Fastest MTV Challengers to 10 Appearances + Other Returning Player Factoids

What separates MTV’s The Challenge from other reality TV competition shows is the returning cast, and the compelling long-form storytelling that allows (which I expound upon in my guide for new viewers).

For the majority of these shows, most people only have one chance. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, and we’ve had —

  • 3-time players on BBUS: Boogie and Janelle
  • queens returning not once but twice on RuPaul’s Drag Race: Manila, and as of the essentially-confirmed cast for All-Stars 5, Jujubee and Alexis Mateo.
  • And with the Holi-Slay Spectacular, Shangela and Latrice have vied for a RPDR crown four times. And if you count her popping out of a box on Season 4, Shangie has appeared on 5 seasons. She’s MY All-Stars winner.
  • Survivor has had a slew of 3-time players but only 4 people who have competed on 4 seasons — Cirie, Rupert, Ozzy, Boston Rob.
  • Queen Sandra joins this club on the current season, Island of the Idols, and Mr. Mariano adds a fifth appearance, even though they are not competing. And then with Season 40 being All Winners, these stats will jump further.

This all pales in comparison to The Challenge, though. If you’re dramatic and competitive enough, you can make a whole career of competing on The Challenge.

People might sneer at that, and look down upon these lifers — but if you can get $60,000 just to get on a plane, with a legit chance to win $1,000,000, and they film 2 seasons a year (and sometimes more)… Why the f*ck wouldn’t you?

Many players have been notorious for never turning down a season and appearing back-to-back(-to-back-to-back….). We all know those people — Johnny, Cara, Sarah, Camila, Paula, Nany, Leroy, Jenna, etc.

Fans appreciate it more when Challengers do take breaks, as it allows us a chance to miss them. Look how excited we all were for Nany’s return on War of the Worlds 1, after 4 seasons off. But now it seems she’s back on her old sh*t, shamelessly accepting every call despite not having an apparent chance of winning. She’s filming Season 35 right now, her third consecutive appearance, and I am so bored and ready for her to retire again. UGH.

But let’s get back to the point of this article. For better or for worse, The Challenge has had 11 people appear on 10 or more full seasons, but even more so if you count the 4 spin-offs. But who has been the queen or king of reaching this number the fastest? The answer might surprise you.

Fastest to 10 Challenge Appearances 👑

Ashley “Millionaire” Mitchell

Time to 10 appearances: 3 years, 3 months, & 28 days

Debut: Rivals III, premiered on 4 May 2016

10th appearance: War of the Worlds 2, premiered on 28 August 2019

Seasons: Rivals III, Invasion, Champs vs Pros, Dirty Thirty (even though she removed herself from the game on Night 1), Champs vs Stars 1, Vendettas (as a Mercenary), Champs vs Stars 2, Final Reckoning, War of the Worlds, and War of the Worlds 2

If you don’t count the spin-offs or Mercenary appearance, Ashley has 3 years and 2 months to be on 4 more full seasons to beat the record. Light work.

Top 5 Fastest to 10 Full-Season Appearances 🏆

  1. Paula “Walnuts” Beckert (nee Meronek)

Time to 10 appearances: 6 years, 8 months, 30 days

Debut: The Duel, premiered on 12 October 2006

10th appearance: Rivals II, premiered on 10 July 2013

Seasons: The Duel, Inferno 3, Gauntlet III, The Island, The Duel II, Fresh Meat II, (Spring Break Challenge as a Commentator), Cutthroat, Rivals, Exes, Rivals II

2. Camila “Camilanator” Nakagawa

Time to 10 (full-season) appearances: 6 years, 9 months, 13 days

(Full-season) Debut: Cutthroat, premiered on 6 October 2010

10th (full-season) appearance: Dirty Thirty, premiered on 19 July 2017

Seasons: Spring Break Challenge, Cutthroat, Rivals, Exes, Battle of the Seasons 2, Rivals II, Free Agents, Bloodlines, Rivals III, Invasion, Champs vs Pros, Dirty Thirty, Champs vs Stars 1

