Former Challenge champ Amber Borzotra addresses all the hate she got on Spies, Lies and Allies
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Wednesday's episode of The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies.
Listen up, The Challenge fans: Amber Borzotra is just as confused as you are about why she got so much hate from her fellow cast members this season.
After winning last season's Double Agents with CT Tamburello, Borzotra came into Spies, Lies and Allies as a replacement for another cast member who exited the show. And despite her immediately forgiving the people who mistreated her last season, she was still betrayed by those same people within her own Big Brother alliance, thrown into an early elimination (which also violated the veteran alliance), and called "fake" by rookies who didn't even know her. Plus she was the first veteran to be eliminated after losing in last night's episode, alongside her Challenge fling Jeremiah White. Suffice it to say, after winning her rookie season, Borzotra had a much more difficult experience this time around.
Below, Borzotra addresses how she was treated by what she calls "a house full of bullies and haters" this season, and so much more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you feeling about your first time being eliminated from The Challenge?
AMBER BORZOTRA: I didn't want to go, of course. No one wants to leave once you're in the game. But at the same time, I did have a win under my belt, I was happy with who was left, and I was excited to see who was going to make it to the final to win. I was hoping that if it wasn't my girl Ashley, who is a champ already — I would love to see her win again — then it was also someone that I played this game with. I was bummed, but going out like that, with a lot of fight and giving my all? The elimination was tough. I did not give up, and I tried my hardest to stay in the game. But if I did have to lose anyone, I'm happy it was Cory because I want to see him in the game.
That elimination looked brutal. Cory even made a comment after about how it took about three hours. Is that really how long it lasted?
It took it took a while, I don't even know how long. [Laughs] When I'm up there, it feels like ages. But we were there for at least over an hour, so he's probably not exaggerating. Once we got the flow of things, we started sweating and I started slipping. I had no grip with Jeremiah. The fatigue was kicking in. And I don't want to rest, I don't want to take a minute, because that minute where you're resting, we're allowing the other team to get ahead. It was such a hard elimination. You have to come up with so many different strategies and I have Jeremiah, who's two of me, and I'm trying to hold his weight and I have to get down low just so I don't fall forward, because if I'm too high up I'm going to fall over on him. It just came down to the strategy, getting low, mind over matter, canceling out how much pain I was in, because I was struggling. We all were struggling.
You and Jeremiah said you were leaving the show "together," so what happened with you two after you left? What's your relationship like now?
You know, life's just different, I guess, after the show. We don't speak really, we don't talk at all. I'm in a very amazing and happy relationship now, and it's with somebody who's always been there for me. I was excited to get to know him even more and we did that, but I think for him… if I'm talking to you and I'm getting to know you, I'm not here just to, like, have fun. We liked each other a lot, but we were kind of on two different pages when things started to get more serious. It just wasn't it. But I think that he's an amazing person. I'm happy I got to know him. I think just out of respect of what I'm in now, my relationship now, we don't really communicate or stay in touch.
What has it been like for you watching this season and seeing how everyone was talking about you behind your back and in interviews? That must not have been easy for you to see.
That's the hard part for me. I feel close to a lot of these people in the game. So for me, that was tough. That was extremely hard. I don't know… [Sighs] I don't want to get emotional. I go into the game, I care a lot, and I'm a little too naive sometimes. I trust what people say and just want the best for everyone, even if I'm not in the game. Of course I want to be the one that wins, but if I'm not I still want what's best for everybody, and I was so happy to see everyone left in the game. But just watching this season, knowing that some of the people that I want to see win talking the way they did about me really hurt. [Getting choked up] Some people want to say it's hard trusting people in this, but I never gave anyone a reason not to trust me in the game. And I never have anything bad to say about anyone because I'm not there to judge anyone or play my game that way. So I take it personal when I'm hearing those things.
Especially if someone's saying one thing to my face and doing another behind my back and then calling me fake, you know what I mean? [Laughs] Isn't that fake? So that right there bothered me. I'm having a hard time with it. It's not something I deal with in my everyday life. That's been one reason why I've been kind of taking a break from social media, I just need to mentally check out for a bit. I've just been spending time with family and feeling loved by the ones that I know love me. When it comes to the game, the money is cool, like we all need it and stuff, but these friendships and these people that I call family, they're always going to be there to me, and so seeing that just hurt. It really hurt… I'm sorry, I'm getting emotional.
Don't apologize! My heart goes out to you, because watching what you were going through and then seeing what people were doing and saying behind your back was so frustrating when it looked like you never gave anyone a reason to treat you that way.
[Choked up] Yeah, I'm just having a hard time with it. And I haven't really opened up about it… I'm sorry.
We don't have to talk about this if you don't want to.
[Takes a deep breath] It's okay. I really haven't ever dealt with this, and so I don't know how to handle it, you know? My first season, yeah, I can get that because you're getting to know these people, but then there are people I just really care about, and feeling like I'm getting close to. I feel like I've seen some of these people more than I have my family in the past few years, just because you live with them and you see them every day, and you open up to them and you share your life with them and things you're going through, and then for them to do that? It hurts.
Especially after you saw the way Fessy and Kaycee treated you and talked about you behind your back last season, watching you get convinced to trust them again only for them to do the same thing this season was heartbreaking.
