Challenge Vendettas Player Preview: Veronica Portillo

CT, Sarah, Wes, Rachel, Jordan, Laurel, Abram, Cara Maria, Alton, Emily, Evan, Jodi, and Tyrie all have fewer Challenge wins than Veronica Portillo. She may or not be a better player than the ones I listed. However, she’s still a three-time Challenge Champion who was a trailblazer for the franchise and is a major reason why there have been 30+ seasons of the show. When people talked last season about Veronica having to prove herself, it made me and many other fans a bit outraged. It does not matter whether you are a fan of Veronica or not — she’s more than earned her stripes.

It’s likely Veronica had her optimal performance on Dirty 30. Veronica only looked good on Dirty 30. Whether she was solving the puzzle to send CT/Cara straight to the Redemption House, beating Aneesa in elimination, or in her bikini, Veronica was straight killing the game. Unluckily she got eliminated without a chance to fight for herself in elimination. Veronica was sent home by Jenna during a “Purge” type mission, and she later lost the final Redemption to Cara Maria. In a game where both CT/Jordan/Cara Maria all got purged and worked their way back into the game, Veronica’s game was over in one swoop. The good thing is she didn’t end up with a bad elimination loss and got to walk out with her head held high. Though there will always be questions of “what if?”

Famous for being a strong game player, Veronica uses all the aspects of the non-physical spectrum of the game to her full advantage. She used her power last season when she was forced to vote for Derrick or Hunter into elimination and flipped the game by getting LeRoy voted into elimination instead. People were upset to see Veronica throw him under the bus as he is the nicest guy on the show, but Veronica made a move for her game. LeRoy would never protect her, while Derrick and Hunter had shown her loyalty in the past. Expect Veronica to do the same this season, she plays the game, sorry if her game gets in the way of your favorites.

Skills & Physical Strength: She is not strong in the classical sense of muscles and size; she is strong because of her mind. There is a fearlessness needed in this game. Darrell is an all-time competitor who would be so much better if he wasn’t afraid of heights. Veronica might not be the fastest, but you put her in an element of uncertainty where players have to rely on their-selves and she will thrive. She is self-reliant and figures out a strategy for Veronica. Scared players are followers who copy others, smart players learn from others and do what is best for them. Some copying is smart, other times it is playing to be a lesser product.

Veronica is one of the shortest girls on the cast, standing around 5'1, she isn’t one who can intimidate others athletically. In an obstacle course mission last season, she won her heat when partnered with Nelson. Last season, Veronica only saw the Double Cross one time — on the first regular daily mission she had done in eight years. After shaking off the rust, Veronica proved she is nowhere near the bottom, even if she isn’t the strongest physical competitor.

If the challenges this season are more skill-based, you can expect Veronica to thrive. Her strengths include swimming, heights, and finding ways to win (an underrated skill).

Social, Mental, & Political Game: In this era, Veronica’s social game may be one of the weakest portions of her game. This is because Veronica has currently put herself in a position in the game where she has many of the best players going against her. Bananas dislikes her for outing his political preferences and her being a strong woman, LeRoy is upset over getting blind-sided, and MTV is playing up the angle of Veronica having a Vendetta against Cara Maria. Socially and politically she has put a target on her back with the best player as the shooters in this scenario. The positive of this situation is Veronica strong enough socially to gather people against the Bananas bunch. With a history of running the show, Veronica could lead be the person to organize the younger players into finally being able to take out Bananas and Cara.

And she just might not care enough to do so. She might want to drink wine with Jemmye, Marie, and Shane, and watch the game play out.

Veronica is likely the strongest mental player in the game. Her ability to solve the 3-D puzzle that would send CT/Cara to the Redemption House was highly impressive. While other teams struggled with the basic concept of organizing their pieces, Veronica understood how to solve it immediately.

Eliminations & Winning Potential: A career 2–1 in eliminations — Veronica shines when the eliminations are not overtly physical. She does not have any fears of losing, so she can play without the worry of messing up. On this cast where more than half the females are all in the same general area physically, Veronica could conceivably win physical 1 on 1 eliminations, she could also conceivably lose. Veronica would probably lose to Nicole or Cara in any physical elimination.

Could Veronica win? It would involve finding a way to get rid of Cara Maria, and then maybe Nicole and Kailah as well. Cara is able to do puzzles and mental stuff, while Nicole/Kailah are not strong in puzzles at all. For Veronica to compete she needs to play up the mental angle, and be at least adequate on the physical spectrum of the competition. At the same time, it would not be crazy for Veronica to have an early exit this season.

Overall Rating: 83/100



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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.