‘The Challenge 36’: Natalie Anderson Speaks on the Change of Diversity in MTV Shows: ‘It’s Astounding’

After appearing on The Amazing Race twice, Natalie Anderson competed on Survivor two times, clocking a win and second-place finish. Following her three appearances and shortly before competing on The Challenge, MTV’s parent company, CBS, passed a mandate for casting at least 50% BIPOC contestants. In an interview with ET Canada, Natalie spoke about going from being one of the only minority faces on her original show to being a part of season 36’s diverse cast.

Natalie Anderson on the three-hour season finale episode of 'Survivor: Winners at War'
Natalie Anderson on the three-hour season finale episode of ‘Survivor: Winners at War’ | CBS

Natalie Anderson originally appeared on ‘The Amazing Race’

Nearly 10 years ago, then 26-year-old Natalie Anderson first competed on CBS’ The Amazing Race 21 alongside her “twinnie,” Nadiya.

Although the siblings were eliminated in the penultimate leg, they became fan-favorites, awarding themselves a spot on All-Stars three seasons later.

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However, they ended up becoming the first boots. The ladies then competed on Survivor: San Juan del Sur (2014), and Nadiya’s tribemates voted out her first. On the other hand, Natalie went on to win the competition.

The Amazing Race star returned six years later for Winners at War, this time without her twin sister, and finished as runner-up. She then decided to try her hand at another popular reality competition show, MTV’s The Challenge.

Natalie already has her gold skull on ‘The Challenge’

The Survivor champ debuted on the 36th season and decided to team up with two-time champ Wes Bergmann over four-time winner Darrell Taylor. According to the reality competition star, she felt she shared too many similar qualities with Darrell and thought Wes had more “pull” and connections in the house.

However, this ended up working against her as the others immediately put the two into elimination because they thought Wes had too many deals around the house.

RELATED: ‘The Challenge 36’: Natalie Anderson Says Wes Bergmann’s Wife Factored Into Why He Partnered With Her

It ended up being a girl’s day, and Natalie sent two-time winner Ashley Mitchell home first, earning her gold skull, or ticket to the finals. Her victory didn’t prove enough to the others as they threw them in again two weeks later.

Unfortunately for them, Wes could not come out on top, and she ended up partnered with the eight-time competitor, Cory Wharton.

Natalie on being on a show that’s recognizing change

In November 2020, CBS announced its mandate to cast 50% Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) and pledged 25% of its annual unscripted development budget for BIPOC creators and producers.

The Challenge season 36 falls in line with the initiative as the cast includes over 75% BIPOC competitors. In an interview with ET Canada, Natalie acknowledged the change and shared they often talked about the diversity in the house.

RELATED: ‘The Challenge 36’: Rookies Lolo Jones and Natalie Anderson Are the Biggest Targets Heading Into the Season

She explained she was one of the only minorities on her original Survivor season and called the change “astounding.” The reality competition star noted she would look around the house and notice how different the MTV show looked as The Challenge used to feature majority-white faces.

Natalie also applauded the network for recognizing change needed to happen and then following through with casting. The Challenge airs Wednesdays at 8/7 Central on MTV.