Jenna Compono is no longer a rookie when it comes to MTV’s The Challenge. She’s back this season for one of the most intense competitions yet. This time around, Jenna and her partner Jemmye must work together and put aside betrayals and backstabbing to battle it out for the ultimate grand prize of $1 million.
We spoke with Jenna about competing with Jemmye, the return of the Redemption House twist, her relationship with Zach, and what viewers can expect from this season of The Challenge: The Final Reckoning.
Read on for our exclusive interview with Jenna Compono below:
Can you talk a little about what originally inspired you to participate in The Challenge? How does it feel to join a show that has been running for 32 seasons?
Jenna Compono: You know what’s so crazy? I had never seen The Challenge until I was on it. I got a call one day asking if I wanted to be on the next show, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I came on the show not knowing, or hearing of anyone. Now knowing what a popular show it is, I am so happy I took the opportunity. I have been to places I would have never traveled to, and I have done things most people will never experience in their lifetime.
The Challenge has naturally evolved over the years and has begun including cast members from different series. Do you think this is a good way to bring new blood into the show and keep things exciting and challenging?
I have to say bringing new shows in, I wasn’t really a fan in the beginning. But from a viewer’s view, it is good to see fresh faces rather than the same people. Now, from a cast member’s view, I think that we are all this big dysfunctional family. And we all hook up or fight so often; it’s nice to get to know some new people for a change.
How do you feel about being partnered with Jemmye this time around?
At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to trust her. But being in the Redemption House was probably the best thing for our team. We spent time together and got to really know each other while we were there. If we went straight to the house, we wouldn’t have spent that time together because we have totally opposite friends and alliances.
The Challenge is known for twists and turns to keep the viewers guessing, and this season will feature the return of the Redemption House. What can you tease about what the audience can expect from the Redemption House? What was your reaction when you heard about this particular twist?
Well, from the last episode, you guys saw that we are going to be able to spy on people in the house and see what they are up to. This can really help our game to see who’s protecting who and who are snakes.
What would you say your strategy was going into this season? Anything you wanted to make sure you implemented now that you’ve competed in the past?
My strategy for this season was to put people’s feelings aside. I had to stop feeling bad and guilty for people who would screw me over in a heartbeat. It definitely is a less stressful game when you play dirty, especially when people aren’t expecting it.
How would you say your relationship status with Zach going into The Challenge affected the game? Was it an advantage to have someone on your side going in?
I think everyone knew that me and Zach were each other’s number ones. Everyone knew we would never vote each other in, and always have each other’s backs. People don’t like that and tend to split up teams like that. Just look at what happened with me and Kailah on Dirty 30, same thing! Me and Zach play our own game, and we don’t let any of the drama from the challenge interfere with our relationship outside of the house.
What would you say were the advantages and disadvantages to competing in the Redemption House as opposed to the main house?
Some advantages of competing in the Redemption House would be that we are only competing against a small group rather than the entire house. The disadvantage would have to be we never knew who was going to show up, or how many people were coming back.
I feel like the challenges have gotten bigger and more intense in recent years. Are there certain challenge games that you dread? On that same path, are there challenge games you feel you excel at? What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are going into a challenge?
I personally hate heights over water challenges. I hate being up so high and not strapped in. People don’t realize, but falling from 30-plus feet into the water hurts! Especially because it is never an easy fall. We are always tied up strange, or pushed off to the point where we can’t control our fall, and sometimes we get really hurt! My strengths would be heights. Most people freak out on heights challenges, but I love that adrenaline. As long as I am strapped in, heights do not bother me.
What’s your favorite way to pass the time in the house?
My favorite way to pass time in the house is either working out, eating, sleeping, drinking or painting my nails.
What can you tease for the audience about what they can expect from this season?
This season is insane. Things you will never expect are coming. Some may be excited for it but most people will be pissed.
Thank you so much to Jenna Compono for taking the time to answer some questions for us!
Don’t forget to check out The Challenge Tuesdays at 9/8C on MTV!