MTV The Challenge Season 35 Cast: How Each Challenger Has Changed Since Their First Appearance

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MTV The Challenge Season 35 Cast: How Each Challenger Has Changed Since Their First Appearance
Entertainment And News

It’s the moment many MTV fans have been waiting for for what seems like forever: The Challenge: Total Madness premieres on April 1, 2020. 

The Challenge: Total Madness marks the MTV show’s 35th season and the first of 2020 after a long wait following the finale of Season 34.

RELATED: Who Is Johnny Bananas Dating? New Details On 'The Challenge' Star John Devenanzio's Girlfriend

Like a select few of MTV’s reality shows (think: Laguna Beach and Teen Mom), over its 20+ year on air The Challenge has launched the careers of many reality show stars into full-blown stars. For example, actress Jamie Chung, Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown, and even former Representative Sean Duffy all got their starts on the MTV show.

And though many of those former Challengers have moved on from the competition, something true Challenge fans always look forward to is seeing what veterans will return each season to either protect their crown or finally earn one — and which rookies will make a pass at rooting their flag in Challenge ground.

MTV officially released the Season 35 cast in the beginning of March 2020. As usual, there are many familiar faces — but how have those faces changed since their first MTV appearance?

Here’s what each Challenger looked like on their first season of The Challenge and what they look like now, as well as what each has been up to.

The Challenge Champs

Jordan Wisely: 6th Challenge

Then:

First Challenge: Rivals II (2013)

Original Series: Real World: Portland (2013)

Wiseley’s competitive personality makes him a fierce and controversial Challenge competitor. The three-time champ recently got engaged to fellow Challenger Tori Deal. In his Instagram bio, Wiseley lists himself as an actor, builder, and designer. He and Deal also make music together.

Now:

 

Back again. There will be Madness... @challengemtv

A post shared by Jordan Wiseley (@jordan_wiseley) on Mar 4, 2020 at 9:37am PST

Ashley Mitchell: 7th ​Challenge

Then:

First Challenge: Rivals III (2016)

Original Series: Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014)

Though Mitchell has been criticized for quitting two seasons of The Challenge in a row, she came back with a vengeance for The Challenge: Final Reckoning when she won it all with her partner, Hunter Barfield, from whom she controversially left with all of the money. According to her Instagram, outside of competing on The Challenge, Mitchell is an avid traveler.

Now:

Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio: 20th Challenge

Then:


Photo: Getty Images

First Challenge: The Duel (2006)

Original Series: Real World: Key West (2006)

You can’t mention The Challenge without also mentioning Johnny Bananas. 20 challenges and 8 wins in, he has since become the face of the game and perhaps the most controversial player. Bananas’ last win was on Rival III in 2013 when he became the first player to steal money from his partner, Sarah Rice. These days, Bananas supplements his Challenge win money as the host of NBC’s First Look. He’s dating reality show star Morgan Willett. 

Now:

Chris ‘C.T.’ Tamburello: 17th Challenge

Then:


Photo: Getty Images

First Challenge: The Duel (2004)

Original Series: Real World: Paris (2003)

CT is the uncontested powerhouse of The Challenge, dad bod and all. Over the years, CT’s learned to tame his explosive personality, which he credits to his family. "I've grown up and now I'm a father and husband,” the challenger told Bustle in 2018. However, that hasn’t made him any less of an intimidating player.

Now:

Dee Nguyen: 3rd Challenge

Then:

First Challenge: War of the Worlds (2019)

Original Series: Geordie Shore (2018)

Relative newcomer Dee Nguyen got her start on The Challenge when the franchise began casting members from shows outside of the U.S. Originally seen as a layup, Nguyen proved herself on War of the Worlds 2 when she joined her team for a final win.

Now:

Wes​ Bergmann: 13th Challenge

Then:

 

Throwback Thursday presents 20 year old Wes

A post shared by Weston Bergmann (@westonbergmann) on Apr 19, 2018 at 4:15pm PDT

First Challenge: Fresh Meat (2006)

Original Series: Real World: Austin (2005)

The Challenge is so appealing to fans because it’s just as much a mental competition as a physical one, and Bergmann has been so successful on the series because he’s mastered both. Outside of The Challenge, Bergmann is an entrepreneur and investor in the company BetaBlox.

Now:

 

Caption this

A post shared by Weston Bergmann (@westonbergmann) on Mar 4, 2020 at 2:02pm PST

Rogan O’Connor: 13th Challenge

Then:


Photo: MTV

First Challenge: Vendettas (2018)

Original Series: Ex on the Beach UK 2 (2015)

While O’Connor’s first Challenge appearance was underwhelming (he gassed out and went home on the very first episode of his debut season), he’s since redeemed himself with a Challenge win after completing the War of the Worlds 2 final.

Now:

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

The Challenge Season 35 Veterans

Cory Wharton: 7th Challenge

Then:

First Challenge: Battle of the Bloodlines (2015)

Original Series: Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014)

Wharton has appeared on not one, not two, not even three, but four MTV reality shows. After getting his start on Real World, Wharton has since appeared on The Challenge, Ex on the Beach, and Teen Mom with fellow challenger Cheyenne Floyd. 

Now:

Aneesa Ferreira: 13th Challenge

Then:


Photo: Getty Images

First Challenge: Battle of the Sexes (2003)

Original Series: Real World: Chicago (2002)

Despite making two finals, Ferreira has yet to secure a win. Regardless, she has remained a force to be reckoned with across her 13 seasons of The Challenge.

