What These Past Winners On The Challenge Are Doing Now

MTV's "The Challenge" has withstood the test of time, giving away millions of dollars over 37 seasons (and counting). The hit series, which combines "The Real World" with "Fear Factor" and "The Amazing Race," brings former reality TV stars to remote locations to compete against each other in the hopes of winning some major prize money. It involves social politics, grueling eliminations, cast hookups, and weekly challenges that have these competitors training like Olympic athletes. Not to mention the steamy cast hookups, alcohol-fueled nights out, and classic roommate drama. 

We've seen "The Challenge" competitors sleep in underground bunkers, climb ice-capped mountains, be suspended over bodies of water, and eat animal testicles, but what do they do in between filming the long-running MTV reality series? If you are wondering what they do to unwind, how they spend their winnings, and what they've done with their platforms, you've come to the right place. We have rounded up some of the show's past winners and taken a look at what they've been up to since becoming "Challenge" champions.

CT Tamburello landed a movie role

Of course we had to start with "The Challenge" veteran CT Tamburello. According to EW, he has appeared on over 20 seasons and brought home five wins (not including two wins on the "Champs vs. Stars" spinoff), making him the highest-paid competitor with his prize money totaling nearly $1.5 million.

But the road to glory wasn't without ups and downs for Tamburello. As he shared with Mashable, he struggled with mental health for years, and on an episode of "Double Agents," he revealed that he and his wife split up. "I feel like I've been running from problems for a long time, and I feel like they finally caught up with me. And I couldn't lie to myself anymore," he said. The two have since reconciled and are focused on raising their child. In May 2022, the proud dad posted an adorable Instagram tribute to his mini-me for graduating the first grade.

So what's next for the "Challenge" legend? Tamburello will hit the big screen in August 2022 as the star of the remake of "The Most Dangerous Game" alongside Oscar nominee Bruce Dern. In June 2022, the studio released the first trailer, which features Tamburello demonstrating both his action and acting skills. This isn't the first time Tamburello dusted off his acting chops: In 2019, he starred in the horror film "Habitual." At the time, he posted a clip where he's using his "Challenge" skills to prepare him to perform his own stunts.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Johnny Bananas joined Ukraine relief efforts

Outspoken "Challenge" winner Johnny Devenanzio, better known to fans as Johnny Bananas, holds the record for the most decorated player of all time. But what might shock fans more than his athletic abilities is what the MTV star has done to give back.

In 2022, Devenanzio took a trip to Poland and Ukraine after Russia's invasion. The reality star joined forces with the Humanosh foundation, an organization that aids people impacted by war. The TV personality detailed his experience to Page Six, recalling hopping on a flight just a day after receiving a call from his friend to come to provide aid to refugees near the Poland-Ukraine border. "[I] went to the first train station on this side of the Polish border, and the refugee crisis that's taking place there right now is just, it's insane," Devenanzio told Page Six. "People are warming themselves by trash cans that are on fire and [using] makeshift tents." Devenanzio was a part of a team of volunteers waking up before sunrise to deliver supplies to shelters, military bases, and train stations in refugee hotspots.

Devenanzio found comfort in seeing several other worldwide organizations rising to the occasion to help those in need. "I think that out of everything, that was the most reassuring to me because you hear about all the refugees, you hear about the sadness," he told us. "But what you don't hear about is the amount of support that is coming to Ukraine."

Wes Bergmann bought a Lambo

Some buy a house, others buy a Lambo. If you're "Challenge: All Stars" winner Wes Bergmann, it's the latter. "The Real World: Austin" alum decided to go big and bold with his $250,000 prize money. "I know everyone's playing for all sorts of different reasons," he told E! News in July 2022, "but, like, hasn't everyone always wanted a Lamborghini?" Well, he has a point. Oh, if only we had a quarter of a million to throw around.

The reality TV star has some hidden talents of his own, and fans might be surprised to realize he actually has a real-world job. Per his Linkedin page, Bergmann is the founder of BetaBlox, which is a startup that sources local investments for entrepreneurs. "I've been obsessed with entrepreneurship my entire life. There's nothing about it I don't love, especially the hard parts," Bergmann wrote in his bio.

You won't catch the vet stealing any rookie's hearts on any seasons of "The Challenge," as Bergmann tied the knot with his wife Amanda Hornick in 2018. Despite settling down, Bergmann says viewers can count on him returning to the grueling reality series. "I want to go back to the flagship show," he said in the aforementioned chat with E! News. "I want to do All Stars 4, I want to do all this other stuff, but it all just comes down to scheduling. I am going to do whatever is possible."

Ashley Mitchell's new life in Costa Rica

No true "Challenge" fan can forget the moment Ashley Mitchell stole $500,000 from partner Hunter Barfield, winning her big bucks but also a shady reputation. The controversial competitor has since moved to Costa Rica, has a new boyfriend, and from the looks of it, she has no plans to come back stateside.

In 2022, Mitchell touched on her life changes in a series of Instagram Stories where she addressed gun violence and the debate surrounding firearms in the United States. "You guys know how these political things get me worked up," the reality TV star began. "For everyone saying just move out of the country if I don't like it... I did."

