The two-time cancer survivor explains why she won't take the easy way out, in life or on TV
Credit: Rob Kim/Getty

After successfully battling ovarian cancer for the second time and sharing her journey on, Diem Brown is back to blogging. This time around, she will not only share updates on her own life, but about competing on her new show, MTV’s The Challenge: Rivals II.

I am not a middle-of-the-road type of person. Everyone who truly knows me, knows where I stand on almost every issue and subject. Growing up in a family of six, I learned early on if you don’t speak up and have a stance on something, you won’t have a voice in anything.

The strength of my voice has varied throughout my run on The Challenge: Rivals II. However, I learned that if you don’t play the game, the game will play you.

It may be a fault of mine, but I am a pretty swift decision-maker. I weigh my options, feelings, situations then I go full throttle in whatever direction I feel most passionate about and that’s it, there’s no going back. I’d rather people know who I am and who my alliances are with, than pretend those allegiances don’t exist. I have a hard time trusting people who are wishy-washy, especially when it comes to these Challenge games, so I have made it a point to not be a wishy-washy type person.

In Wednesday’s episode I was shocked because I had let my whole room (Emily, Paula, and Camila) know who I was voting for. I also confided in Jordan, Johnny, and Wes. I knew Aneesa had told Ty and Leroy that we were voting for them, so I felt that we were both being on the up and up and everyone knew where we both stood with our vote.

The only reason Leroy and Ty were the team we wanted to vote for was because once they stopped doing “throw away” votes, Aneesa and I would be the team they would vote in first. This was stated by Ty at the group dinner table as fact, so I wasn’t being paranoid.

Ty and Leroy wouldn’t vote for Nany and Jonna or Cooke and Cara Maria because Nany and Cooke were Leroy’s The Real World: Las Vegas cast mates, and he considers them sisters.

Ty and Leroy wouldn’t vote for Paula and Emily because Ty and Emily were The Real World: DC cast mates and exes.

Ty and Leroy wouldn’t vote for Theresa and Jazmine because Leroy was hooking up with Theresa.

I also felt Ty and Leroy wouldn’t vote for Camila or Jemmye because Leroy had a thing for Jemmye.

Through the process of elimination, the team Ty and Leroy would vote for – if they did a real vote – was going to be Aneesa and I. I had no hard feelings about that at all. I knew it was because Leroy and Ty had stronger relationships with other teams and that was that. Again, I like knowing where I stand, good or bad. I accepted that.

Throw Away Votes

So then came voting deliberation. Our vote was set for Leroy and Ty because at this point they were the only team we felt would vote for us to go into the Jungle. However, because both Theresa and Jazmine and Nany and Jonna didn’t want to put a real vote out there, they did “throw away” votes on Leroy and Ty, a team they actually wanted to stay.

I don’t believe in “throw away” votes, that’s a safe game to play to avoid making any waves. By this point in the game it’s time to make the hard decisions.

It was difficult for Aneesa to tell Ty and Leroy we were going to vote for them before the deliberation but Aneesa owned up to it. She let the guys know before voting started where we stood and why. Aneesa was closer to Leroy, so we thought it was best that she had that conversation.

When Theresa, Jazmine and Nany, Jonna all cast “throw away” votes on Leroy and Ty, I still wasn’t going to divert from our original plan and vote for another team who had our backs instead of voting for a team that I knew didn’t have ours.

Hope that all makes sense. I was shocked that Theresa was so mad at me for not switching my vote. Theresa was romantically “with” Leroy and because they won the challenge they got to kick off the voting process. Theresa had four teams they could’ve chosen from. She had options but, as she stated, she didn’t want to create a target on their backs so she cast a “throw away” vote.

When people make mistakes they either own up to them or, in the heat of the moment, they push the blame onto others. Theresa was so upset that she threw a vote away onto Leroy and Ty rather than vote for a team she actually wanted to go home. She had to find a scapegoat for her mistake and I was the scapegoat for her frustration.

I hope Theresa can now see that our vote was in the best interest of our team and was by no means an attack on her or Leroy. It would make no sense for us to vote for Johnny, Jordan or Knight’s teams because those guys backed Anessa and me.

All that being said, I know I’m awful at confrontation. When I know someone is mad or upset with me I have a hard time approaching them, as I fear their wrath. I actually pulled Ty aside and told him why I voted for them but Leroy seemed too angry to talk to, so I wimped out and just went to bed. Yes, it was super wimpy and I know I need to get better with confrontation. Leroy, I’m sorry for not coming to you after the deliberation so you could’ve vented to me.

This part of the game always gets hard but we try and be as upfront as possible. You have to cast a vote, but out of respect for making it this far, we try to let that team know beforehand that we will be voting for them.

I know this blog was mainly about the show but I wanted to share my thought process with the viewers and cast mates. I don’t think it was clear on the episode as to why I didn’t just switch our vote for another team.

In the end, say what you mean, and mean what you say. Decisions are often hard but you have to make them! Don’t play it safe or take the easy way out. That’s how I am in real life so I can’t, and I won’t, change my character just because of a game.

Follow me on Twitter @DiemBrownMTV and on Instagram @DiemBrown.