Kailah Casillas went into this season of The Challenge with a specific strategy after getting sent home before the Finals on her first two seasons — and it worked. On the April 4 episode of Vendettas, we saw her earn a spot in the final four alongside Zach Nichols, Cara Maria Sorbello and Kyle Christie, with a shot at winning big money. “I made it to the final this time strictly because I had a better social game,” Kailah told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “I laid low for pretty much the first half of the season and kind of let the drama all play out. I let everyone freak out and do all that and just played the middle as much as I could and stayed loyal to the people I was loyal to.”
We saw a LOT of Kailah bonding with her girls, Kam Williams, Marie Roda and Sylvia Elsrode, on the show, but what we didn’t see was how closely she was working with Zach and Tony Raines, who dominated a lot of the game, especially after Johnny Bananas was eliminated. “We kind of helped each other get to the end,” she admitted. “Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten through. Tony and Zach were each other’s number ones, and then their number one girls were me, Nicole Zanatta and Cara. So every time they would win or get in the Troika, they obviously weren’t going to put us in. They wanted to run a final with us girls. So I knew the entire time that all I had to do was continue to stay loyal to them and hope that that carried me the rest of the way.”
Tony made a lot of big moves this season — were you ever worried he’d turn on you? No, just because him and I have always been friends. I never did a challenge without him and I’ve always been loyal to him. We always had a mutual understanding that we were aligned. I don’t think he’d ever intentionally hurt my game and I wouldn’t to him. If you have a friend who you’re friends with outside the game, you know that’s going to come first. Those are the relationships that are going to help you inside the game. Those are the relationships that really matter.
Do you think it benefited you to NOT have a showmance this season, like you did with Cory in the past? I’ve had a boyfriend [at home] the past two seasons and I think it’s really benefited my game in a lot of different ways. Without a showmance, I didn’t have anyone I was directly linked to. I’m just more focused on the game rather than another person. And not only that, but my boyfriend has a really good relationship with a lot of guys in the game — like he was friends with Nelson outside of the house, which ends up coming in handy because I know Nelson has my back.
Aligning with Kam seemed to help your game because when other players wanted to separate you, they targeted her because she was a rookie. Was that part of your plan? It wasn’t part of my plan. I wanted to be Kam’s friend because she had no other friends and I had no other friends and in the first challenge, she killed it. So I befriended her and asked if she wanted to room with me, Sylvia and Marie and hoped she was a good person. It worked out for me, but it wasn’t intentional.
You went into this season with Cara as your vendetta — where do you stand now? It’s a hard situation. Yeah, we both had our big blowup, but I don’t consider her my vendetta anymore. I think her and I have a mutual respect for each other at this point. She has come to me since the final and thanked me for not screwing her over [with the torches]. She respects me for that. I could’ve easily screwed her over and I didn’t because I didn’t think it would be the right thing to do. I don’t know what’s going to happen with her, to be honest, but I’m not gunning for her anytime soon. But, at the end of the day, do I think if she ever had a shot to take me out, I definitely think she would take it. I probably would, too. But as of right now, I’m just trying to play it cool and be civil ith her. She’s just good. She wins s***. And you don’t want to have a vendetta who’s able to win stuff.
Where do you stand with Kayleigh after the luggage-throwing drama? I’m not friends with her whatsoever. I would definitely still consider her a vendetta of mine. I don’t know what the future is going to me. I think if she’s willing to have a conversation at some point that I would be willing to have an open conversation with her, because we haven’t been able to talk about anything since she left the game. But as of right now, we’re not good.