Interview with MTV The Challenge: Battle of the Exes, Anessa and Rachel

Every week MTV’s The Challenge: Battle of the Exes brings more drama, fights and the desire to win gets stronger and stronger. had the chance to speak with the ever caring Aneesa and Rachel, the “girl-power” pair of ‘exes’ who are actually the strongest of friends, and who continue to lean on each other outside of The Challenge. These girls shared their side of what really goes on in the house, and prove that just because you are an all-girl team, you can conquer some serious obstacles.

TheCelebrityCafe: You were the only all-girl team on the show, what were the advantages and disadvantages to this?

Rachel: The advantages are that we are really good friends outside of the show so we were happy. When I found out that I was going to possibly do the show and Anessa told me that she got the call too, that was one of my deciding factors to even do the show. The fact that Anessa was my partner, someone who I knew and was a good friend of mine and could keep me entertained, I felt comfortable going back. That was an advantage to us.

The disadvantage was that we had no representation on the male side of the house, so when the CT’s, Mark’s and Johnny’s and Dunbar’s get together and commiserate and try to strategically plan their game, we had no part of that. We are out of that element completely.

Anessa: I concur!

TCC: Going into the “Lube Me Up” Challenge, you were going for Camila and Johnny, that was the plan. Then, Rachel, you see a ball, you grab it and run for safety. Where did the plan go?

R: Well, the thing is, the first time that we did it, we made the plan like two seconds before we were lining up. We were like, “Hey guys, let’s all go for Camila!” Robin said, “No, I have the middle rope, I’m happy.” The problem is, I tried to get other people, I tried to get Emily you know, telling her, ‘let’s make some shit happen, let’s go for Camila OK?’ and I realized the more I reached out outside of us the more I realized how alone we were in that game. That game happens real fast… I can’t even begin to tell you, they were like, ‘Girls, go!’ and then ‘Boys, go!’ and the boys took like, two seconds, and then it was line up again, and go! Robin and I had like four rounds going up and down that hill.

A: It was tiresome.

R: It looks like a breeze, it looks like a walk in the park – but I will tell you what… Camila is fast! The problem is we, I mostly, had a problem in our strategy. What our strategy should have been, and believe me I’ve been through it like 50 times in my head so I know exactly what we should have done, I should have had Anessa stay up at the top of the hill, go down, throw her up a ball and just try to score.

Whether I definitely target Camila or not, I should have made sure that Anessa was safe before anything else. So that’s a mistake that we made and we paid for. What can you do? It’s one of those things that you can’t go back and say, “OK I have to take this one on the chin.” I learned from it, Anessa told me when we left, all you have to do is find me a girlfriend now! I’ve been working on it ever since and let me tell you, I am doing pretty good right now!

It was Thanksgiving Day that challenge and I was super homesick; I’m not going to make too many excuses, but the truth was I was not happy; it was hard for me that challenge was. It was hard for me to stay motivated.

A: I tried my damnedest, that’s all I can say. The comedy skits… you know, it worked for a little bit. She kind of checked out mentally, even though I knew she was going to give it her all, Rachel doesn’t quit. It’s hard when you’re both miserable and everyone is against you.

TCC: What most people don’t realize is there is a lot more to The Challenge than meets the eye. There’s living in the house with strangers, there’s the competing for the cash prize, there’s the physical challenges and then on top of it all, not only are you dealing with your “ex,” you’re dealing with everybody else’s ex and their drama, and their fights, so, how do step back and really have time to focus on your own game?

R That’s the problem when there’s a game like that and it’s just so quick and you only have a few seconds to make a decision…it’s just so quick, I cannot emphasize that enough. At that point I was really down. I don’t know what to say, it happened the way it happened. It’s like Aneesa said…

A: Let go and let God!

R: We weren’t meant to be there in the end, let’s just say that. I’ve been there several times, who knows, and you know what? There was something when we got home that Anessa had to tend to right away, so maybe there was a reason we weren’t supposed to be there. That’s all you can do, learn from it, and Anessa and I are better friends because of it.