I know. I believe people that I've played this game with, like since day one of me entering this whole Challenge experience, Kaycee was the first one to be like, "I got you. You're my girl, let's work together." I got excited. I was like, "I love Kaycee! I'm excited about [the] Big Brother [alliance]." And just to know that I'm at the bottom of the barrel and just somebody to help them get through the game to where they need to get until they can toss me aside? That's hurtful, because I don't think that way. If anything, I'm doing things that I want to do to make sure they make it far. I'm voting whichever way they want me to vote or I'm playing the game the way they want to play just so that they can make it to the end with me, you know?
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. It's crazy, coming into this season I really had to find my voice in a house full of bullies and haters. I was a lone wolf. I was by myself, I didn't have anybody. At the end of the day when you have people telling you you're part of the vet alliance, and then Josh saying, "You're with Big Brother, we're all working together," all this stuff, and then finding out after that half of these people were like, "No, we didn't care about Amber this whole time. She's just a number to us." I was literally alone. Now watching this whole season, I'm like, "Why am I this dumb?" I should have just worked with the rookies. [Laughs] I'm learning. It's only my second season, so hopefully I can grow from this experience and take this as a huge lesson, and just know that it's also probably helping my everyday life, because I've never in my life have stuck up for myself as much as I have on The Challenge. [Laughs] So I'm definitely learning.
What are your relationships with Fessy and Kaycee like now after you've seen what happened this season?
I have a lot of respect for Fessy just because after this season, he reached out to me, and even in person in New York, we actually sat down for a good hour and talked and got to know each other. It wasn't even about game, we really just opened up. I had a lot of respect for him after just because he was the first one to be like, "I'm sorry," and talk to me. There's a few people that I've spoke to have been like, "Listen, I'm sorry." But the one person that I haven't really spoke to, and I felt the most hurt by, is Kaycee, honestly. Of course we spoke, we hung out, everything, then I started seeing the show and I'm like, "What is going on?!" I feel like if anything, she could have been like, "Hey, I said a lot of crazy things this season. Just know that it's…" whatever. But that just didn't happen.
So seeing it and not being aware of it beforehand hurts more than someone telling me about it and then being like, okay, I knew that was coming. I think that's the part that hurts the most. I don't know, I'm really confused when it comes to that. Even before I left, I said Kaycee, Tori, or Nany, I want to see those three girls at least in the final. Those were the three that haven't won; of course I want to see Ashley in there too. But I was like Kaycee, Nany, and Tori, if it's not me, I want to see one of them win so they know what it feels like. I even told them all before I even left, I was like, "Do the damn thing." I let everyone know I was proud of them. I had no bad blood. I felt like I was leaving with good energy. So I don't know, I'm just very confused by a lot of things.
I don't blame you. Hearing Kaycee get excited about getting to "put hands" on you during the last daily was shocking because it felt like it came out of nowhere.
I feel like every episode, one more person just keeps jumping on the hate train, the Amber hate train. Here's what also bothers me: If a guy was to do something like that, no one would say much about it. Because it's me, everyone's saying something about it. I've seen Josh cry, does she say anything about him? But she'd be like, "It's Josh. I've got Josh. I love Josh." But I do something or I cry or get upset, then I'm "playing victim" or it's this or that. And that's the whole house. You look at even like the Berna situation or other girls, like Ashley's cried this season, Berna's cried this season, Nany's cried this season, Kaycee's cried this season, Josh has cried this season, all these people have cried, and I sit here and I'm upset because I have the whole house against me, I'm being bullied 24/7, and then I'm "playing victim?"
I just don't get how these people think. I don't understand them, honestly. I feel like a man can do something and then they don't get s‑‑‑ for it, and a woman could do something and then all of a sudden it's like… it just drives me crazy. And looking at this season, it's been more women mad or hating on me. And I'm all for my women over my men, like, "Let me help you!" I'm so baffled by watching this season and seeing the amount of hate for no reason. If I give people a reason, I can understand, but like, I just don't get it… if that makes any sense. I'm blabbing right now. [Laughs] I don't even feel like we're interviewing, I feel like I'm talking to my best friend.
That double standard you're talking about felt very overt in this week's episode, seeing how you and Ashley were targeted for being female winners but there's a male winner in the house that definitely isn't getting that same heat.
CT, he cruised on by again this season. But then you have people mad and trying to get me and Ashley out of the house as soon as we walked through the door. I just never get that. I don't understand it. [Laughs] Make it make sense!
How has this whole experience affected you and how you'll approach future seasons?
No. 1, stop being so naive, Amber. [Laughs] Stop trusting everybody. I'm really stupid when it comes to trusting people. Clearly, as you can see, I am not the brightest when someone's telling something to my face and we're all competing for $1 million. I'm like, "Okay, I believe you!" I need to learn to care more about myself. I don't put myself first in situations. I think it comes with the people that I'm aligning myself with or trusting. I just really wanted to see Big Brother do really well, I trusted them, and I felt a part of that since day one. So I think from now on I just need to be careful with what people tell me. Now I'm seeing people's true colors.
At the end of the day, I am proud of how I play the game. There's not much I want to change. I've already made it to a final. But at the same time I have to understand what Ashley even told me, she was like, "Welcome to the club. You're going to have a target on your back." And of course, I have dyscalculia. If I could work on my math, I would! [Laughs] But I have a disability, so that sucks. That's the only other thing I wish I could change. But I really hope that I get to do many more of these. I enjoy playing the dailies, I enjoy the experience overall when it comes to the adrenaline rush and getting to know new people and getting closer to the people already feel close to, so I'm really excited about doing more seasons if they ever come my way. I just am hurting right now, and I'm really upset with this season. It hurts me more than the little things I went through last season, so I'm trying to figure out how to handle it, because I feel like I have nobody after this game that are my friends, and that really sucks.