3. Cara Maria “Cara Marie” Sorbello

Time to 10 (full-season) appearances: 7 years, 3 months, 19 days

Debut: Fresh Meat II, premiered on 31 March 2010

10th full-season appearance: Dirty Thirty, premiered on 19 July 2017

Seasons: Fresh Meat II, Cutthroat, Rivals, Exes, Battle of the Seasons (2010), Rivals II, Free Agents, Bloodlines, Invasion, Champs vs Pros, Dirty Thirty, Champs vs Stars 1, Vendettas, Final Reckoning, War of the Worlds, War of the Worlds 2

4. Leroy “RoyLee” Garrett

Time to 10 appearances: 7 years, 7 months, 16 days

Debut: Rivals, premiered on 22 June 2011

10th appearance: War of the Worlds, premiered on 6 February 2019

Seasons: Rivals, Exes, Rivals II, Free Agents, Exes II, Bloodlines, Rivals III, Dirty Thirty, Vendettas, War of the Worlds, War of the Worlds 2

5. Johnny “Bananas” Devananzio

Time to 10 (full-season) appearances: 7 years, 11 months, 30 days

Debut: The Duel, premiered on 12 October 2006

10th (full-season) appearance: Free Agents, premiered on 10 April 2014

Seasons: The Duel, The Inferno 3, The Gauntlet III, The Island, The Ruins, Cutthroat, Rivals, Exes, Rivals II, Free Agents, Exes II, Bloodlines, Rivals III, Invasion, Champs vs Pros, Dirty Thirty, Champs vs Stars 1, Vendettas, Final Reckoning, War of the Worlds, War of the Worlds 2

Honourable Mentions ✊🏼

Zach Nichols

Time to 10 appearances: 6 years, 4 months, & 19 days

Debut: Battle of the Seasons 2, premiered on 19 September 2012

10th appearance: War of the Worlds, 6 February 2019

Seasons: Battle of the Seasons (2010), Rivals II, Free Agents, Exes II, Bloodlines (as a Heavy Hitter), Invasion, Champs vs Stars 1, Vendettas, Final Reckoning, War of the Worlds, War of the Worlds 2

If you count his spin-off and mercenary appearance, he would be #2 fastest to 10 appearances, second only to Ashley !!

Slowest to 10 Appearances ⏳

Veronica Portillo

Time to 10 (full-season) appearances: 17 years, 11 months, & 17 days

Debut: Challenge 2000, premiered on 17 January 2000

10th (full-season) appearance: Vendettas, premiered on 2 January 2018

Seasons: Challenge 2000, Battle of the Seasons, Battle of the Sexes, The Gauntlet, The Inferno, Battle of the Sexes 2, The Inferno II, The Ruins, Champs vs Pros, Dirty Thirty, Vendettas, Final Reckoning

Other Members of the 10-Timers Club 🔟

Chris “CT” Tamburello (16 seasons + 3 spin-offs)

Wes Bergmann (12 seasons + 3 spin-offs)

Aneesa Ferreira (12 seasons + 2 spin-offs)

Brad Fiorenza (10 seasons)

Derrick Kosinksi (10 seasons)

Darrell Taylor (8 seasons + 2 spin-offs)

Next People to Join the Club (Probably) 🔜

Nany Gonzalez — at 8 appearances (8 seasons) and is currently active

Jenna Compono — at 8 appearances (7 seasons + 1 spin-off) and is currently active

Sarah Rice — at 9 appearances (9 seasons + always gets a call when a new season is filming)

Abram Boise — at 9 appearances (9 seasons + always gets a call when a new season is filming)

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
NovaRogue

I write about MTV’s The Challenge, with a queer / social justice / critical analysis bent. #UnspoiledGang