Kiefer Collison

From Reality TV to a New Reality: MC Kiefer Collison in the House

“Being lucky, and being a hard worker has really paid off,” says Kiefer Collison, a former reality TV personality from Haida Gwaii. He was on Big Brother Canada, season nine, an experience which launched his career as an MC, travelling to host events in different communities. He now lives in Terrace, BC. 

Collison was cast on Big Brother after applying in 2020. The rigorous process lasted several months. Ever since childhood, he told people he would be on that show and win one day, imagining people cheering him on in tshirts with his name on them. “I'm all about just putting it out in the universe and then working towards it,” he explains, reflecting on the way he feels he manifested that into being. 

His authentic way of relating has served him well on and off-screen. “I have this strange ability to just be me and be honest. I find, for myself, that being vulnerable with the audience really allows them to connect with you. If you can win the audience's trust, you can win their enjoyment and you can win their night because they believe what you're saying. If you speak from the heart and you speak with truth, it's really easy to do that,” Collison explains. 

He is looking forward to more opportunities, new connections, and more time around Indigenous people to better understand their perspectives. “My ability to see the world through other people's eyes has really helped me in my career,” he says. 

"I think my story is very common, I think my story could have taken a very different turn."

Growing up, Collison struggled in school, graduating a year late after failing classes and grades. As a teen, he bounced between homes within his family and was motivated to prove to everyone wrong about his potential. That motivation got him through the rest of high school. Taking responsibility for himself from a young age, he was guided by great role models in his community who supported him even as a stubborn and strong-willed teenager who struggled to accept help. 

"You let the right people in and they can guide you."

Ultimately, he didn’t continue to post-secondary school. He remained in his home community, feeling overwhelmed by the idea of moving to a city. He didn’t give up, though. “I knew that I was going to be destined to do great things, because I've always had a good work ethic, and I'm not afraid to work,” he shares. These days, he encourages youth to keep grinding and manifesting, knowing good things will happen eventually. Beyond MCing, he sells clothes and has a manager to guide him. He didn’t always know which way to go, though. 

“There are two paths that I always could have taken. Somehow I always ended up on the path of the light. It's not like that for a lot of our people who are just like me, who are just as talented, who can speak just as well, who deserve just as many opportunities as I do. I think for a lot of kids, I am them and I see myself in them. I see a bright future for them. For a lot of kids, that's not always so easy to see,” he recalls… He remembers how when he was on TV, the way people saw him changed. Now, he’s focused on sharing his message, connecting with youth and getting some basketball in as he builds his business.

"We all have to find our own slice of heaven everywhere."

If he could give advice to somebody undecided about their future, he would say, “get comfortable doing uncomfortable things… It's called work. It's not called fun. We’ve all got to work.” He’s learned that sharing his stories with youth because of all the shame behind them. “I've made mistakes and I'm still not perfect. I'm still on the road of loving that man over the bathroom sink,” he reflects. There is value in staying or going, and he hopes youth will go easy on themselves along the way. 

"Time is the most valuable currency that we have, you can spend money, you can make it back. But when you spend time that time is spent, and you're never getting it back."

In his life, self-doubt and a belief he didn’t deserve good things were obstacles to overcome. He’s struggled with lateral violence and the jealousy of others, too. Collison tries to focus on his blessings and finding community everywhere he goes. 

“I don't consider myself famous, I just consider everywhere home now.” 

If he could give advice to his younger self it would be about forgiveness. “I would just really ask to be a little bit lighter on myself… and just take care of myself a little better. Go for that mental health walk, play an extra game of basketball, take a night off, get some sleep, just tell him that everything's gonna be okay. When I was 15, I never thought I would have the life I have,” he confides, remembering how he didn't think he would make it to 35.

“There was a lot of struggle and a lot of dark days. But I created and carved out this beautiful life that I have now. Even today as a 35 year old, there's immense struggle, and I think that comes with just being a human… There were a lot of times I just wanted to give up. Thankfully, I didn't, and I'm here, and I'm thriving, and I'm grinding, and I'm just trying to be the best rez guy I possibly can,” he continues.

For his mental health, Collison puts positive thoughts into the world, countering self-criticism with affirmations. He also loves comedy and singing. Time spent alone on the road is therapeutic but spending time with family nourishes his soul, too. 

To inspire viewers, Collison offers words of wisdom, saying, “If you can forgive yourself more, you would be so much happier. I think our own problems weigh on us far too much and we internalize things… We’ve just got to live long enough to be elders.... That's my goal. I'm ready for my time as an elder, I'm an elder in training. Just forgive yourself and get there.” 

Being lucky, and being a hard worker has really paid off for Kiefer Collison. He went from the Big Brother Canada house to feeling at home across the country, manifesting his dreams. Jumping from the screen to the stage as an in-demand MC, he’s on a mission with a message and hopes for a brighter future he never imagined.

Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article

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Key Parts

  • Career
  • Identity
    First Nations
  • Province/Territory
    British Columbia
  • Date
    March 1, 2024
  • Post Secondary Institutions
    No PSI found.
  • Discussion Guide
    create to learn discuss

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