Sophia Pasquis unpacks The Challenge: All Stars 2 fight with Ayanna Mackins: 'It was foul'
Warning: This article contains spoilers for the third episode of The Challenge: All Stars 2.
It may seem like a single braid is to blame for Sophia Pasquis getting eliminated from The Challenge: All Stars 2. But it turns out there was a lot more simmering between her and her former friend Ayanna Mackins, which resulted in Mackins throwing Pasquis into elimination in this week's episode. And after Pasquis lost to two-time champ Jodi Weatherton, her season ended a lot sooner than she expected.
Earlier in the episode, Mackins was braiding Pasquis' hair, but when Pasquis became upset at the style, noting that it was the type of braid that caused her to be bullied when she was younger. Mackins got mad at the way Pasquis reacted and it blew up into a fight. Later, when Mackins' team lost the daily challenge and she used her Life Shield to save herself from elimination, she immediately swapped Pasquis into her place, coldly telling her, "It's a gift." And while Pasquis was in tears, she faced her fate with her head held high.
"I'm really proud of myself," Pasquis tells EW of how she handled the fight and elimination. "I've gotten to a point in life where if you are your authentic, genuine self, no matter what it looks like, you're doing the right thing. And I was myself, tears and all, all the way. And I'm proud of not changing that. I could walk away with my head held up high knowing that nothing and nobody took me off my rocker. I stood my ground and believed in who I was."
Below, Pasquis unpacks why her friendship with Mackins ended so abruptly, what happened during that elimination, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The way Ayanna threw you into elimination without a second thought was brutal, but you handled it with grace.
SOPHIA PASQUIS: It was hard. [Laughs] It's the hardest thing to keep your calm when you have so much fire building in your chest. Inside I'm on fire but mentally I'm good. This is not bad. We can handle this. It's just f---ing strange that I'm in this position in life now. It felt like I was in high school, it was weird.
What exactly happened to sour your friendship with Ayanna so quickly?
There were two moments during that time where she was upset with me over something small. But when Ayanna gets upset, she doesn't really communicate with you what it is she's upset about, or if I slighted her in some way that I didn't recognize. Everybody's sensitivities are different. There's two incidents that happened; one happened at the prom before her elimination and that got taken care of. I told her, "I didn't realize I slighted you and if I did, next time, just tell me." And this time, it was having this braid in my hair.
Prior to coming on the show, I was so tired of my life being the way it was that I wanted to change everything about it. And I did all this work to uncover the things where I was getting in my own way. And a lot had to do with like childhood conditioning and traumas. I had come to a point where I didn't believe those stories and the way that you talk to yourself anymore. It didn't really hold true for me. But because of the pandemic, I never had a chance to put it to use so it could become mine. So when the thing with Ayanna happened, it just triggered a lot of things. It was kind of like the last straw of a million other triggers that were happening at that place that pushed me over the edge and got me crying.
So when she turned on me and that happened, I just had it. I kind of purged. I kind of just released it. It wasn't so much like a breakdown like I was hurt to tears; it was just the last thing to release. And the minute I cried it out, now it's out of my system and it's out of my body and now I can only go up and be stronger from there. And actually, I feel f---ing great right now. I'm glad I got to do it. When this thing with the braid happened, I had told Ayanna, "This has nothing to do with you. It's something just that you did that triggered something, but it's all me and has nothing to do with you. Don't take it personal." I was dealing with these triggers from feeling not good enough and unworthy and not feeling like I belonged anywhere because that's just how it was all through growing up and being overlooked and not really being seen for my worth and my value. When that happened, because I let somebody do something to me and I didn't speak up enough, I just had it.
Did you two try and talk things out after it blew up?
That was kind of the end of it. We didn't speak at the house, during the elimination. When I was having my moment to stretch and get my head in the zone she [wore] a shirt that she made saying, "Go Ryan," showing that she's not supporting me, which honestly didn't faze me. I'm a collegiate athlete. I played against other people and other arenas and had people boo me all the time because I'm going against their team.
