Challenge Total Madness Interview: Jordan Wiseley
This past week, I was lucky enough to have MTV set up time for an interview with Jordan Wiseley to talk about his experience on Total Madness and the Challenge in general. This week, we saw Jordan get into it with Wes, and we talked about their experience on the game together. We talked about his clothing company, life goals, how much longer he’ll be on the show, what it’s like playing with Tori, his relationship with CT, and most importantly, the face mask donations he is doing for health-care workers!
As part of relief efforts for the recent COVID-19 pandemic we have re-opened a portion of our Los Angeles textile…
This is a transcript of our conversation with some small edits for functionality here and there. In this interview, you get the FULL Jordan Wiseley experience. He is far and away the most thoughtful competitor I’ve ever interviewed, and he doesn’t mince his words. Jordan is completely honest about how he views himself and how he views the game, regardless of whether it may come off the wrong way to a certain pair of eyes or ears.
Q: Before we get into the actual interview, I want to say thank you. During Total Madness pre-season, I wrote previews for every cast member, and I was saving yours for last because you were the highest-rated player. Then, the Challenge Subreddit had to close for a few days right when I was going to post it, and for me, that hurts because Reddit is the most helpful site in terms of Traffic. However, you posted the article on your Instagram, and it helped reduce the damage, so I genuinely appreciate it.
Jordan: (Laughs Hard) Oh man, it’s like it took your thunder. Yeah, no problem. I appreciated you writing it.
Q: Moving onto the interview, for starters, how are you and Tori dealing with Social Distancing/Quarantine?
Jordan: When it comes to quarantining and staying home, I feel like we got super prepared for it. The Challenge is like quarantine times 10. Imagine quarantine without Wifi, without books, without Netflix. It’s doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a scary time, and you don’t know what’s going to happen, and every day there’s new details broken. We do feel a bit prepared.
Q: I noticed you and Tori are selling custom masks created by your clothing company and then donating masks to medical workers for each one purchased. How did you get started with that?
Jordan: With Strapped (Jordan’s company), we have two factories in Downtown Los Angeles. One does our leather, and then another that does our fabrics and textiles. Around Week 3 into quarantine, I call the person who runs our textile factory, Maria, and I tell her, “I wanna make masks, can we do it?” She said, “Yes, We Can!” Then I ask if she has anyone who wants to work, and she replies, “Absolutely!” People had been out of work for weeks, and we were able to bring in six sewers and three quality control professionalist to go through and package everything. About 1/3rd of our employees were able to work again, and it isn’t our goal to profiteer, but also people aren’t working, and we have to pay our bills.
Tori and I then came up with the idea that for every Strapped Mask that we sell, we donate all-white masks to healthcare professionals, and in general, most are going to retirement homes, nursing homes, and clinics. All these medical professionals continuously need to use quality masks and go through so many, so I’m glad we can provide them. We got a letter from the Governor saying that we’re Essential, and it’s been a great process to both be able to help out and to allow us to go somewhere and get us off the Xbox.
Q: That’s awesome to hear. Moving onto the Challenge, this was the first time you had been on back to back seasons in quite a while. You’re somewhat known as the guy who takes years off, comes back, and then wins money. What got you to go back this time around?
Jordan: Tori and I are looking to the future, and we are looking years ahead in what we want to do. The #1 thing is we want to build a house. If that means I have to come on and take home some checks, then that’s what it’s going to be.
Also, when I first said yes to Real World, it was because I wanted to act. I wanted to be in scripted television and movies. I want to make my own movies. The whole goal has been to be good at reality television to follow my dreams. Once I won my first Challenge, I began to set things up. I was able to start my company, build custom motorcycles, then transition into clothing the last couple of years. Then we started a Production Company and have filmed pilots for TV, feature film work, and commercials for companies.
The Challenge has been such an amazing thing to compete in and then to be able to put the money to work. Now, Tori and I feel we are at a point in our personal lives where we are ready to take over the Challenge. I respect the Johnny’s who dedicated their lives to the show and the fact he has to wins the record, but now I have the time to dedicate to the show, which means that this is going to be my show for the next few years.
Q: Wow, that probably strikes some fear into some of the older veterans.
Jordan: Yeah, I hope so.
Q: The next question is from a friend, he wanted to ask about the difference in playing the game just for Jordan, and then playing for Jordan and Tori?
