The Challenge: USA’s Cassidy Clark is shedding light on why she didn’t get along with fellow competitor Michaela Bradshaw.
“The only person in the Survivor alliance I didn’t really get along with was Michaela,” Cassidy, 26, exclusively told Us Weekly on Friday, October 13, one day after her elimination from the reality series.
“She’s very intelligent, but she’s intelligent in a more logical sense, and I think I have a little bit more emotional intelligence. I think we play our games very differently, and that made us clash a lot,” Cassidy continued. “I don’t do well with really manipulative people just from my past. I get very triggered by it because I went through a relationship that was very abusive in that way.”
While Cassidy emphasized that she wasn’t implying that anyone from her season was abusive, she noted that she doesn’t respond well to manipulation as a gameplay tactic.
“It works for some people and they’re able to play a really strategic, really calculated game — and good for them. But I don’t like when people try to make me feel small with their intelligence or try to strong-arm me into doing something or just play mind games with me. I don’t vibe with that,” she said. “I’ve learned to stick up for myself when I feel like I’m being manipulated. So, I think for those reasons, we couldn’t really click.”
Cassidy also named Challenge veteran Wes Bergmann as someone she found hard to connect with due to his approach to the game.
“I never felt like I could get close to people like [Michaela] or Wes because it just always felt like there was some hidden motive or they were using me for their own gameplay and they didn’t actually care about me as a person,” she said. “Which is fine, but I don’t know, I don’t build my relationships in the game that way.”
Despite being eliminated just ahead of the final, Cassidy proved herself to be a strong competitor this season. She was sent into the Arena four times, winning her first three face-offs against Alyssa Lopez, Alyssa Snider and Michele Fitzgerald. She ultimately lost a Hall Brawl to Chanelle Howell during the Thursday, October 12, episode.
“It doesn’t get acknowledged enough, the mental toll that it takes on someone to go into the Arena so many times and to be nominated so many times,” Cassidy told Us.
Although she faced an uphill battle to make it to the final 10 competitors, Cassidy is glad the season played out the way it did.
“If I could have played a game where I didn’t have to go in [to the Arena] so many times, I probably would’ve jumped at that chance. [But] would it have allowed me to have the story that I did and prove myself in the way I did? No,” she said. “Looking back, I prefer the path that I took and the journey that I had to go on because it allowed me to have such an epic rookie season.”
The Challenge: USA airs on CBS Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.