Struggling to find her place. Before joining The Challenge: All Stars, Kendal Sheppard hadn’t been on a Challenge since 2004, so it wasn’t exactly an easy transition. During her time on the Paramount+ series, she spent a lot of time alone and seemingly rubbed many people in the house the wrong way.
So, was she isolating herself or was she being isolated? Even Kendal, 41, who managed to repair her relationship with Mark Long after a rocky start, is not sure.
“When you’re in the house, you’re eyeballing everybody because somebody’s got to go and I’ve learned that if people don’t know you, they’re more apt to put you in because they don’t have to really apologize,” she explained on the Thursday, May 20, episode of the “Watch With Us: Challenge Edition” podcast. “I think because we weren’t around each other, it made it easier for me to be a target. From what I understand, [Mark] was thinking that I was trying to isolate myself from everyone, like, maybe I didn’t like anybody or something [and was] just trying to stay away from people when I felt like I wasn’t really received well and I kind of retreat in conflict.”
She continued: “It sort of became this cycle of me isolating because I didn’t feel welcome, but then me isolating made me not welcome. … We were both kind of misunderstanding because maybe he would have been a lot more open to me had I just sorta pushed myself in and sat down and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to hang out.'”
Although the mother of three said she’s close with her friends at home and very social, it’s difficult to step out of her shell with new people.
“When I walk into a room, if I don’t feel like I’m welcomed, then I’m not gonna force myself on anybody. I’m just going to give them their space. And there were times when people were even rude, so I would definitely retreat in those times,” the Road Rules: Campus Crawl vet said. “Other times it might’ve just been me misreading the room or something. I feel like people’s bedrooms — that’s your bedroom. That’s where they sleep. That’s their private space. And so, whereas other people would hang out in there like all day and I just would be outside, and I’m like, ‘Man, does anybody come outside?’ I would wait for people to come outside, but they were all hanging out. And so I missed that whole piece of it.”
Kendal shared that while some days in the house were “very difficult,” she ended on a high note.
“To start out, things were rough socially, emotionally, physically — all of it was rough. And then by the end, I had some friends, like I was starting to get down the routine of things,” she explained. “I feel like I just sort of found my groove. So, by the end, I was really loving it. That’s where I think I would start from next time. I would hope.”
The Washington native is hopeful she’ll be invited back in the future.
“I definitely would. I went in with a certain expectation, I guess, and that was totally not what I was supposed to be there for,” she explained to Us. “What I walked out with is so much more than what I had planned and found this internal spring that I didn’t know I had. The challenges, they’re like these little mini-adventures, and that was really amazing.”
As for those daily challenges, they were much harder than the cast had believed.
“We were told it was backyard games. So I don’t know what Mark does in his backyard, but at our house, it’s horseshoes,” she noted about the information given to the All Stars cast before filming began. “So after that first challenge, we were shocked and a little bit peeved. We had representatives have some words production and saying, ‘Hey, like, we’re not here to die. We’ve got kids at home. We plan on returning back to life.’ They said, ‘Don’t worry, it’ll be OK.’ So they talked us all off the ledge, but we were all just in shock. I also kind of wonder if they had told us that it was going to be like that. Would they have gotten the cast that they wanted? I don’t know. Probably not. I would have!”
For more from Kendal, listen to the latest episode for free here. Subscribe to the “Watch WIth Us” podcast for more exclusive TV news and interviews.
New episodes of The Challenge: All Stars drop on Thursdays on Paramount+.