Whatever happened to get me there, Ayanna was part of the story but she didn't make that story for me. She was a factor in it; she wasn't the lead to it. She was just the catalyst that got me to where I am. And look at me now. I feel good. I feel positive about who I am. I think I was taken out of the game too early. I know I would have made it to the end. It's one of those things I'll never know. But yeah, we haven't spoken about it. I'm sure she has her point of view of what went down and I have mine. And I'm sure a lot had to do with her thinking that I wasn't strong enough because I was vulnerable. But I feel like there's more power in vulnerability than there is to be invulnerable and act like you're the toughest thing on earth. To be vulnerable is to be tough and brave. It's so easy to be backstabbing but it's so much harder to be honorable.
What was your reaction when she immediately called you out to go into the elimination in her place?
I couldn't believe it, man. [Laughs] I really couldn't. I've never been turned on like that before. You're just showing everybody who you are, and that's on you. That's not me. It totally shocked me. But I chalk it up to the game. You know, people do crazy things when money is on the line. Money comes and goes but integrity follows you and that was more important to me. And I'll get another shot at that money for sure. I promise I'll come back! But yeah, it really upset me. It was just unfortunate that this person has all this power, she's such a charismatic, inspirational person, and all her words, they really moved people. But then to counter that with your actions? That's heartbreaking to people who actually believed you and saw what you did.
How's your relationship with Ayanna now?
That's the last time we ever spoke and I don't foresee us speaking again unless she reaches out to me. But as far as on my end, I'm good. I've made peace with it. If she wants to talk about it, I'm open to it. Possibly. But as of right now, I'm okay. I feel good about what I did. There was a moment when I was processing and thinking about it and I had a lot of anger. She hasn't reached out to me. I have nothing really to say to her. I don't even know if she would even apologize or if she thinks she has anything to apologize for, you know? Because I'm sure in her mind, she did what she had to do for what she needed to do.
And listen, I was not mad about what she did. But I didn't respect and appreciate how she did it. I thought it was foul and it was cold and it wasn't cool. If you are who you say you are, you should have just came to me and all this could have been resolved with a conversation but instead, you put it in the field and you played it out that way. It was foul, man, and I don't respect foul. I could respect the game but I can respect foul and that's a foul way of playing. I'm not going to lie, you got me! [Laughs] I'm not going to act like I didn't get got. But you only get me once. Now that I'm awake, it only takes me once to learn a lesson. Understood, message received.
During nominations, your speech about how you'd be honored to go against Jodi in an elimination caused everyone to vote her in instead of Jonna. Do you regret saying any of that since she ended up beating you?
I knew Jonna was a strong competitor. But as far as facts go, Jodi, on paper, was the competitor. And the way I was thinking about it is if I have to choose my fate, why not go against the biggest and the baddest? There's only two ways it can end. If I win then that gives me such a confidence boost for the rest of the game that I ensure that I will make it to the end and that's just signed, sealed, delivered, I'm winning this bitch. But if I lose, I almost beat the top dog, dude. And I've never been in this environment. My Challenge was all like braiding hair and Kumbaya. [Laughs] This one was more like, "I'm going to shank you on the side and eat dinner in front of your face and laugh at you while you die."
[My mistake] was I didn't strive for the kill. I didn't go for the kill shot. I would have won but I beat myself before going in there because I was exhausted. That would be my one regret. And I'm never letting that happen again. I was my own undoing. I was so honored to go against Jodi. But imagine what I could have done it if I stayed. Man, the madness and the havoc I'd wreak. [Laughs] Trust me. And when I have the comeback story, you're going to see a whole new Sophia. Trust me, I will deliver. I'm a woman of my word. This experience was great. It really was the last nail in the coffin to the Sophia that was before, the Sophia that ran my life for 40 years. I emerged from it as So-Fire. I left Sophia and I came back So-Fire and I'm ready to put s--- on fire. I'm going to set this world ablaze, I'm ready.
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