Her reputation on "The Challenge" may have gained her a big paycheck before, but her fiery personality was the reason for her early departure from "The Challenge: Final Reckoning." Host T.J. Lavin told the cast in Episode 14 that she'd been disqualified, but the reason for her abrupt exit was not disclosed. She has since defended MTV's decision and promised to work on anger management in a tweet. "Everyone knows I'm only mad at myself and it has been so hard to shake off the depression and anxiety since getting home," she wrote. "I have been taking anger management and reflecting a lot."

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Kaycee Clark found love

Oh, the blossoming of reality tv showmances, how we love to see it. "Challenge" contestant Kaycee Clark took home the win on Season 37 of the show, alongside partner CT Tamburello, but what makes her win even sweeter was competing alongside fellow competitor slash girlfriend Nany Gonzalez for a majority of the season. The pair met on Season 35 and hit it off, but didn't make things official until Season 37.

In an unforgettable twist, Clark and Gonzalez were forced to go head to head in the final, with Clark ultimately defeating long-time veteran Gonzalez in a tearful elimination. "Making it to the end of the season with you was everything. Thank you for being my rider," Clark wrote on Instagram at the time.  The couple even attended the 2022 MTV Movie Awards together and received a nomination for Best Reality Romance.

As of this writing, the two are still going strong and might even have plans of starting a family of their own in the future. In a since-deleted Instagram Story that made its way to Reddit, Gonzalez asked her followers for tips on beginning the IVF process. "I feel free and open and truly believe the time is right," Gonzalez wrote.

Zach Nichols tied the knot

Yet another reality tv showmance has survived the test of "The Challenge" and it's the pairing of "Battle of the Seasons" winner Zach Nichols and finalist Jenna Compono. The two met on "Battle of the Exes 2" and were on and off for years before finally tying the knot in April 2022.

Castmates Kaycee Clark and Nany Gonzalez were in attendance at the nuptials, and from the looks of it, there may be more "Challenge" wedding bells ahead: Clark shared a TikTok video of her girlfriend catching the bridal bouquet at Compono and Nichols' wedding. 

Compono and Nichols have a son and they are expecting a daughter. Nichols told E! News in June 2022 that he was overjoyed with the news. "I want my kids close in age like my siblings are. It's like having a built-in best friend." Nichols previously gushed to E! News following the birth of his son how proud he was of his wife and former castmate. "There is nothing that Jenna has done thus far in motherhood that hasn't impressed me," Nichols said. "Watching her go into labor, and then deliver our son was the most impressive things I'll ever witness."

Cara Maria Sorbello teased a return

"Challenge" vet Cara Maria Sorbello is about as bold as her changing hairstyles. The Massachusetts native and two-time champion has made it as a finalist in nearly every season of the show that she's competed in. With 14 seasons under her belt and over $600,000 in prize money, she's undoubtedly cemented her status as a force to be reckoned with.

In addition to the victory, she's also found love on the show with her former competitor, Paulie Calafiore. The pair met in 2018 on "Final Reckoning" and went through their fair share of ups and downs (including Calafiore's infidelity). But it seems all is fair in the world of love and challenges, and as of this writing, the two are going strong and frequently post adorable photos together on Instagram.

Whether or not we see Sorbello again on the MTV series is TBD. In 2022, the vet opened up on Instagram at how difficult filming could be. "The emotional, mental, and physical abuse and gaslighting I fought through those years leading up to that final season runs deeper than any of you could know," she wrote. In July 2021, Sorbello spoke to E! News to set the record straight on her rumored retirement. "I still got fight in me, and [host] T.J. Lavin hates quitters. When the time does come...you'll 100 percent know."

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

The Miz is a star of the WWE and reality TV

WWE Superstar Mike "The Miz" Mizanin got his start on "The Real World: Back to New York" and went on to compete in five seasons of "The Challenge." After winning two out of five of those seasons, The Miz's career in the WWE started to really take off. However, he didn't leave MTV behind entirely. In 2012, he came back to "The Challenge" universe to act as the host of the spinoff series "Champs vs. Stars" and reunion specials. What's more, he and wife Maryse Mizanin have found reality TV success outside of "The Challenge," appearing on shows like "Total Divas" and getting their own series, "Miz & Mrs."

Mizanin told Heavy that MTV was a springboard for his career. "It gave me a mindset that I could pursue anything I could possibly want in the entertainment field. And I'm always in debt to them," he said. But while the SmackDown Champion has been asked multiple times to come back to the hit reality show, he told For The Win that he has a much better time hosting than competing. "I love the games, I love the show, I love watching the show," he said. "I hate the drama involved with the show."

Jordan Wiseley addressed a past controversy

During a period of heavy racial tension in the United States following the murder of George Floyd, a damning clip of "Challenge" winner Jordan Wiseley resurfaced. On an episode of "The Real World: Portland," which aired in 2013, Wiseley used racist language while arguing with housemate Nia Moore. After this video made the rounds, some fans called for Wiseley's suspension from the series. 

