Derrick Levasseur was in front of a couple hundred people at San Diego State recently. He was sharing life experiences and opening up about his journey through Big Brother to where he is now.
It was in that moment he caught himself — or heard a little voice in his head saying, ‘wow, it’s so surreal’ — realizing just how far he’s come in such a short time as a result of being the winner on Big Brother 16.
“These are opportunities I thought I’d never have,” Levasseur told Reality-Now.com. “It was so surreal thinking about all the experiences I’ve had all because of going on this show named Big Brother. I’m extremely blessed and extremely lucky. I don’t take any day for granted… I’m enjoying all of the things I’m doing right now.”
The list is always growing in regards to what Levasseur is doing. After cruising his way to his reality show victory, arguably the most impressive Big Brother winner in quite some time, Levasseur had plenty of agents reaching out to him following the show, offering him whatever he wanted.
He didn’t settle right away, hoping to find something that was just right for him. As viewers of Big Brother know, Levasseur is as genuine as they come, so he didn’t want to embellish himself in any way to fit the criteria of another opportunity.
Eventually, an agent, Harry Gold, came his way and pitched him an idea he couldn’t resist.
“I actually turned down the first one because they weren’t in line with what I really like to do which is criminal investigations and then an opportunity came along to investigate the OJ Simpson case,” Levasseur said. “We filmed that show and they wanted to see how it did. Fortunately it did extremely well. The ratings were a lot higher than they expected, so they said, ‘hey, what’s next?’
So as a result of the overwhelming success of Is OJ Innocent: The Missing Evidence, Levasseur was ready to keep things going with the Investigation Discovery channel.
That’s where his latest opportunity comes into play. Levasseur, along with forensics psychologist Kris Mohandie, star in Breaking Homicide which will premiere on April 15 on Investigation Discovery.
The idea, which Levasseur helped spark with production, was green-lighted for six cases in which each case is designated two separate hour-long episodes.
“I suggested that instead of doing these high-profile cases that everyone does, we work on cases that family members feel they haven’t gotten any closures on and cases that maybe nobody has ever taken a second look at, and we do those cases,” Levasseur said. “And they loved it, they loved the idea of giving back to the fans.
“I’d rather do cases that haven’t been given a fair shake and haven’t been diluted by so many investigators putting their hands on it because you can’t determine fact from fiction. I’d rather do a case that is basically clean, not really corrupted by so many different opinions and see if there’s anything we can do.
“It was a challenge and it’s never really been done before but what it allowed is for us to really dive into the people involved in the case because we could spend that time doing it. It also allowed for us to give closure to it.”
Levasseur is extremely proud of how this series unfolded and cannot wait to see it air for the masses.
There was a lot of work put into this effort — an effort that required weeks of research before eventually spending anywhere from seven to 10 days on location. When on site, the duo would go straight to the crime scene, interview everyone they could and get all they could in the timeframe allotted. All of this coming in 12-hour work days.
“The main thing we prided ourselves on was physically visiting every crime scene that we looked into,” Levasseur said. “We didn’t just want to look at it on paper and photos… we wanted to have the actual layout burned into our brains.”
To say Levasseur has been busy is quite an understatement.
There’s much more he’s been up to since appearing on Big Brother, including publishing his very first book, The Undercover Edge. When figuring out how he wanted to convey his message, his main concern was avoiding a book that solely focused on him winning a reality show.
He wanted something more, and that’s where his “unconventional” approach entered the picture.
“Although there are many books out there talking about the business world and your approach to life, I felt my take on t was completely off-the-map from anything that was already on it. I thought that’s what would make it receptive to people.”
When he was ready to begin the writing process, he submitted his proposal to the top 20 publishers. He received offers from three of those, picked the one that he felt fit his goals the best, and thus was born The Undercover Edge.
His novel has performed extremely well, so much so that Levasseur says the sales they expected for the year was shattered within 30 days of the release.
“I’m not trying to do something that’s not me,” Levasseur said. “What I’m doing now — the TV show on ID, the book — it’s all genuine, it’s something I do every day and people see that in the way I conduct myself. I think they’re receptive to what I have to say because they know I’m being real with them.”
The former Rhode Island detective has come such a long way since appearing on Big Brother that it’s no wonder why he occasional catches himself asking if this is all real.
When asked about whether or not he could have ever seen himself in this position five years ago, Levasseur let out a laugh, than reflected on just how far he’s come.
“I love my life,” Levasseur said. “I’ve always been happy with where I’ve been. My life was great [five years ago]. If that’s the way my life went, I would have no complaints. Big Brother opened the door to things I didn’t even know I was capable of or passionate about. I was always so reclusive as a police officer… by going out there into the world and exposing my vulnerabilities, what I’ve realized is that a lot of people can really benefit with being more open and that’s what I’ve found.”