Meet Rogan O'Connor — Stripper-Turned-Reality-Star From UK Trying To Win MTV'S 'The Challenge'

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Rogan O'Connor? New Details On The 'Exes On The Beach' Star Trying To Redeem Himself On 'The Challenge'

MTV's The Challenge is back, pitting UK and US contestants against one another in a series of competitions. The show is only a couple weeks in but there are already some standout competitors. One of the highlights of the season is British participant Rogan O'Connor. The bodybuilder and male stripper isn't new to reality shows but he's a near-noob on The Challenge. He was cast once before but had to exit the series due to injury after just one episode. Now he's back and hoping to win the show and maybe score some romance along the way.

Who is Rogan O'Connor? Read on for all the details. 

1. Magic Mike Inspired

When he's not on TV, the Stratford-on-Avon native is onstage as the host of an all-male dance company called Dreamboys. The troupe does a strip show inspired by Magic Mike. O'Connor insists the show isn't seedy however and defends the dancers as very professional. In a 2015 interview with Closer Online he said, "In terms of working, everyone’s very professional at the shows. You have to be, and everyone is in such good shape. A couple of the guys don’t even drink but obviously, if you’re going to be a Dreamboy you’re going to enjoy the life that comes with that. People would assume everyone’s having orgies in the back, but it's not like that." He goes on to explain that there are rules about the dancers interacting with the audience, saying "The girls aren’t allowed to take our numbers, and we’re not allowed to kiss them or anything like that. It’s not seedy, it’s a proper production!”

O'Connor also reminded the publication that he's the promoter and MC for the shows, not one of the dancers in the main event. However, that doesn't stop the audience from trying to get him to take it all off. "During the Saturday shows especially you get big groups of drunk women who can go a bit crazy. I’ve had scratch marks down my back! Some girls just try to hang off my neck, but it’s all part of the show so you have to put up with it. You just have to smile. When they’ve had a few too many, some like to shout, ‘Get your c*ck out’ at any opportunity but you just have to take it as part of the job.”

2. Ex On The Beach 

Rogan's big reality TV breakout came in the UK series Ex on the Beach. The premise of the show is that eight people go to a beach house for a lovely vacation and then — you guessed it — their exes show up to throw a wrench in the works. O'Connor appeared on the show twice, in seasons 2 and 3, which aired in 2015 and 2016. The presence of his exes — Jemma Lucy in season 2 and Anita Kaushik in season 3 — didn't apparently bother him and he managed to hook up with a number of different women during the run of the show. 

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3. Bodybuilding and training

According to The Heavy, when O'Connor isn't stripping or filming, he's a fitness model and personal trainer. His older brother is a competitive bodybuilder and he followed in his footsteps, winning the Miami Pro before deciding to become a trainer. He has his own company called Bear Muscle and the website advertises his services, saying: "Want a personalized Taylor (sic) made plan just for you? #BearTrainingArmy." He does the training sessions via WhatsApp for those who can't travel to meet with him personally, so it's like having a Dreamboy in your pocket telling you what to eat and how to work out. He also has a line of fitness wear called Bear Wear. 

He is a professional bodybuilder and trainer.

4. Dating high profile women

One of the ways O'Connor manages to keep his name in the news when he isn't on a reality show is by dating high profile women, some of whom are reality stars themselves. Hollywood Life notes that he dated Jess Impiazzi, who was also on Ex on the Beach. He was also linked to fitness model Chloe Francis and, in 2018, he had a ling with Bianca Gascoigne. The fling with Gascoinge was suspected to be a publicity stunt on her part, however. She invited him to be her date at a party where she was going to see her ex-boyfriend. He wasn't a fan of that and told The Sun: "I got invited to an event with a pretty girl, if her intentions weren’t pure then that’s not the best way for her to treat me. I’m not a piece of meat for her to use. I can’t speak for Bianca but it sounds like that was her plan.”

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5. Sex tape with Jessica Shears

One of his more public relationships was with Love Island star Jessica Shears. The couple even had a sex tape, which is hardly unusual. But theirs leaked and was eventually posted on the massive porn site PornHub. The tape was eventually removed but The Heavy reports that a source close to O'Connor told The Sun "He’s really gutted and doesn’t want anyone to think he had anything to do with it. The film was a shared moment between him and Jessica when they were together and he never dreamt it would end up online for the whole world to see.”

6. The Challenge War of the Worlds 2

Now O'Connor is headed to The Challenge to try and redeem his previous performance on the show. In his first attempt, he suffered an injury in the first episode and had to leave the show. His bio for the new season says: "Disappointed by his poor showing, this Ex on the Beach alum returns to prove he has what it takes to make it deeper into the game. Fortunately for Rogan, he'll have some friendly faces joining him in the house — in particular, his best mate Joss." His bio also says he's single so there's a strong chance that his reality hook-up show skills will be on as much display as his physical strength. 

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O'Connor and pal Joss Mooney are ready to face The Challenge.

What's next for O'Connor on The Challenge? Tune in to see. 

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.