profitable, particularly when it got here all the way down to you and Trevor?
Throughout the casting course of, I stored saying I used to be gonna win. I mentioned from day one, “I’m gonna win this.” And the producers have been like, “Okay, everybody says that.” I’m like, “No, I’m gonna let you know, I’m going to win this! It’s already mine.” Money’s already in my financial institution, as I mentioned in my profile. I feel it clicked when Yu Ling completed in third. I knew for a incontrovertible fact that when it was simply Trevor and me that I received. And that’s no slight to Trevor. But I assumed, “If Trevor ends up winning and not me, I’m gonna punch him.” (Laughs.)

That being mentioned, with Trevor, I do know we most likely had imprints of one another’s fingers as a result of we have been holding one another’s fingers so tight. And I feel it was good. I actually preferred the ultimate 5. There have been some others that I might like to have been there as nicely. But I feel, for probably the most half, I might have been very pleased with anyone profitable. I’m nonetheless fairly shut with everyone. I feel everyone performed a very good recreation.

Do you bear in mind your remaining rankings for the opposite 4 gamers?
I do know I rated Yu Ling first. I most likely rated Rachel second, then Trevor third, and Eversen final.

You spoke a bit once you have been the super-secret influencer about taking part in strategically versus utilizing your coronary heart. It appears you rated with the latter. But did you give any thought to probably tanking somebody like Yu Ling to present your self a greater likelihood?
I felt like I needed to proceed taking part in with my coronary heart. There have been moments once I might have been strategic and tried to throw off the vote. But I used to be like, “I’ve been playing such a genuine and positive game so far. I’m not gonna let the high stakes alter who I have shown myself to be.” Because I felt like it might be like I used to be actually simply placing on a facade. I needed to proceed to be real. And I actually wished to vote for someone I felt deserved to win if it weren’t me. It’s not a simple factor to do to play the sport and get to the battle. It’s so much. If you bought there and I assumed you deserved to win, I wished that to be mirrored in my votes.

You acquired to be influencer 3 times all through the season. I can think about there are each positives and negatives to that, because you do have the facility to dam, but it surely attracts a goal on you as somebody who could possibly be a risk to win. What have been your emotions about your time as influencer?
I didn’t wish to be the primary influencer. That was my primary factor. I used to be speaking to my best friend about that on the airport when he was dropping me off. And I used to be like, “I’m not going to try to be influencer at first. That’s a red flag, and nobody has ever been successful when they do that. It always comes back to bite them.” Then I get in there, and I’m like, “Okay, I’m just gonna dial my personality down a little bit.” But I used to be forgetting that I’ve an enormous persona. Even once I convey it down a little bit bit, it’s nonetheless large.

So once I acquired influencer, I used to be like, “Oh, I [expletive] up already.” And you possibly can see among the episodes I’m not as energetic in as a result of I informed them, “Listen, I have to play the background. I cannot be influencer again two times in a row. I’m gonna be out of here.” So I acquired in third. I used to be like, “Okay, I was happy with it.” So then, once I stored being on prime after that, I used to be like, “This is kind of strange. I’m grateful, but this is weird. This does not happen.” So the truth that it stored taking place and stored taking place, I stored being in positions the place I might say, “I gotta really make sure that I’m playing a tight game. {eople are seeing that I keep being influencer, and I don’t want them to knock me off.”

Alyssa outlined that you just performed together with your coronary heart and never together with your head. But then, throughout one recreation, a few individuals mentioned you have been probably the most strategic within the Circle. Did that shock you?
You know, I actually didn’t perceive. I feel it was it was dope to see Alyssa say that. For her to have the ability to perceive and acknowledge that by way of a display screen, it goes to indicate that I used to be simply genuinely being myself. But I actually didn’t know individuals have been saying that I used to be such a giant risk, and I actually don’t really feel that approach. I used to be extra so grateful than something. But yeah, it was unusual. It was actually, actually unusual. I can’t even actually put it into phrases.

Let’s discuss a few of your key relationships. You fashioned a very early bond with Crissa, calling her your “Day 1 Number 1.” Talk to me about that dynamic and the way a lot it affected you to lose her so early on.
It was robust. I feel me and Crissa establish so nicely collectively as a result of we’re each locally. And I felt, “Okay, regardless of whatever, we’re allies. I will have her back outside of this. And I feel like we’re the only two identifiable ones right now so far. So I want to make sure that I create a safe space for her, and I want her to create a safe space for me.” I feel that’s why we acquired alongside. She was enjoyable. Her photos appeared enjoyable. Her power was nice. She was humorous; she made me snicker. And I at all times love simply real individuals. I feel she performed a real recreation.

