‘The Challenge: USA’: Tiffany & Cashel on That Exhausting Elimination

Tiffany and Cashel in The Challenge USA
Q&A
Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount

The second episode of The Challenge: USA proved that even if you lose a daily, you’re not out of the game.

After an algorithm randomly assigned the players partners, The Amazing Race pair Cayla Platt and James Wallington came in last in the daily challenge but they bested the team thrown in by winners Tyson Apostol (Survivor) and Justine Ndiba (Love Island) — Tiffany Mitchell (Big Brother) and Cashel Barnett (Love Island) — in elimination. In Knowledge Is Powered, they had to light up a power station by pedaling on stationary bikes. For every two lights, they had to memorize 12 symbols.

Mitchell and Barnett take us inside their elimination.

How did you each prepare for The Challenge: USA?

Barnett: I snowboarded every day and drank a lot of beer.

Mitchell: Shut up.

Barnett: I just came in calm. I just came in my own zone. That’s how I prepared — yoga.

Mitchell: Oh, that was good. I was traveling a lot. I was not as prepared as I had been for Big Brother, that is for sure. My schedule was not consistent. And mentally as well, I was not as prepared because I was only like six months out of the Big Brother house. My head was still a little cloudy.

Tiffany, you thought you’d be a bit safer doubly protected with Big Brother and Love Island, but then that wasn’t the case. How’d you both feel about working together?

Mitchell: I think Cashel and I worked phenomenally together. We sat down, we had good conversation. I knew he was on the outs of Love Island. I knew I was on the outs of Love Island. I actually wanted to bring him into my circle as someone who I could work with and he could protect me and I could do what I could do for him on his end, since I didn’t feel like he necessarily had a group that was protecting him. But we did some little exercises together to prepare us to work together in case we had to communicate out there. And I think we did well together. He’s a much better biker than me.

Barnett: When we got paired, I was just like “phew, I got a strong competitor here. I got somebody I can learn from, somebody that I view as cool and smart, and someone that I wanted to connect with.” So I felt good about it. But then it turns out that we were just two powerhouses that nobody wanted to be put together because they knew that we were the guns. So they took us out.

Looking at the daily challenge, Cashel, talk about spelling out [ex] Kyra’s name — Tiffany, I liked your reaction to that.

Barnett: I just like to stir the pot a little bit. Kyra is rather standoffish when it comes to me. I saw when we came into the house she was shooketh to see me and the first thing she said to me is, “I can’t believe you’re here, this is such a surprise and blah, blah, blah.” And I was like, “I knew you were going to be here.” I didn’t talk to anybody about this show. I didn’t know anybody on this show except her. I knew she was going to be there. There was just no doubt in my mind. So I just like to stir the pot a little bit, shake it up. So I just happened to have a K-Y-R-A. Names didn’t count, but I was like, eh, threw it up, and then jumped back in and kept going. Tiffany didn’t love it. But I thought it was hilarious.

Do you think there’s anything you could have done differently to beat Tyson and Justine in the daily?

Barnett: The one thing that Tyson did have on us — this was our crucial mistake, Tiff, I’m sure you saw this watching it back or even just analyzing it after. We started doing puzzles, I would come up and put them up on the board, so that we could look at them was my thought process. And what Tyson did was he just lapped and got all the letters and didn’t start doing it until the end. I think that would’ve done us well because Tiffany’s a Scrabble queen.

Cashel, Justine, Tyson, Tiffany, Kyra in The Challenge USA

Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount

Mitchell: But I would’ve drowned. I was up there putting letters on the board because I was trying to breathe, but something I do wish I would’ve done — we had a strategy, but once I got on the buoy, I should have gotten letters for you and put them away like you did for me. So that when you got on the buoy, all you had to do was grab letters and jump down. But I was so focused on the plan that I just needed to make it on. Hindsight is always 20/20.

You were blindsided when you were thrown in, because you didn’t realize what was going on, with people campaigning against you. Do you feel like there was anything you could have done differently before elimination?