In 2020, Wiseley and Moore took to Instagram Live (via Us Weekly) to talk about this incident and where they stand. Wiseley made it clear that there is no excuse for his actions and that it is important he acknowledge his offensive behavior. "As a young man, I was not able to listen. I wasn't able to show up for myself," he said. "Now we look back at this situation, how do we learn? What can we take from it?" The two have since made amends.

Wiseley returned to the fray on Season 3 of "The Challenge: All Stars," but as he told Entertainment Weekly, he doesn't see himself coming back to the main show anytime soon. That said, the reality star, who has done volunteer work in Ukraine following Russia's invasion, was more than thrilled to compete with the "All Stars" roster. "I would put this cast against the regular franchise any day," he said. 

Camila Nakagawa was given the boot

We may never see Camila Nakagawa back on "The Challenge," as the two-time champ was supposedly banned from the show due to bad behind-the-scenes behavior. On an episode of "Drinks With Jemm," castmate Jemmye Carroll alleged Nakagawa got the ax after she punched a production assistant in the face. After this incident, the production company apparently refused to sign off on the contestant's liability.

What's more, "Challenge" competitor Leroy Garrett told fans that she sparked his retirement. During the show's 30th season, Nakagawa was sent to a hotel for a night after making racist remarks toward Garrett. In a lengthy Instagram video, Garrett referenced the incident while opening up about his decision to leave the show. "Once those words came out of her mouth about the color of my skin, and you could tell that she was coming out of a place of hate, someone should have stepped in. That's so unacceptable. And the fact that no one did, I felt like MTV, you dropped the ball," he said. Per Us Weekly, Nakagawa told her Instagram followers that she was in the wrong. "If regret could kill, I'd be dead for sure," she said. 

Nakagawa has traded Challenge victories for diapers these days. The Sao Paulo native welcomed her first son in 2022. After baby Kai arrived, she told E! News, "Even though it has been such an unpredictable time in our world, I am so blessed to have had a wonderful pregnancy and a safe and healthy delivery."

Amber Borzotra put her mental health first

Amber Borzotra shocked viewers everywhere when she won her rookie "Challenge" season alongside her partner CT Tamburello. But what was even more surprising is her ongoing struggle to make real alliances and friendships on the show. She was thrown into an early elimination after coming on to "Spies, Lies, and Allies" as a replacement cast member, and it seemed nobody respected the "Challenge" champ. Borzotra told Entertainment Weekly in 2021, "It's hard, and I'm just trying to block it out and be in my own space right now. But I feel naive. I trust people too easily and I care too much."

In 2022, Borzotra, who also competed on "Big Brother," posted an Instagram video where she addressed the break she took from social media for the sake of her mental health. "Love to all who have been there for me these past few months," she wrote in the caption. "Also, thank you to those who didn't know what was going on in my life, but noticed my absence and took the time to reach out to make sure everything was okay." 

What better way to get away from the drama of "The Challenge" than a lovely vacation with a significant other? In May 2022, Borzotra posted an Instagram photo showcasing her trip to Frankfurt with her new boyfriend and wrote, "The reason I've been smiling so much lately!" 

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Will Laurel Stucky make a comeback?

"The Challenge" champ Laurel Stucky sticks out to fans as one of the greatest female players to dominate the game. With a win under her belt, and four finals total, she is rightfully regarded as a powerhouse. But will fans see her return to defend her legacy? It's unclear whether the Michigan native has plans to compete again, but from the looks of it, she's not ruling it out.

When a fan asked her on Twitter in 2021 if she would compete again, Stucky replied, "Nothing is guaranteed, but thank you and your wife for your love!!" And in 2022, she hinted that fans would have something to look forward to, tweeting, "Filming something tomorrow, Challenge related, kinda excited ... it's been a while."

While it's unclear what she was referencing, an Instagram account dubbed MTV Challenge Insider posted that Stucky may very well be a part of the team in Argentina for "The Challenge" Season 38. She told blogger Allan Aguirre that she hopes to inspire women everywhere to be seen as equals and strong competition among male competitors. "I like to get seen as a peer and respected, and sometimes that has to get earned, but I have no problem showing people where I belong by putting in hard work," Stucky said.

Turabi 'Turbo' Çamkıran could go for another win

Turkish native and two-time "Survivor Turkey" champion Turabi "Turbo" Çamkıran certainly came in with a qualified resume, but T.J. Lavin didn't think he had what it took to take on "The Challenge" world. The host admitted to People, "[Turbo] was a really, really friendly dude, so I was like, 'Yeah, he's not going to last long, because he's way too nice.'"

But he did in fact stand the test of "Challenge" time, earning his first victory on "War of the Worlds" after a brutal 50-mile hike winding through the Namibia desert. He had an early exit from his follow-up season however after a heated argument with castmate Jordan Wiseley led to him breaking the game's rules and being sent home. "Turbo had an all-out brawl with security. It took three security guards to hold him down," Wiseley recalled on an episode of the "Challenge Mania" podcast.

The MTV Challenge Insider Instagram account reported that Çamkıran is apparently slated to return to the hit show for Season 38, alongside his girlfriend Tamara Alfaro. In the meantime, viewers can find him on Instagram, flaunting his rock-hard abs.