Meet Travis Garret Long, the former ‘Big Brother’ houseguest with a key role to play in ‘Outer Banks’ season 3

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It’s not every day that an ordinary person finds out they’ve been cast on the next season of Big Brother, the reality competition show in which 16 houseguests vie to be the last player standing in an attempt to win a grand prize of $750,000. Even less typical is a former player seamlessly transitioning from the Big Brother house to the set of one of Netflix’s most popular action-adventure dramas.

Then again, Travis Garret Long is not what one would call ordinary. At 23 years old, the Austin, Texas native has already accomplished a number of impressive feats that many would, in fact, deem rather extraordinary. He finished college in three years before moving to Hawaii, where he became an active spear fisher, rock climber, and cliff diver. He’s a world traveler who once lived in Costa Rica, where he became nearly fluent in Spanish. He’s started businesses, co-founded investment teams, worked as a tech sales consultant, and rocks a killer bod that would make Tarzan jealous. He even somehow found time to become a published author.

But it was Long’s casting on season 23 of Big Brother that brought him his ultimate claim to fame. Fans immediately noticed how much he looks like Chase Stokes, the star of Netflix’s Outer Banks, and took to the internet to proclaim that Long and Stokes were basically twins. These ecstatic outcries ⏤ and the online articles that resulted from them ⏤ helped pave the way for a casting opportunity that Long could have never seen coming, but will be treasuring for the rest of his life.

We recently sat down with Long in Charleston, South Carolina ⏤ the primary filming location for Outer Banks ⏤ to chat with him about his life-changing experience working on season three of the show, his brief but memorable stint on Big Brother, the heartwarming project that helped him get into college, and the one food he’ll never be able to stomach.

Note: The following interview is an abridged version of our chat with Travis, which you can see in full in the video above.

Travis Garret Long poses for his headshot
Image via Ben Chrisman

We Got This Covered: So Travis, you were the first houseguest evicted in season 23 of Big Brother, much to the dismay of fans who really wanted you to win or at least be a frontrunner. What was it like to be the first to leave the game?

Travis Garret Long: Yeah, it’s kind of funny. When I started the whole Big Brother experience, I really went in thinking, “Okay, I have no real agenda to go to the end here. I’ve never really watched the show really deeply, at least as like a superfan or anything like I know a lot of people have.” So I said, let me just go in there and not be first out. I think that’s the main objective here. Just don’t be, like, the lame first one that gets kicked out by 17 other people. And lo and behold, that’s how the cookie crumbled. But I mean, it was it was still a hell of an experience. I made some great friends that I still talk to almost daily from the show, so, all in all, I think it was really worth it. It was a lot of fun, and it taught me a lot about the innards of production. I got to see how the sausage is made a little bit behind the scenes, and that was a really unique experience and I’m really grateful for it.

WGTC: Was there anybody that you were rooting for from outside the house to either advance really far or win?

TGL: I think on the opposite side of that, just because empty promises were made, I was kind of hoping to see a downfall of Mr. Frenchie French in there. And lo and behold, he was second to go. So I was like, all right, I kind of got my wish there a little bit. But again, I love the guy and we still talk outside of the house and we’re actually good buddies. And as far as wanting to see someone win, I think I really saw Kyland as someone that would make it really, really far. He was just really intelligent in the way he spoke to other players. He had clearly seen a lot of the show before and could utilize and call on different tactics that different players had used before in previous seasons and say, oh, I kind of want to pull you know, like, a Janelle or whatever. And so I always thought he was a really tactical guy, really well-rounded and a smart individual. And so I thought that would take him really far and I wanted to see it happen.

WGTC: Season 23 saw one of the biggest alliances in Big Brother history not only form, but take out everybody else in the house before forming a final six and securing the first Black winner of the game. How do you feel about the Cookout’s overall gameplay?

