Ego and emotions continue to escalate on the Oxygen network’s “Last Squad Standing.” As the end of the intense competition approaches, the $100K prize is within sight for the three squads. Although the Detroit Players have lost three of their five team members, they have proven to be one of the strongest squads. The feisty and determined Charmaine Pratt from the Detroit Players is not here for games. Viewers have witnessed her frequent clashes with others on the show due to her strong-willed personality. Her past relationship with fellow Detroit player Mike Merrill is an interesting dynamic of the team that has served up much drama.
Rolling out connected with Pratt about her relationship with Merrill, her position on the show, and her aspirations beyond reality TV. Ironically, despite being called, “weak” by her competitors and her teammates, Pratt is the last woman standing on the Detroit squad. “I wasn’t a quitter and I never gave up on my team,” she states with pride.
Tell us about the show. It seems like a mash-up of “Real World” meets “Road Rules.”
Basically, the game is set up where you go in there with your friends and it’s to test your loyalty in the house. … You’re in the house with no phone, no radio, no outlets to the outside world for 10 weeks. Everything you see on television is real. I think that’s what makes the show interesting because it’s real in that way. Everything we went through, our emotions were real. The house was very big. but they wanted us to lie together as a squad; each squad is in the room together, so there is no privacy. If you’re not used to doing anything like that, it would be uncomfortable as adults. It was very challenging for everyone in the house. … We can dominate on that field, I can tell you that.
So what’s up with you and Mike? What is your history together?
See my thing is, you’re not about to come up in this house, and you’re not about to be flirting with somebody else from another squad — we just got here. It wasn’t about me being jealous. … This is a competition, in my mind, I’m in defense mode. I mean we may not be together, but we’re friends and we came together to ride together and I’m not about to let nobody come between that. A lot of people took me as crazy, so call it what you want.
Are there still feelings between you and Mike?
I can’t speak on his feelings, but I really don’t have feelings like that. You know, as a friend it’s there, I think what happened is that he needed some space. He had some unresolved issues prior to going on this show. We were friends, and I know I didn’t work out a lot of issues with him prior to this show and I think it just came out. It became “real” on the show. Why did you even put it out there that I was your ex? You’re flirting with females in front of my face, just blatantly disrespecting me. I read the blogs and they’re saying “Charmaine needs to get over Mike,” but did it occur to anybody that he brought me on this show with him? That’s just interesting to me.
Tell us about Charmaine.
I’m from Detroit; born and raised. On my dad’s side, I’m the oldest, and I’m very spoiled. I was raised in Clinton Township, I would spend some of my time on the weekend in Detroit, then I was in the suburbs to go school. No children, I have no kids, but I have a puppy. Growing up, I went to a performing arts school. … I always knew that I was going to be a star. I just didn’t know how I was going to get there. I was an insecure person growing up. … I worked damn hard to be the woman that I am. I’m a daredevil. I’ve got a thing for doing things that I’m not supposed to do. I’m a vivid storyteller. … I really want to get into like more non-reality shows and I’m also trying to work on my music at the same time. I’m hoping to get my EP out by next summer.
Is your genre R&B?
I don’t want [it] to be … I want it to to be like more neo-soul. I would really like to make more of that music. R&B is fine, I grew up off of it, but I can do a good mixture of soul. I would prefer to do that type of music.
Who do you desire to work with?
I would really like to work with Jamie Foxx and I would like to work with Kerry Washington. As far as music-wise, I want to work with Maxwell and Alicia Keys.
How do you like living out in L.A.?
It’s a tough industry. I always used to love L.A. when I was out there visiting. I had my 9-to-5 in the medical field and then it was different when I quit my [job]. I took a leap of faith. This was like very scary for me because I was never a big fan of reality TV. I have a lot of friends that have done it, but I always thought that it was too much drama. It wasn’t my thing, but I thought to myself, this is a different type of reality show. It’s like we’re all going through something that’s bigger than us and we could use that money for all of our crafts that we’re doing, so I didn’t mind going for it and doing it with friends
What were some of your emotions during the show?
We got real emotional over the people that had to go. It’s inevitable for you to vibe with other people in the house, whether they’re on another squad or not.
Were the challenges physical and mental?
There were some physical and as you see the show go on, there are some mental ones too. … The challenges are deep, you have to really trust your team and trust yourself. If you doubt yourself, it’ll bring your team down. I didn’t think it would get this deep.
How do you deal with social media calling you the “crazy ex”?
I’m dealing with it. At the end of the day, I worked hard to be the woman that I am and I’ll be damned if anybody in this house try to break me down. I’m a strong person, I’ve been reading things, but I know myself … it doesn’t really bother me.
Tell us five fun facts about Charmaine. What inspires or motivates you?
I hate liars and bad breath. … Music motivates and inspires me. Music is my entire life; I have a love-hate relationship with music. I can hear a song and it just makes me want to hate everything that day. It also uplifts me. I can put headphones on and just zone out and write. I’m a writer first. I started writing when I was 9 years old and I was writing real poetry, like really deep … I don’t know where it came from.
What challenges have you overcome?
My fears of pursuing my acting career — mainly with my acting and my music — usually I’d be like “noooo,” I would go for the things that were easy. Now it’s tough, like but I’m all right with that. The challenges make me stronger. I’m learning more and more about myself. Even like my speech etiquette, when I do my interviews, as you learn more I’m learning more. You learn more and more about yourself as you go along, and this is such a great experience. I also learned that life is short and I can pick my battles. It’s a lot, but I’m learning. I am like a superhero, once I step outside of my comfort zone — nothing can stop me.
What did you learn about yourself?
I am uncompromising. I can be a little sweeter sometimes, but it’s just that I’ve been through too much and I told them that. As long as when I show up on that field, I’m compromising — that’s all that matters, that $100K. I have trust issues and if my team’s talking behind my back, then I can’t trust anyone. It was some mental challenges throughout the show too. You have to really trust yourself and trust your team, and if you don’t, it affects your team.
Catch the remaining the two episodes of “Last Squad Standing” Tuesdays on Oxygen at 9 EST.