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Two Chicagoans leave life behind for CBS’ Big Brother

Big Brother – Houseguest Andy Herren 26 Professor from Chicago Ill. New seaspremieres Wednesday June 26 (8:00-9:00PM ET/PT) CBS TelevisiNetwork.

Big Brother – Houseguest Andy Herren, 26, a Professor from Chicago, Ill. New season premieres Wednesday, June 26 (8:00-9:00PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Updated: June 25, 2013 7:16PM

Andy Herren has to skip town this summer, which pains the Lake View resident .

Alas, the “Big Brother” crew came a-knockin’, told Herren to pack his bags and gave him a key to his new home: a house in California tricked out with 53 cameras and 97 microphones to record him and a bunch of strangers — 24/7 — as they scheme, plot and compete for the $500,000 prize.

He’s one of two Chicagoans competing on the CBS reality show, where contestants vote to kick someone out of the house each week. The 15th season starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday on WBBM-Channel 2.

“You bear through Chicago winters so you can have Chicago summers,” said Herren, 26, a part-time communications professor at College of DuPage.

Herren, who’s been studying improv at iO for more than a year, also was bummed about not being able to perform this summer with his iO graduating class. He’ll likely still make people laugh, judging by his CBS bio that lists his favorite activities as “befriending large black women at bars” and “eating ice cream too fast.”

Accomplishment he’s most proud of? A string of graffiti dedicated to him in the women’s bathroom of the English building at University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, his alma mater. Entries reportedly include, “I AM IN LOVE WITH ANDY HERREN.”

“That’s my biggest claim to fame,” said the Aurora native, who contemplated bringing his baby blanket with him to the “Big Brother” house. “I left it at home out of fear of anything happening to it while I’m there.”

Helen Kim, 37, a married mother of two from Lincoln Park, also landed on the show after attending an open casting call earlier this year at the Cubby Bear.

Kim’s sons are young: Charlie is 2, Henry is 4.

“It’s obviously going to be hard for me,” Kim said. “But I’d rather leave them when they’re this age and they don’t really know the difference between a month and a day.”

Kim, a political consultant originally from Virginia, said the timing worked out well because she was ready to take a break from her job.

“I guess I’m on that break now,” said Kim, who got hooked on “Big Brother” by a former co-worker at an oil and gas trade association. That co-worker died unexpectedly, in her sleep, a few weeks ago.

“I found out I was on the show after she passed away,” Kim said. “I would have loved to have been able to tell her. She was such a huge fan. I’m playing for her.”

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