10 Retro Reality Competitors Who Would Have Been MTV Challenge Stars
In the last few years we have seen an influx of new Challenge players from various reality shows, including Big Brother, Survivor, The Bachelor, Love Island, Ex on the Beach, and more. At this point, I feel as though when I’m watching other reality show, the back of my mind is wondering whether a certain player has the potential to do well on the Challenge.
Lately, I’ve been rewatching some old reality television and it got me thinking about which cast members from the mid-00’s to early 10’s would have made their way onto the Challenge and had success/fit in as well had casting been similar today, rather than just the Real World/Road Rules format. Thus, this list was born.
As a bonus, here’s a vid ranking all the Big Brother players to have appeared on the Challenge thus far. Drop a Like and Subscribe if you can.
Onto the list!
10 Amanda Kimmel — Survivor (2007–2009)
Amanda is the 3rd Place Finisher of Survivor China and Runner-Up of Survivor Micronesia. Initially, I was going to make Amanda an honorable mention as I feel as though she’s a bit less charismatic than some of the other people on this list. Then I looked at her stats again, and the girl is 5'11, 135–140 lbs, athletic, and is a model. Amanda was already an excellent physical competitor on Survivor; on the Challenge, her size becomes even more advantageous. She also hooked up with someone on Survivor, which makes you believe that when living in a house with alcohol, Amanda could bring that element to the Challenge as well.
9 James Clement — (Survivor 2007–2009)
A massive Survivor fan favorite, James Clement. He was known for being one of the strongest players despite never winning individual immunity. James had this reputation as his body looked like it got carved from stone. He was impressive in the team challenges, and to add another notch to his belt, he played college football at Southern Louisiana. James was the first player to get voted off Survivor with an unused idol, and not only that, he had two of them! Even with that dumb move, fans still loved James, and it’s why Survivor brought him out for three different seasons in a 2.5-year block. James was a great confessional and had such a good presence (on his first two seasons).
8 Alison Irwin — Big Brother (2003–2006)
Alison was the runner-up of Big Brother Season 4 and the first evicted on the All-Stars season. On BB4, she became known for flirting/hooking up to manipulate the house’s men onto her side. Alison was part of a female alliance and won the most competitions of the season (2 HOH’s and 2 POV’s). She was a villain as she played the game unapologetically and ruthless. In the end, the jury did not see her actions as game moves, and thus she finished in second. Her gameplay would have made her perfect for the Challenge because she doesn’t have to worry about a jury vote; you only have to compete. Yes, there are social dynamics to it; however, she proved that she’s savvy enough to get to the end based on BB gameplay.
People saw her as too big of a threat on All-Stars; thus, she got voted out first. She did pull out an iconic moment by hiding inside a giant ceramic pot to spy/listen in on other people’s conversations. That’s some next-level shit. Tony Vlachos was at home taking notes watching Alison.
7 Ezra “Buddha” Masters — I Love New York/Money (2008–2010)
If you don’t remember who Buddha is, he was the runner-up of I Love New York Season 2. The man was 6'4, 220 lbs, college-educated, held multiple black belts, played basketball, and ran a staggering 4.43 40-yard dash time (for reference, Fessy/Zach, two of the fastest guys in Challenge history, ran times of 4.7–4.8). Buddha would have destroyed some people in Pole Wrestles and Hall Brawls. Aside from being a physical wonder, the man was confident and intelligent. When he walked into a room, other people were intimidated by him even though he was mostly a lax guy. Occasionally he did get in trouble when others would instigate drama with him, to which he wouldn’t back down.
Buddha did get cast for bit parts on TV shows like True Blood and Son of Anarchy. Most notably, he had a substantial stint on Zane’s Sex Chronicles, a Cinemax “After Dark” show where they put his body and good-looks to use.
6 Malcolm Freberg — Survivor (2012–2016)
The jungle boy from Survivor Philippines. Malcolm was on one of the worst initial tribes in Survivor history on his first season. His tribe lost every challenge, meaning he’d go to every single tribal council until it became just him and his close ally Denise. Then they merged the tribes, and Malcolm and Denise stuck together as the two underdogs against the world, making it to the final four until Denise cut him off at the end because if she hadn’t, Malcolm would have won the game. Malcolm is a 6'2, 205 lb former Ivy League (Dartmouth) Football Player. He was intelligent, likable, and physically a massive threat. Most strong Survivor players generally skew small, and Malcolm is not that; he could hold his own against the Challenge’s heavyweight.
Malcolm is currently 33 years old, which isn’t too old to appear on the Challenge anymore; however, he seems to be in a different part of his life now and likely wouldn’t be into the drama aspects of the Challenge.
