Aneesa was a fresh-faced rookie on The Challenge: Battle of the Sexes back in 2002. The Real World: Chicago alum was eliminated halfway through Season 6 when it was revealed that she had big plans to oust one of the game’s top dogs.
Nearly 20 years later, Aneesa, now 39, might finally earn her first victory for the same type of cunning, and frankly, it wouldn’t be a moment too soon.
On the premiere episode of Double Agents, 15 men and 15 women gathered in Iceland to get the game in motion. And it only took a few moments before competitors had each other in headlocks, pushed each other down steep hills and accrued bruises to secure early victory.
In “Mission Decryption,” players — separated into same-sex heats — raced to the top of a mound of sediment to glimpse a code etched onto the side of a small capsule. The first player of each sex to successfully recreate the code on his or her circuit breaker would win immunity from The Crater and the power to toss two players into the game’s first elimination round.
Though it was decorated Olympian Lolo Jones who came out of the gates like a shot, Aneesa — who just missed out on the final mission in Total Madness — earned the distinction of being the first Double Agents daily winner.
“This is my time to play how I want to play,” she said, proceeding to select Fessy as her partner once host TJ Lavin informed the cast that Double Agents would henceforth be played in pairs.
Surprisingly, rather than scheme to oust the veteran in light of her success, some of Aneesa’s fellow cast members said they were inspired by her resolve and eager to help the veteran get to the finish line after 18 years and 14 tries.
Tori, Aneesa’s friend inside and outside the game, said she “could not be more proud of [Aneesa],” while Fessy, initially reluctant to be Aneesa’s partner, eventually said he was eager to help Aneesa secure an inaugural victory, insisting during a team pow-wow, “It’s your season!”
And Kam, who bonded with Aneesa over the plight Black women frequently face — particularly in the era of protests against police brutality — said it would be a boon to the community to see Aneesa finally pull out a championship.
“I am so happy that I have the opportunity to be playing this game with Aneesa because she’s also an O.G., and she’s somebody that I really want to see get their first win,” Kam said.
Immediately, Kam made good on her word. One of the game’s master strategists, Kam successfully rallied the house to vote in the only team composed of two champions — CT and Ashley — into The Crater.
And Aneesa, who might have typically forged an alliance with a fellow vet like Wes under different circumstances, matched Kam’s guile instead and nominated Wes and Natalie into the elimination with Fessy's support. This, Aneesa concluded, would guarantee at least one champion would go home first and help clear the path for her win.
After a grueling sprint in “Operation: Fire Escape,” which challenged Ashley and Natalie to race across a course while suspended from ropes — Natalie earned the game’s very first Golden Skull, which qualified her to run the final mission, and sent Ashley home. More, Natalie earned the choice to either remain Wes’ partner or elect CT or any other male player as her new teammate.
So will the choice to nominate the eventual Crater-victor Natalie come back to haunt Aneesa, or will she and Fessy keep their winning streak alive? And ultimately, can Aneesa really (and finally) win The Challenge grand prize? See how she progresses on the next Double Agents episode Wednesday at 8/7c!