Don’t let JoJo Siwa‘s colorful clothes and sparkly bows fool you: She’s the “biggest surprise” of Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test Season 2. So says The Bachelorette Season 15 alum Tyler Cameron, who competed alongside the former Dance Moms star during the grueling, eight-day contest.
Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test is a reality competition series where no one is voted out. Famous contestants are led through grueling challenges picked from the U.S. military’s actual Special Forces selection process, and the only way out is to quit (or if the Directing Staff agents — all former special forces themselves — decide you need to go). On Monday, September 25, on Fox, the recruits will face the harsh reality of winter warfare training on the mountains of New Zealand in Season 2, where the terrain and freezing temperatures are brutal, and the tasks will feel like torture.
The competing recruits are Cameron, fellow Bachelorette alum Nick Viall, Siwa, Savannah Chrisley, Tom Sandoval, Dez Bryant, Blac Chyna, Brian Austin Green, Robert Horry, Erin Jackson, Bode Miller, Jack Osbourne, Tara Reid, and Kelly Rizzo. Cameron tells TV Insider he most looked forward to competing against his fellow Bachelor Nation members.
“When I saw Nick Viall’s name on there, I was like, ‘I’m going to take this guy out.’ There’s only room for one sheriff in this town,” he jokes.
Cameron was a breakout star in Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette. Brown won Season 1 of Special Forces, surprising viewers and herself with her victory. When Cameron saw his ex on the competition series, he thought, “If Hannah can do it, I can do it.” The challenge was tougher than it looked. “I got in there, and I was like, ‘Hannah’s a beast,’” Cameron admits. “I always knew she had that resilience and that dog in her. I’ve worked out with her before, and she doesn’t quit.” Having competed in the show himself, Cameron has a newfound “respect” for his former fling, admitting that her Season 1 journey “was definitely on my mind” while filming.
He’d tell himself in rough moments, “Hannah made it through this. You’ve got to find a way to get through this.” “It was tough, he shares. “She definitely put a very high bar for us to follow.”
Siwa far exceeded his expectations while filming in this cold terrain. The singer was not someone on Cameron’s radar before Special Forces, so he looked into her background and the rest of the cast.
“I see the buns, the crazy colorful outfits, all these things. I’m like, ‘Well, we got ourselves a little character here,’” he says of Siwa. “I was like, ‘I don’t know how she’s going to do in the military.’ And she was my biggest surprise. The composure, the maturity, the leadership. She was keeping 40, 50-year-olds, myself, everybody in check. She was the police when it came down to our attire, making sure we all matched and were all in dress code. She was so important to our success. And that girl, I just am so amazed by her. She’s become a little sister ever since. And I just love that girl.”
In a final attempt to prepare, Cameron called Brown to try and get some advice 10 minutes before they went into the challenge (naturally, no phones are allowed in this trial). She didn’t answer his “shot in the dark” call, but he checked in with Brown after filming wrapped eight days later. “I just told her, ‘You were right. It was incredibly tough.’”
Another confidante he turned to for guidance: his little brother, who’s in the army. Cameron says part of his desire to take on the World’s Toughest Test was “to get a glimpse of what he goes through.”
“This is just a small little taste of what they do. It’s truly just amazing what our military goes through,” he says. “What they do to become part of the Special Forces is just truly incredible.”
“He was very useful and helped me with” preparing, Cameron adds. “The [Directing Staff] asked me [if] I asked for any [advice from his brother]. I was like, ‘Yeah, I did … I’m not telling you guys. I’m using that against y’all.’” Luckily for us, he could share the details.
“It was things like to stay hidden when hiding from them and kind of how to conduct yourself within the military. They used the term called Gray Man, which I’m not really good at. Gray Man is just kind of staying in the middle of things. I kind of did that at first, but they were calling on me to be a leader, so I had to step up and take on that role.”
What does that leadership role look like for him in Season 2? He explains: “I was always making sure people were on their Ps and Qs. The people that struggle more, I always gave them more attention, try to keep them going, keep them pushing along.”
While they were only out in the cold for eight days, Cameron says, “it feels like forever when you’re in there.” And the cameras are always on. Surprisingly enough, Cameron noticed some similarities between filming Special Forces and filming The Bachelorette.
The one similarity that stood out to me was, on The Bachelorette, you would see somebody get in their head about the lead. For my season, it was Hannah. [Men would say] ‘I don’t know if Hannah likes me,’ and you would see them unravel and lose their mind. Then they would just almost self-eliminate themselves, or they would complain and bicker to her, and she’d be like, ‘All right, I’m getting rid of you.’ You would see that here, too. People would start to doubt themselves or just feel sorry or achy or hurting. You could see them unravel, and then next thing you know, they’re gone.”
Will that happen to Cameron this season? Stay tuned.
Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test, Season 2 Premiere, Monday, September 25, 9/8c, Fox