Life in a Challenge house has its perks. 

This season’s iteration, The Challenge: Total Madness, and its war bunker set-up non-withstanding, signing on for the MTV series that started as a way to pit telegenic, engaging Real World contestants against those from the Road Rules franchise and has morphed into must-watch soap opera, incorporating casts from more than a dozen different reality shows usually means sunny climes, a sweet pool set-up and more than a bit of partying. 

The trade-off: there are no vacation days. Though there is one day each week free of physical challenges, “There are always cameras,” MTV producer and vice president of series development Dan Caster told E! News last year. Because even when they’re not competing, they’re competing, the angling and strategy and gamesmanship just as key to avoiding elimination as athleticism and a knack for puzzles.

Which is perhaps why we feel such a void when they stop appearing on our TV screens on the regular. 

Because for every Johnny Bananas and Chris “CT” Tamburello there’s a Coral Smith who hasn’t slid on a Challenge t-shirt since her last appearance in Mexico on The Gauntlet III in 2008. (Though between Veronica Portillo‘s recent return and a seemingly nostalgic 2017 throwback, we’re going to say anything is possible…)

In honor of tonight’s premiere of Total Madness, we took on a gauntlet of our own. Okay, ours involved doing a little digging on social media, not mud wrestling, punching walls or using any manner of explosive devices. But, still…take a look at these Challenge greats who have decided to stop dangling themselves above oceans and start getting real.  

MTV; Instagram

Real World, Then and Now, Mike Mizanin

MTV; Getty Images

Real World, Then and Now, Eric Nies

Getty Images/Instagram

Real World, Then and Now, Ruthie Alcaide

MTV/Getty Images

Abram Boise - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Abram Boise instagram

Paula Meronek - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Paula Meronek Instagram

Tori Hall - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Tori Hall Instagram

Kenny Santucci - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Kenny Santucci instagram

Evan Starkman - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Mat Hayward/Getty Images for Tone It Up

Coral Smith - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Coral Smith Twitter

Katie Cooley - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Katie instagram

Mark Long - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Mark Long Instagram

Rachel Robinson - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Rachel Robinson Instagram

Julie Stoffer - MTV's The Challenge


Tyler Duckworth - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Tyler Duckworth Instagram

Susie Meister - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Susie Meister Instagram

Sarah Rice - MTV's The Challenge

MTV, Sarah Rice Instagram

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