If being on The Real World wasn’t mentally grueling enough, many cast members sign up for the ultimate endurance test that also takes the mind game to the next level — The Challenges. Before, there was The Gauntlet, The Ruins, The Duel and even The Island. Now, it’s The Challenge: Fresh Meat II (Don’t know what happened to Fresh Meat I. I’m afraid to ask.) which airs on MTV, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. (Eastern/Pacific).
In Fresh Meat II, Challenge alumni are paired with folks new to the game and the two compete for a share of $300,000 in prize money. One of those newbies, “fresh meat” as they are called, is Katelyn Cusanelli from The Real World: Brooklyn. If you are a Real World-alholic, watching every season with regularity, you will remember her, the transgender woman, who only 3 months prior to moving into the house underwent gender resassignment surgery. You will also remember her for outspoken –“Don’t start none, won’t be none” — attitude.
Well, I’m happy to inform you that Katelynn still has her swagger which I’m sure came in handy during the challenges.
Despite her confidence and proven ability to endure some tough stuff as a transgender woman living in the MIA (Miami) who ain’t afraid to “cut a bish” — with her sharp tongue, of course, she admitted during a recent interview with The Ride, she wasn’t quite prepared for what she came up against in Fresh Meat II. “I mentally assumed it was going to be like The Real World, but it wasn’t. I also assumed that my everyday physical activity would prepare me for the challenges. It didn’t.”
“On The Real World, you have a certain degree of latitude,” said Katelynn. “You could go get a cup of coffee, read a book, write. Not on The Challenge, you are confined to spaces. I got a little stir crazy.” And, just so you know, those spaces were occupied by 24 other Challenge members.
Oh, and another thing, Katelynn found it difficult to develop the cutthroat strategies The Challenges are known for — those backdoor deals, those backstabbing tactics. “You kind of can’t with Fresh Meat. In Fresh Meat, it’s you and a partner (in her case, Brandon) versus everyone else. It’s survival of the fittest. With The Gauntlet, you could build alliances.”
In Fresh Meat, Katelynn is reunited with former Real World cast member Sarah, who, as a newcomer, participated and made more than an impressive showing in last season’s challenge, The Ruins, almost taking home the grand prize. Did I say, they were “reunited”?…Well, not really…
“It was good to see [Sarah] again,” said Katelynn, who has keep in touch with other cast members including JD with whom she shares the podium at times on the lecture circuit as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. “I was looking forward to spending time with her. I hadn’t seen her since the show. It was disheartening to find out she was on the enemy team.”
Katelyn, who during the middle of her lecture tour, decided to sign on for The Challenge: Fresh Meat II, “bummed” that she missed out on The Ruins, said that if she would “be down with another challenge” with a couple of stipulations. “I would want warm weather. [Fresh Meat was in British Columbia]. I would it want it to be more like a duel — my skills versus theirs. I would feel more comfortable. [Fresh Meat II] felt more like an obstacle course. ”
Finally, The Ride asked her the usual: Why should we tune in if we aren’t a die-hard viewer of The Challenges, The Real Worlds, or anything in that time slot? (“Some people are just used to tuning into MTV at 10 pm. on Wednesday. They’ll watch,” laughed Katelynn. “I know an addict when I see one.”)
“You will see people on The Real World that you want to see [again]. People develop a rapport with a character they have come to know”… or in some cases, loathe…”And on Fresh Meat, you can also embrace and get to know cast members you have never heard of.”
If you have a taste for crazy mind games, and physical tests, may I suggest you try some Fresh Meat II.
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