Now:

 

I’m back!!! #mtv #totalmadness #the challenge

A post shared by Aneesa Ferreira (@aneesamtv) on Mar 4, 2020 at 10:04am PST

Josh Martinez: 3rd Challenge

Then:

First Challenge: War of the Worlds (2019)

Original Series: Big Brother 19

Martinez entered The Challenge world after being crowned as the winner of his season of Big Brother. 

Now:

Tula “Big T” Fazakerley: 2nd Challenge

Then:

First Challenge: War of the Worlds (2019)

TRENDING NOW on YourTango

Original Series: Shipwrecked: Battle of the Islands (2019)

Big T only made it to the second episode of her premiere Challenge season, but not without a fight!

Now:

Jennifer West: 2nd Challenge

Then:

First Challenge: War of the Worlds (2019)

Original Series: Survival of the Fittest (2018)

West intimidated even some of the most veteran vets on her rookie Challenge season. With her muscles, are you even surprised?

Now:

Tori Deal: 4th Challenge

Then:

First Challenge: Dirty 30 (2017)

Original Series: Are You The One? Season 4 (2014)

Deal got her start on MTV’s dating show Are You The One? Though she didn’t find her soulmate on that show, appearing on The Challenge led her to castmate Jordan Wisely. The two got engaged in 2019. 

Now:

Mattie Breaux: 2nd Challenge

Then:

First Challenge: War of the Worlds (2019)

Original Series: Party Down South (2014)

Having appeared on three of the network’s reality shows, Breaux is another MTV franchise favorite. Unsurprisingly, that comes with some drama on and off the screen. In 2019, Breaux was arrested for a third DUI. 

Now:

Nany Gonzalez: 9th Challenge

Then:

 

been a minute

A post shared by Nany Carmen Gonzlez (@nanycarmen) on Jul 28, 2017 at 6:49pm PDT

First Challenge: Battle of the Seasons (2012)

Original Series: Real World: Las Vegas (2011)

Despite appearing on almost 10 seasons of The Challenge, Gonzalez has only ever made one final. The challenger recently made a comeback after taking a break from the show, during which time she finished esthetician school.

Now:

Stephen Bear: 3rd Challenge

Then:

First Challenge: War of the Worlds (2019)

Original Series: Shipwrecked: The Island (2011)

Despite having the nickname of ‘Bear’, this challenger really came in like a lion on his first season of The Challenge. He made friends, lovers, and enemies, but hasn’t quite gotten his hands on a Challenge win yet.

Now:

Jenna Compono: 8th Challenge

Then:

 

Blondie  thanks to @stephie_veronica

A post shared by Jenna Compono (@jennacompono) on Jan 4, 2015 at 1:20pm PST

First Challenge: Battle of the Exes II (2015)

Original Series: Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014)

Though she was originally cast on MTV because of her ex-boyfriend’s stint on Real World: Ex-plosion, thanks to her genuine personality and fierce loyalty, Compono became an MTV Challenge mainstay and a fan favorite. These days, she’s also engaged to fellow challenger Zach Nichols.

Now:

Kyle Christie: 5th Challenge

Then:

First Challenge: Vendettas (2018)

Original Series: Geordie Shore (2014)

Though vet Johnny Bananas is well-known for being The Challenge’s pot-stirrer, Christie isn’t far from taking over that title. Christie’s antics have earned him feuds with some of The Challenge’s best. When he’s not stirring the pot, Christie is also the Director of utility management company Switch Now International.

Now:

Nelson Thomas: 6th Challenge

Then:


Photo: MTV

First Challenge: Rivals III (2016)

Original Series: Are You the One? Season 3 (2015)

Though he plays with a lot of heart, Thomas so far has only made it to one final of his five aired seasons. He’s perhaps best known for drama outside of the Challenge house. Thomas has also made appearances on Ex on the Beach and Dr. Phil, and in 2018 the challenger was arrested and charged with theft.

Now:


Photo: YouTube

Kailah Casillas: 5th Challenge

Then:

 

& I love you like Kanye loves Kanye 

A post shared by Kailah (@kailah_casillas) on Sep 2, 2016 at 8:52am PDT

First Challenge: Invasion of the Champions (2017)

Original Series: Real World: Go Big or Go Home (2016)

Though Casillas has made it to one final throughout her Challenge career, she’s perhaps better known for being a drama-starter than for her physical prowess.

Now:

Melissa Reeves: 3rd Challenge

Then:

 

THE CHALLENGE MTV #thechallengevendettas

A post shared by Melissa Reeves (@djmelreeves) on Dec 7, 2017 at 9:45am PST

First Challenge: Ex on the Beach UK 2 (2015)

Original Series: Vendettas (2018)

Though we’ve only seen Reeves on a few episodes of The Challenge (she had an early disqualification on her second season), she left her rookie season showing she’s a force to be reckoned with after an iconic one-on-one battle with fellow challenger Sylvia Elsrode. Reeves is a DJ and soon-to-be mom.

Now:

RELATED: Who Is C.T. From The Challenge's Wife? 4 New Details About Their Secretive Relationship And Details About Their Wedding

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Micki Spollen is a YourTango editor, writer, and traveler. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her travels on her website.

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