The Challenge Battle For a New Champion Interview with Olivia & Michele

Allan Aguirre
15 min readFeb 9, 2024

Folks, MTV gave me the opportunity to talk to Michele & Olivia after their eliminations on Battle For a New Champion Episode 17. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and the interview had some awesome moment. I will note that I only had 15–20 minutes to work with, and there were two people who has seasons worthy to pack a 2–3 hour interview each. There were so many follow-up questions that I had prepared that I had to abandon as we were limited on time.

In my opinion, this interview is best consumed via the YouTube video above, where you can see and hear all four of our faces and voices. Whatever you read below is an automated audio transcription, so it might be clunkier. However, I kept it available if you can’t listen to/watch a video or prefer to read.

Allan: It’s not often that you get to be joined by one, let alone two people that the Internet has never once said anything mean about ever.

Michele & Olivia: *laughing at my humor and charm*

Allan: And I get joined by two lovely ladies who have dominated our screens for the last two seasons, Michele and Olivia. It’s great to talk to you two.

Michele: I know you got the controversial duo of the season. I know we don’t have a lot of time, but we got a lot of shit to say.

Allan: Yeah, it’s 15 minutes and I have a whole list of stuff. And mentally as we go through, I’m going to be like, all right, we don’t have time for that. We don’t have time for that. But we got to just jump right into it. Michele, we’re going to start with you because no offense, you got eliminated first.

In my opinion. You were playing a superb game. I mean you got Kyland, Horacio, and all these power people out before the final. You had a bunch of allies, a bunch of friends who were willing to protect you. Then you fall off a log and your game’s over. That’s got to be heartbreaking.

Michele: It is. It’s just the way that the cookie crumbles in this game. You can control only so much, and the game will come to get you one of two ways. Only one person is going to win at the end of this. So if my social game was perfect, well, my physical game wasn’t.

So we did the best we could.

Allan: I thought you did a pretty good job considering all the cards on the table. But straight up, I’m sorry because I think this was a season that you put you or Jay in a very good position to win.

Michele: Yeah, I think people are going to be pretty happy that I didn’t win, so at least the Internet will be happy. Sure, I had a few tears. I’m still kicking myself over it. But the Internet will love it, so there’s that.

Allan: A bad part of the Internet will love it.

Michele: That’s what I like to hear.

Olivia: I’m over here. Like, I don’t love it!

Allan: Now, Olivia, you’ve had a pretty big couple weeks. Obviously, I want to jump right into the move you made last week with your decision to save Moriah instead of Nurys and the ensuing drama that happened with friendships kind of getting messed up. But I want to say this:

You could tell at the beginning of the episode you had immediate regrets. So I’m not going to harp on you for the move itself. Would it have been almost easier for you to have been eliminated that episode because it felt like you looked like you were in pain the rest of the way there?

Olivia: Yeah, I mean, I was checked out definitely after that because I was, like, beating myself up, obviously, about it. And I talked about it on my podcast that I had immediate regret more than just the beginning of this episode. I had immediate regret, regret right after my decision and how everything fell into place.

Last week’s episode was cut me saying that I wanted to switch places with Nurys in the elimination. So this episode, obviously, I’m upset. And at this point, I just obviously did not care to win. I didn’t feel like I deserved to win. I didn’t feel like I deserved to be there.

I felt like I was a coward. And I just felt a lot of know a lot of emotions when you have done something that is regrettable. So, yeah, I mean, at that point, I kind of was just like, fuck my game. I still obviously put up a fight.

I’m not saying I gave up. Anything like that by any means, but I was more like, as long as Nurys is safe from this elimination, I’m going to be hopefully redeemed in some way by her. I didn’t really care. Obviously, it sucks to get hate on the Internet and see everyone talk when they don’t really know the true situation of the matter or they have really strong opinions, and that’s fine.

It still hurts, still sucks. But the people I care about at the end of the day are the people that were affected by it. So yeah, in that episode, I guess I was just really just like, if I can do anything to save Nurys and make her time easier for the last couple of days we have, then I’m going to sleep at night a little better.

Allan: The hate has been a lot, and people do have strong opinions. I mean, you follow me on Twitter, you know, I’m a person who has a lot of just strong opinions. And on that episode, I let it fly the way I was feeling towards that game move because I thought it was a really bad game objectively, but the hate’s been a lot.

Olivia: Yes, but you’re not wrong. Yeah, you’re not wrong. There’s so much more, I think, in the dynamic of the house that is not shown. Truly no one will understand unless you’re in the game of how overlapping friendships can be and moves can be on the fly.

And there’s so much more that goes into the game that people really don’t talk about. So it’s hard, but at the same time, I’m learning from my mistakes and also learning that, to be honest, I don’t really care what people say that are not in my life and affected by me personally.

Do you know what I mean? I have to let it go off my back.

