downloadThe Quest is a reality competition show set in the fantasy world setting of Everealm. Twelve Paladins must endure training to find the one true hero and defeat the enemy, Verlox. Only four remain and out of the four, there’s only one girl! Staying strong and fighting to become the one true hero is Lina Carollo!

The Quest airs on ABC Thursday at 8pm – 10pm ET. Thursday, September 11, is the finale with back-to-back episodes.

A thank you to @Session_Diva for the pictures!

Lina Carollo can be found  @TheLinaCarollo

Tina Degenhart: Let’s get this started with an easy question. How did you find out about The Quest?

Lina Carello: I found out about the The Quest when I was actually auditioning for something else and there was talk about this new reality fantasy, and at the time, game show and competition. I was like, ‘what is that?’ I was just hearing a little bit about it and I didn’t even know it was going to be on ABC. I did some research but there was nothing that I could find really about it besides it was by the same producers as The Amazing Race and that right there is what totally got me. That is what led me on my journey…

TD: How did the audition process go?

LC: I was the last audition of the whole casting. Actually I was the last audition of the last day of the entire wrap up, at least from what they told me. It was almost like an interview, almost like this, and there was someone taping me: finding out about me, about my story, who I am, where I’m from, what qualities I have that could possibly make me a hero. And it was going really well and I think a good hour or so went by. At the end the main producer goes to me, he says, “We think you’d be really good for this but the thing is we are submitting all of our videos, everything, by tomorrow afternoon.” Let me remind you this is Thursday, I had work the next day and I asked, “By tomorrow afternoon?” And they say “Yeah! Could you send us some playing basketball, you playing with kids?” because I’m a school counselor. “Yeah I can. I’ll figure it out. I want to do this. Whatever will help my chances.”

The next day I went to a local park by myself and there were these guys playing basketball so I totally just asked if I can join in and one of their friends taped me while I was doing that. I saw a random woman with her kid swinging on the swing sets. So I asked “Hey… do you mind if I play with your kid? I know you don’t know me but I swear I’m a counselor, I’m good.” So I was just trying to randomly get it all in. Then I submitted all of my videos.  I think there were three other auditions after that so it was kind of like a waiting game. Until they called me and said I was on it! Yaaaay!

Lina fully concentrates on the challenge at hand!

Lina fully concentrates on the challenge at hand!

TD: You mentioned you were a counselor for kids. Did you find being a counselor helped during the show?

LC: That’s a really good question; I really like that you asked me that. Because you know what, I thought about that while I was on the show. Because I got my Master’s in school for counseling. We learn a lot about obviously psychology, people, the way people think, and why they make certain decisions.  And I’ve always kind of been intrigued on how people work, but it’s ironic though because I got my Bachelor’s in fashion, then I went into counseling. Either way, I was always interested in psychology. That’s why you’ll notice too at the round table a lot of the times I’m not  really doing that much talking, but I definitely spent a lot of time analyzing. I did that a lot throughout our stay in the castle. But naturally I am that type of person that I kind of feel things. I’m very sensitive and it’s an innate feeling when I can tell if someone is sad or if someone is plotting. It’s a weird thing to explain, but I think it definitely helped me but I don’t think on purpose if that makes sense.

TD: From Twitter: what did you first think when you saw the castle?

LC:  To be honest with you I almost thought it was a set. I thought, “That’s not real!” It looked that amazing when we came out of the woods and we saw this beautiful castle and this bright blue sky and it was just unreal. Right away I had a feeling that we were going to be staying there! It’s hard to explain and I really do hope it comes across to our viewers when things like that happen, like seeing the castle or the challenges for the first time. I really hope it comes across as surprising to you as it was for us. Because it’s just an indescribable feeling. There was nothing in my mind telling me ‘I don’t want to sleep there.’

Castle Sanctum

Castle Sanctum

TD: When you finally did get to the castle, I’m assuming you stayed in the castle until Verlox kicked you out?

LC: Yes, the castle was our home base. That was our Castle Sanctum, our safe place. And it was a safe place with no technology as you’ve heard many times. Our only entertainment, which was the best form of entertainment, was each other. We really got to know each other very well, and we spent a lot of time hanging out and living the castle life.

TD: It really shows that you’re one family and there for each other. I’m impressed that you guys really looked for the true hero. Normally in shows, they try to get rid of the strong people right away. As a family you didn’t do that.

