When Natalie Negrotti signed on for The Challenge: Vendettas, she had no idea that she would be starring alongside her former Big Brother housemate Victor Arroyo once again.
“I didn’t think this was something that he wanted to do,” the 27-year-old exclusively tells Us Weekly. “I found out when I got to the airport that he was going to be on the show. So, it was definitely a very awkward moment.”
Despite their ups and downs in the Big Brother house in the summer of 2016, the reality stars “met each other with smiles” at the airport, Negrotti says. “We were just very cordial.”
That said, the former NFL cheerleader went into the 31st season of The Challenge with a “vendetta” mindset, though she still found herself turning to the fitness enthusiast, 26, as they became acquainted with their new costars. “I didn’t know anyone, and everyone has kind of known each other for years through The Challenge. Some of these people have been doing this for over 10 years,” she tells Us. “I wanted to hash things out with Victor because, I mean, I do know him. We played a game together. So if I can get one person on my side, that would be beneficial to me.”
Negrotti couldn’t help but compare her experiences on Big Brother and The Challenge. “There are some aspects with Big Brother that are actually a lot more difficult, especially being away from your family, not being able to talk to them,” she explains. “On The Challenge, it’s completely different. You do have your family’s support, you do get to touch base with your close relatives and that’s nice.”
She continues, “It’s very different as well with your alliances. With Big Brother, you want to align with the best to get to the end. On The Challenge, I did not know this but … you want to get the best players out [early]. You want to knock out the best players as soon as possible so you have a good chance of winning.”
Read more from Us Weekly’s interview with Negrotti below!
Us: Why did you sign up for The Challenge?
NN: I went on The Challenge to showcase my strength and to show people that tiny girls that are 4-foot-11 can also kick butt. Girly girls like me that love makeup and love fashion and getting their nails done, we can also get down and dirty. I wanted to show a different side of me to the outside world so they can see that I did grow up in Venezuela, hiking mountains and with nature. I used to catch tarantulas when I was younger! I wanted to motivate girly girls like me and show them that we are powerful and strong and we can do whatever guys can do.
Us: How does The Challenge house itself compare to living in the Big Brother house?
NN: There are no live feeds so it’s definitely different! It’s more comfortable I would say in that aspect because you don’t have cameras on you 24 hours a day — all day, every day, watching you eat, sleep and shower. The dynamic in the house is just having a lot of fun. I mean, you can drink, you go out, you party, you build really good bonds and relationships with people in the house. It’s a lot of fun.
Us: What were your first impressions of the cast?
NN: Oh, my God! I think that everyone is hilarious. The Challenge people, they have big personalities. And I’m known to have a very big personality, but I kind of became a little shy because everyone was so outgoing, out there, very loud, and it was definitely different. Everyone was just really fun, especially on our flight over.
Us: You left the Big Brother house in a relationship. Were you interested in any of the guys on The Challenge?
NN: I was not trying to get in a showmance this season. My mindset was learning the game, doing the best I could and trying to win. My focus was winning this game and having some fun, too. … I tried at least. [laughs] Things change when you get in the house!
The Challenge: Vendettas premieres on MTV on Tuesday, January 2, at 9 p.m. ET.