Reality television series have dominated television programming since the early 2000s. As the pool of participants grows, the greater the need to analyze the impact that participating on these programs has on the contestants themselves. The Challenge is a long- running MTV reality series which pits contestants against one another in a series of challenges aimed to test their athletic, mental, and psychological toughness and agility. The Challenge was selected because the show has been on air for over 21 years and has built a passionate, dedicated fan base. Interviews were employed to gain insight into what it means to be a part of a reality program, as well as the overnight celebrity phenomena. This study combines reality television research and third-wave fan studies to analyze the affective attachment between reality show contestants as public figures (also known as fan objects) and their fans. By interviewing participants of The Challenge, this study revealed how participatory fandom, online fan engagement, and interactivity in reality television culminates in fan objects’ identity negotiation. Keywords: reality television, participatory fandom, interactivity, fans, social identity.