Cara Maria Sorbello Sets the Record Straight on ‘The Challenge: All Stars 4’ Finale

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Cara Maria Sorbello might’ve placed second on The Challenge: All Stars 4, but if it hadn’t been for one big twist in the final — namely, that eliminated star-holders got to gift their stars to another finalist for a big advantage — she believes she would’ve absolutely beaten her erstwhile rival Laurel Stucky to the $250,000 prize.

Throughout the season, Sorbello unwittingly became a bit of a lightning rod for people in the house, especially Stucky and her allies — even people that she was previously friendly with in real life, like Brandon Nelson, Leroy Garrett, and Kam Williams ended up working against her.

However, she started off strong as the first-place winner of the season’s first challenge, and she fought her way into the final just like her fellow competitors and very nearly won the whole thing. Sorbello talked to TV Insider about what it’s like to watch such a chaotic season — and why she feels pretty good about it now.

This season has been wild. What’s it like for you to watch all play back?

Cara Maria Sorbello: Oh my gosh, two years after the fact? It’s wild. It’s actually very… validating now, because I guess when you’re in the moment, and you get your back against the wall, and you’re just going through it, and you feel kind of alone, [it’s hard]. To see people from the outside see it almost through my eyes, it’s like, I wish that Cara in the house knew that there was a lot of love out there. You can get lost, but I am thankful that I had Steve [Meinke] and Ace [Amerson] and Jay [Mitchell].

I was going to ask about that. How did you form an alliance with Ace? How did you guys get so close? And then, how did it make you feel that Jay and Steve were on your side?

I didn’t have any alliances. I mean, I knew for a fact that even if Ace — because Ace was given a star twice by Steve, Ace couldn’t really help me in any way. He was just a good, solid person. I think the thing that happened was one of the first challenges — the second challenge — he asked me to be his partner because I just stood out. I thought it was a guy’s day. I don’t know what I thought it was. I just was kind of, “All right, whoever wants to pick me, I’m here.” And Ace was like, “Me, me, me!” And I was like, “Okay.” And then we just kind of stuck together, and he was really close with Jay, and they were just kind of always like a safe place to go to, which was really nice.

L-R Steve Meinke, Veronica Portillo, Leroy Garrett, Laurel Stucky, Ace Amerson, Nicole Zanatta, Derek Chavez and Cara Maria Portillo in The Challenge: All Stars, episode 12, season 4 streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo credit: Jonne Roriz/Paramount+

Jonne Roriz/Paramount+

So you don’t think if Ace had been at the end and got out when Leroy did, he would have given you this? 

No, I wouldn’t have expected him to at all. I think he would have given it back to Steve. Steve gave him a star twice. Why would he give it to me, their star? Unfortunately, the way I run sh** when I’m on The Challenge is I have to take myself. And I did. I took myself as far as I possibly could with no handouts.

Would it have made the difference if Laurel hadn’t gotten those stars? Was the timing such that you would’ve beaten her? 

If Laurel didn’t have to skip three entire puzzle checkpoints, do you think I would have beaten her? Yes. I mean, like black and white, yes. So I hope that she’s out here writing checks of thank you to Veronica [Portillo], Derek [Chavez], and Nicole [Zanatta]. I hope she’s out here thanking her on their dinner dates or something for that win.

In the end, Laurel seemed genuinely proud of you for coming in second and mentioned she wanted to do Rivals with you again. Is that something you would be interested in? 

Here’s the thing. I was under a different impression about what Laurel was when I was there because I didn’t know that she had rallied the whole house not to talk to me or work with me or that she was just poisoning the well, so to speak. And I didn’t know that. The only thing I knew was that I was not coming after her. I was just kind of trying to survive. And she was doing everything in her power to not only get rid of me but embarrass me if she possibly could, while she was crying on my shoulder, literally multiple times a day. It was like she’d come to me, she’d go cry to somebody else, then she’d make out with Nicole. Then, she’d come cry to me, talk about how messed up she was or what she was dealing with, and then go make out with Nicole. So she was using me almost like a crutch, but then also someone that she was, coming out with, guns blazing, but in a way that I was blind to.

So when she won, I was actually — when somebody beats me, whether it’s because they had advantages in a game or whatever, however they won, she won. She beat me. Her check is going to cash, so her win is valid, even if it does come with an asterisk. But she beat me, so I was happy for her. And I was like, “You know what? Let’s do it again. I want another chance to try to compete against you. I want to take my shot.” I had no idea until like the last minute, when she was really like, “I want to go against Cara. I want to send her home,” like she was so blindly obsessed with me. It was really weird looking back and watching it because I did not know this was happening. So when she said she was happy for me, no, she was not happy for me. She was happy that she beat me. Because the only thing that makes it is finding ways to embarrass me or keep me beneath her.

