Hennessy Carolina Almanzar likes to have fun. While her ironically spirited name raises assumptions on what that fun entails, her enjoyment comes in many forms. “I just like to live my life,” she explains to VIBE VIVA. Growing up in the Bronx, Hennessy dabbled in recreational games which seemingly prepped her for a position on MTV’s reality series Champs vs. Stars. The show is inspired by the network’s legacy series, The Challenge, except cast members from the former take part in competitions against a mix of celebrity athletes and personalities.
Just a few episodes into season two, we see the younger sister of Cardi B holding her own between games that consist of scaling an oily bright blue staircase and playing on a life-sized shuffleboard. The series is all about the extraness of it all, which Hennessy can handle. Her exuberant personality has made her a cast favorite and also privy to the drama that comes with going for the gold.
“To be honest, I was really scared of going on the show because as you just said, they do a lot,” she says. While the $150,000 prize goes to a charity of their choice, politics divide The Challenge vets from the stars. Some of those celebs include actor Drake Bell, former NBA star Daniel “Booby” Gibson, Lil Mama, and Brooke Hogan, daughter of the legendary wrestler, Hulk Hogan.
“They do the most and I actually look back at some episodes and I see that there was some drama involved. But to be honest, I was really scared to do the show [not for the physical challenges], but I wanted to avoid the drama. That’s the one thing I didn’t want. I thought twice about it, but I said to myself, ‘I’m gonna do it for the Bronx,'” she adds.
The 22-year-old is competing for BronxWorks, a community network designed to uplift low-income families in a variety of fields like workforce development, immigration services and children and youth programs. “They do a lot of things for the kids and for families in the Bronx,” she explains. “They hold food drives and create a lot of opportunities in the Bronx like job preparation and training. They do a lot of things for the Bronx.”
The TV and social media personality says she reminded herself of her mission when things got spicy in the game. “I was trying to avoid the drama, but people just deliberately start with you,” she says. “And it’s really hard because I’m from the Bronx and I’m doing it for the Bronx, and when someone tries it with you, you respond [a certain way.] But I really got along with everyone and they showed me a lot of love. There are some crazy things that go down and you’ll have to see.”
Ms. Carolina is also hoping fans stick around to see some of her other passions come to fruition. One being fashion, the other acting. “I’m currently vibing through the TV and acting world,” she says with a chuckle. “I have a couple of movie deals in the making you know, you know.” She enjoys all aspects of acting, but don’t expect her to pop up in a horror flick. “I’m not sure if I’d do it, but I’m into thriller movies,” she adds. “I love everything, to be honest, but I do love suspense movies.”
But one thing she can’t deny is her love for designer threads. “I like the classics. I’m a very classic girl. I enjoy Louis Vuitton, Versace, Miu Miu, YSL, and Balenciaga. I also love Off-White. They’re popping right now,” she says. While she’s spoken of her fondness for heels at the very adorable age of 10, Hennessy explains how she was able to rock pumps like a boss. “I knew I had to wear heels to school every single day,” she says. “I remember being in fifth grade, wearing heels that didn’t even fit me. I used to put toilet paper tissue in the front, just so I can fill them in since my feet were too little for the shoe. They didn’t even make the heels I preferred for my size. I already wanted to wear the taller heels so filling them worked.”
Her ability to rock heels and stylish threads with ease even impressed her teachers. “Every single day people would ask me, ‘Where are you going? Is it your birthday?’ or my teachers would tell me, ‘You look so great! Can you take me shopping?’ It was surprising, these people have their degrees and are smart and for them to come up to a teenager for fashion advice. It dawned on me then that maybe this is my thing.”
She might show love to luxury brands on the red carpet and in the club, but Hennessy is hoping to rock her own threads in the near future. “Lord willing, that’s the dream, that’s what I’m going for down the line,” she said. She’s also down to get help from her fashion heroes Virgil Abloh and Rihanna.
See more of Hennessy Carolina on this week’s episode of Champs vs. Stars Tuesday (May 1) at 10 p.m. ET on MTV.