Michele: As somebody who was there for the whole situation, obviously. I had been asked to tell Olivia prior to the voting and truly, it was like three minutes before we were leaving to go vote. Jay gave me the list. I said I have to tell Olivia that she’s at the bottom of the list. So all of this is really super on the fly. It’s not a fully baked plan in any way, shape, or form. All I know is that Olivia is my friend, and she doesn’t want to be on the bottom.

So I’m going to do what I can do to make sure that she’s not on the bottom. And we see it all play out like cards or the domino effect, And I don’t think we fully kind of understood the repercussions of me switching the plan.

And then I see it. You see it because Berna’s upset about who’s going to go in and take that spot? I’m not thinking about that. I’m just thinking, like, literally, okay, right now, she’s upset that I just told her that even though I was trying to just warn her so she’d be prepared.

And you’re not thinking about like, shit, well, this could happen. You’re just impulsively like, I want to save my friend. She’s upset right now, and she doesn’t want to go in. She fought for her way here. So I think from this decision, Olivia said she was checked out. There’s a point in the game where everythings gets to you. People like Nurys or Berna, we’re seeing them kick into this gear towards final where their trajectory now feels like they’re amped up. They’re kind of ready to get there. Whereas people like me and Olivia from a game move like this, I feel like we were kind of checked out. So it can kind of go one of two ways and that is going to affect how you perform and how you kind of navigate the endgame. The meltdowns didn’t help.

Allan: Yeah, let’s talk about that endgame, actually, because we see in that last week, and again, power of editing…

I don’t know how realistic it was, but Nurys pitches that idea for the all female final, which, hey, if you’re running alongside James as the lone guy, who can’t really run, I really love that idea. How valid was this idea? Because I remember there’s a scene in it where it gets pitched to you, even Michele and I could see the gears turning in your head. It was a very Survivor-esque look where it’s like, am I going to cut Jay at final four for the final tribal council? Because it does seem like a great idea, but how realistic was it?

Michele: I think for me, been at pretty much every survivor season that I’ve been on, I’ve been in a female alliance. Even coming into this game, I was prioritizing the girls…andJay. Of course there are layers and levels to the protection or who you want to work with or whatever, but when it really comes down to it, we’ve all gotten this far. We’re so close to the end, and my chances of winning are going to be better stacked up against people who are physically as capable as me.

So I think from a friend perspective that I wouldn’t have wanted like Corey or Jay to go in, but from the gamer perspective in me, I’m like, this is my best chance, and if they’re my friends, they’ll understand. So it’s kind of just kind of seeing both sides of it.

And how badass would it be to run a final with all girls? That would be so freaking awesome. So my mindset was truly considering this.

Allan: Olivia, were you all the way on board with it?

Olivia: Oh, my God. Yeah, of course. Those guys… Only winner, right? Which is kind of crazy. And the guys didn’t have my back.

The only person that had my back at the end of the day when push came to shove in the moment of me almost going into elimination was Michele. So at this point, I was like, honestly, screw all these guys. Don’t care. And I also wanted to, again, do whatever was going to appease Nurys at this moment to make her feel like she had a better chance to win and fight and just make it easier on her.

I wanted to do it 100%. And honestly, at the beginning of the season, the all girls final was pitched during the first week by… Was it Big T? Big T was right. Honestly. She was right the whole time. We should have had more of a mindset on this.

We should have had more alliances within alliances, probably even like the girls and maybe the guys should have had their thing. Who knows? But the guys were all up each other’s ass the whole season anyways. Let’s just call a spade a spade. They always are.

Yeah, it sucks. It would have been epic. What do you think. I think an All Girl Final would have been dope at this point.

Michele: At this point, it’s such a dick measuring contest. All the guys are like, the only threats in this game are Horacio or Kyland, and Ed was before that, or Emanuel or Jay. But nobody was looking at the girls like we’re threats. And that should say something about how this single winner format is designed potentially against the girls. Now, there are always going to be equalizers in The Challenge or whatever it is, but in order to level the playing field, I think an all girls final makes a lot of sense.

I think their target was always what guy’s biggest threat? What guy’s the biggest threat? And then we see Nurys take out two guys, and a third this episode, and it’s like hmm… have you guys kind of dropped the ball and maybe not recognized that there are threats right under your nose?

Allan: Look, at this point in time, I’m just watching Nurys like she’s a superhero. So I fully believe women can do anything. I mean she destroyed.., well if you just watch elimination…apologies, Olivia. She destroyed you and James in that elimination.

Olivia: Yeah she did.

Allan: She just feels like on another level right now. I think she could do anything. I think women mostly can do anything. Yeah women can do anything, There’s a lot of stuff I want to talk about game wise, but we’re limited on time, so we got to get a little messy and get into the interpersonal details that people want to know

Michele, for you and Callum’s wedding, was everyone in the house going to get an invite or does Jujuy who got eliminated early… Does she not get an invite? I’m kidding.

*laughs all around*

Michele: There’s definitely some people in this house that would not have been invited. Callum first on that list.

Allan: Okay. Where do things stand with that guy that you knew for two weeks in a house with face tattoos?

Michele: Where do we stand? I would say tune into the reunion for that, but we’re not standing.

