Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Thursday, May 27, finale of The Challenge: All Stars.
The first season of The Challenge: All Stars is over! Part two of the finale debuted on Paramount+ on Thursday and after a grueling two-day competition, Yes Duffy was given the $500,000 prize. Since he hadn’t been on reality TV since Battle of the Sexes in 2003, he was “completely horrified” to reenter the game.
“A lot of them knew each other, they were roommates and stuff for many years. I didn’t know many people. I was so worried. I was underprepared in so many ways,” Yes, 42, said on Thursday’s “Watch With Us: Challenge Edition” podcast. “I tried to do my homework and learn who was winning what and did what, just so I could get in a conversation with people.”
While the Road Rules alum was physically ready before filming began, he knew going into the show that he didn’t really have a social game.
“The social game to me, it’s just not a game. I don’t play games with people. I don’t play games, like, lying or thinking about some extra thing behind what’s going to happen,” he shared with Us. “I’m so bad at that. If I’m going to lie, you can tell I’m lying. It’s horrible. It was about building relationships with people and building friendships with people. And really my big challenge was — and I discussed it with my wife before I left and she gave me a lot of confidence — but she said, ‘Look, man, it’s been a long time. You’ve come a long way, show up and be the best Yes you could ever be. And what is that?’ And I just said, ‘I’m going to be honest and open.'”
He added that he had “no social capital” during the streaming show — something he realized while quarantining before filming began.
“I was like, ‘I’ve got a call somebody. I’ve been in here doing yoga and pushups and stuff. Let me call somebody,'” he recalled, added that he called Syrus Yarbrough who told him people are already texting and building alliances — and he had no one. “That’s just not my game. I started from scratch in a lot of ways. I enjoyed that and I think others did too.”
That honesty and willingness to support others went a long way, especially when it came to the final. During the different heats, each male competitor was teamed up with a female — and every leg, he was able to work well with his partner.
“This wasn’t shown. The part that broke my spirits was the chili pepper eating. Darrell [Taylor] had just passed me with KellyAnne [Judd], and then he started carrying her and he’s having trouble,” he recalled. “I was so dizzy. I had a hard time walking. I had a hard time even, like, standing up straight and Aneesa [Ferreira] was like, ‘You got this. Come on, let’s go. You got this.’ … I was seeing all blur.”
He added that later in the leg, he was encouraging Aneesa, 39, and couldn’t have been happier with their partnership. “I’m like, ‘You got this, Aneesa. Come on, we can do it.’ She’d be back there going, ‘I know. I got this, you don’t have to tell me.’ She is great. She’s so good.”
Yes continued, “I talked to Aneesa [early on]. I said, ‘Let’s get you this belt. I would love to get you this championship.’ That was one of the first things I said to her when I talked to her.”