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Exclusive Interview: Trishelle Cannatella's Advice on How to Win The Traitors

While the entire cast of The Traitors gave us reality TV gold, only two players went home with the actual gold. We sat down (via email) with winner Trishelle Cannatella for a chat about strategy, iconic outfits, and moments that didn’t make it to the screen. 

By Aliza Small
Trishelle Cannatella

The dust has settled in Alan Cumming’s castle, but we’ll never be over how good this season of The Traitors was (we’re biased, but the reviews speak for themselves). Before long, Peacock will be streaming a different sort of Europe-based competitive quest for gold (did someone say Paris 2024?) and we’ll long for Alan’s fabulous outfits and colorful commentary from Phaedra.  

To bask in the glory of the season a little longer, we had a chat with the one and only Trishelle about all things Traitors. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Read on to get the whole scoop: 

How has your life changed following your Traitors win? What are you most looking forward to in the next year?  

I’ve been so busy with traveling, interviews, and press, but I have been absolutely loving every second of it. I love connecting with people and talking about the show because it’s something I’m so proud of. I’m really looking forward to the Cruise of Deception, a murder mystery cruise with some of the Traitors cast, that sails next year! 

What did a typical day look like while filming?  

Mission days were pretty stressful because it’s a complete surprise as to what you’ll be doing until you show up. You never know how tough or scary it will be! Most days were long: breakfast, find out who was murdered, mission, then roundtable. It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster every day.  

Did you select and bring your own wardrobe?  

We had a wardrobe team who helped guide us with the vibe of the castle and show before we started filming, so I had a stylist friend help me pick out some pieces. I love hats, gloves and accessories.  I went for a little bit of a Ralph Lauren-meets-Clue vibe.  

When you started The Traitors, did you know there would be “nothing to go on” in terms of identifying traitors early in the game? If so, what was your mindset as you formed your strategy?  

I really thought it would be clearer who the traitors were. That part shocked me. You really are just guessing and grasping at straws the first 4-5 votes because there is not much to go on. My strategy was to lay low then dial it up at the roundtable in the middle of the show. Clearly in the first roundtable I was louder, which was unplanned. I definitely dialed back after that for a bit.  

Did your strategy evolve at all as you played or did you know from the get-go what your game plan was?  

I think it’s important to always remain able to pivot your strategy as the game changes and evolves. I didn’t want to stick to any certain plan because I never knew who would be murdered or banished. You have to adjust with the change and regroup every night after banishment with a new plan.  

Were there strategic plays you saw MJ make throughout the season that you think got her to the end with two experienced gamers?  

I think a smart thing MJ did was make everyone trust her as a faithful so she was never going to be banished, and she wasn’t putting a lot of pressure on the traitors so she was able to escape murder. I think that was beneficial in her game.  

Were there challenges that reminded you of your experiences on The Challenge?  

The catapult one sort of reminded me of The Challenge, except at the end they would expect you to get in the catapult and have someone hurl you in the air. The cabin one really reminded me of Fear Factor, though.  

What were your favorite and least favorite challenges?  

I liked the cabin challenge because it was scary, strategic, stressful, and intense, and I thrive in those types of challenges. I didn’t really like the crossbow challenge because it was more based on luck than skill and it took forever. Whatever you saw, times that by 20 and it took that long.  

What are some moments that didn’t make it into the episodes that you wish had been shown onscreen? On that note, are there any fun behind-the-scenes memories or mishaps you can share? 

Phaedra prayed with us a lot before missions and I loved that. John’s roundtable speeches were also way longer than they showed. One time I had to get up and pee mid-John speech because it was taking so long, and they had to pause him until I got back lol.  

What advice do you have for future cast members who come from competition series? And what about for “non-gamers”? 

I would say take notes and don’t let anyone make fun of you for it. They actually become useful as the game progresses. It’s ok to find a traitor and stay close to them for protection. Keep things to yourself until you can find one or two people you can trust. Don’t be intimidated to speak up at the roundtable if you believe it will help your game. For non-gamers, try not to take the game too personally. It is just a game, and even though CT and I won, the friendships I have made from The Traitors are the most valuable thing I came home with.  

Stream every episode of The Traitors exclusively on Peacock. 

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