Tiffany Mitchell of Big Brother and Love Island’s Cashel Barnett were the second pair to go in The Challenge: USA, after losing to Amazing Race contestants Cayla Platt and James Wallington. The Challenge: USA is stacked with players who are no strangers to physical feats, like Survivor winner Tyson Apostol. Others are more used to politicking and using their smarts to win, like Big Brother star Derek Xiao.
During the first challenge, the contestants were able to choose who they wanted to be paired up with. It worked to a lot of people’s advantage as they knew who the strong athletes were. However, host TJ Lavin threw a wrench in the game when he announced that moving forward, the contestants would be randomly paired up by an algorithm.
While Tiffany tried to play the game, her interactions with Love Island star Melvin “Cinco” Holland Jr. put a target on her back. Unfortunately, Cashel, who played it neutral thus far, got caught in the crossfire when he got paired with Tiffany, and the two were sent into the elimination. It was a close race, but Cayla and James cycled to the finish line before Tiffany and Cashel. In an interview with Screen Rant, The Challenge: USA stars share their feelings about going into the elimination and how they felt after losing.
Screen Rant: For the first challenge, you were able to pick your teammates. How did you feel when TJ announced the algorithm would be pairing you all randomly?
You don’t think it was all random?
That’s interesting. It must have been jarring because you all had your own cliques. Did you feel like it helped infiltrate other groups?
Tiffany: I think it definitely made us have to re-strategize because we planned on working with specific people because when you knew it was random, you didn’t have a choice and you never knew who you’d get paired up with. So, I mean you can get paired up with someone strong, you can get paired up with someone weak. So I think we were all kind of like, this is different.
Let’s talk about the challenge. How hard was it jumping onto a moving buoy and having to hold on?
Cashel: Actually, you know what? In the beginning, that thing’s moving super fast and it slows down once you’ve jumped on it a couple of times. It was hard. No doubt.
It looked really scary.
How did it feel to lose to James and Cayla in the elimination, when they didn’t even complete the challenge?
Cashel: You know what, it doesn’t matter who you lose to. It sucked to lose. It was a bummer. The whole thing was a bummer.
Tiffany: Here’s for me why it sucked to lose. Because Cashel was really working his butt off. It doesn’t show enough how much Cashel went 500 mph on that bike from round 1, 2, and 3 and I’m like, I am really trying Cashel. Cashel was giving it everything and I was giving it everything too. My everything was just not as good as his so honestly, for us to lose I just really felt bad because I felt like Cashel was working harder than myself, James, and Kayla and he was in it to win.
It looked like you guys were both working really hard. What was going through your head when you found out you were going into elimination?
Cashel: No dude, I was asleep all day! Tiffany, you had more of a finger on the pulse of what was going on in there but that was part of my…my strategy, in general, this whole game was to just go in and give it my best no matter what happens, so I knew that day we might get thrown in. I didn’t think we were but I knew that if we were gonna get thrown in, whatever it was, we were gonna kick some ass, and we did our best.
Tiffany, Tyson told you to your face that you guys were good and asked you for your input on who to throw in. How did you feel when he called your name?
Tiffany: Luckily, he didn’t even call my name. It was Justine who said my name but when Tyson and I had that conversation, I left feeling good I guess. I’m very usually intuitive about things. It was a little gloomy that day and it had been 80 degrees every other day and this day was windy, leaves blowing, it was gloomy. I just really wasn’t feeling good about it but I said maybe it’s just the weather, it’s not me. I thought Tyson and I were good but I too went and laid down and they caught both me and Cashel sleeping.
Tiffany, Alyssa called you out behind your back for lying and manipulating people. Why did the Big Brother group turn against you?
Tiffany: I think they may have just been looking for some motivation to play a game. I mean, everyone manipulated everyone, so if that’s the case I should have gone in with a vendetta against Ky (Kyland Young). Ky’s the reason that I went out of the Big Brother game and yet I’m sitting here saying I’m here to support him and hopefully we can make it far. For her to have a vendetta or some vengeance against me, I never promised Alyssa anything. I’m not the one who backstabbed her. She was never a part of my group in Big Brother and she knows that.
Which of the groups do you think are the biggest snakes?
Cashel: Absolutely. But I would say in general Big Brother had the biggest numbers. And that’s a very close-knit group of gamers, people that are very involved in the reality world and play that game. Big Brother was working a group aspect, threw you in, and backstabbed you.
Tiffany: I mean of course they would. I’m the biggest, strongest, healthiest, youngest, wildest competitor ever in the history of The Challenge. I was such a threat. Of course they would want me out. I’m a good swimmer, I mean put me in a hall brawl. I could understand why they would want me out. I’m just knocking people down out here. Of course they would.
What’s harder on The Challenge, the physical aspect or the politicking?
Tiffany: They really kind of go hand in hand, honestly. Because obviously, you could have a good social game but if you can’t physically compete, then… you know it is physical, so I don’t know. I see a lot of people on The Challenge and they’re physically fit and kind of make it far but those that do have a good social game, so I think you need both.
Cashel: I think it comes down to what your personal strengths are. For me, physical athleticism that was my game. I didn’t get a chance to really show that as much. I’m interested, also a little bit jealous, to see what the other challenges are because that was gonna be my strong suit. Politicking, not my thing. I stayed out of it. Because that’s not what I was focusing on. I was ready to show up, whatever we’re going to do, when we got thrown in to the elimination.