TGL: You know, I have to give kudos to them. They were absolutely one of the most effective teams I’ve ever seen. They methodically eliminated every single member on the other side of them, their competition. And so, I mean, that’s incredible gameplay. They came together, they had an agenda, and they pulled it off flawlessly. So I commend them for it. It’s really well done.

WGTC: Are you watching the current season of Big Brother? If so, who are you rooting for?

TGL: I haven’t seen a whole lot of the current season. I actually tuned into the very first one, maybe two episodes, and just immediately got the PTSD of “Hello, houseguests” ringing in my ear. The classic Julie-isms that she says every time, every season. And so it kind of turned me off a little bit. I was like, oh, no, I’ve already lived this. I don’t need to live it again. So I haven’t seen a whole lot of it. I know a couple of players’ names, but I wouldn’t say I’m particularly rooting for any one person.

WGTC: If you had the chance to go back and play Big Brother again, would you? Would your strategy be the same or different?

TGL: I would say I don’t think I would play Big Brother again, but I would change my strategy if I could kind of go back in time and knock on my head and say, “Hey, don’t do that.” I think I was way too trusting and way too loving of people that I kind of fell into relationships with really early on. There was Derek and Brent and Frenchie and a couple of other people that I was just, like, these are my homies, like, separate from the game, we’re gonna be really good buddies outside the game. Which is true, but as it related to, you know, my strategy and my actual gameplay, it totally annihilated it. I was just like, oh, these guys got me, I can kind of sit back and not strategize too much. So I think I would change that a little bit and be a little more skeptical of those I had around me even though I wanted ⏤ you know ⏤ you should have people close to you. You should also have a healthy bit of skepticism with the people that you surround yourself with in that game, because ultimately only one person can win. So even if you go with your best buddy all the way to the last one, you want to be able to win 750k over your best buddy, which is what it comes down to. But yeah, as far as playing again, I don’t think I would play it again. I’ve kind of ⏤ it’s kind of a been-there done-that, where I dipped my toe in reality TV, it shot me right back out, and I think it’s for the better. I think I realized reality TV just isn’t really my jive, and I kind of want to pursue the arts a little bit more. Getting a script put in my hand over just kind of being in front of a camera and doing whatever.

WGTC: What’s interesting about that statement is that you are now working on Outer Banks ⏤ which is incredible, congratulations!

TGL: Thank you, thank you.

WGTC: And you are Chase Stokes’ body double for season three. How did that opportunity come about?

TGL: One of my friends was connected to one of the casting directors and funny enough, actually, I think a lot of what had to do with me actually getting this role to be Chase’s body double for season three is because, when I was in the Big Brother house, there were articles in the press writing about how similar I look to Chase Stokes. And there’s like articles out there you can Google that say stuff like, “Travis Long is literally John B. He’s like, straight-up Chase Stokes’ twin.” And those articles were actually passed along to the casting director, and they were looking for a body double for the season. And so it just kind of clicked in and made sense. It really wasn’t even much of an audition process or a look at my background. She was just like, “Okay, this is too good to pass up, you were born for this role.” So yeah, not a whole lot of work put in from me beyond being born and keeping my hair a little shaggy, really.

Chase Stokes from 'Outer Banks' and Travis Garret Long
Images via Netflix and Travis Garret Long

WGTC: What has it been like working with the cast and crew of one of Netflix’s biggest and most popular shows?

TGL: Man, it has been incredible. An absolute once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I am insanely grateful for. The entire cast is just ⏤ it’s probably a cliche to say this ⏤ but they’re so incredibly talented. It’s been a really huge privilege to just, you know ⏤ separate from working with them and then kind of blocking out movements and doing all the things that body doubles do ⏤ just being able to watch, you know, like a fly on the wall, the directorial process with Jonas (the director and writer of Outer Banks), working with the cast and telling them specific movements and then going back to kind of this A frame with all the monitors back there, seeing it played out right there. And it just looking so cinematic, or if something’s off, you know, just seeing the little tweaks that he makes ⏤ a comment to a cameraman or to some small movement that totally changes your perception of a scene or how it’s supposed to be taken in. It’s incredible. It’s really like just witnessing a massive well-oiled machine come together and do its thing.

