On this season of “The Challenge” it’s clear there is a divide between alums of the MTV competition show and newcomers from the network’s “Are You the One?” series. “Rivals 3” viewers have talked about the so-called takeover on social media, and the longtime stars of the program, currently on its 28th season, are well aware of the buzz. But how do they feel really about their addition to the series?
It should come as no surprise that “Challenge” veteran Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio isn’t the biggest fan of the “AYTO?” additions to “Rivals 3,” mostly because of their lack of drive on the show. “Within the first week, half of the ‘AYTO?’ kids already were trying to tap out,” Johnny told International Business Times at Mountain Dew’s DEWggro Crag and the Splat event in New York City June 16. “I’ve never seen anything like it!”
While many “AYTO?” cast members have been vocal about their desire to compete, Johnny says he’s unfazed by the trash talking that has come along with it. “We’ve seen it all. How many times have we heard new cast members who have never done a challenge before come on [and] go, ‘I’m going to come on and I’m going to dominate? In college I was the thumb wrestling champion,’” he quipped alongside his longtime co-star and DEWggro Crag competitor Chris “CT” Tamburello. “The way that I see it is: Listen, you can talk all the game that you want, we’ll see what happens when you’re actually in the environment. See if you’re actually singing the same song.”
But not every “Rivals 3” cast member feels that same way as the “Challenge” champion. Jenna Compono, one of the latest “Real World” stars to join the program, says she understands the pressure that comes with being new. “When I was new, people didn’t get to know me and wanted to throw me in, and I completely understand it,” she told IBT.
Camila Nakagawa, who unlike many other veterans didn’t get her start on “Real World” but came from 2010’s “Spring Break Challenge,” said she also knows what it’s like to be an outsider. “I have no prior season. It’s not about the show. It’s not about what show you’re from. It’s about the fact that everyone that’s here and done this before, we’ve all earned it. We’ve earned our respect,” she explained. Despite her understanding, Camila, like Johnny, said she believes the “AYTO?” casts may need an attitude adjustment.
“We’ve done what we have to do to be where we are. So for people to show up and be like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna take over.’ It’s like, that’s just not how it works. It doesn’t matter what show you’re from, that’s just not how it works. Respect us a little bit too,” she said. “It’s like grow up, come in, compete and prove yourself. That’s what we all do over and over.”
Jenna, who got her start on “Real World: Ex-Plosion” in 2014, said she’s noticed female “AYTO?” cast members trying to rile her up on social media, telling her she’s “lucky” they’re not competing on “Rivals 3.” Despite the needling, Jenna says she doesn’t engage in the hate.
Watch a “Real World” and “AYTO?” fight from “Rivals 3”:
“They’re starting this whole thing, and to me it’s just a desperate cry for attention,” Camila said of the comments. “Honestly, it’s sad. They’re looking bad. They are giving themselves a bad rap.”
“They all want to extend their 15 minutes,” Johnny added separtely. “What’s the best way to do that? Try and start controversy.”
Despite the current beef between the casts, Camila said she welcomes the newcomers. “No one here is trying to put anybody down. Just come, respect the process, because there is a process. I’m my first show I was thrown in seven times. Until I proved myself I was thrown in. I earned that,” she said.
Johnny said that ultimately the introduction of “AYTO?” cast members into “The Challenge” is a wave of change, one of many he has endured through 13 seasons on the show. “There’s a lot more ‘AYTO?’ cast members now. Their show is pumping out a lot more cast members than the ‘Real World’ is. All the vets that just aren’t around anymore. So yeah, there’s nothing we can do to change that,” Johnny explained. “It’s just the change in landscape, but I’ve seen the landscape change in the past and weathered the storm before, so we’ll see.”