The Challenge: Aneesa Ferreira shares why her original Ride or Dies partner James Simon got replaced

aneesa ferreira in the challenge ride or dies.
Aneesa Ferreira originally had a different teammate to start The Challenge: Ride or Dies season. Pic credit: MTV

The Challenge Season 38 brought a Ride or Dies theme featuring partners who came into the game sharing a special bond or connection.

Among them were friends like Laurel Stucky and Jakk Maddox, the husband-wife pairing of Sam Bird and Kailah Casillas, and siblings Kaycee and Kenny Clark.

Several pairs showed up as surprise teams, including Aneesa Ferreira and Jordan Wiseley, which for many viewers and even castmates, was a surprise as they weren’t exactly besties.

Interestingly enough, Aneesa initially showed up to Ride or Dies with a different partner named James Simon, with whom she had a closer friendship.

While James appeared in some blink-and-you’ll-miss-him footage during the earliest parts of Ride or Dies, he then vanished completely, and Aneesa showed up with Jordan as her teammate.

Aneesa recently shared more details about her friend James and why Jordan ended up as her partner for the season.

Aneesa talks about her original Ride or Dies partner James

During a recent episode of the Death, Taxes, and Bananas podcast, host Johnny Bananas asked Aneesa about who her original partner was for the Ride or Dies season.

She shared that James is a “beautiful gay Jewish man” whom she met at Crossfit and instantly thought he was “so hot.”

Aneesa explained that when they were writing their times for Crossfit on a board, James came up to her and told her she was “such an inspiration to him” when he was growing up. At that moment, Aneesa realized he was gay and that her chance at a relationship was over.

However, a friendship blossomed, as she revealed they went to “one happy hour,” and the rest was history as they started hanging out practically every day. Aneesa said they became “really, really big parts of each other’s lives.”

During another Challenge season’s virtual reunion on video conferencing, Aneesa says production or casting spotted James in the background. That eventually led to them interviewing him, and Aneesa said they really liked his look and personality.

With that, Aneesa’s friend James became her Ride or Dies teammate for the season, and they prepared by doing “two-a-days” for training.

Aneesa reveals why Jordan Wiseley took over as her teammate

While Aneesa and James were Ride or Dies for the start of MTV’s The Challenge 38, that didn’t last long. He was briefly shown in footage after the cast had arrived at the house in Argentina, but Aneesa and James were edited out of other early footage.

However, Aneesa contracted COVID-19, and she and James had to be isolated early in the season, away from the rest of the cast. She said she could handle being separated for up to 20 days in a hotel due to her experience with the shows, but James isn’t like that.

Aneesa explained that nobody told James she had COVID-19, and she just tried to keep his head in the game during the isolation.

Meanwhile, production had wanted Jordan to be part of Ride or Dies with his friend and former Real World: Portland castmate, Nia Moore. Unfortunately, Nia didn’t pass the required medical check and couldn’t participate in the season.

Aneesa explained that production still really wanted to bring Jordan onto the show due to the intriguing storylines it would create, most notably the fact he was returning for an MTV season with his ex-fiancee Tori Deal, also Aneesa’s bestie.

“So they then said, you know, like, ‘You can come in the game with Jordan,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, like, what about my friend, you know? Like who literally just gave up, you know, the properties that he was selling and doing all these things to come on the show, and he really just wanted to perform and show what he had,'” Aneesa said during the podcast.

“I think that he really would’ve done well. It’s just unfortunate when you’re really excited to do something with somebody who you love so much and believe in, and then that opportunity gets like ripped away from you,” she added.

She eventually agreed to do the show with Jordan, and James had to leave before getting to make an official Challenge rookie debut.

As viewers have seen, Aneesa and Jordan have done quite well in the game, despite not being true Ride or Dies. As of this writing, they are one of three teams remaining in the season’s final, competing for the $1 million in prize money.

One has to wonder how James would’ve fared in the game, but it seems Aneesa still has a great friendship with him away from the show, something which is priceless.

The Challenge: Ride or Dies airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.

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