Jordan: It’s a huge difference; it really is, Allan. You’ve seen the way I play, and CT calls it “Rogue.” Every time I come in CT is like (in a CT impression): “Uh, I dunno, Jordan’s rogue, you never know, is he going to be on my side? Is he going to be on their side?”
I play rogue, and I do it because, as people have seen in recent years, and Wes has mentioned before, people create deals before the season on Social Media. To me, I don’t understand it because we don’t know what the game is, so all these people make deals and promises they don’t know they can keep. If you look at my track record, I’ve never broken a deal, never screwed anybody ever, and when push comes to shove, and a decision has to get made, I’ll make it right to their face. It’s kept me out of the drama, and it’s hasn’t followed me season to season. When I lost to Johnny, I took my butt-whooping and then didn’t make a huge thing to go after him the next season and ended up winning. Playing for me, I can call people out, and what are they going to do? Come for me? Are they going to go into elimination with me, and is that something they want to do? Most aren’t going to.
However, when I am playing with Tori, they can threaten me with something I cannot control. Look at what Cara and Paulie did. They said to vote with us, or Tori is going into elimination. It didn’t change my decision in that moment, but that’s how a lot of decisions are for me. Sometimes I think I should play it safer or not as loud because a lot of it comes back on Tori, so definitely how I play with her is much different.
Q: Do you blame a person like Wes gunning for you so hard? Especially with CT out, there’s not a person who can match you in terms of endurance, speed, strength, and puzzles. Do you think you deserve that target?
Jordan: Allan! Allan! From a Wes? Absolutely. He plays politics. Wes has been doing this thing for years, where he’s been shouting, “I’M THE BEST. I’M THE BEST.” And now some people actually believe him. He does the thing where if he says something enough times, it’s true. So when we play, he’ll put a target on my back, because if there’s a target on my back, it’s not on his. Wes has also been very open and honest about the fact that he can’t beat me in a final. He knows nobody else can either. The easiest campaign is he can go, “Hey, I can’t beat Jordan, and neither can you, so let’s get him out.”
I’m flattered. Thank you, Wes. This game is not a personal thing. Do I think I deserve it? Yeah, I’m the best. I mean, there might be something you catch me at, wrong person, wrong day, wrong time, but overall, I’m going to come back. That’s the thing; you have to beat me twice because I think anyone can beat anyone once.
Q: Before the season, I wrote about every player’s chance of winning, and each one included, “If Jordan is not there in the final, they have a shot.”
Jordan: Yeah, until someone beats me in a final, I’m going to hold onto that. A lot is up for debate. Do I think I’m the greatest ever? No. I think I’m the greatest RIGHT NOW. It’s almost like Jordan vs. LeBron or LeBron vs. Kobe, where when people debate who the greatest is, we really won’t know for a while.
Q: That’s an impressive view of it. I’ll be honest, I do consider you the greatest to play the game, but hearing you say you think you’re the greatest right now is a different perspective I don’t hear much. How do you feel about the overall direction of the show?
Jordan: I love where the show is going, I love the fans getting involved with fantasy leagues popping up, and the more mainstream this show gets, the better. I think we get undervalued and it’s a bit of an eye-ball issue, we don’t get enough eye-balls even though we’ve been on 35 seasons.
We get to thrive, and people begin buying into the characters that we are. Mind you, think of all the new talent that we have? MONSTERS. The girls, the guys, they are all huge. We brought in two D1 athletes. I love competing at a high level.
Q: Something I’m dying to know is what is your relationship with CT? To me, it’s always seemed like two lions who I’m not sure if they like each other, but they respect that they are each lions and can murder each other at any moment.
Jordan: Yeah, that’s a good way to describe it. It’s pretty dang true. CT and I are pretty close because we are both early-risers, first two to wake-up, have our morning coffee together, chit-chat by the pool. There’s always been this thing where you gotta earn your way into CT’s circle. I’ve earned my way in there. There have been votes where I could have gone against him, and I didn’t. I love competing against the best, and there are opportunities where I could have jumped on rookie bandwagons and gone for the big guys, and I think not doing so gained me respect. When it comes to the game, he is straight up with Tori and me. Even last season, when Tori asked if he was going to throw her in, he told her straight-up, “yeah.” As much as you don’t want to hear that answer, I respect that he gave it. He could have lied like Dee, and all the other people do. He stuck to it.