It tore my soul when she left as a result of I needed to regroup. That might be the one factor that didn’t go the best way I wished it to go. Because I simply knew that Crissa was going to be the primary or quantity two influencer, and he or she was going to undoubtedly preserve me secure. So the truth that she was not in that room, I used to be [expletive] bullets. (Laughs.) Having to regroup my recreation was a pivotal second for me. I needed to study to restructure all the things that I had considered true.

That goes again to how Alyssa and lots of people weren’t in a position to collect the place I used to be. Because I didn’t have any robust alliances till a little bit late within the recreation. I used to be actually simply going off vibes. I didn’t wish to have an alliance with simply anyone. I wished to be in an alliance with individuals as a result of I had a real reference to individuals. And that finally occurred with Rachel and Yu Ling. And we got here collectively to type one thing. Not essentially an alliance, however extra so the place we made an settlement and a pact to help one another and have one another’s again on this recreation. Not simply because we wished to get to the top of the sport, however as a result of all of us actually preferred one another.

Speaking of Yu Ling, you inspired her to come back out of her shell extra after the primary blocking. Then she turned one among your closest allies all the best way to the top. How did that develop?
I felt like Yu Ling was a thriller. Because once we first acquired in, she was this large burst of power. And then I sort of noticed her play the background. And I used to be like, “Huh, I don’t know if she’s a catfish and it’s too overwhelming for her.” It was only a lot. So I didn’t know the place I might belief her. I knew that I preferred her, however I simply didn’t know what sort of recreation she was taking part in. So when she did begin to open up, once we did lastly get an opportunity to have a chat, I used to be like, “She’s genuine. I can tell. That’s the girl that I saw on the first day early on. And that’s the person that I really want to align myself with.”

She represents such a distinct group of individuals. I don’t usually hang around with somebody like her. Her make-up, her confidence. And I’m positive she thought the identical about me as a result of I used to be so assured. So simply having these conversations and people moments. I didn’t even know I used to be bringing her in from one other alliance. So once I came upon afterward that she was on a “throuple”…(Raises eyebrows.) I didn’t know the way intense the throuple was till I watched the present.

Well, you have been a part of your personal “throuple” in a approach once you introduced your self, Yu Ling, and Rachel collectively. How did that occur?
Rachel allowed me to have an area of vulnerability along with her. Early on, in our first dialog, we talked about my mother. And I talked about that freely, however I don’t share so quickly with individuals typically. The incontrovertible fact that I felt that I might share that along with her was large for me. And when she informed me, “Carol’s a catfish,” I noticed she doesn’t give a rattling. She had that pink hair, and once I acquired the primary peek of her in her profile image, I used to be like, “She’s somebody I can get along with. She doesn’t give a damn. She’s who she is unapologetically.” And that’s the individuals I need in my on a regular basis life, as a result of that’s who I’m as an individual.

I do know you retain talking about desirous to play with real individuals. Then you’ve got moments the place a catfish in Alex/Nathan approaches you to throw Bru underneath the bus. In these forms of moments, how do you reconcile that motto of being real with this new data?
So when individuals strategy me with that sort of stuff, I actually wish to interact. Regardless of my expertise with individuals, I nonetheless wished to present individuals a good trial. So even when Nathan got here to me, it was very late within the recreation. My technique antenna went off. I used to be like, “This is strategic. Your alliances are gone. I’m the most powerful player in the game right now. And you feel like you want to gauge where we are to gauge how safe you are.” It was undoubtedly gameplay to me.

So I engaged with it as a result of I might have a dialog with anyone. Whether you made me mad 20 years in the past or two minutes in the past, I’m at all times open to having a dialog. I used to be in an area the place I might have a susceptible dialog with anyone. So I feel that’s why Bru and I have been nonetheless in a position to have a dialog, a great dialog that I felt we must always have had earlier on within the recreation. I’m nonetheless attempting to construct connections. People must go house, however I’m attempting to attach with individuals. And I feel I used to be in a position to just about do this, regardless of what was happening.

