Houstonian Jasmine Reynaud talks to ‘OutSmart’ about her challenges
By David Goldberg
In the endless mythology of “Real World/Road Rules Challenges,” tiny black ladies rarely endure long. But Houstonian Jasmine Reynaud has proven that she can endure any competition, even from some of her steroid-pumped challengers. On The Challenge: Battle of the Exes, an amped-up Survivor on Viagra, Jasmine will have to face the usual gauntlet of adrenaline, hard partying, and political scheming, along with her former flame Tyrie. The Friendswood, Texas, native spoke with OutSmart about her hometown, her gay following, and her strategy for victory.
David Goldberg: I can’t believe I didn’t know you were from Houston.
Jasmine Reynaud: Yeah, born and raised in the local area. I go to school in Houston, too. I’ll be walking around when I’m home and people will say, “What are you doing here?” I’m like, “I’m from here!”
Have Houstonians been supportive and kind to you?
Everyone has been really supportive about the shows. They always want to hang out and take pictures. I’ve been getting a lot of really good feedback. I definitely think there is a nice fanbase here. Probably the nicest. I get recognized back at home more than I do when I go to New York or Boston or L.A.
How many challenges have you participated in?
I did The Challenge: Rivals, and Battle of the Exes will be my second one.
Do you have a best moment?
I think challenges are my thing. If you add the drama aspect and the competitive aspect of me, it just works out perfectly. I am hoping to do a lot more challenges. It’s so much fun to do them, because I get to hang out with people that I watched in high school and college, and now I get to rub elbows with them. It’s a really cool experience.
Was this a hard competition, as you had to play alongside your ex?
This was a hard challenge for me, because it was an “Exes” challenge. I had to go with my partner Tyrie. I don’t like him. I don’t care for him. I still have my boyfriend. It wasn’t a challenge that I wished they would have picked, but it’s what I got stuck with. Tyrie is not someone that a lot of people like. He’s not a strong competitor. As people have seen over the years, he always goes home first. But when it was explained that one couple is going to choose who is going into elimination, it changes the game more. There is no more going into back rooms and choosing who is going into elimination. It’s up to one person or one team. It changes the dynamics from being a group decision or majority decision of who goes in.
Are there new hookups to look forward to? Or will this challenge finish all romance once and for all?
You have to wait and see. There are a lot of interesting things that happen with this kind of a cast. You have people like CT and Diem, who had a huge relationship together for three years that everyone idealized. Now that they have broken up, it’s interesting to see how they will deal with each other after not seeing each other for so long and not talking. You have other situations in which you didn’t even know that they hooked up, and it’s like, “How did that happen?”
Have these challenges made you drop your shell, or have they made you harder?
It made me harder, but I’m starting to think that maybe I’m a little too mean about it. I can definitely prove a point without having to be in someone’s face screaming and yelling. [Watching] myself this time on Battle of the Exes is going to make me face the fact of me not having to be so rude. So it’s going to be interesting to see how I really actually am. It’s so different from being in the house and doing it, to seeing it on TV and hearing everyone’s opinion on it.
What is next for you?
I’ve got to keep my fingers crossed that I’m going to get an invite back for more challenges. I’m trying to finish school right now. I’m in my (hopefully) last semester of school. My major is communications, so I definitely want to start getting into the behind-the-scenes of production and editing. I want to keep the reality TV thing going for as long as I can, because I can’t do this forever, but as long as I can keep doing it, I want to pursue it. It’s having fun. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in front of a camera and travel the world and meet all kinds of people. I want to do it as long as I can.
It looks like summer camp.
It’s like adult summer camp. We all get to get away from our regular lives back at home, paying bills, jobs, school, whatever. We go to a gorgeous location, a beautiful house, and we get to be around some of the most insane and crazy personalities. It’s fun. It’s hilarious and so much fun, and I don’t regret anything that I’ve ever done with these shows. I know I’m not proud of it, but I don’t regret it, and I’d do it over again if I had to.
It’s good to hear someone own up to it.
When I did [The Challenge:] Rivals and cheated on my boyfriend, I wasn’t proud of myself for doing that. But things happen for a reason. We are still together. Our relationship is even stronger because of that. If I had to do it again, I would, because I feel like I never want to regret any decisions I make in life, and I never do. I know there are people who give up doing challenges and never want to do it again, and they see how much fun we end up having and then they regret it. You never want to pass up this kind of opportunity. You only live once, and you’ve got to make the most of it.
I connect with you because you are a small-statured, black lady that can take on a group of tall, buff, white men. A lot of people in minorities need someone who does that. How do you connect with your viewers?
I get a lot of support from gay viewers. I say embrace who you are and never let anyone think that you are less of a person because you have a difference of views or sexual orientation or whatever. You do what you want to do, and if anyone has a problem, you give it back to them or tell them to keep moving. When someone gets in my face and they don’t like what I do, I’m like, “You can always change the channel if you want to. But you are not going to. You’re going to keep watching me, because I’m some kind of entertainment, and maybe you wish you could do what I am doing and you could stand up for yourself.” I think everyone should do that. Be true to who you are and never let anyone break you down for it.
New episodes of The Challenge: Battle of the Exes air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. central time on MTV.
David Goldberg is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.