I know when it comes down to it, I don’t want to see CT in elimination. I know he doesn’t want to face me in a final, either.
Q: It’s refreshing to hear you say what we see on-screen. You two are evenly-matched in entirely different ways.
Jordan: Yeah. The lion thing is a good way to describe it because we walk around the house on different sides of the circle, staring each other off. It’s like, “when are we gonna have to square off?” We don’t have to, and we’re okay with that. It’s totally interesting to see what a new season brings, and you wonder when it will be the last season for some of these old guys. I do have some unfinished business with some of them.
Q: Gonna rattle off some facts, stats, and accomplishments:
You’re a guy from Oklahoma. By the age of 21, you’re a pretty high-level athlete 3–4 sport with Baseball, Football, Cheerleading, and Wake-Boarding, might be missing something.
Q: Baseball, Football, Cheerleading, Wake-Boarding, and Wrestling. You go on reality television, immediately come on the Challenge, establish yourself as one of the best by winning multiple titles. Then go on to do some modeling and acting, create a clothing company, build custom motorcycles, get engaged on national television, and you’re not even 30 yet. Do you think about if you have kids that true stories you tell them are eventually going to sound like lies because how could a person get all this done in such a short time?
Jordan: (laughs). Well, one, I appreciate you putting that all together in that light. We don’t cheerlead each other enough, so really, thanks for that. I do think about kids all the time, though. I love kids. I also think about teaching because I love teaching new things. I’m fortunate to have learned a lot of stuff from my dad and all the other old red-necks around me.
Also, I’m scared and glad the internet is a thing. I’m going to be able to prove most of the good stuff, and then also, you can find some other stuff.
Q: It’s almost like Forrest Gump where you’re like, “yeah, that’s when I was on Tyler Perry’s TV show,” and that’s when I had a crazy mustache.
Jordan: Yeah, exactly. I’ve been very fortunate. In-between all those awesome things I’ve gotten to do, there have been a lot of lows, and I hope everyone out there knows that it’s not all upward trajectories. It’s peaks and valleys. It’s been fun to take opportunities as they come, and I never ever ever ever thought this is where I was going to be. I thought I was going to be laying concrete at my dad’s construction company in Oklahoma.
Q: A far jump away from that now.
Jordan: Ironic enough, I am super close right now because I’m sanding a new house that Tori and I just leased, and we’re remodeling the kitchen. Just happen to be physically far.
Q: The last question, who do you think is the most underrated competitor on the show? Can’t say, Tori. Also, who is the most overrated? You can say Tori, but I don’t think you’re going to.
Jordan: Most underrated competitor…
A lot of these new kids are studs, and I’m curious to see how they do. I’m trying to think about who I would be a bit scared of if they show up. You know what, Tony Raines. This dude is underrated because he never won anything. People don’t expect much because he’s known for partying and is always in a storyline. As a competitor, he’s huge. Not sure if it comes through on television, but the guy is 6'3–6'4. A big dude who grew up playing sports is from the country, athletic, and when he comes in shape, Tony is a force. One thing: he struggles with puzzles. You ever have him in a final, you hope he gets a puzzle first. We haven’t seen in awhile, but I’d love to see him come back. He has such a good heart. The guy goes through ups and downs. There’s a lot there fans don’t know about that they’d really enjoy seeing. Tony Raines is underrated.
Now overrated, this one is so easy; I knew it right when you said it. TURBO. As if it was a surprise. I don’t believe the hype.
Q: When you opened like that, I thought you were going to say Cara/Paulie, but Turbo is a much more fun response.
Jordan: I’ve done half a challenge with him. Some pretty physical challenges as well. I know people don’t want to hear it because it doesn’t line up with their opinions. Going into each season, I ask myself who are the top 3 guys in the house. Walking into that house, I had Turbo as one of the top 3 guys. After about the third or fourth challenge, Turbo was not in the top 3. That was all I needed to see.
The thing fans don’t understand is see you us in the challenges. We see each other ALL DAY. I see what you do in the gym, I see how many laps you’re swimming, I see how many laps you run, and I see how fast you run as well. I check to see whether you’re running in the morning, night, or middle of the day because you might not like the heat. I see everything. Fans don’t understand that they see tiny little fragments of the game. The game never stops if you want to win.
For a lot of these people, the game ends at night when they pick up a drink and are ready to party. That’s not how you take home a check.
*we say our thank you’s and goodbyes*