5 Nicole “HOOPZ” Alexander — Flavor of Love/I Love Money (2006–2008)
If you watched VH1 Reality Shows, you know Hoopz is a winner. She won the first season of Flavor of Love against Tiffany “New York” Pollard. Hoopz was then offered her own dating show and declined, yet, took the call once VH1 created I Love Money, a more entertaining Challenge rip-off, to which she won again (250k), even defeating a male in the “final challenge.” Before Cara Maria, Hoopz was the original sole female champion. What makes it even better is she revealed in an interview that the person she beat was being set up to win the season and get his reality show. Hoopz nipped that idea by winning even with production interference.
She loved to compete and would have been well-liked on the Challenge as a competitor, a personality, or for being hot. A fun fact is that at one point, she got engaged to Shaquille O’Neal (they aren’t together anymore). Hoopz’s timeline is quite literally: Airport TSA Agent to winning Flavor of Love to winning 250k Dollars on I Love Money to getting engaged to Shaq. Fucking wild.
4 Parvati Shallow — Survivor (2006–2009) *Prime*
Over Parvati’s first three seasons of Survivor, we saw her evolve from a 23-year-old girl without much of a gameplan to becoming one of the savviest social and strategic players in the show’s history, and in my personal opinion, the best female to ever play the game. Parv had an innate understanding of looking at a person and figuring out what they want. Sometimes she could tell what a person wanted was her physically, or she could see that they wanted her out of the game and then would play around that. Her ability to detach herself from her feelings while also playing on other people’s emotions is awe-inspiring and terrifying.
At first, I was a bit hesitant to put her on because even though Parv keeps herself fit, I thought she’d be undersized. In reality, she’s 5'7 (according to multiple online bios), and maybe I thought she was shorter because Amanda Kimmel is her best friend. Parv’s confessionals alone would bring a significant impact to the Challenge.
3 Brenda Lowe — Survivor (2010–2012)
The half-Chinese half-Bolivian former NFL cheerleader Brenda Lowe is an icon who is burdened by the fact she appeared on not one but two mediocre seasons of Survivor. She’s like the KellyAnne Judd of Survivor. Both had massive impacts, great moments, are hot as hell, and would be appreciated more if they were on actually good seasons. In Brenda’s first season, she proved to be a strong strategic player whose only fault is that there weren’t other outwardly formidable players. Because of that, by the time merge happened, it was apparent she was everyone’s biggest threat. In her second season, she played a more honest game. That ended up burning her, which in all honesty, was more of an overcorrection of her gameplay from her first season. I find it hard to fault her on that because at least she was applying knowledge from what went wrong the first time.
In the challenges, Brenda proved to be highly intelligent when it came to the mental comps, and of course, being a former cheerleader, she kept herself in great shape. My favorite thing about Brenda was she understood her self-worth and carried herself powerfully. Her confessionals on Survivor Nicaragua had so much flavor to them, and I know on the Challenge, she would have fit in perfectly.
2 Ozzy Lusth — Survivor (2006–2011) *Prime*
Statistically, one if not the greatest physical players in Survivor history. Ozzy won 8 out of 16 individual immunity challenges played over his career and 5 out of 6 on his first season Cook Island. He was an excellent swimmer, climber, and all-around athlete, along with puzzle prowess. Perhaps he is a bit undersized for headbangers, similar to Jay Starrett now. At the same time, you know he’d kill daily challenges and a final if he gets there. Jay is a good Challenge competitor now, and Ozzy is twice the athlete/puzzle person.
What would have had Ozzy fitting in perfectly with the other top men on the Challenge is that he is a bit of a narcissist. We assume he’d fit in perfectly for the hookup element as he had a fling with Amanda Kimmel on Survivor Micronesia and currently is a professional OnlyFans Content Creator. Recently, he’s been filming content with noted adult star Kissa Sins.
1 Janelle Pierzina — Big Brother (2005–2006) *Prime*
When watching Big Brother 6/7, it sometimes feels as though Janelle was a Challenge competitor who got thrown onto Big Brother. She was loud, brash, unapologetic, hot, and an absolute killer in competitions. Janelle won physical and mental games, much to the opposing alliance’s chagrin, who had been against her from the beginning of the game. Even with Janelle’s actions at times being petty and mean, she was still generally beloved by fans because she owned who she was without remorse. If she got to be on the Challenge with much more attractive people and more alcohol, then sky could have been the limit for her. I believe when talking to another cast member during Big Brother 22 this past Summer, Janelle said had the Challenge been casting BB people back in the day, she probably would have done one (it could be my own personal Mandela Effect as I can’t find the clip anywhere).
Janelle had a star presence to her that is undeniable. Even on her abbreviated runs as a married mom on Big Brother 14 and 22, there’s something about her in the way she talks and carries herself that the other 99.9% of people don’t have.