Cara Maria Sorbello was eliminated after the first challenge of her first season of The Challenge, Fresh Meat II back in 2010. Since then she has risen to the top of the ranks as one of the most prolific female winners of the franchise. She's seen six finals and won three times, including becoming the first overall winner of the show after Vendettas' free-for-fall final last season.
The reality star walks into the show's latest incarnation, Final Reckoning, a back-to-back defending champ and while that should make her feel uber-confident, she's more than aware that the target painted on her is large and blinking in neon -- but that hasn't changed the goal.
"If I didn't have a target on my back before, I certainly have one now, but it's a good target to have. It means you've got something that people want," Cara Maria told TV Guide ahead of the Reckoning premiere. "So, I'm coming into this season basically feeling like I do every season -- just ready to go in and to do whatever I have to do to get to the end. I was in the finals on Dirty 30, finals on Vendettas and I'd really like to seal the deal here and get there again on Reckoning."
While the news has already broken that Cara Maria will end up in some relationship drama with rookie Paulie Califore, the champ actually points to her partner Marie as the biggest thing standing in her way to a three-peat victory.
"Opening the grave and seeing that it was Marie, it's like a stab in the gut," she said said. "All I've known about Marie is that she shows up to party. She treats The Challenge as a joke. Everybody goes on The Challenge differently, and it doesn't make anybody better than the other. Some people just go to party, they don't care about working out and that's fine. That's their thing, have fun... I have to learn how to work with someone who doesn't really care about being there. So, for me, you're only as good as the person that you're with. I'm gonna have to find a way to make us work, and that is my ultimate challenge."
While Cara Maria claims that Marie is her biggest obstacle, it might actually be the reputation she's been unfairly pinned with. She's been tagged as an arrogant competitor by a large portion of the female cast and that's pushed many of the women to band together against her. As Cara Maria has stated many times, she's never actually said she was better than anyone else on the show, but that hasn't stopped the rumors or the hate. Despite the name calling, the champ is willing to let her track record speak for itself.
"People can walk around cocky and entitled all day. I'm not gonna invest my time on Twitter talking about it." she says. "I'm not cocky and entitled first of all. I'm the most insecure person f--king up there. I talk down about myself all the time. I downplay everything I've ever done. But, even if I was cocky and entitled, who the f--k cares? If a woman wants to feel confidant in herself, why does that bother you? That's your problem, anyways."
The ball is in the haters' court, but do any of them have what it takes to take down Cara Maria at the peak of her Challenge career? Anything could happen when it comes to this show.
The Challenge: Final Reckoning premieres Tuesday, July 10 at 9/8c on MTV.