Challenge Total Madness Player Preview: Kailah Casillas
Finally, Kailah Casillas is back on the Challenge! From seasons 29–31 (Invasion to Vendettas), Kailah became a significant figure on the Challenge, both on the show and social media. Kailah debuted on the show, made a splash, had hookups, friendships, rivalries, big wins, and big losses. Her rivalry with Cara Maria on Twitter redefined Challenge social media. If anything, Kailah might be one of the biggest reasons why Cara Maria has become the modern female face of the Challenge.
Regardless of whether you were Team Cara or Team Kailah, it was freaking fun to pick a side and then fight with the other. The Challenge has tons of rivalries, but a few more famous than others. Wes and Kenny defined Seasons 18–21, and Cara/Kailah helped shaped the modern Challenge landscape. To this day, people still hate Cara/Kailah because of battles from those days. Hell, the two girls even had a spat on the VMAs Blue Carpet.
A lot of fans think MTV now puts a 2 season ban on violence DQs as Kailah, Melissa, and Cory are all finally returning. Then again, there were limited spots for US veterans the past two seasons. What matters is Kailah is back again. She was one of the better players when she was last on the show. I do worry for her as the female cast has improved since, and the fact she hasn’t been consistently on the show makes me wonder if she’ll regress as a competitor.
Introducing Kailah: She debuted on the Challenge Invasion, not with a whimper, but with a bang. There was an expectation that Kailah would suck on the Challenge because on her Real World season, she couldn’t complete a hiking trip (she was hungover though). Then the show finally started and she won a huge headbanger elimination to guarantee herself a spot in the Oasis, looked hot on the beach in a thong bikini, and started a showmance with Cory. She then lost an elimination to Sylvia in what was a huge upset. Kailah was only on six episodes of the Challenge, but her impact was felt! Even though Kailah was out early, everyone knew she was primed to return. She also got invited to the reunion (back when they limited invitees)!
For Dirty 30, Kailah came onto the show in way better shape, won the first daily challenge of the season, and established an alliance between her, Jenna, Cara, and Camila (four of the strongest players on the cast). Then a purge happened, and Jordan and Kailah chose to get rid of Cara and CT. Cara and Camila took this game move as a death threat and went nuts. The relationship between the two was never the same, and they’ve been at odds since. They’ve gotten into tiffs over the littlest things over the past few years. One of my favorites was during the CT wedding special when CT’s beautiful wife Lili told Cara that they had met before and that she maybe wasn’t a huge fan of Cara. Immediately, Cara said: “oh, you’re probably thinking of Kailah.” THAT WAS WILD. I didn’t blog about that special, but it was fantastic to watch.
Kailah returned for Vendettas, where she performed poorly in the daily challenges but had a tremendous political game where she had friendships with many of the top male players, and a solid female alliance of herself, Kam, Sylvia, and Marie. More than anything, Kailah made a massive move by throwing Bananas in against Devin in elimination (Tony usually gets all the credit). Considering Kailah already had Tony, Leroy, and Zach in her good graces and Bananas was allied with Cara, Kailah’s choice virtually guaranteed her spot in the final. I think Bananas hated Kailah infinitely more than Tony for throwing him into elimination:
Then on Final Reckoning, Kailah was out immediately for getting into a shoving battle. Considering Kayleigh was going to be her partner, it’s probably best for both that Kailah went out early. They likely would have struggled together, and instead, Kayleigh created a great friendship with Kam, while Kailah would get time to refresh from the Challenge as she had done four seasons and a spin-off in a row.
Kailah Casillas: 27 Years Old, 5'6, 4 Seasons, 4–1 Eliminatio Record, 1x Finalist, Highest Finish: 4th Place Vendettas (2nd Place Female)
Skills and Physical Strength: This will be Kailah’s first season competing since getting her breast implants. It’s been a long time since she got them, but it’s essentially been 18 months since she was on the show. Kailah is still as lean as she was during Dirty 30/Vendettas, though she doesn’t have as much muscle/thickness (or it seems). She is one of the fastest competitors on the show. If the Challenge isn’t a long-distance run, then she will be a top of the pack in terms of outsprinting the other females. In daily challenges, Kailah has been very hit or miss. Finishing last in daily challenges is dangerous in the modern era as purges can take you right out.
Kailah is a solid swimmer, not excellent, but much better than the worst swimmers. Cardio has been a significant weakness for her. She performed below average in the opening purge of Vendettas and then struggled mightily in the Vendettas final. Had Kam not been forced to bury a log in the final, Kailah would have gotten purged, and never would have had a shot of winning any money. If Kailah was training for this season by running long distances every single day, then her stock as a competitor skyrockets. If not, she will rank lower than when she was last on the show. On Vendettas and Dirty 30, Kailah could easily view herself as potentially being one of the top 3 females on the cast. This time around, there’s a lot of strong girls: Mattie, Jenny, Dee, Ashley, and Tori. That’s not even putting into consideration the potential athletes that are Bayleigh and Kaycee.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: The most worrisome aspect of Kailah’s social and political game is the fact she enters the game with Jenna and Nany as her #1 and #2. Being able to enter the game with pre-established friendships and alliances is helpful, but it also handcuffs you. None of the three girls are particularly strong in daily challenges. Thus, protecting all three of them becomes very difficult.
The first four eliminations that Kailah was eligible for in her Challenge career, she got voted into three of them, and four out of a total six. There is something about her personality that detracts people at first. She grows on most people over time as she’s become great friends with Jemmye, Sylvia, and Marie after starting their tenures at odds. She and Jenna are great friends, but together, it’s easy to pit one against another. I mean, they were literally forced to face each other in elimination on Dirty 30. When Kailah went on Vendettas without Jenna, she played much a better social and political game where she was able to create new friendships, mend formerly negative relationships, and be free to make whatever play she wanted without hurting someone else’s feelings. Jenna and Nany have great relationships with Bananas, but Kailah may wish to go after him. Generally, the most impressive aspect of her political game has been the fact she unafraid to make a splash. She’s already voted out Cara and Bananas in the past.
In theory, a Kailah-Tori-Dee alliance would thrive in a game because they cover all aspects of the game (daily challenges, social game, puzzles, eliminations). Sadly, they have different priorities, and at the end of the day, Kailah is going to want to play with her heart and her friends.
Kailah is bottom tier in puzzles. She took a considerable amount of time to solve the jigsaw puzzle in her elimination against Marie on Vendettas. In the Vendettas final, she was unable to memorize the giant color pattern that became the ultimate tiebreaker. Kyle even finished before Kailah, the same guy who I’d rank below/at the level of Nelson in puzzles/mental challenges.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: Her elimination record is an impressive 4–1. Kailah reminds me of Wes in that they both have this quality about them, where they are seemingly more comfortable when they take on the entire house one against 10. It’s also more fun from a television perspective because the attention is on you. Kailah cares about not being boring because she grew up a reality television fan and knows you have to make an impact. She has succeeded in doing that during her time on the show.
Kailah has won a headbanger elimination (Hall Brawl endurance elimination against Marie), she won an agility elimination (the wall elimination against Jenna), a leg strength elimination (ball and chain ladder elimination against Aneesa), and a puzzle (against Marie). Going head to head is her element.
Could Kailah win this season? It would require her to get rid of the people who are bigger threats. Tori and Dee are better all-around players, and cardio-wise, she probably can’t keep up with Jenny. If Kailah wants to win, she has to play big. She can probably coast to a final since she’s amassed many friendships, that won’t win her the game though.