Challenge All Stars continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. Over the last two years, we have seen cast members return that we would never have imagined happening in a million years, so much so that the craziest fan casts and hypotheticals cannot get dismissed anymore. The year is 2022, and we are getting Cynthia Roberts back on The Challenge. Sometimes the world is good.
Cynthia’s Cheat Sheet (TLDR Version)
Introducing Cynthia: Originally from the Bay Area, Cynthia made her Reality TV debut in 1996 on the Real World Miami. She was an immediate sensation and became a fan favorite who has had a lasting impact on OG Real World fans to this day. What made Cynthia special as a character was her ability to be extremely real and candid while remaining optimistic and grateful for everything around her. So many people go on Reality TV in hopes of gaining fame and becoming famous. Cynthia is known for the opening episode of Real World Miami, where among everything, she was just in awe of her new surrounding and the opportunity given to her. She wasn’t trying to become a character for TV; Cynthia was simply living in the moment.
Anyone who watched knew Cynthia had the charisma of a star as she was funny, relatable, and wasn’t going to take any bullshit thrown her way. One of my favorite things when researching Cynthia was going through two-decade-old Reality TV forums and searching up tweets from 5–10 years ago to see how many people genuinely loved her as a personality. Not just people who began to think of her again once All Stars casting came into play, long-time fans:
My favorite thing was watching people go crazy because she popped up on an episode of an HGTV show called Yard Crashers:
Representation matters! Cynthia mattered so much to so many people back in the day. She gets to come back in 2022 and is going to have grown humans shedding tears of joy as they get to see her on TV again.
In terms of her Challenge career, Cynthia was on Road Rules All Stars, the franchise’s first season! It was a five-episode season of Road Rules consisting of only Real Worlders. There were no eliminations, no teams, no Tori Deal, only vibes and missions. By default, Cynthia became a Challenge Champion. Cynthia would return years later for Battle of the Sexes 2, where she didn’t stand out as a physical competitor, though she was well-liked as a social and mental player. When she got voted out after the fifth daily challenge by the Inner Circle, Coral, Aneesa, and Tina all came to the defense of Cynthia, claiming she was one of the most intelligent players on their team who was crucial for the team chemistry and sanity. To be honest, you could vote me out of the Challenge any day of the week if you told me Coral would vouch for me in my honor right after. Coral vouching for you is like winning 2 Challenge Championships.
Fast-forward 18 years, Cynthia will be making her long-awaited return.
Player Vitals & Stats
Cynthia Roberts: 48 Years Old, 1x Champion, 1x Finalist, Real World Miami
Skills and Physical Strength: I don’t feel super comfortable making a claim regarding Cynthia’s physical strength or fitness as it translates to modern daily challenges. Cynthia has the guts to come back after all these years and compete, which is a fearless quality that projects well.
It’s going to be a wait-and-see situation with Cynthia.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: Technically, there are people on this cast who have done a season with Cynthia (Derrick, Brad, Mark, Veronica, Tina, etc.). So it’s not like she has no clue who anyone is. However, she does have anywhere near the pre-existing connections and bonds most of these players have. Unless Cynthia kills the opening challenge, she could go tossed into the first elimination.
Cynthia is funny and personable; her social game should be solid. I worry that the All Stars female cast skews a bit young for an “OG” cast, and I don’t want her to get targeted due to her age. I wish Cynthia had been able to re-debut on AS1 or AS2, as she could have blended in much easier.
As mentioned above, Cynthia was regarded as highly intelligent back in the day, and I’ll go out on a limb to personally say: Cynthia is a smart woman.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: Cynthia has never played in a season with eliminations. She will be seeing the arena for the first time, and even though she lacks experience, I always think mom strength is underrated. If you have the power to wake up your kids in the morning, make them breakfast, drag them to school, practices, recitals, and then come home and serve them dinner with potentially zero thank you’s in the day at stake, you are a badass. Cynthia’s not a new mom either, she’s raised kids to be adults now. If the elimination is opening a pickle jar, everyone who isn’t a mom is fucked.
Can Cynthia win? No. It would be a hell of a story if she did. I just know she’s likely never seen anything like a Challenge Final, let alone going through the obstacle of having to take an entire house due to her lack of connections to get there. My wish is for Cynthia to get a decent run on this with hopefully a surprise elimination win.