With the third episode of The Challenge All Stars season 3 airing this week I figured now was a great time to have an OG.
This week’s feature first began her reality TV life at the age of 22 on The Real World, and eventually onto The Gauntlet. She is quite known for wanting to ‘sue the island’ and I may or may not have asked her about that lawsuit.
We also discuss MTV show reprisals, her current life and a whole bunch more.
1. With all these reprisals of The Real World early seasons on Paramount+, what is something you would like to address from your season?
Unfortunately, Paramount + is not yet available in Europe, so I have only seen the clips from social on The Real World reprisals so far. I’m really enjoying them, and I know these early shows will address significant issues the second time around. Come to Europe, @paramountplus!
As for my season of The Real World, there’s been sensitivity around Pedro and the whole HIV epidemic, and rightfully so. However, AIDS and Pedro’s life were so significant that much of what was happening in the other housemates’ lives got lost or passed over. So, I would like to hear from the other housemates about what they feel got completely missed from their lives in the final shows? What story they would like to have told if it was just their own story?
I think Bunim-Murray sent me into that house, and the roommates subsequently chose me because they knew that I would cause the least drama. So yeah, I didn’t really create any issues with anyone. I could have asked Pam why she completely blanked me most of the time, why she and the other girls refused to believe in and listen to my body issues when we discussed going to Hawaii? I could now ask Rachel why she sat in her confessional and said I make a great friend, but she would not like to be my boyfriend? And if I was so great a friend, why did she drop me as soon as the show wrapped? So many questions are unanswered for all of us, I suppose. I would much rather bond with them than be up in the drama, but if we can solve the drama, the healing begins.
2. Since today is #TMITuesday can you tell the readers something about you that they may not already know?
Before appearing on The Real World at age 22, I had already lived in 5 countries.
3. On the topic of show revivals, would you compete on The Challenge: All Stars if you were asked?
Putting all my other life considerations aside, I’ve only seen clips of the show as Paramount + doesn’t exist here yet! From what I have seen, for example, in the trailer for Season 3, the challenges all look very cool and super exciting. That kind of stuff I would still do. However, I wouldn’t really want to participate in any wrestling, pushing, or hitting anyone else – no contact sport!
Another thing that I would not do again is to make an appearance without doing my homework on the show – so I would need some prep time! I would definitely want to get into prime shape – I’ve seen the ‘kids’ are training hard for these shows now.
4. What is a typical day in your life consist of?
It depends on what day, but when I’m good, my day starts with a 5K, some yoga, and celery juice. It could also end up looking like me sitting on the sofa with a slice of home-baked chocolate cake and a decaf, with the latest episode of the Housewives. Guilty.
If it’s a workday, then I’m in my office, in front of the computer for the day. I like to start early, so I can enjoy the late afternoon and evening. I still like to hike a lot, so I am often out in the neighbourhood, and on coastal paths.
If it’s a play day, then anything can happen – or at least, I’d like to think it could. Mostly a lot of ‘adulting’ goes on, but I’m still open to spontaneity. I better know my limits now – one of the benefits that come with time on the planet. I know that I need my downtime and sleep, and I do a lot of meditation. I’m a color therapy teacher, a practitioner of EFT, and its advanced form, Matrix ReImprinting. I was also training others in pilates up until the pandemic. I still love to cook, so I invent a vegan dish of the day most days – it’s a huge passion, and I love to play with flavors.
5. If you could choose one song as your theme song, what would it be and why?
Getting Older by my fellow vegan Billie Eilish really resonates with me. It amazes me how much I connect with the words of a 20 year something, but she really digs deep.
“I’m getting older, I’ve got more on my shoulders
But I’m getting better at admitting when I’m wrong
I’m happier than ever, at least that’s my endeavour
To keep myself together and prioritize my pleasure’
6. Did you ever “sue the island”?
No, lol. I cannot believe that actually flew out of my mouth, but it did. I was in such a state of shock and fight-or-flight at what happened and being told that I could not leave the house; my mind was racing as to how I could save myself. I sincerely apologize to the beautiful islands of Trinidad and Tobago – the people there were very kind to me.
7. I talk about a lot of different reality shows on my site, do you have any guilty pleasure reality shows that you watch?
I love RHOB, RHOC, RHNY, and RHNJ, and Vanderpump Rules. They are my secret pleasures. I started watching them all when I moved back to the UK when I was really ‘homesick’ for all things US and my life in LA.
8. Who is your celebrity crush and why?
Lewis Hamilton – I’ve always been a Formula One fan, and Lewis is a Brit and a vegan; that did it for me. Even his dog is vegan like mine. The last few years, I’ve really been watching the championship again. So, while watching my champion ride the wave of success in his driving career, he also lived out another of my dreams. Over 25 years ago, I was wearing a McVegan t-shirt, dreaming about animal-free fast food, and a couple of years ago, Lewis started a vegan chain in London called Neat Burger – coming to NY this year. Yum!
Other vegan celeb crushes include Pam Anderson, Moby, Jessica Chastain, Danielle Brooks, and Jared Leto.
9. Do you feel that you were accurately portrayed on The Real World?
I moved into the SF house with only 7 weeks or so of filming left, and into a house that was kind of closed off and protective (and not without reason). The housemates were friendly but distant, with the exceptions of Rachel and perhaps Cory. After the experience and trauma, they went through with Puck, I think it was hard for them to open up to get to know me. Pedro flat out told me that he wasn’t interested in knowing me as he felt that he had so little time left. Still, that decision, although I understood it, left the house a bit divided. I felt dismissed and discounted, and my issues and traumas were ignored. So, if that was the dynamic in the house, what hope did the crew have of portraying me accurately? I think they did a fair job with what they knew and with the time constraints they faced. In The Real World, I saw some of the fun, adventurous sides of myself, but nothing really got further than skin-deep. Then on The Challenge, I saw the side of myself that had been shoved down, not explored, and desperately needed attention.
10. What’s next for you Jo?
I’m not sure, but I’m open. I’ve found that my life is constantly changing despite my best-laid plans, so I’ve learned to lay back and enjoy the ride a little more. I’m definitely at a point in my life where I’ve been exploring deep healing and acceptance – this means facing all aspects of myself.
But Eilish’s song says my feelings in a nutshell,
‘But next week, I hope I’m somewhere laughing
For anybody asking, I promise I’ll be fine
I’ve had some trauma, did things I didn’t wanna
Was too afraid to tell ya, but now, I think it’s time’