'The Challenge: USA': Tiffany Mitchell and Cashel Barnett Shed Light on Why They Were Targeted by the House

The competition on The Challenge: USA is truly heating up. On Wednesday, the show said goodbye to the next two contestantsBig Brother 23 alum Tiffany Mitchell and Love Island alum Cashel Barnett. Following their elimination, PopCulture.com got the chance to speak with the two reality stars, who shed some major insight into the circumstances that led to them getting the boot.

Tiffany and Cashel ended up being sent into elimination after the winners of the daily challenge, Tyson Apostol and Justine Ndiba, blindsided them. Throughout the episode, it seemed as though Tiffany was being targeted by the Big Brother and Love Island factions alike. As both she and Cashel explained, there was a lot of "talking sh*t" that went on behind the scenes that led to the pair getting a huge target on their backs. 

Oh Say Can You See Tiffany
(Photo: Laura Barisonzi/Paramount)

But, what's the real story? Read on to see what Tiffany and Cashel had to say. (This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

PopCulture.com: First and foremost, you were paired by the algorithm. There was a little bit of talk throughout the episode that you guys were getting closer, as allies. What was your relationship like in the house, even before you got paired? After you got paired?

Tiffany: No relationship really, before we got paired, just cordial. I thought he was cool. But, once we got paired, we both knew we needed to work together to see where our strengths and weaknesses [were] as a team. And then, we kind of just studied together, not that we could study anything specifically, but just how we communicated with limited amount of time. So, we would just work together to kind of build and strengthen our relationship, since we did not know each other that well.

Cashel: Before we paired, I was trying to just stay in the shadows and kind of see what was going on with everybody. And I saw that Tiffany was... We were very similar in the sense that we were trying to work the room, trying to see about everybody. And so, when you have... What? 20? We started with 28 people. It's a lot of people to get to know. That's a lot of people to try and edge in to try at least have a single conversation. So I think, Tiffany and I, we spoke maybe two or three times. But then, I think there was a mutual respect for our capabilities. And when we got paired, yeah, we did. We did some trust and communication exercises. And we were getting ready to go.

Oh Say Can You See Tiffany
(Photo: Laura Barisonzi/Paramount)

PC: Watching it back, I imagine that it was a lot for you both to even be watching it. These are your friends going into it. So, what was it like to see some of the comments that you heard from either the Big Brother allies, or the Love Island people?

Tiffany: Nothing surprised me from the Love Island people who did not appreciate my gameplay, or me being there, or me as a person, or whatever I brought to the table. No surprises there. I was definitely surprised at Shan [Smith] and even Desi [Williams], even though Desi doesn't know me and I don't know her. I liked her off rip. I immediately was like, "Oh, she's with us." And so, I was surprised to see her and Shan taking game out of it and just spreading rumors about me on a personal level. I felt that that was unnecessary to do. You had a lot of ammunition to use against me if you needed it. You didn't have to make stuff up that you don't even know about. And then, Xavier [Prather], of course, he did not have my back. He had Alyssa [Lopez]'s back and I'm not going to say I was surprised by that. I wish he would have let someone else allow Tyson and Justine to figure that out on their own, but he wanted to protect Alyssa. And he did. Hope it works out for him

Cashel: I wasn't surprised by Tyson's play at all. And I wasn't surprised by Justine's play, when it comes to me. What you don't see in the episode is the maliciousness [with] which the Love Island girls operated towards me and Cinco [Melvin "Cinco" Holland Jr.], specifically. You don't see that. But there was a lot of, I don't know, what I thought was unjust animosity coming towards us, towards Cinco and I. So, it was tough to be singled out by that. What I was surprised by was Kyra [Green] because I thought that we had a mutual respect for each other and an understanding. And I thought we were cool, but that's what she told me. And then, she told the camera something else.

PC: Were there certain things that we didn't see? Even on Twitter, I saw some of the girls — I think it was Cashay [Proudfoot] and even Alyssa — they were saying that there were scenes that we didn't get to see that would maybe explain maybe why they targeted you both. So is there anything that you guys can think of that we didn't see that would make this a clearer picture in our minds?

Tiffany: Yeah. Just more of them talking sh*t.

Cashel: Yeah. Honestly, I thought that the way that everything was cut and put together, the real story was that the Love Island girls were targeting Tiffany, specifically stemming from Cashay. And really, what you missed was about 36 more hours of sh*t talking about Tiffany. That's all you missed. They summed it up real quick and they left it a little bit ambiguous. But, in case there's anybody who didn't know what was going on, all the girls were talking shit about Tiffany.

Tiffany: And they miss Alyssa talking sh*t about me too. And Derek X [Xiao] talking sh*t about me too. So, the only thing they left out is just more people... Like I said, more people talking sh*t.

PC: I actually hate to hear that, that even DX was doing that. I loved your relationship in the Big Brother house. So, that's really surprising to me actually, that he was a part of that too.

Tiffany: But see, I think that DX's wasn't a personal attack though. And it wasn't from an... I'll just be quiet. Cause I don't know where I was going. I do know, but I won't. I think it was more of a, 'I don't know if I can trust her, because she kind of fooled me one time before.' But, that's gameplay and that's fine. I respect that, but I did think that we were closer and I thought we were working more closely together. And I didn't know that he had in his mind that he didn't plan to really work with me. I would've had a whole different strategy coming into the house.

PC: As we're winding down here, I want to know what the state of your relationships are with these people who have targeted you in the house. Have you been in contact with them since filming the season? Maybe even since seeing everything that you've seen in the episodes? 

Tiffany: I talked with Shan. And I think I am such a forgiving person when I want to be, but usually, I just do want to be. And I understand how things go. It's not the way that I would've handled that situation. I would not ever do that to her. I wouldn't even do it to an enemy. I just don't do that. So, it's like we're going to work through that. And Xavier, I don't know. I have a love for Xavier and I kind of understand that he wanted to choose his relationship with Alyssa. That's fine too. I think just moving forward, I have to realize that when I go in and play these games, I can't look at these people like they're my friends. And that hurts.

Cashel: After Tiffany and I got off, I stayed up with people kind of as they were coming off and just kind of checked in and said, 'Hey, how you doing?' I DMed Tasha [Fox] and I DMed a couple people and then, just kind of some natural conversation over Instagram happened. But, I'm not really in touch with anybody, but I don't feel like I have any bad blood between anybody. And I feel like there's people that I could reach out to or they could reach out to me and it'd be a joyous reunion. Most people.

PC: So maybe [a reunion] on season two? Would you come back? 

Tiffany: I would go back. Yeah. I'm going to have to go to DC and train with Cinco.

Cashel: There you go, yeah, dude. Cinco gets you right for the bike, girl.