“The Traitors”' Trishelle Cannatella Explains Her Return to Reality 10 Years After Step Back from “The Challenge”

The reality star, who last appeared on MTV's 'The Challenge' in 2013, tells PEOPLE she decided to join 'The Traitors' because "this is the perfect game for me"

<p>Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic</p> Trishelle Cannatella

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Trishelle Cannatella

Trishelle Cannatella is back in the mix thanks to The Traitors.

After taking more than 10 years off from The Challenge (save for two episodes of All-Stars in 2021), the former Real World: Las Vegas star has been sailing through the Peacock competition.

“For me, the Challenges at one point had gotten way too hard for me just physically,” Cannatella, 44, tells PEOPLE of why she stepped away from the MTV show. “I had plateaued and then I was just not good anymore. But for this [The Traitors], it's completely different. I can still carry my weight in this game.”

Related: Chris 'CT' Tamburello and His Challenge Costars Appreciated Being 'with People Our Age’ on The Traitors

Her Challenge castmates also played a role in why Cannatella stopped competing.

“I stopped caring because I didn't like the people,” she says. “There are better people in this show, but this is more of a mental and kind of emotional toughness game. And I've always felt like I was super mentally and emotionally tough. And so this is, to me, I was like, ah, this is the perfect game for me because I can actually just thrive and survive.”

<p>Juan Cruz Rabaglia/PARAMOUNT+/MTV</p> Trishelle Cannatella (left) on 'The Challenge: All-Stars' with Kendal Sheppard

Juan Cruz Rabaglia/PARAMOUNT+/MTV

Trishelle Cannatella (left) on 'The Challenge: All-Stars' with Kendal Sheppard

Challengers Chris "CT" Tamburello and Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio joined her on season 2 of The Traitors, but Cannatella didn’t automatically trust them just because of their history together.

“You can't trust anybody in the Challenge house,” she says. “You really can't. You could trust your alliance up to some point, but that's it. I do think that we can take that ‘trust no one’ over here, but getting to know people is easier here than it is in The Challenge.”

Related: The Traitors Season 2: Who Has Been Banished, Who Has Been Murdered So Far?

Traitors actually helped her repair her relationship with Tamburello.

“CT and I did our last show was like 14 years ago-ish, but I just didn't like him,” Cannatella admits. “He's changed so much. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we're like grownups now!’”

Now “they're like my brothers,” Cannatella says of Devenanzio, 41, and Tamburello, 43.

<p>Jesse Grant/Peacock</p> Trishelle Cannatella and Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio

Jesse Grant/Peacock

Trishelle Cannatella and Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio

Related: The Traitors Promises 'Chaos' and 'Diabolical Twists' in Season 2 Trailer: 'Hold on to Your Kilts, Dearies'

All of the Challenge vets ended up being Faithfuls on season 2, and the Traitors killed Devenanzio off first. Cannatella and Tamburello have had made it further into the game, but not without their names getting tossed around as possible Traitors. Cannatella played a part in Peppermint being voted out early on, only for the RuPaul’s Drag Race alum, 44, to be revealed as a Faithful.

“I didn't have a game plan at all, but I did see all the seasons and I knew that it was going to be way different because there were all reality people,” Cannatella says, referring to season 1 including layperson competitors. “I was hoping for non-television people, actually.”

Cannatella thinks the difference between The Traitors and The Challenge “is night and day.”

“The show is completely different,” Cannatella says. “I was like, wow, I can get used to this!”

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New episodes of The Traitors drop Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Peacock.

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