Do you think it embarrasses her?  

No, she has no self-awareness.

L-R: Adam Larson, Steve Meinke, Cara Maria Sorbello, Veronica Portillo and Kam Williams in The Challenge: All Stars, episode 8, season 4 streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo credit: Jonne Roriz/Paramount+

Jonne Roriz/Paramount+

Speaking of her turning the house against you, she turned Brandon, Kam, and Leroy against you. Have you all repaired relationships outside of the game?

I mean, Leroy and I will always be cool, and I think that I never said a bad word about them in any of my interviews or said anything malicious towards them. I always elevate and support Leroy and Kam as a couple. I would never say anything against them. Brandon, the thing with me is like, I have the type of friends in my own life that like when you start, whether I’m in Montana or Boston or whatever, if I haven’t seen or talked to anybody in months, it’s like, I see you again, you pick up where you left off. I haven’t been the type of challenger to pregame, “Here’s what we’re gonna do, and we’re gonna go out and then we’re in this, and we’re into this.” I’m not good with even keeping in touch with people. So I know that’s what Brandon was kind of saying…. I showed up, and I saw Brandon, I was like, “Hell yeah, Brandon! That’s my guy!” And then I saw Kam and Leroy. I lost it. I was so excited to see them there, and I would have rode with all three of them all the way to the very end.

I understand. My biggest thing is, don’t gaslight me and say you’re coming after — pulling random reasons out of your butt. You know what I mean? Like, tell me you’re coming after me because you think I’m a threat. That’s really what it comes down to, you know? And I felt like there was a lot of gaslighting and projection going around. And so that’s what’s offensive to me. It’s insulting. You know what I mean? Like, just say, “Hey, guess what? We have a new baby. We don’t care who we come after or what we know. It’s all about our family. You’re in the way. You’re a threat. We want you out early. Go against women for us. Sorry, it is what it is.” I can respect that, but it’s like the backhanded — trying to pile on with the mean sh**. I just — it’s been sad to me, and it was a difficult game for me to navigate because these were people that I loved and respected. Me and Brandon are cool. We keep in touch. Me and Leroy have reached out to each other. And, you know, I wish everybody the best. It’s very it’s sad to me, because I have… it’s just sad.

So what’s up with Flora Alekseyeva and others attacking you on social media all the time? That seems random.

I don’t know. I mean, nothing that she says has substance. You know what? I mean, I think I put more stock and weight into good [players] like Steve or Ace. And it’s f***ed up, because Adam was coming at Steve hard, and people were saying nasty things about Steve in the house. And you don’t see that Steve got voted into three eliminations. Steve was actually — he would just keep to himself in the backyard with a spoon making f***ing Bulgarian sandbags. I don’t know what the hell the guy was doing, but I loved his genuine weirdness. And anytime people would talk sh** on Steve, I was like, “I f***ing love Steve. I don’t care… You don’t like Steve’s stories, don’t listen. Shut up.”

So there was that going on in the house, too, but you didn’t see it. So do I really care that Laurel, Veronica, Jasmine [Reynaud], Laurel, Nicole, or whatever that wanted to be petty, nasty little girls? I don’t care because I don’t respect those people. I mean, you have somebody like Rachel [Robinson], who’s a good competitor… I put way more stock in whatever Rachel has to say, or way more stock in whatever Tina [Barta] has to say, than somebody like Flora, who that was her only storyline. Because she couldn’t do anything. What are you gonna do? … Man, she would lurk in a corner and just wait to hear something so that she could run around and mold it in a different way to start stirring things up… What’s that playbook?  It’s one of these things, one of these books where it’s like, project onto other people what you’re doing? … It’s like a method of war.

And I feel like what was going on in that house was a lot of projection, which is not my problem. It’s theirs. Because even with Veronica, she had no reason to be — when Tina got eliminated, I thought she was alone. Do you know what I mean? I was like, oh my God, her best friends just left, Rachel and Tina. And I went upstairs genuinely to be like, “Hey. How you doing? Do you need some company?” I don’t ever like to see people feel pushed out… I’m very defensive of Steve. I liked Ace, he kept to himself, and I don’t like that nasty…. if anybody’s, like, “Cara’s miserable,” or “Cara’s this!” It’s like, look at the person saying it and ask them, “Okay, if she is this, how? Explain it.” There’s never [an explanation]. “Cara is shady.” Who was saying that? Adam. What was Adam doing? You watch the show. So I feel like there’s just — not to be everybody’s f***ing psychologist, but there’s a lot of projection. And it’s not me, it’s them. So I don’t really care. I kicked ass.

Well, congratulations on your strong finish this season.

I kicked ass. I kicked ass.

The Challenge: All Stars, Paramount+

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