Reliving their past. Former The Challenge contestants offered behind-the-scenes insight on their personal and professional triumphs for the new book How To Win at The Challenge and Life: A Champion’s Guide to Eliminating Obstacles, Winning Friends and Making That Money.
The book, which was released on Tuesday, October 25, features interviews conducted by Sydney Bucksbaum with more than two dozen Challenge champions as they break down their road to success in the MTV franchise.
Chris “C.T.” Tamburello, who was a contestant on The Real World: Paris, recalled not expecting to “make it that far” when he joined the competition series.
“At first, I went on it because I wanted to do it for my son. I knew the time was gonna come when he was gonna be old enough to understand his old man was on TV and I didn’t want him to see me as some knucklehead punk running around with his head cut off,” the New York native, who shares a son with wife Lili Solares, detailed. “I wanted him to see me as I am today. I think I accomplished that.”
Tamburello continued: “But then over time, it became about me and getting my confidence back and standing on my own feet and showing that I still have it. To me, this one was the most special.”
The Real World alum previously opened up about his dedication to the franchise. “I made some lifestyle changes. I got my ass back in shape,” he shared in a confessional during The Challenge Spies, Lies and Allies: Global Activation in August 2021. “I figured if I don’t have the element of surprise anymore with the dad bod, I might as well come in hot.”
Earlier that year, Tamburello said he had no plans to step back from The Challenge franchise. “Ever since I took some time off and came back with the dad bod, no one wanted me. I’ve always been underestimated,” he exclusively told Us Weekly in April 2021. “It’s funny because I have a higher winning percentage now during my dad bod era than I did in my 20s.”
The MTV personality noted that he doesn’t “need to do anything physical” to prove himself, adding, “I f–king love it. This is the greatest game in the world. You have to be able to do everything really well. You can’t prepare for it. I’ve been doing it for so long, part of me wants to say, it’s all I know. If I honestly felt like I couldn’t compete, I would go home and give it to somebody that deserves to be here.”
Meanwhile, Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio weighed in on the “embarrassing and emasculating” feeling after his iconic Bananas Backpack Elimination. “I realized after that why they have weight classes in boxing and wrestling,” he said during his interview for the book. “There’s literally nothing I could have done any differently to change that outcome. But mostly I realized that the Challenge is just like life, in that sometimes, it just ain’t fair. And complaining about it won’t change a thing.”
Devenanzio continued: “If anything, it just made me want to come back and be that much hungrier to do better, because I’ve learned I’m more motivated by my failures than I am by my successes — and there’s no bigger failure ever than that one.”
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