The Challenge All Stars 3 Player Preview: Melinda Collins
Holy shit, Melinda Collins completely blew me out of the water last season. While I’ve always loved Melinda as a personality on social media and TV, I never expected her to put up the physical performance she did on All Stars 2. Melinda silenced doubters, created new fans, and made me an even bigger fan with a different perspective. She is another example of why these All Stars seasons are great, because they allow people to show growth and that we don’t know everything about them. After coming so close to winning last season, Melinda is back to try and become a Challenge Champion.
Melinda’s Cheat Sheet (TLDR Version)
Introducing Melinda: She debuted on the Real World Austin as the fun hot blonde and immediately became an item with Danny Jamieson. From that point on, Melinda’s story on Reality TV became largely defined by their relationship. I do not enjoy writing that out because Melinda is a fun, enjoyable, gorgeous, and hilarious human being who is a star on her own. The fact an entire decade of her life on Reality TV was attached to one of the Challenge’s biggest losers where her potential on-screen got limited and tied down was an absolute disservice to Melinda and us, the viewers.
Melinda’s first Challenge season was Fresh Meat 1, entering the show with her fiancé Danny and their Austin buddies Wes & Johanna. The Austin rookies got targeted immediately — Danny got taken out first, with Melinda following right after. Her storyline was that she missed Danny when he was gone. Stinky. They came back for the Gauntlet 3 as a married couple, where the two were on separate teams. Melinda was coasting on by until she got thrown into eliminations against Tori Hall, one of her best friends in the house. Heartbroken by the fact they had to go against one another, Tori almost quit the show, then got convinced to continue competing, where Melinda ended up losing the elimination (bad looking loss).
A couple of years later, Melinda and Danny got divorced! She came back solo for Cutthroat and was on the Red Team. Everything I’ve heard rumored about Melinda from this season is that she was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, she did not get featured much in her six-episode stint. She got tossed into elimination against a rookie powerhouse in Emily Schromm, and that was the end of the story. Melinda got one more main season shot with Battle of the Seasons 2012, sadly, Danny was part of her four-member team, and by Episode 2, they were facing elimination together. If Danny ever did something well on the Challenge, it was losing eliminations. They got trounced by Big Easy and Camila 2–0 in their elimination, and it looked like the end of Melinda’s Challenge story.
Luckily, All Stars exists, and Melinda came back for Season 2. Melinda came back to the show with a new spirit, no longer having the shackles from the old days, and competed with her heart on her sleeve. She joined the King’s Palace alliance with Nehemiah, Teck, and Laterrian, acting as their female representation. Melinda put up the best season of her career, performing well in the daily challenges alongside Nehemiah as her partner, winning two eliminations and the final daily Challenge of the season to guarantee themselves a spot in the Final.
In Melinda’s first-ever Final, she and Nehemiah got lost to kick off the Final. When they started to get back on track, she severely rolled her ankle. Yet, after all these years, Melinda wouldn’t let that stop her from leaving it all on the field. She pushed through the pain and won Part 1 of the Final with Nehemiah, which was, in all honesty, 95% of the actual Final. Let’s not talk about Part 2 because it gets me upset. Importantly, after all these years, Melinda got to be the Star she’s war born to play and won’t be letting anyone hold her back anymore. Sky is the limit.
Player Vitals & Stats
Melinda Collins: 38 Years Old, 5'8, 4 Seasons, 0–4 Elimination Record, 1 All Star Season, 1x All Star Finalist, 2–0 All Star Elimination Record
Skills and Physical Strength: Melinda has an excellent physical build. She is 5’8, thin yet not undersized, has some good mom strength in her arms, and has a natural fit/build. Last season Melinda proved to have excellent cardio, working out hard during the season by running laps daily. She killed part 1 of the final with a bad ankle. Like most of the Austin cast, Melinda is a great swimmer, and positively, she has a great attitude entering the daily challenges now. Melinda’s gained a lot of confidence in herself and has built upon her success. Sometimes all you need is to catch one break, and the Melinda we saw on All Stars 2 was a new person.
Melinda has the heart of a champion and is fearless. For skills, she’s down to eat whatever; the way she puked up her food last season in the Final and picked it back up to eat was totally badass. I’m not saying Melinda has any overwhelming strengths because, statistically, her daily challenge stats are not great for her career. Still, that sample size feels thrown out the window because she is a different person now.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: The positives of Melinda’s social game are that she is super fun and a likable human being. She also enters this game with a battalion of men who have her back: Nehemiah, Laterrian, and Wes. Nehemiah and LT are 100% loyal to her, and hopefully, Wes can bring in some numbers and maybe female allies Melinda can potentially have as her #1 or 2. The negatives are the King’s Palace alliance from last season got on some people’s nerves, and if they cut their legs from underneath them, they could go after Melinda.
Mentally, Melinda proved to be formidable in memorization comps. She importantly possesses the skill of communication with one’s partner. Melinda was a bit weaker with problem-solving and math puzzles/games. I’m unsure of how she stands strategically/politically as she mostly went with the flow of the King’s Palace. Being around Wes & Nehemiah does lead me to believe Melinda is willing to make big moves if she attempts to play as her close friends do.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: Before All Stars 2, Melinda was a career 0–4 in eliminations. They weren’t necessarily the ugliest losses as Melinda faced a champion or future champions in every match-up: Wes on Fresh Meat 1, Tori Hall on Gauntlet 3, Emily Schromm on Cutthroat, and Camila on Battle of the Seasons. Even then, 0–4 is not great, and you wish she had pulled one out. She picked up two wins on All Stars 2, one against Tina, who opted out, and the other against Jasmine & LT while competing alongside Nehemiah. Melinda showed coolness under pressure in a game of memory and communication, and the duo killed the elimination together. As mentioned above, winning and success are contagious and addicting, so I think Melinda has a decent shot in certain eliminations, specifically carnival games, puzzles, and cardio-based competitions.
I’m not sure how Melinda would do in a headbanger or pole wrestle type elimination. On the surface, she has some size on players like KellyAnne, Veronica, and Kendal. Then I think about girls who match up well size-wise with Melinda like Sylvia or Kailah, and to me, those women have a definite edge because they have more experience when it comes to getting physically vicious. Melinda has determination, but does she have the killer instinct to get dirty in the ring?
Can Melinda win? Last season, I would have told you that Melinda had zero shot of winning. She had some of the worst stats in Challenge history and had never seen a Final before. In that All Stars 2 Final, Melinda put up a performance worthy of a Challenge Championship, so really, what do I know?