Challenge Double Agents Preseason Interview: Jay Starrett

I got to interview Jay last season after his elimination win over CT. This week, MTV gave me the chance to talk to him about Double Agents before the season starts. Here is a transcript of our Q & A with some edits.


Q: So, how was your Thanksgiving? How, how are you doing? I interviewed back when quarantine first started in March, and now here we are again, and the world is very much the same.

Jay: Yeah. Thanksgiving went well; I was in San Francisco; it was actually different and cool. I had a lot of Sushi. Over the past month, I went over to Mexico for like three weeks or something. Surfed on the beach like every day and quarantined like that. As far as everything else is concerned, you know, I also needed a break after filming the Challenge before I came back to real life.

Q: So talking about the show, after getting your elimination wins last season, did you enter the house feeling like you had earned your stripes? Like was there any relief with the fact that you likely weren’t going into the first elimination again?

Jay: You know, I don’t ever want to feel comfortable going back to any of these. Coming back into the house with a brand new game, it’s a brand new season, so you never know what they’re going to do. If they want to throw me in again, I’ll be prepared. I’m always just going to stay on my toes.

Q: How much pre-gaming was there? You don’t have to say any names, but give me an insight. How many people were hitting up your DMs? Did you hit up anyone in the DMs?

Jay: I mean, everyone knows who messages everyone because he talks about it all the time, but your favorite ginger is the man.

Q: Did you make any deals beforehand? Were there any type of players that you’re trying to align with from the jump?

Jay: You know, there’s a lot of people who hit you up before the game and try to make alliances with, but you never really know until you’re inside the house. That’s how I felt on Survivor. When I walked in, I was like, okay, I don’t know anyone, let me make this work. The same thing with the Challenge, like as many deals you want to make, you know, if you’re making a deal with someone, they’re making a deal with someone else as well, so anything can change, and it’s called Double Agents. So at the same time, everybody is going to have their own back.

Q: Yeah. I mean, you have Natalie, who’s joining the show from Survivor with you. She’s one of the great survivor players ever. I mean, she won the first time playing an incredibly strategic game. Survivor is like an open game where you can play in so many different ways. I feel on the challenge, there’s only a limited amount of choices, especially as a rookie. Did you have to warn her before the game started? Like, hey, you need numbers before this game begins even to consider playing strategically?

Jay: Well, the thing with Survivor is like, you already kind of know the layout. Sometimes they’ll throw you a curveball every now and then, but with the Challenge, the moment that you land, you’re already landing on a curveball. So you’re losing your balance constantly. Every game is different, man. I don’t want to let you know if I made a pre-game alliance with Natalie or not. You’re going to have to tune in to find out.

Q: It’s just one of those things where on Survivor, you were a great player. You were socially strong, you’re looking for idols, and hitting some blindsides, but then you go on the Challenge. Even though you win those first two eliminations, people are still throwing you in, and they’re still not letting you play the game, really.

Jay: I don’t blame them, plus I pissed off Rogan. So I mean, why not? The way that season was set up, I think they were going to throw me in every time. So I ended up going home. It would have been sick to win every single-elimination and then make it to the final on my own. One can dream.

Q: Having been on the Challenge and Survivor, which challenges do you find personally tougher, the ones on Survivor where you’re malnourished or just some of the extreme stuff you have to deal with on the Challenge?

Jay: Dude. I mean, they’re both honestly so different because if we had to do the challenges that we’re doing on the Challenge malnourished, no one would survive anything. They are so hard, and we have to train for these. Whenever they give me a call, I started training harder than I’ve ever trained. The challenges themselves are no joke, you know? So the Survivor challenges are hard because you’re hungry and you have no distractions, but the Challenge is a different beast.

Q: Do you think the puzzles are easier or harder on the Challenge/Survivor?

Jay: They’re both equal. They’re both puzzles. At the end of the day, just brain games. If you suck at that puzzle, you’re going to lose.

Q: I think many people assume, based on the trailers this season, that there are co-ed partners this season. Which female would you want to partner with? There are a lot of strong females this season. We’ve got literal Olympians.

Jay: Yeah. There’s a legit Olympian. So it’s either going to be the Olympian or any of the vets because, you know, strategy-wise, you don’t want to be put with a rookie. I don’t want to go through what I went through last season, you know?

Q: Makes sense. For the way you interact with the show, how important is social media to you for engaging with fans? I know you even have your own clothing brand that you advertise.

Jay: Social media is just another platform for us to entertain. At the same time, without the fans watching the challenge, I don’t get to go do all the crazy things that we get to do. I have to show as much love and appreciation to everybody that gives me the same amount of energy. I just got to be there, and also, it’s a platform for me to be a complete idiot. With the challenge, I don’t really get an edit with all the crazy things that I’m doing. Social media is more of a platform to show my day-to-day life.

Q: You mentioned training for the challenge. Like what type of, what kind of training are you doing? We know you swim and surf.

Jay: Oh my god. On War of the Worlds 1, I think it was; they had them run through the desert for like miles on end. It was basically running a marathon for disaster. So at that point, you gotta think like, there is no amount of training to fully prepare you. It depends, man; I go from rock climbing, I’m trying to get my cardio up by running and jump rope. I do burpees for days. Then all the balance stuff, I try to do all the balance sports I can do pretty much. You train to be good at everything because you don’t want any surprises.

Q: When I interviewed you last time, we talked about how it’s hard for you to gain mass. Is that something you ever care about while training for the Challenge or just something where you know that that’s not the area you’re going to win?

Jay: I’m smaller than most of the dudes. So in my mind, I’m like, okay, well, if I can’t beat you in weight, which that’s never going to happen, I’ll beat you in speed and agility. I’ll train on those things as well. I’d rather look slim and fit anyway because I look good. (laughs)

Q: Granted that you don’t just get thrown into a bunch of eliminations again. How do you approach the Skull Twist? Because like, do you try and like pick your spot where you see an elimination that’s like maybe something to your strong suit, or do you wait for the end, or go in early and get it out of the way? What’s your game plan?

Jay: You know, a good strategy would be to wait for the perfect time to get your Skull because you don’t want to defend your title six times in a row. You’d rather just get your title and get out. You know what I’m saying? But if I were like a world champion boxer, I would be like, yo, I’m going to defend this all the damn time.

Q: Thanks for the interview. Is there anything that you want fans to know about you going into the season?

Jay: I want them to know that I’m doing my absolute best. I love them and stay loco.



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Allan Aguirre

Allan Aguirre

26 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.