Challenge Invasion Preview: Nicole Zanatta

Allan Aguirre
5 min readJan 25, 2017


For the longest time during my binges of all the recent Real World seasons, for some reason Skeletons kept getting skipped over. I think I had watched Portland three times, Explosion twice, and begrudgingly pushed through GBOGH once, but missed out on Skeletons. So a few months ago as a good and diligent fan of the Real World and Challenge universe, I sat down to watch Skeletons. Within Nicole’s intro video about herself as an EMT and being the first girl on the football team, I was hooked, I thought she was awesome and such a good casting by the Real World. I was also surprised that we had not seen her on the Challenge yet.

20 minutes later I was completely done with her. Her accent was so strong and her energy was so perky that it became annoying. 10 minutes later I acclimated to her accent and she became the most dope person on Real World season since LeRoy. If you remember my article about Nelson(if you actually read these), I talked a lot comparing Nelson and LeRoy, how many have seen their physiques and skin color and made obvious comparisons. Well here’s the thing, Nelson isn’t the new LeRoy, it’s Nicole Z. People love LeRoy because he is just a normal, nice, funny guy who can beat anyone’s ass down in an eliminations. On RW Las Vegas 2, Adam Royer was a psychopath and LeRoy was the only person man enough to go and call him out on it. He pointed out hypocrisy while also remaining just a fun dude. We especially began to love LeRoy watching him on his rookie Challenge season making it to the final, taking out Wes on Exes 1, and more importantly his dominant performance on Exes 2 where he finished second and won 4 eliminations knocking out Wes, Johnny Reilly, and Bananas twice! The reason I see Nicole being the new LeRoy, is because on her Real World season she brought the least amount of pure drama into the season, Nicole was never the main instigator of drama. However, she did defend herself against Bruno and Jason whenever things got heated between. More importantly she also had the moral integrity to patch up relations with them very quickly after getting heated, and even better she is still good friends with her wolf-pack of her-Jason-Bruno that I find incredibly cute. The main thing is that whenever Nicole is on camera giving an interview or living her life, you cannot help but smile. She makes you life and you wish you could be friends with her.

There are a lot of girls who come on the Challenge and go on to become athletes and spend a lot of time in the gym or devote their lives to fitness — Cara Maria and Emily. Nicole was like that before the Challenge, she works as an EMT an intensive job, and in high school she was a pure athlete, playing many sports including football and track. Nany was an incredible female athlete on the Challenge because she did track, was a bit tall, and was able to manhandle the smaller girls easily. You add that to a girl who can take down and tackle guys on a football field, who is down for competition, and spent time the past couple years competing in bodybuilding competitions. Suffice to say that Nicole will be very good at the Challenge.

Now here’s my review of Nicole as a competitor:

Skills/Physical Strength: If Nicole can swim well, than she might be the best female athlete on this season of the Challenge. I am sure Cara’s core and upper body is just as good as Nicole’s but Nicole is bigger. Laurel despite being an amazing athlete, doesn’t put as much work into her body as Nicole. What they do have over her as vets is experience. Some of the Challenges are really experience based, people don’t know hot to pace themselves on swims, people don’t know where to grab a rope or stick when it comes to games involving grip or leverage. Nicole will need to come to a few challenges to gain that experience, then again she is such a beast that she will probably pick up very quickly.

Mental Game/Politics: If she is good at puzzles, then she is a Challenge dime, a perfect 10. Her politics will be amazing as she is superwoman, everyone likes her. All the girls love her as she will protect them from the ugly drunk guys, and when it comes down the guys she is basically one of them. She walks the line incredibly between her social group, and the best part is she gets dominate the other women in the competition. Nicole also gets the benefit of having 3 of her friends from the Real World: Tony, Bruno, and Sylvia being on the season with her. We also know from social media that Nicole has started a relationship or at least some good romance between her and Laurel. Nicole is a power competitor and pairing herself with the strongest girl in the house sounds like the biggest power move you could do to put a stronghold on the game.

Eliminations: This is what I want to see. If Nicole can tackle a football player to the floor, I cannot wait to see her just dismantle the girls who bark infinitely stronger than their bite. A dream elimination would be Nicole against either Cara or Laurel, then again all three of them in a final would also be awesome. Her ability to work under pressure will be noticed this season, as those that are good under pressure function best in the elimination. She can lift probably twice her weight, and eliminations that involve core strength will be easy for her.

Final Potential/Endurance: This is the interesting one. Based off of her doing track in high school, I expect her to have much better cardio than all of the other girls in the house. She has never been in a final. Not being in a final means you have no idea what you are getting into, what the pacing is like, and how to continually keep pushing yourself mentally. If Nicole faces Cara or Laurel in the final, which is likely based off of their track record(8 finals appearances in 12 seasons between the two), I think she might just get outworked and outpaced. However, against other rookie and underdog girls, I would bet Nicole as the odds on favorite to win this season for the underdogs.

Final Score: 94/100



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.


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