You misplaced your grandfather shortly earlier than coming to play The Circle. Did that have an effect on the headspace you performed the sport with?
I felt like I used to be being thrown tips. I had came upon that very same day that my job wasn’t gonna enable me simply to take depart to go play. So I needed to give up. Then I acquired house advert I came upon my grandfather died. And I used to be speaking to my finest buddy sobbing. And I used to be like, “I just don’t understand. I can’t catch a break. I finally get this opportunity to go over here and do this thing that I always want to do.” I’ve to give up my job, one thing that I labored onerous for, and I’m in scholar debt for over $200,000. And I can’t go to my grandfather’s funeral. My grandmother had simply handed the 12 months earlier than, and I had an uncle move from COVID. It was undoubtedly so much.

I used to be additionally fearful about my family‘s reaction to me not coming home. I don’t wish to flip my again on them. But I additionally keep in mind that once I was actually, actually younger, each of my grandparents, once I acquired prepared to maneuver all the best way to Maryland, each informed me that they’d lived their goals and that I ought to stay mine. So these issues sort of caught with me. So I went over there with the mindset. I’m actually religious. There isn’t any approach that God took all these items for me to get right here and depart empty-handed. My checking account was within the negatives. My finest buddy was paying my payments whereas I used to be there. So I knew it was nothing else for me to do however win.

Did you discover it tough to confide in the opposite gamers about these hardships you went by way of?
No. I really feel like I’ve been by way of what I’ve been by way of to indicate someone else the best way by way of it. I’ve a really distinctive story. And I really feel like it’s my job, my goal in life, to share how, regardless of all of the issues I’ve misplaced, I’ve nonetheless received all these different issues. I’ve had someone attain out to me and say they misplaced their daughter, and so they surprise if they may ever get to an area of feeling good about themselves once more. So I knew that there have been individuals on the market on the earth which have skilled a loss, and are questioning what the opposite aspect of that appears like. And not simply the a part of the unhappiness, however what I used to be in a position to accomplish due to what I misplaced.

I knew that it was a danger. But I additionally needed to remind myself that even with catfish, there’s someone on the opposite aspect of the display screen taking part in this individual. And everyone has misplaced one thing; you recognize what loss seems like. So me with the ability to specific that, I feel it gave them the complete image. Because when you take a look at me, I’m optimistic, I’m comfortable. I’m humorous. But I’m that approach as a result of I’ve been by way of a lot. I really feel like I’ve no possibility however to radiate these issues, in order that the universe will give me what I really feel like I deserve since I’ve already misplaced a lot. I wished them to see the complete image.

So what has life been for you since The Circle with $150,000 to your identify?
M greatest factor in life has at all times been cash. I store like a wealthy man! (Laughs.) I at all times knew that I wish to stay a lifetime of wealth. I’m not there but. But I’m in a position to undo some issues. I made some horrible selections when it got here to cash due to my circumstances. I used to be evicted 4 months after I graduated from grad college. So I used to be in a position to pay that debt off. Things like which are tremendous vital to me. It didn’t make sense then. But it is smart now. So I’m simply tremendous grateful. My drawback was I didn’t have any cash. I used to be paycheck to paycheck. And it’s not that anymore. I can get what I need if I actually wish to, though I shouldn’t typically. (Laughs.)

As you talked about earlier than, you got here in assured about your self as an individual and your means to win. But did you study something about your self throughout your time on The Circle?
For years and years, regardless of what you guys see on TV, I did have bother with friendships, relationships, issues like that. I at all times thought I needed to overcompensate to be sufficient in areas. That’s why I used to look again on among the style selections I made, and I’m like, “Child…” (Laughs.) I used to overcompensate to really feel accepted. But I didn’t must overcompensate on this area. I used to be simply actually myself.

I used to be sufficient to not solely have individuals fall in love with me, however fall in love with me the world over. I received this recreation. It jogged my memory that in no matter area I’m in, I’m sufficient and that I ought to at all times go together with my intestine and guess on myself. I mentioned that I used to be going to win it from day one. It simply actually goes to indicate that the issues that I put out into the environment have to come back again to me. If I really imagine that they’re gonna occur, they’re gonna occur. Getting to do precisely what I mentioned I used to be gonna do is actually inspiring to me. And I’m gonna encourage different individuals to hopefully go after their dream.

Next, check out our interview with John Franklin AKA “Carol,” who was eliminated in The Circle Season 4 Episode 11.

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