'The Challenge' Star Cara Maria Opens Up About Love, Life, & Laurel

If there’s one thing fans of The Challenge can say about Cara Maria Sorbello, it's that she’s nothing if not honest. I recently spoke with the seemingly cursed competitor, but the light-hearted and open version of Cara Maria I got on the phone is a little different than how she’s been portrayed season after season on The Challenge. “I’m very good when I’m one on one with people or in a small group. But when I’m in a big house with a ton of people and a lot going on, I kind of lose myself. I’m kind of socially awkward.”

Week after week on Free Agents, Cara Maria fought to survive against rude housemates who wanted to vote her in (lookin' at you, Bananas), as well as the doom of pulling the kill card during an elimination. It took a lot of time before the rest of the cast saw just how hard she worked for those wins. She faced plenty of criticism from her fellow competitors, and mostly, it was unfair. "My biggest aggravation is when people say that I whine or try to make me seem weak. I know I don’t walk around saying, 'I’m better than everybody! I'm gonna send everybody home!' I’m not a Laurel, you know?”

Fighting against the cast outside of the elimination ring wasn’t going to get her to the top, though, and she realizes that. “Some people would say that I put on an act, but I’m not. I’m just way too honest with my emotions and reacting in the moment. If I’m scared I show it. You know Laurel would yell at me and tell me to act like I’m not ... but I’d be lying if I said I wasn't scared."

It was Cara Maria's honesty and her gumption to stand up for herself against an unnecessary verbal attack that lead to the fight that split up her long-time friendship with Laurel. In terms of how their relationship currently stands, “Laurel and I would text every day and we were really close. After this season um, it’s still a little rocky.”

Thankfully, The Challenge doesn’t just tear friends apart for the sake of a big check. It does, surprisingly, forge plenty of long-lasting friendships and love connections. Though Cara Maria explains her relationship with most cast members as a “work-friend kind of a deal,” she did go on to say that there are a lot of people from her Challenge history that she cares very deeply for.

“I’m still with Abram. I met him on the show. I’ll check in with Diem and CT a lot…There are people that are super solid that even after not seeing them, when we’re back in a Challenge, it’s like no time has passed. Brandon, Zach, Johnny Reilly, Isaac, Cohutta, just really cool people.”

So, since her relationships with her Challenge buddies are pretty hunky dory, would she do another season? "I wish I could say no. I’ll get calls from other [Challenge] friends and they say that MTV called them and say, 'Oh I don’t think I’m going to do it this time’ and I’m like 'why?'"

Why, indeed. The Challenge is pretty much summer camp for adults, after all.

"I love it. It’s an escape. I’m really learning and testing myself in ways that I never would have without this opportunity. And the money is great!"

On Free Agents, Cara Maria didn't win any prize money, but there are other benefits, too. Not only has The Challenge helped her grow stronger physically, it’s helped her grow emotionally. "It saved me," she says.

When MTV calls Cara Maria for next season, here's betting, and hoping, that she picks up.

Images: MissCaraMaria/Instagram (4)