Allan: Great. Great. And now, Olivia. You got a lot of people we got to talk about. First off, what’s the situation right now between you and Nurys? Because I think that’s what everyone wants to know first. You obviously talked about it a bit on your podcast, but let’s hear it here.

Olivia: Yeah to be honest, I feel like it’s everchanging. We were good. I wouldn’t say friends, but we were good. Obviously, to this episode, she kind of seems pretty forgiving. Honestly, in person, without the editing, she was. And I was like, oh, my gosh, good, because she knew where I was coming from when I explained it to her.

I think rewatching it definitely opens old wounds, and I think she sees different parts of it. So as of right now… We talked…She sent me a text. She said that she takes back her sorry and she does not forgive me. And so we’re back on that bandwagon. She’s entitled to her opinion and her feelings.

Allan: Okay. Now, I think the obvious thing is I’m going to ask you about Horacio next, but I’m actually going to ask about someone different.

What’s going on between you and Mariah? Because I feel like every so often on the timeline, you guys have a little bit of a blow up. I don’t see Mariah mad at people very often, so what’s the situation of your two’s relationship?

Olivia: I mean honestly I don’t really know. Our dynamic always has been kind of iffy. We’d be friends and have fun and then there would be something that was said about one of us to each other by someone and it kind of just was back and forth back and forth. You know I think know especially in this game she protected James so much and the only person she knew that really was going to protect James with her was Michelle. she was really defensive or not defensive really… protective of James I mean. Honestly there’s not really much to say about it.

I wish I had a straight answer but some people just don’t vibe and some people are just not meant to be close and that’s just like what it is

Allan: I get that completely. We all have that person it never fully clicks.

Michele: And I love them both. I can just say as friends of both of them, they’re both amazing and I wish that they would see eye to eye.

Allan: Hey, Michelle, uh, we watched the season. We get it, you have a lot of friends.

*excited and upset laughing*

Michele: No, not these two! It’s different!

Allan We know you love them all. We know you love everyone.

Michele: Honestly it a fault of me to love all of my friends. You tried living in a house with people and not being friends with them at the end of it.

(Olivia smirks and looks hard into the camera)

Olivia: I also think Michele is a good friend. That’s why she has friends and keeps the longevity of her friendships. But I will say they don’t show me Michelle’s friendship at all really. This season, me and Michelle were literally connected at the absolute hip.

Michele: That’s why Berna was mad about our friendship. But they’re not showing it. Which is strange.

Olivia: Yeah, very strange. But I mean, like I said in editing definitely has a trajectory to make you a certain type of way. And I definitely was edited to be for this moment to be dropped. So they left out a lot of the things that I would have liked, known, or shown.

Allan: Man, this podcast as a whole has just been very sad. There’s a lot of, like drama here, sorry you lost here. I’m sorry we can’t be having more fun.

Michele: Can I just say, I don’t feel sad about leaving.

Olivia: Me neither.

Michele: Yes, it seems like going this close to the final, it could be this really sorrowful thing, but I swear I got home and I felt like I played with…and I mean, people will argue this, but I felt like I played with as much integrity as possible. As many friends as I had in this game, we’re seeing majority of my friends, if they were not purged, still in the game.

So I feel like I was really proud of the way I played, whether or not other people see that. I left with my head held as high as possible. So I don’t feel sad about it, really. I don’t.

Olivia: Yeah, I can’t second that, necessarily. But I think everyone has, pivotal moment where you take a big learning lesson. I mean, all you can do is move on and learn from your mistakes. And that’s what I intend to do.

Allan: While I do love this tone in comparison, I was mostly using that as a transition to be end this podcast or interview on a happy note where I just ask you like what’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite guilty pleasure food?

Michele: I love curry, thai curry all the way.

Allan: Ooh. Okay.

Michele: But I lived in Thailand. I don’t know, if I’m at the airport, I’m already ordering it for delivery for when I get home.

Olivia: Honestly, like, I kind of eat whatever I want, so I don’t really have a guilty pleasure because everything I eat, I’m like, I probably shouldn’t eat that.

But honestly, my favorite food is Chick-Fil-A. It’s so good. I’m obsessed with chick fil a. Actually, me and Michelle had this one night where we ordered the whole entire menu of White Castle, and we ate almost all of it, and I think I got the wrong order or something.

I ordered a hundred burgers. They were small, but, like, it was insane.

Michele: We had it for days.

Allan: Wow. And you did it all sober too. Obviously.

Olivia: Did I say that? (laughs)

Allan: Look, at the end of the day, people are going to remember this interview for Michelle flexing on us that she owns a peloton.

Michele: I would face it this direction, but Draco (her dog) has made a mess with all of his toys. So it’s like, you got to go either that way or the mess.

It’s more of a coat hanger than it is a peloton, let’s be honest.

*laughs all around*

Allan: Alright, ladies, I wish we had hours to discuss everything so we could have a little more fun, but this is the time we had, and it’s been an honor talking to you both.



Allan Aguirre

27 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.