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"Sometimes The Challenges bring out the worst in people and I'm no exception to that, that's for sure," Cannatella tells EW.

By Sydney Bucksbaum
April 08, 2021 at 07:23 PM EDT
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Warning: This article contains spoilers about episode 2 of The Challenge: All Stars, streaming now on Paramount+.

Trishelle Cannatella is no stranger to stirring up drama on reality TV. The 41-year-old got her start on The Real World: Las Vegas in 2002 and helped steer the long-running reality franchise into new waters as the cast partied harder, drank, and hooked up on camera more than all the previous seasons combined. After her Real World season ended, Cannatella went on to star on many other reality shows such as Punk'd, The Surreal Life, Battle of the Network Reality Stars, and more, not to mention her multiple stints on The Challenge. So even though her return for The Challenge: All Stars boasted an older, wiser, and more mature version of who people saw on TV decades ago, it's no surprise that Cannatella found herself in yet another verbal altercation, only two episodes in.

The second episode, "All That You Can't Leave Behind" (streaming now on Paramount+), features Cannatella getting into a screaming match with her real-life friend Katie Cooley (formerly Doyle) as well as her elimination loss to Kendal Sheppard. But it also showed a touching moment of growth for Cannatella as she apologized to Aneesa Ferreira for saying racially insensitive comments to her on Rivals 2 before her infamous exit that cost her partner Sarah Rice the chance the compete in 2013.

Below, EW got Cannatella to break down her All Stars fight with Cooley, revisit her Rivals 2 exit, her surreal meeting with Leonardo DiCaprio, and more.

THE CHALLENGE: ALL STARS
Credit: Juan Cruz Rabaglia/Paramount+

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Being the first female eliminated from All Stars must not have been an easy experience.

TRISHELLE CANNATELLA: No. It's embarrassing. [Laughs] It's tough because my husband is like a big competition type of guy. And he just wanted me to do really well, and he was so excited for the show, so I feel like I kind of let him down, and also myself. I just wish that I had trained more. I thought that people were going to be a little bit less athletically prepared than they were. Honestly, I just wanted to hang out with everyone and have a good time. I was excited to get to see Katie because we used to be roommates, and I was excited to spend time with her and have girl time without our husbands.

This was your first time competing in this specific elimination — what was it like, actually doing Knot So Fast against Kendal?

I have seen this elimination before when I did Battle the Seasons. I saw it twice, and I was just like, I want any other elimination except for Knot So Fast. To me, that was the toughest one. I was terrified when I saw those jungle gym-type things. I was like, "Nooo!" In the moment, I was trying to focus and trying not to let my nerves get the best of me, but it was difficult. And Kendal's a really hard competitor because endurance-wise, she's a beast.

Do you wish you had given everyone a name for nominations to avoid going against Kendal?

That's hard because every single girl in that house was good at something. I wanted them to just choose because you just never know what your elimination is going to be. If it was physical, I don't want to go against Aneesa. If it's mental, I don't want to go against Jonna. It's just different, and there's something that every single person there was good at.

When you apologized to Aneesa for the Rivals 2 altercation, I've got to say, I was really impressed with how you handled it. A lot of people can learn from the way you took responsibility and accountability for the things you said and addressed them without making excuses.

Thank you. But you know what, I give all the credit to Aneesa because she didn't have to accept that apology and she made me feel comfortable coming forward and talking to her about it. I totally give her all the credit. I want other people to see that and be like, "You know what, maybe I said something, even if it was 10 years ago, that hurt someone's feelings and they deserve an apology."

Had you been planning to apologize for a long time or was it inspired by the fact that you knew you would be in the house with her on All Stars?

I have felt bad about it since the day it happened. The last Challenge, I was just so upset with how I handled myself and her, and I've been feeling bad about it. And this was the first time I had seen her in person so I thought it was a good opportunity to do it face-to-face.

Are there any other moments from your past seasons of The Challenge or Real World you wish you could have also addressed like that?

To me, that was the worst. There's a couple other things like the petty fights, and I say this even after I had a petty fight on this show with Katie. [Laughs] Sometimes The Challenges bring out the worst in people and I'm no exception to that, that's for sure. It's always hard whenever you're in a situation where you're going into eliminations and people are voting you in, you feel insecure, you feel bad about yourself. And unfortunately, I don't deal with the stress in a good way. So, yeah, there's a lot of moments that I regret.

Have you ever reunited with or apologized to Sarah after you quit on Rivals 2?

Yes, I have talked to her. Sarah is just like the kindest person in the entire world. She was like, "Trishelle, I know that mentally and emotionally you needed to leave." She was like, "I wanted what's best for you in that situation." She was understanding. [Laughs] We're not all terrible people!

Going into The Challenge with a real-life friend is always tricky, and you and Katie left on pretty icy terms after your All Stars fight. Where is the friendship at now?

We haven't spoken.

Oh. Wow.

I know, and it's insane. No one could have seen that coming, not me, not her, no one. It's an important situation, but it was a nasty fight. I think that we're going to need some time. It hasn't been enough time yet.

Do you think you'd still be close if you hadn't gone on All Stars?

I don't think that we would have had that fight. I take 90 percent of the responsibility for that fight because I think that I just let my emotions get the best of me. And it brought out the worst.

Do you regret doing All Stars because of the fight with Katie?

No, because there were so many great moments. I look back on the show and even that part, I kind of smile and it's not like it's a happy moment because of what happened with Katie, but like everything else was so wonderful. Sometimes I think in friendships like that, something bad happens maybe to show you the good and it shows you that there's some things that you need to work on.

If you were invited back for another season of All Stars, would you participate?

If I was in shape, yes. If I continue to not be in shape, then no. [Laughs] I need to work out first.

Looking back on your wide-ranging reality TV career, what's something you wish you could tell your younger self before she started doing reality TV?

Ask for more money! [Laughs] I did so many shows that I should have been paid more for. I think that every show that I did was kind of a growing experience. And I would say don't be so honest, but I'm glad I was! That's part of the reason that I kept doing shows because they were like, "She's going to say exactly what she feels." That's kind of, I guess, a blessing and a curse.

You were one of the first reality stars to hook up on TV, but that must have come with a whole lot of unintended consequences for you after the fact.

A lot of hate. I got a lot of hate. My family did too. They were very upset. You know, no one's dad wants to see them hooking up on television, especially not my dad. That was difficult. But I just turned 22 and we were in Vegas, I mean like, we had to bring it. So that's what we did.

Did you ever regret the things you did on your season of The Real World or any other reality shows you did after?

I wouldn't say I was proud of myself. I kind of regretted a lot of stuff back then. But now that I'm 41 and it's almost been 20 years, I'm kind of proud of myself because I'm just like, you did what you wanted to do. And I think that every young lady should.

I read the recent interview you did with Variety and I've got to say, your story of meeting Leonardo DiCaprio is wild! I would not have thought he'd be a Real World fan.

I didn't either! And he knew everyone's name! I was like wow, that's cool. Celebrities, they sit in their boxers and watch reality TV just like us.

Do you have any other surreal celebrity encounters where you found out someone was a fan of yours?

So many. Just living in Los Angeles, too, you see people randomly, and they'd be like, "Hey, loved your season of the Real World!" I heard that Jennifer Aniston was a fan too, and that's cool. You just never know.

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