WGTC: What are the things that you do as a body double ⏤ on camera, off camera, with Chase, without Chase?

TGL: I’m a body double and a stand-in, so for basically every scene, they need to come in, put the lighting up, get the audio guys in there, get the cameras right. And that’s what we’re there for while the ⏤ they call them Team One and Team Two, and the stand-ins are Team Two ⏤ so while Team One is getting their makeup and hair and wardrobe and everything done, we’re actually standing in and working with the camera guys, the sound guys, the director, the whole crew, to ensure that the shot looks just right from a coloration standpoint, from an audio standpoint. Kind of blocking and going through the movements of the scene so the crew can understand how they need to move with us to keep us on the right frame, if they need to be over my right shoulder the whole time and then one movement they need to shift over to capture the dialogue of another member of the cast. And then from a body double perspective, I’ll just be doing scenes where Chase isn’t there. He’s off doing another scene or again, kind of getting his makeup and hair done, running lines, whatever it is. Sometimes I’ll be there running lines with the other members of the cast. I drove the Twinkie around for a couple of shots ⏤ that will hopefully make the show ⏤ and drove a boat around with Madeline and Rudy. A lot of members of the cast that I just do random different things with if it’s a far-away shot and they don’t need to directly see my face. A lot of fill-in stuff, so you’ll see like my hands ⏤ they tanned me up nice and good to get that bronze Chase Stokes skin. Basically, anything that they don’t need to see his face directly, you’ll see ya boy.

WGTC: Prior to working on Outer Banks and even being on Big Brother, did you have any acting experience or has that element of the gig been completely new to you?

TGL: Yeah, I wasn’t in theater arts in high school or anything like that. I didn’t do much acting in college at all. I think the extent of my understanding of acting was going to the one-off play or something with a friend in college. So I really had no idea how to operate within the acting capacity and the acting world in general. But I’ve always kind of had a feeling, like, it just kind of makes sense to me to go into that space, or be a presenter or an entertainer in some facet or another. That’s always interested me and I’ve always kind of looked further into projects, films, and who’s directing that, what have they directed before, what is kind of their style? I’m a huge Quentin Tarantino nerd, so I’ve jumped into that realm a little more deeply than I would like to admit, just kind of falling down that YouTube rabbit hole of “10 things you didn’t know Quentin Tarantino put in this film,” and it’s like an hour-long video. So yeah, I’ve always had an interest in it, but never an actual action-oriented pursuit. Until now.

WGTC: Is there anything from Big Brother that prepared you for Outer Banks, or have they been two completely separate on-camera experiences?

TGL: I would say, just in general, kind of all the press junket, you know, before and after the show, and just being in front of the camera in general, just made me a little more comfortable to be able to do it. I would say, for the most part, I was already really comfortable just in public speaking and speaking in front of people in general, but it really confirmed in me that, okay, there’s no nerves in front of the camera at all. It’s really easy to do. So I think it’ll be really easy going forward to do that on Outer Banks or anything else.

WGTC: On that topic, what can you tell us about season three of Outer Banks?

TGL: A spicy question. I don’t think I can say a whole lot beyond….you’ve probably heard the cliché general answer a million times that it’s going to be full of action. I will say I think there is a lot of resolve for some of the wants and needs that the viewers desired in the last few seasons. Questions left unanswered, I think a lot of those are answered. Some cliffhangers are really going to come full circle and get resolved. What I’ll also say, in season three, comparatively with other seasons, that the feeling of emotions that the cast is feeling ⏤ it’s felt by the viewer to an exacerbated extent, and what I mean by that is, we’ve seen these kids going through all these hardships, these difficulties. We’ve seen crying, we’ve seen laughing, but it’s felt by the viewer in a way that you’re just so much more connected to them now. You’ve seen two other seasons of it, you’ve really felt the raw emotion in JJ as he works through the difficulties and hardships with his father. And John B, same thing. And the issues that Sarah and her dad have and Rafe and the struggles that he’s obviously had. I mean, it’s just like, you want to cry when they’re crying and you just want to hysterically laugh when they’re having a good time. You really just feel like one of the gang and that is just exacerbated in this season. I think it’s awesome and you feel like a Pogue watching.

