MTV premiered its 25th season of The Challenge on April 10 with a new spin which they titled, The Challenge: Free Agents. There are no permanent teams, no demanding partners, no one to slow you down. The Free Agents answer to no one but themselves, battling it out for the $350,000 grand prize at stake. We caught up with Theresa Gonzalez, Nany Gonzalez, and Camila Nakagawa -- the three Latina competitors on this season of The Challenge -- to talk about their Latin roots, growing up in a Latino household, signing up for The Challenge, and more!
Read it all below, starting with Theresa:
What made you decide to sign on and do this season of The Challenge?
I decided to do this season of The Challenge because of my personal pride, I know I can win and I get to see the world. I feel like my past appearances on The Challenge my physical capabilities, along with my true character where never exposed and I felt I could not end my Challenge career on a negative note. I want to show the world that I can compete because I've been an athlete my entire life and that I'm not a quitter. I like being able to conquer obstacles and show people that they can't break me, no matter what I'll get up and try harder- I won't allow myself failure. Oh and not to mention I get to travel the world, something that financially never was an option, which now has become a norm! I am so grateful!
How did you prepare for it?
I am an avid runner, I love it, it clears my mind, but Challenge training is different. I have to slow down my running and put on muscle and weight. Unfortunately for this Challenge I was not in my best shape, I tore the ligaments in my left ankle 2 weeks before we went to Uruguay. Before this Challenge, I was laying on my couch with ice and prayers hoping they would heal as soon as possible. That basketball game against CT was definitely premature on my healing process and was actually the first physical activity I did in weeks-- so much for trying to take it easy at the Challenge house- eek!
What was it like being in Uruguay? What did you do on your off time?
Uruguay is what I would envision Utopia to be like. The cows and horses all have smiles on their faces, the grass is the greenest green, everywhere you look their are crosses on top of mountains, its magical. You could just feel the beautiful spirit in the air -- it truly is perfect and beautiful -- I loved it! During my off time on the challenge I played basketball. Between the ocean view and the basketball court, that was all I would ever need!
What were you doing before this season of The Challenge?
Before this season of The Challenge I was branding my jewelry company.
What are some of your goals/aspirations for the future?
My goal, is to be the boss of myself one day. I want to have my own luxury boutique in Milwaukee, WI where I'm from. I worked retail part-time throughout college and some post college and I love styling. There is nothing I love more than having a customer come in from Northern Wisconsin feeling insecure and uneasy about shopping in the City and having the ability of dressing her up in fancy little number feeling so brand new! I like that joy! My future is one thing I always like to keep open, expanding and dreaming about. I could have never come up with the story, so far that God has written for me, so I don't really think too much about the future, but that I just want to be successful, proud and some how influence even just one person to better their lives by being hopeful. I am the definition of an optimist and I like to project that kind of attitude in any facet of life wherever I may be.
Tell us about your Latin background. What was it like growing up in your Latino household?
I am 100% Puerto Rican. My grandparents on both sides of my families moved from the Island to Wisconsin for work opportunities in factory jobs. My dad went back to Puerto Rico when he was 15 to play professional basketball for Isabella. He and my mother were married at 19, very young and both stopped pursing their dreams to have 4 children, 3 boys and myself the one girl. I grew up in a very American type of household, except for the food and random household spanglish was used. My mom only cooks Puerto Rican food, so it was definitely different, when friends would sleepover my Mom would cook arroz con guandules and would pick out the guandules for my friends, because they didn't like those, "little green things." I usually only played with my cousins, was always blinged out in gold and looking so well put together. I was my mother's doll and family is/was everything! Every Sunday was Church and food and coffee, oh and lots of coffee talk. When my mom would cook my brothers and I would smell like pork chops the next day at school -- slightly embarrassing, but we were proud, and pretty much the only Hispanics at the private schools we went to.
What is your favorite Latin dish?
My favorite Puerto Rican dish is bacalao con verduras and I love pastels of course with ketchup and "tostones."
Who are some notable Latinos that you look up to/admire?
I look up to a lot of Latino females, especially the ones that have it all- family, careers, businesses, I love hard working Latinas! Every time one is on TV my Pops makes sure I notice, whether it be someone like Jennifer Lopez or just a Latina-looking girl in a commercial, he reminds me that "Hey, Theresa, they're everywhere!" [on tv]! They can be sweet, fun, feisty, beautiful, crazy, different and it's ok. I like that about Latina females, they really don't care about being anyone but themselves; either take it or leave it. Also, when I was younger my mother would always watch a novela called Rosalinda. I looked up to her when I was young, she was beautiful and sweet, I liked her character a lot. Also, Shakira, I love how determined she is to change the world for the better. I admire that.
Read Nany's interview on page 2 >>>