‘The Traitors’ Star Trishelle Cannatella Doesn’t Think She’s a Villain: ‘The Tagline Is Betrayal’

The “Challenge” alum and her fellow winner CT Tamburello tell TheWrap where they stand with MJ Javid after that dramatic finale

Chris 'C.T.' Tamburello, Alan Cumming, Trishelle Cannatella in "The Traitors" Season 2 finale (Photo by: Euan Cherry/Peacock)

“The Traitors” Season 2 wrapped up with a shocking conclusion, which has already sparked online backlash centered at winner Trishelle Cannatella — and she’s pushing back against anyone calling her a villain.

“I don’t see it,” Cannatella tells TheWrap of being called a “villain.” “No one with intelligence that I know sees [it] because we’re watching a show. It’s a game called ‘The Traitors.’ The tagline is betrayal and deceit.”

During the Thursday finale, faithfuls Cannatella, CT Tamburello and MJ Javid voted traitor Kate Chastain out, and were set to split the $208,100 prize fund three ways when both Cannatella and Tamburello voted to banish another player. While the first vote ended in a tie, the second attempt resulted in the “Challenge” vets eliminating the Bravo star at the last minute.

“CT and I both played a really good game and everything that I said and did was strategic and gameplay,” Cannatella said. “I never personally attacked anyone, I never said anything mean, nasty or bad, I never called anyone a b—h, or a name on the show at all. It was all just a game. I think ‘villain’ is unwarranted, but if you want to call me a villain, so be it, here I am.”

Cannatella added that much of the online negativity is coming from younger viewers, to whom she responds, “You don’t know my path, you haven’t been following me for two-plus decades, you don’t know what I stand for.”

“I don’t really care what a 20-year-old thinks about me, to be honest,” she added.

Below, Cannatella and Tamburello reveal where they currently stand with Javid, why they think they didn’t “bamboozle” her out of the prize fund and which players from “The Challenge” they would love to see on the next season of “The Traitors.”

TheWrap: CT, you seemed pretty blindsided when Trishelle wrote your name down to be banished in the finale. How and why did you forgive her?

CT Tamburello: When you come from the world [Trishelle and I] come from, you develop a tougher skin — you get chewed up and spit out from “The Challenge” over so many years. It was on par with that relationship … It’s easy for people to watch us on TV when they have all the answers, but you had to constantly adapt every time someone got sent home because it changes the dynamic of the house … We were so burnt out here — there’s just so many twists and turns all the time. You don’t know who’s what and, at this point, [I said] I’m gonna pick one person that I’m willing to take a chance on compared to everybody else and see where the chips fall.

Trishelle, you ultimately changed your vote to MJ, resulting in her banishment. Did you feel like voting her out was the only way to win the game?

Trishelle Cannatella: At that point, we couldn’t re-throw in our pouches to end the game or to banish again, we had already made the decision. I had to, at that point, vote for MJ because when I saw CT’s face when I showed him that I wrote his name, I was like, “I made a massive mistake, he’s probably not a traitor, and if he is, congratulations, take all the money, you have played me successfully.” I wasn’t gonna write his name down again, I couldn’t.

The reunion was pretty heated and MJ said she felt bamboozled by your choice. Where do you currently stand with MJ?

Cannatella: It would be nice to check on her Instagram, but she blocked both of us so I don’t know how she’s doing. I hope she’s well.

Tamburello: I can feel for her because she’s upset and we know how it is being on “The Challenge” when you root for somebody and they don’t win, you’re upset about it, and you want to let the world know. You weren’t bamboozled — it was just a number, a lot of moving parts, and that’s where the chips fell … It’s one thing to be upset about something, but I don’t like the idea of rallying troops to make personal attacks against people and try to hurt them in their own personal life. Not that that’s happening — I’ve been doing these shows for a long time and have a thick skin — but I know somebody that’s been taking a lot of heat and I don’t think it’s fair.

Did you ever consider splitting some of the money with MJ?

Cannatella: Yeah, that’s why I voted for CT first — I was going to. In the end, we had to vote again. If CT and I were given another choice, I believe that he and I would have split it three ways.

Tamburello: This has happened in “The Challenge” before where a pair of two had won a final, and then that one partner stole that money from them. It wasn’t like that — this was more of we made it to the final, you can see the money. But it wasn’t really yours, we didn’t win yet.

Trishelle, what did you take away from Peppermint’s comments at the reunion saying she was targeted based on preconceived biases?

Cannatella: I wish that Peppermint would have stayed. When she got up there, and she explained how when she went there, her platform was going to be to educate people about the transgender community, I loved that. I felt super bad that I played a part of the 16 people that voted her out, but I felt like it was my own bad because I was so in game mode, and I saw everyone as competition, and I wasn’t thinking about platforms or anything like that when I entered the house. If I do another competition-like type show, I would take that into consideration, I wouldn’t come in probably guns blazing like I did this show.

Which of your “Challenge” peers do you think would be great at “The Traitors?”

Tamburello: I’m gonna go with Aneesa [Ferreira]. I think she’d be great on it. I think Aneesa would be really fun to watch on this.

Cannatella: She’s so good, but she’s hysterical. I think that’s what you don’t see on “The Challenge” a lot is that Aneesa is so hilarious. She would be really good at “The Traitors” game.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Seasons 1 and 2 of “The Traitors” are available to stream on Peacock.


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