WGTC: After season three wraps, what is life looking like for you? Do you have any other projects on the horizon? What are you looking to get into next?

TGL: I was just looking to start building up my reel, jump into some short films and some smaller projects, just be on camera and continue to develop my skill set as an actor. And some of those actually got taken over by the gnarly filming schedule that is Outer Banks season three and I wasn’t able to make some things that I already had in the works, but I’m just gonna keep on keepin’ on and look for other opportunities. I’ve made some really good connections on the set ⏤ some awesome directors and assistant directors that I met along the way that are based in Atlanta, which isn’t super far from here ⏤ and obviously some L.A. routes. I think I’m gonna pursue some acting classes and then some of the connections that I’ve made here to keep diving into this space and develop myself further.

Travis Garret Long
Image via Ben Chrisman

WGTC: You wrote a children’s book as well?

TGL: I did, yeah! It’s a funny story with that ⏤ it actually started as a project where I realized I was too dumb to just get into college just solely off of merit. My GPA wasn’t crazy good, my ACT and SAT scores were mediocre at best. And so I was like, I really need something to stand out. So I jumped into a project of just writing a children’s book. I think I wanted to write an actual book at first and I was like, this is insane. There’s like three months ’til I need to, you know, apply to college. I need to really correct my standards here. And then I was like, okay, I’ll write a children’s book. And so I wrote it about the safety around stranger danger for kids. And what started out as just a please-get-me-into-college project actually blossomed into me getting ⏤ so I ended up reading the story at like 12 elementary schools around the district. And through that process, I actually ended up holding a competition where kids would illustrate the book. So each page is actually illustrated by some of the children that I read the story to. We packaged that all up and I ended up just putting it on Amazon. And now, some people like you can stumble upon the deep archives of Travis Long from 12th grade. It ended up being a really rewarding experience and it got me into business school at University of Texas, so it was a win-win.

WGTC: And then you finished school in three years?

TGL: Yeah, I did. I finished up a little early and went straight to Hawaii after that because I had no idea what I wanted to be. And that resulted in the Big Brother casting directors jumping in my DMs one day just seeing that I lived in Hawaii and lived this interesting life. And that kind of led to me now being the Outer Banks John B double, so it’s all just kind of flowed and fit in really well. I’m certainly blessed and I know that I’m lucky. I’m gonna take advantage of every day.

WGTC: So just to make sure I have this: You’re 23 years old. You majored in Business Administration and Management and graduated college in three years. You’re an actor/working on becoming an actor. You’re a children’s book author. What can’t you do?

TGL: I can’t eat pickles, man. That’s what I can’t do. I get harped on so much for that by people when I throw my pickles out of my Chick-Fil-A sandwich or something like that. If you have to soak something in vinegar, anything at all, it’s not a real food you should be eating, in my opinion. I’m gonna get a ton of hate for this. I might get cancelled for that, but there it is. I can’t eat pickles, man. No, I’m still trying to learn and grow my mindset and just understand why it is that I’ve been placed on this rock floating through space just like everyone else, man.

WGTC: Well, you are killing it.

TGL: I appreciate you.

And we appreciate Travis for taking the time to sit down with us and chat about his incredible life! You can catch him as Chase Stokes’ double and stand-in when Outer Banks season three lands on Netflix, and we’ll be sure to let you know the second a release date is announced.