TCC Prior to Johnny’s decision, there was a huge fight between CT and Diem which had you both consoling one of the two, do you think there is a potential for those two to be thrown into the Dome because of the drama? Or in the back of your head do you still feel like it’s going to be you two?

R: Never. Johnny and CT are the two that have been competing against each other for years and it was Johnny’s only mission to get rid of CT last season, they were really quick to join forces with each other. The truth is, Johnny and CT were not about to throw either one in. We all knew that, it was pretty clear in the house. They’re both petrified of each other.

They weren’t playing a game to try to take out who they think is a big guy in the game, they were playing the game of let’s get together and…

A: They wanted to take out who ever didn’t fit into their circle.

R: Yeah and me an Anessa definitely didn’t fit into their circle. We could sit there with our hands out saying, “Please, please!” [laughing].

A: We’re OK with it now. We are so much stronger because of it.

R: Yeah, I am so much stronger just being able to get over this.

A: We’ve made it to the point where she can finally talk about it! We love each other and we care about each other, there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for each other. Coming into this we already had a strong bond. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else as my partner, regardless of the outcome.

R: Me neither! I don’t think there was another woman who could have gone through that with me. I really believe that Anessa and I went through our original season as out-lesbians, some of the first out-lesbians to eventually one day be put on the show of an entire cast of exes. I don’t think it should be underestimated what kind of experience works for us, I really don’t, and anybody that wants to tell me otherwise can go and live there for three and a half weeks then tell me what they think. It was very important to stand up and stand by each other, even when we mess up, even when we make mistakes, and to walk out with our hands around each other and know that we love each other and still be friends. We still have a positive relationship with each other, we really show that it isn’t all drama, there are beautiful friendships and beautiful relationships that come out of the gay community and we’re a representation of that.

A: Well put! That’s all I can say!

TCC: You girls were truly the image of ‘girl power’ on the show and you really stuck together and played the game hard, outside of the game, you guys have this fantastic friendship. Would both of you go back in and put yourself in that situation again?

A: Oh God…If whatever happened after the Challenge that I had to tend to would happen again, then no, I wouldn’t. But if I knew it wasn’t going to happen, then I probably would.

We could coulda-woulda-shoulda all night, and it won’t change the fact that we left, but we left feeling great about what we did, the way we did.

R: For me I think it’s become harder and harder to immerse myself back into it because I have a successful business outside and a very loving girlfriend and that would be really hard for me to leave. Any lesbians out there know, we don’t do well with change!

A: EFFIN Right!

R: For me to leave my life for five weeks now is a lot more to me now then when it was to me when I was 19, 20, 21, doing these shows back-to-back. But there is an itch in me every few years. So I never say never. I just know next time around, really mentally prepare myself for what I was about to get into. I feel the gap now between me and the kids who are new to it.

I’ll be honest; there has never been someone on these shows that has eaten away at me more than Johnny. He’s a very loud person in the house, he’s in the middle of everything, he just has an overpowering presence in the house and for me it tested my patience a lot. I wish him well, I don’t have any hard feelings, I’ve had my peace with the show and at the end of the day it’s just a game.

Johnny played a risky game there because the truth is, Anessa and I were one of the stronger teams there. I was upset because I felt that we were automatically discredited because we were two girls. Rather than, let’s look at the stats and see that we are actually doing better than CT and Diem on a lot of stuff. We actually did better than a lot of the teams and nobody seemed to notice.

TCC: Who would you like to see ultimately take home the money if it couldn’t be you two?

A: Rachel and I are interested in people who have never won, and if you look at it I haven’t ever won, Johnny hasn’t… Dunbar won…

R: I probably would have been happy with anyone winning besides Johnny and Camilla [laughing].

A: As long as they don’t win then I’m OK.

R: We’re not praying for them not to win. Just, everyone has one thing on their brain and that’s for them to win and to look out for themselves. This is a game that breeds self-absorption. You have to care about yourself; let them all fight it out now, let them figure out what they’re going to do now that they don’t have an easy target.

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