Interview with Derek Chavez (Real World Cancun)
It was a joy this weekend to get an opportunity to ask some question to three time Challenge competitor, Derek Chavez. Derek’s origin season was the 22nd season of Real World: Cancun. He subsequently went on to compete on the Seasons 20, 23, and 24 of the Challenge: Cutthroat, Battle of the Seasons, and Rivals 2. His best finish was getting eliminated right before the Battle of the Seasons final.
He was always a nice and friendly guy who could have fun with rowdy groups. Derek’s most interesting moment on some of these shows was his surprise hookup in the pool house with Marlon from Real World Portland. His smaller frame always held him back in overtly physical games, but Derek killed all the daily missions and showed athletic prowess many times. In the Hall Pass elimination between Tyrie/Dunbar and Derek/Robb, they had about 60+ pounds over Derek/Robb. The Robb used his length, and Derek showed that he’s ready to go down the middle to get to the bell first. They had a dominant 2–0 win that showed they came to play. There’s something about winning a physical elimination like Hall Pass that gives you so much validation as a competitor.
In this interview, Derek was completely awesome. He went into great detail with his replies and if you’re a fan of the show, it’s cool to hear what he thought of the show.
Q: First off, I want to say thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. It’s been a few years since we last saw you on a Challenge, what have you been up to?
Derek: I have just been trying to get my life together, literally. I’m currently in a relationship that I’ve been in for 2 years, and I’ve been trying to adult and better my credit. Paying off student loans and what not… Trying to save for a house. My goal right now is to go back to school and eventually become a dental hygienist.
Q: What was Cancun like as a Real World setting? It seemed like one of the most entertaining settings that they’ve ever done. It also seemed a bit too fun.
Derek: Cancun was the best location by far. It was beautiful and amazing. The only thing I would say, is that we were in spring break headquarters for four weeks straight, so our main focus was partying. I don’t think they expected us to be anything more than a party season and if they wanted more from us, the location wasn’t the smartest idea. I was underage when we started filming. Therefore, if they had us stateside, I couldn’t drink when everyone else could, and there would be major problems and drama. Pair that with the fact that everything we did was a huge process, it made us not want to do anything at all. To go grocery shopping, we had to go to a Wal-Mart 30 mins away, and when we went together, cameras came. So we could only go into Wal-Mart one at a time, it turned out to be such a hassle that we never went. Also, if there was an argument or a fight, all we had to do was go to the beach and they wouldn’t really get anything out of us. We were all over spring break and partying for three months, haha.
Q: Who are the people that you are closest to in the Challenge/RW Universe?
Derek: I would have to say I am the closest with most of my Real World season — I talk to Emilee a lot. I keep in contact with Jonna, Jasmine, Bronne, and CJ. Lately, I’ve also been talking to Ayiiia a lot more too. Outside of my season, Aneesa and Marie are two of my faves. Averey lives in AZ, we get into some trouble together, but I always have such a good time with her. I’m ready to do a Challenge with her. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Leroy and Brandon, but I have a good relationship with them. Sam is my girl. We always say we wanna visit each other, but it hasn’t happened yet! Haha.
Q: Out of all the Challenges you’ve done, do you have a favorite mission? And which one was the most physically demanding?
Derek: I would have to say my favorite challenge was “Don’t cross me”, the first challenge on Seasons. We didn’t wanna go first at all and when we ended up having to , we killed it and came in first. It set up the game for us and allowed us to send Wes home first. It was an amazing feeling since the last show I did I went home first. So this was my first win and the first time I got to do a second challenge. The hardest challenge was the puzzle one on Seasons, where we had to climb up and down the mountain with logs. I had to carry Jasmine up too. I loved that it pushed us and if it wasn’t for pretty CJ forgetting a piece, we would’ve won first not second.
Q: So Rivals 2 is one of my all time favorite Challenge seasons. You and Robb were super underrated that season, you guys were actually doing well in the Challenges and killed your first elimination. Did it feel dirty losing in a blindfolded stick fight?
Derek: I thought we were doing amazing also. Had it not been for the girls voting us in, we would have been around for a while. I’m not going to take away from Knight (RIP) and Preston’s win, but there wasn’t any skill involved in that elimination. It was all luck. And had it been a physical elimination, or even the tower one, where they had to crash through four walls, we would’ve won, most likely. So it was bitter loss. I was also okay though because I lost due to pure luck.
Q: Years after it’s aired, people’s opinion of Battle of the Seasons has changed. Fans didn’t like it when it first aired, but nowadays, a lot of online fans name it as their guilty pleasure. What was it like living in a house with a rookie Frank Sweeney, Camila, and Marie popping off on people?
Derek: Well, I was a part of some of the popping off. I was the one actually arguing with Nany when Frank came into the fight and all hell broke loose. It was a little stressful, because I had never been in a situation like that, and I kind of got roped into acting the same way. It took a lot of time getting used to how Frank works, and when to or when not to say things that would piss him off. Thankfully we were always cool and in the same alliance so that never happened. A completely different experience.
Q: Were you in the area during the Frank vs Dustin and Nany fight? That has to be one of the most entertaining and sloppiest fights in Challenge history.
Derek: Yes, I was there for the beginning of that fight. Then I just became a spectator. There were a lot of low blows. It was a very sloppy night. If we could go back, I think everyone would steer clear of that incident.
Q: Something I’ve noticed a lot while watching the show, is that if you are a gay male, the game instantly becomes harder? Do you feel the same? Every season it seems like they get thrown into the first elimination because of preconceived weakness.
Derek: If there are a bunch of top competitors, then yes. They always see the gay guys as weaker even if they don’t say so. In order to be safe, you have to make sure you’re aligned with someone you know isn’t going to get thrown in or you win challenges like we did in Seasons. Generally, I think they see you as the weakest and will keep you around until they don’t need you, or they throw you in right away so they don’t feel guilty, and they don’t get backlash for throwing in a stronger guy. It’s part of the game. And I think it makes me play harder so that way it doesn’t happen.
Q: What TV shows have you been watching lately?
Derek: I watch a lot of tv… Too much haha… My favorite thing to watch before I fall asleep is Bob’s Burgers.
Q: What’s your favorite drunk food?
Derek: Anything with the name bertos at the end of it is delicious when drunk. We have a filibertos that has the best carne asada fries. Yum.
Q: Before we end this, I wanted to say thank you again. Now, would you ever do another Challenge? And, is there anything about yourself that you wish the viewers knew, or a bigger message that you have for your fans?
Derek: Of course. I love doing the Challenges and I’m so pissed that I haven’t made the final cut out of the last ones I’ve been asked for. I think MTV is kinda over me, because I haven’t been contacted since Rivals 3. But I’m always hopeful. Maybe you guys will see me again (fingers crossed).