Recently, Laurel discovered a couple of my articles and reached out to thank me. It was a very kind and surreal experience for me as Laurel is one of the greatest to ever play(to me the most dominant ever). She agreed to a quick interview where I asked five questions about her overall experience with the show, her viewpoint on The Challenge and its fan-base, and which version she thought was the best player.
Before we jump into the interview, here is a link to a Podcast she recently did with ESPN:
Challenge legend, Laurel Stucky, joins ESPN's #1 Challenge Podcast! Elizabeth, Billy, Charlie Kravitz and Charlie Hulme…
Q: What is your overall relationship with the Challenge? You obviously love competing when you’re there, but it’s also obviously not your highest priority currently. However, even though it’s not your biggest priority, any time you go on Instagram or Twitter, you must get bombarded with Challenge stuff as if it was your life.
Laurel: I don’t get bombarded, but that is because I don’t really read comments, and previously I had gone through and put a ton of filters on my account so that I don’t see much stuff related to The Challenge. I like to live my life if I’m being honest with you. I don’t want The Challenge to be my whole life, and I don’t think that it should be. While I am not filming, I am not thinking about it, nor am I engaging with what is going on with whatever current season is airing. Sometimes I pipe in, but I feel like that is rare these days. CT always said, “mind ya business,” and as I’ve gotten older, I understand that more and more. It’s a Boston term, but I feel like it applies to all life. Don’t get involved in other people’s shit, and keep to yourself and focus on yourself.
Q: Which version of Laurel do you think was the best competitor? Free Agents Laurel finally getting the win? Fresh Meat Laurel taking down Wes’s alliance? Or even Cutthroat Laurel elevating a meh team to the most challenge wins?
Laurel: I love Fresh Meat II Laurel. She just got the job done, she was very inexperienced, though, in terms of how to win a final, and I wish I would have had some coaching before that day from Kenny. However, I learned, and I moved on, and eventually got the win that I was after, and that’s all that matters to me. On Instagram, @challengeteaa just recently posted a BUNCH of old seasons where people can go back and watch — and I loved seeing all of the memories, and not having the episodes get tied to public critique and analysis.
I loved the location we filmed in Fresh Meat II. I loved the atmosphere; I loved getting taken under someone’s wing, and I loved so much about it. We filmed in Whistler, and I would go back there to vacation in a heartbeat. The home was the coziest home we have ever lived in as well. It was just good vibes all around mainly except for Theresa and Mandi constantly making fun of me (which I now realize is because I killed it in competition, but at the time, it hurt my feelings and made me keep more to myself and lean on Kenny.) It all worked out in the end! So, no sweat.
Q: What’s the #1 thing about the Challenge that you would change?
Laurel: I really would make it so we could have books again. I was reading Lovely Bones on FMII, and did everything turn out fine? Yes. Did I still show up on Challenge days? Yes. Did I always come through in interviews? Uh-huh. Did I still interact with the house and party on occasion? Absolutely. So why were they taken away? It’s too strict now, to the point of excessive enforcement. I believe that is because of all the turds that broke the rules over the years and ruined it for everyone, but still — let me read a f*cking book, will ya? I would also bring back the prizes for all the daily challenges because I sure did like winning those!
Q: I feel like you completely elevated the female competition level on the Challenge. You look at people like Cara, Camila, Theresa, and Sarah, players you took out in elimination, sometimes multiple times, and later they’d go on to have dominant seasons, great career stats, and some wins on their belts. To me, it feels some of them were pushing so hard to compete with you, that once you weren’t around, they got prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.
Do you take pride in that? I know you’re someone who wants to be the best player overall, not just for females.
Laurel: Well, thank you. That is very nice of you to say this. There is an order to females that play the game on the Challenge for sure. Just as in the Animal Kingdom, the order is established rather quickly upon arrival at the location and as each daily challenge gets completed. Each Challenge is different because there are different players and different rules for the game at hand, but there is always, always an order — and I notice it most definitely.
It’s incredibly flattering for you to say that I elevate the female competition when I am present on The Challenge, and it is especially meaningful to me that you place me amongst the men, because that is where I want to be. And, a lot of times, I am competing with the men if necessary, depending on the daily challenge, or even in Free Agents. I finished 3rd overall behind Johnny Bananas and Johnny Reilly. I beat Zach in that final, which is funny because he is a man that likes to purport that men are superior to women. Well, I hope that I prove that women can get on in there and compete WITH the men. I like to get seen as a peer and respected, and sometimes that has to get earned, but I have no problem showing people where I belong by putting in hard work.
Q: What’s the thing you want people to know most about Laurel that they don’t see on TV? What’s something you want people to have mind/takeaway from you.
Laurel: I would say I am so thankful for the support of the people who have followed me over the years. I am grateful for the forgiveness and understanding that some (not all) fans have given me while I was working through my own personal problems while at the same time being filmed, competing, and trying to navigate an uprising social media world with intense scrutiny. I am just a normal girl from Michigan who happened to find herself somehow on these competition shows, and I made some huge blunders, but I will say that I have focused really hard to improve who I am as a person in life. I hope that is apparent, and I hope that I can continue to have the strength and determination that everyone says that they see in me, which sometimes I do not feel that I do have.