When Staten Island-based hairstylist Anjelica Conti arrived in Scotland to film the US version of the hit reality show “The Traitors,” she was shocked to be surrounded by celebrities.
“I didn’t know going into it that any reality stars were going to be on, and I’ve always been obsessed with reality TV,” Conti, 29, told The Post. “So you can imagine how excited I was when I saw who my fellow castmates were. For Arie Luyendyk Jr. [from] ‘The Bachelor,’ I was freaking out. I was over the moon and losing my mind.”
“The Traitors,” premiering Jan. 12 on Peacock, is based on the Dutch series of the same name (there was also a British version that was a hit in the UK). Hosted by Alan Cumming, the series features 10 reality stars and 10 regular “civilians” (such as Conti) as they live together and complete various challenges at a castle in the Scottish highlands. The famous cast members include Brandi Glanville (“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”), Cirie Fields (“Survivor”), Cody Calafiore (“Big Brother”), Kate Chastain (“Below Deck”) Kyle Cooke (“Summer House”), Reza Farahan (“Shahs of Sunset”), and disgraced former Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.
The cast members are competing to win a prize of up to $250,000 but there’s a catch: some of them are “traitors” who are working to sabotage the others, including “murdering” them. (If someone is “murdered,” they’re delivered a note informing them of this development, and removed from the show.) The entire group regularly meets together at a roundtable to try to suss out who the traitors are — and they have the opportunity to boot them off the show, too.
“At those roundtable sessions, you have to fight for your life. It gets very intense, and very real, being there in the moment, facing the people you’re calling out as a traitor,” said Conti.
“It’s hard to come up with a game plan, because you have to have a strategy for both [possibilities], whether you’re a traitor or not. You need to be able to adapt and be quick on your feet, so it’s about preparing your wits. Being a hairstylist, I personally feel that I’m more of a therapist than anything. I work with the public and people trust me. I feel that was a huge asset in the game.”
The challenges get extreme — including teams racing to start a fire to ignite large effigies. But Conti said that the downtime lounging around the castle was the most difficult part of the show, because nobody was sure who to trust, or which fellow players might be manipulative.
“Coming in as someone who is known puts a target on your back,” she said. “I was surprised by how smart Kate Chastain is. I knew she was a reality star, but it’s mind-blowing how she’s truly one of the smartest human beings I’ve met in this entire world.
“You’re constantly looking over your shoulder, you can’t trust anyone — and maybe you’re trying to lie to everyone.”
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