Mitchell: I probably should have had a conversation with Justine as well. I still don’t think it would’ve made a difference. I think she was pretty set on sending me in because I don’t know that she would’ve decided to work with me when she had a group of Love Islanders who did not want to, and they would work with her to get me out. So I guess the only thing I really could have done was try to talk to her, but I don’t know what difference that would’ve made.

Barnett: I’m pretty much going to echo Tiffany, but just my take on it is I had a conversation with Tyson and Angela when they won the first one and I was like, “Tyson, how you doing today?” And he goes, “I hate days after I won, because everybody wants to suck up to you. Everybody wants to bend your ear and blah, blah, blah.” I was like, I feel the same way. I would hate this when everybody wants to come and talk game because overall you’re going to do what’s best for you, bottom line. We’re all here to win. So the way I went about it, I was like, people are going to do their thing. They’re going to talk however they want to talk, but I’m not going to waste my breath because there’s nothing I could say to Justine. Justine doesn’t like me. I don’t know why, but she doesn’t. We didn’t really have a relationship. And with Tyson, I don’t need to bark up that tree because I know he’s going to do whatever he wants to do. I’d rather sit around and make jokes with Tyson than try and keep him from putting me into the ring.

Cashel, Tiffany, Justine, Tyson, Cayla, James in The Challenge USA

Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount

Talk about the elimination because it looked exhausting.

Mitchell: Girl.

Barnett: Yeah, it was.

Mitchell: TJ’s like, you’re going to pedal and pedal and then this light’s going to light up and I’m like, cool. So as we’re peddling and I’m peddling for my life, I don’t see a light. And I said, how long do we have to pedal? We were pedaling for a long time. That was a very long elimination. I was exhausted round one. I actually did not think I was going to make it to the third round. So I’m just glad I’m still here.

Barnett: We were probably biking for 20 minutes?

Mitchell: An hour?

Barnett: Like straight.

Mitchell: Before it lit up.

Barnett: When we jumped off to try and put all the things together it was —

Cayla, James, TJ, Tiffany, Cashel in The Challenge USA

Laura Barisonzi, courtesy of Paramount

Tiffany: Then memorizing those symbols —

Barnett: That was a short amount of time.

Mitchell: Nobody thinks about us memorizing those symbols. The biking was hard, but then we had to actually memorize symbols and get them in the right order or you had to start all over again.

Barnett: They said that we would get 10 seconds to look at the thing. And I don’t know if it’s because the adrenaline and because you’re pumping your legs so hard, but that felt like two seconds.

Mitchell: Fastest 10 seconds of my life.

Barnett: It was like, flash, gone! And I’m like, what?

So are you both up to doing another season?

Barnett: Hell yeah.

Mitchell: I’m down.

Barnett: Let’s go.

'The Challenge: USA': Eliminated 'Love Island' Pair Were 'Not Going to Beg'See Also

'The Challenge: USA': Eliminated 'Love Island' Pair Were 'Not Going to Beg'

Plus, who would've done if Cely and Justine faced off in a hall brawl?

Mitchell: Bring me back.

Barnett: I want my revenge. I got vengeance. I got a bone to pick.

Tiffany, you said that you played to what kept you safe when talking about Cinco but it was also said you two had something outside of The Challenge. So what is going on there?

Mitchell: No, Cinco’s my friend. I met him before The Challenge. Really cool, really sweet, kind, very genuine guy. I can’t think of one negative thing to say about Cinco. So I’d met him outside the house and I was like, hey, this is a strong, tough guy who can probably help me in this game. I’m going to stay on his good side. I’m going to keep him close to me. And he was really ostracized by the ladies because no one wanted to talk to him because Cashay [Proudfoot] didn’t want anyone talking to him. The Love Island girls didn’t want to include him. And I was like, hey, I’m going to include Cinco in my circle.

The Challenge: USA, Wednesdays, 9/8c, CBS