Jay Starrett is one of the rookies on MTV’s upcoming The Challenge: Total Madness — but that just means he’s a Challenge rookie. Starrett is no stranger to reality TV, having appeared on Survivor several years ago. Ahead of The Challenge premiering on Wednesday, April 1, here’s what you need to know about this newcomer.
1. Starrett is a 30-year-old Real Estate Agent
According to his Survivor bio, Starrett was born June 3, 1989, making him 30 years old during The Challenge this year. He grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he attended Florida Atlantic University and worked as a real estate agent prior to his stint on Survivor, though Starrett moved to Los Angeles in January 2019, according to his Facebook page.
Starrett is of Peruvian descent on his mother’s side. He and his mom are super close. In fact, in his Survivor bio he described her thusly, “My beautiful mother is my hero. Through everything—including past divorces and serious health issues—she still pushes forward like the little Peruvian soldier she is. She’s had 10 brain aneurisms and received surgical care for six of them. She wakes up every day smiling and not only motivates and inspires me, but everyone she comes in contact with. I am truly blessed.”
The two of them are all over his Instagram, doing little things together like going to the store or just hanging out and singing songs. On his website, he credits his family as the “key” to his heart, his success, and his life.”
2. Jay is Also Tight With His Sister
Starrett is also very close with his sister Melanie Hogue, who graduated from Duke and Stanford. She actually appeared on Survivor with Jay during the loved ones visit episode, and they affectionately call each other “Pinky and the Brain” — Jay is Pinky and Mel is the Brain.
On Melanie’s birthday back in October, Starrett wrote, “Happy 24th birthday to the most amazing sister, friend, advisor, doctor, etc. without you by my side I would genuinely be lost. Thank you for everything you always do for me and our mother. Thank you for keeping us all sane and for the extraordinary amount of patience you have. I could never be more proud of another person considering all the ridiculously insane accomplishments you have achieved. A Duke and Stanford graduate, being 1 of the few people in the country who can do your job haha and to top it all off dealing with me and your mother’s shenanigans. I love you and will always be there for you! Just give me a call and you know I’m there. Thank you for being the best. Happy birthday Brain! Love – Pinky!”
During her time at Duke University, Hogue volunteered with indigenous rights and advocacy groups in Cuzco, Peru, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also has a pilot certificate for unmanned aircraft systems, worked as a story and creative development intern at Warner Bros. Entertainment, and was most recently the Storyteller in Residence for The News & Observer Publishing Company in Raleigh, North Carolina.
3. He Played a Fake Idol on ‘Survivor’
Starrett was a castaway on Survivor’s 33rd season, titled “Millennials vs. Gen X,” which divided the tribes by age. Starrett was on the Vanua tribe of Millennials until the show made them divided into three tribes. At that point, he was on the new tribe, Ikabula, along with fellow Millennials Michaela Bradshaw and Will Wahl and Gen Xers Sunday Burquest and Bret LaBelle.
After the merge, everyone was on the Vinaka tribe and at that point, Jay won two individual immunity idols before being voted out. He was eliminated in the final episode and the Tribal Council where he was voted off was pretty epic because the night before, David Wright constructed a fake hidden immunity idol and left it for Jay to find. At Tribal, everyone voted for Jay and his idol was a fake, so Jeff Probst tossed it into the fire and Jay was sent home.
It was actually pretty surprising that Starrett made it as far as he did. He was a huge threat due to his prowess in challenges and he definitely made an enemy of David Wright.
4. Starrett is Close With ‘Survivor’ Castmate Adam Klein
Despite not being super close on the show, Starrett and the winner of his season, Adam Klein, have been close friends since their time on the show. They are always doing stuff together and Starrett refers to Klein as “his brother” on Instagram all the time.
In December 2017, Starrett posted a photo to Instagram of the two of them asleep on an airplane after a 18-day trip they took around the world, including Australia and Fiji. He captioned it, “It’s been one hell of a ride #brother! We just spent 18 days together traveling across the #world and it felt like we were back on the island just messing with each other. Love you dood! What an epic adventure!”
He also revealed the two of them would soon be attending the wedding of Taylor Stocker, their fellow “Millennials vs. Gen X” castaway.
5. He Appeared on ‘Ex on the Beach’
The Challenge is not Starrett’s first MTV reality show. In 2018-2019, he was a cast member on the second season of Ex on the Beach along with his ex-girlfriend Morgan Willett from Big Brother: Over the Top. On the season, Starrett had some trouble with the fact that two of Willett’s other exes, Corey Brooks of Big Brother 18 and Monte Massongill of Big Brother: OTT, were also on Ex on the Beach.
But by the end of the season, Jay and Morgan got back together, despite the fact that the lie detector test said that Morgan wasn’t over Corey or in love with Jay. But she said she and Jay had a solid bond and were going to make it work.
Unfortunately, they were broken up by the time the reunion rolled around. Morgan actually left to go appear on The Challenge: War of the Worlds and while she was gone, Jay claims he found out she cheated on him with Johnny Bananas and they broke things off. So, the fact that Jay and Bananas are both competing on “Total Madness” should be interesting.
The Challenge: Total Madness premieres Wednesday, April 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.