The two-time Challenge champion is expecting her first child this summer

By Breanne L. Heldman
February 04, 2020 10:02 AM
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Camila Nakagawa has been keeping very busy since she last appeared — and won — MTV’s The Challenge in 2017. And now she’s about to be even busier.

PEOPLE can exclusively reveal that the 31-year-old reality star is about to become a mom for the first time!

“I am pregnant and bringing a baby into the world in the summer of 2020,” she tells PEOPLE. “Having a child and being a mother is going to help me look at the world with a whole new perspective than ever before, and I cannot wait for it.”

Nakagawa is open about the fact the this was an unplanned pregnancy — and that she hadn’t always thought she would become a mom. “I used to say I don’t think I’m ever going to have kids because the world we live in is just a lot right now,” she says. “But I think this came because it was meant to be, and I’m very excited. This is the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Credit: Stewart Photography

After winning The Challenge: Dirty 30 in late 2017 (her second win on the show), Nakagawa took a step back from reality television to work on herself.

“I took a break because it was very necessary,” she says. “I wanted to travel and explore and get to know myself a little more. And that’s pretty much what I did. I spent some quality time with my family and friends and just started working on some projects of my own. But mainly I traveled — to Thailand, Bali, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Brazil, Hawaii, Cabo and Canada. I’ve been exploring a lot around Canada because my mom is there.”

Credit: Stewart Photography

If longtime fans of The Challenge are wondering if she’d ever come back, Nakagawa says she’s unsure.

“Being away from the show helped me realize the parts that I loved about it and the parts that I didn’t, as well as the parts of myself that the show brought out of me that I liked and what I didn’t,” she explains. “I’m still trying to figure out how I can get rid of the things I don’t like and strengthen the things I do.”

She continues, “I lived it a lot like it was real life and failed to remember that it’s a TV show. And now I’ve found I really like real life, real people, and talking about real things. It’s really refreshing to be surrounded by people that aren’t necessarily competing with me all the time.”

Credit: Stewart Photography

Instead, she’s focused on getting ready for baby.

“I have so much to look forward to and I want to make sure that I’m bringing this baby into the most amazing life and world that I can,” she says.

She’s also confident that one of her biggest strengths as a Challenge competitor and partner will help her adjust to being a mom.

“I have a lot of people in my life that I’m so thankful for, people who are very knowledgable just about life and mental health and things like that, and they have been advising me and mentoring me,” Nakagawa says. “And a lot of them always say that I pick up on the things very quickly, that I’m a quick learner: ‘If she doesn’t know how to do it, she will learn and figure it out.’ I will figure it out and I will do it.”

Credit: Stewart Photography

“I’m very excited, too, to have someone that for the rest of my life is going to keep me accountable for my actions,” Nakagawa adds. “That’s something that I learned from The Challenge: accountability and not being a victim, and wanting to face my fears and the things that made me not be who I wanted to be.”

While Nakagawa is choosing to keep the identity of the father private, she says he “is someone that is in my life and that I admire and care for very much, and he will make a great father.”

Nakagawa is honest when she looks back at how she struggled throughout her final seasons on The Challenge, and the work she’s done since.

Credit: MTV

“The most important thing I’ve learned is that life always wins,” she says. “There were points when I felt like I kept trying to be a great person, but somehow I kept failing. All I want to do is bring kindness and goodness to the world, and anytime I didn’t do that or made someone feel bad in any way, it really broke me to pieces.

“The last two years have taught me to fight through those obstacles. Depression is real and I hid from it for a long time. But I learned that facing those things, as hard as they are, and seeking help, and remembering that there are so many people that love me helped me get through those obstacles. And now I feel like there is really nothing that could ever break me anymore.”

She adds, “I also learned to take life less seriously. Even this pregnancy — I want it to be fun.”

When her child gets older, Nakagawa says she won’t shy away from sharing her reality TV past — even iconic “Camilanator” moments.

“I’m going to raise this child to know who I am,” she says. “We’re going to have some good laughs. Do you see this that mommy did? Don’t do this. Make different mistakes… but no throwing furniture.”