We have the first Lavender Lady on the Challenge! It’s not the Road Rules OG Shane, not the mom Amanda, but one of Kansas City’s best realtors and runner-up on Final Reckoning, Sylvia Elsrode! After four years, Sylvia returns to the Challenge via All Stars and is looking to win. It will be interesting how she navigates the game without a Lavender Lady member in the house with her for the first time.
Being part of The Lavender Ladies has always been a gift and a curse for Sylvia. While they clearly have a lot of genuine friendship, care, and strategic savvy to help them in the game, the alliance itself puts a massive target on them. Sylvia doesn’t get quite the love that Ashley and Amanda do as she isn’t the loudest personality of the three, and yet, she still gets the same amount of hate from those who dislike the group. Sylvia is known as one of the most underrated competitors in the show’s history, except nobody wants to be known for being underrated. They want to be known as a champion, and that’s what she will be going for this season.
Introducing Sylvia: Debuting on Invasion, Sylvia immediately made a splash by turning against her Real World roommates (Tony & Nicole) in favor of her new friends and eventual Lavender Lady alliance (Shane, Amanda Garcia, and Ashley). After getting labeled a “weak” competitor by everyone in the house, Sylvia proved herself by winning two eliminations and by taking out Kailah Casillas in what was, at the time, a giant upset. Her season ended after going down in an elimination against Jenna Compono.
Sylvia came back an improved player for Vendettas, where, unfortunately, her game became jeopardized due to illness. Knowing she was already sick, production had Sylvia wrestle in a wet oil pit against Melissa Reeves for over an hour. Even while looking sick and taking cheap shots from Melissa, Sylvia was able to pull out the win in one of the best eliminations I’ve ever watched. Sylvia got rewarded with a Medical DQ and sent home…because…they obviously didn’t expect Sylvia to win the elimination and were probably pissed that Melissa lost.
She then came back for Final Reckoning paired alongside Joss Mooney. You could argue they were the best team as they were the only pair to enter the house on Day 1 and go to the Final without ever hitting the Redemption House. Additionally, they won two eliminations (one over Johnny Bananas) and the last two daily challenges to guarantee themselves a spot in the final. They finished second place in a Final where conspiracies abuzz that they might have actually won, and production chose to go for the big TV moment instead. It’s been four years since we got to see Sylvia compete; she was seconds away from winning the last time we saw her, so I think we will see someone more than ready to compete.
Player Vitals & Stats
Sylvia Elsrode: 33 Years Old, 5'6, 3 Seasons, 5–1 Elimination Record, 1x Finalist, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Final Reckoning
Skills and Physical Strength: As a physical competitor, Sylvia has no major athletic strengths or skills. Vitally though, she has no significant weaknesses either. Being a balanced competitor isn’t sexy as you usually don’t pull out a ton of daily challenge wins, yet, it’s critical towards never ending up in last place. Jonna has been killing it on these All Stars seasons in part because she never finishes last in a daily and thus doesn’t get automatically sent into elimination or looked at as weak. In the past, Sylvia struggled with cardio and heights. Through experience, she’s improved dramatically in each to where she is now at least average in each category.
Her biggest strength is her natural build with wide shoulders mixed with a proclivity towards physicality. Sylvia can take and give out tackles with ease. Plus, we know she loves to throw a headbutt. Based on her social media, Sylvia has gotten into the best shape of her life recently, which is a huge plus since she was already a good player.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: Socially, Sylvia knows how to be part of an alliance. The one season she wasn’t with the Lavender Ladies, she was part of the “Dolphin” girl group on Vendettas along with Kailah Casillas. I think Kailah and Sylvia will align, then try to link up with Jemmye & Veronica as they’ve done seasons with them; Kailah and Jemmye specifically are close. If Sylvia can prove to be a strong player from the jump, the male alliances will come naturally. It is also important to note that Sylvia is from Kansas City, just like Wes; it seems as though the two have been hanging out more lately based on social media. She recently sold Nehemiah his house as well.
In terms of strategy/politics, Sylvia is too often a martyr for her alliances, where she’s the one getting picked to go into elimination. Which is something she should try to avoid. When it comes to puzzles and mental competitions, Sylvia is maybe average. She’s never stuck out much as a puzzle player, never been entirely awful either.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: The elimination arena brings out the best and worst of some people. Sylvia has always looked her best and most comfortable when her life in the game is at stake. She is a fighter. Her first two elimination wins were endurance games against LaToya and Kailah; hilariously, cardio was probably her biggest weakness, and everyone in the house expected her to lose both times.
Can Sylvia win? Absolutely. Is she a favorite? No. Is she one of the top three contenders? Maybe not. Still, Sylvia winning All Stars 3 should not surprise anyone as she has a balanced skill-set that suits a Final. Sometimes not having anything set you back in the Final matters more than having an overwhelming strength. I will again compare Sylvia to Jonna because they have extremely similar skill-sets, and considering Sylvia had more success on the main show than Jonna, maybe she will do better than her on All Stars? Sylvia’s also been seconds away from winning in the past. She knows what it takes at this point to get a win. Being a younger competitor in an OG game doesn’t hurt either.