LC: As viewers I’m sure you could see the progression that is being made. You have to remember all of us paladins didn’t know what’s going on just like viewers didn’t know what was going to happen next. We didn’t have this idea that an ogre is going to pop out. We didn’t know who Sir Ansgar was until he was knocking at our door. So that really helped us pull together and completely immerse us.

TD: Did you ever find it hard to get fully immersed in the fantasy setting or storyline?

LC: For me personally, it definitely took some time because you have to remember again, when I got there I didn’t even know what the show concept was about until I was there day by day. The first episode kind of really explained it all for me. It helped me figure out, “Okay, this is the storyline. This guy Crio is helping us out. He’s the steward; I think we can trust him.” Than we see the queen, and after all of that the background information is built and knowing that we were there to try and save Everealm.  Then it became real.  “Okay, this is what it is.” It was easy after that. Once we got all of those details, for me, it was a lot easier.

Some of the parts, like when the ogre popped out, I was like, “Woah, what?! What’s going on right now?” But they did such a good job at making it look soooo real. It’s hard to describe the feeling. We were living in this fantasy world. So for a second you’re like, “wait, what?!” And the next you’re wondering how they do that. Or where did that come from? Is there a real person in there? No! It’s an ogre! And it just fit because the actors too really played against it so well. You’re like, “Oh my gosh we have to run!” You get that same feeling to an extent.

Don't mess with a Jersey girl!

Don’t mess with a Jersey girl!

TD: Since everyone slept in the castle, what did you guys do for showers and food? The hairstyles really stood out to me, which I loved! Did you guys do that all yourselves?

LC: I have to give a lot of those props to Leticia, Adria, and Bonnie. I’m a tomboy; I’m more so girly nowadays, but I was never really one to do my hair and makeup. We didn’t have anyone doing our hair and makeup except for each other. For me, I know Leticia did my hair quite a few times. It was cool and I like to change it up. I got kinda selfish because I kept asking Leticia to do my hair again but in a different way.

In terms of food, they really tried to keep the trend with medieval types of food. I remember having something called the ‘Destroyed Pork,’ and I remember having barley with a fresh egg on it. The food was pretty on point with the times as well. Showering only happened every so often. Yeah, that one took a little getting used to. It is what it is; at that moment I didn’t care. You just have to do what you have to do.

TD: What is one favorite moment that really stands out to you?

LC:  Can I have two? I DID get a pin twice! That was great. But really the best moment I could remember was when Leticia was in the battle dome. When she won, we were legit freaking out. “What just happened?! Are you kidding me?!” It was just nuts. Everyone that was there, everyone that was watching in the crowd, everyone was going nuts. That was my highlight because it was just for us girls. It was amazing to see a female kill it. You even see Shondo crack a smile!

Lina cheers for Leticia's win!

Lina cheers for Leticia’s win!

TD: Currently you are the smallest contestant left… small but mighty! Did that ever cross your mind?

LC:  Absolutely! The only thing that has kept me grounded from the beginning until now is the fact that I do have older brothers. There are always moments that I would think about that. You saw Patrick during that one Fates challenge with the cage. He threw it over his head and was growling! That’s so intimidating! And Shondo, if you really pay attention, is always getting in the zone before every challenge. That in itself and watching him do that, focusing that hard and getting into it, is like, “oh my goodness.” And Andrew, they are all like huge buff guys that physically are very intimidating. The whole time it did make me a little nervous, I mean, A LOT nervous sometimes. But I would just think of my brothers and growing up and how I faced them and dealt with them. That really helped me.

Lina isn't afraid to get a little rough!

Lina isn’t afraid to get a little rough!

TD: How are you, your friends, and family handling the popularity from the show?

LC: They are loving it! My parents have an Italian restaurant in New Jersey called Carollo’s on 73. I’ve worked there since I was very young doing the waitress and cashier jobs. They put the show on every Thursday when there is no football. But they are loving it!

I think the best thing is, because I’m working at a school as a 6th grade counselor, the kids have been coming up to me now, “Miss Corollo, I saw you on The Quest!” Oh! I love it, it’s the cutest thing. Because it’s a family show, everyone can watch it, which is awesome. The kids are really excited. They tell me, “It’s so funny seeing you on there!” I think that’s my favorite part.

TD: Tell us, what was it like facing banishment and coming back and winning two marks? That’s a BIG deal. No one else has done that yet!

LC: Oh man, ’cause you know when I faced banishment, it’s so scary to be up there.  You could kind of hear who might be stepping behind you but you really don’t know. You’re kind of guessing the whole time. My anxiety level was through the roof. I REALLY didn’t want to go home and at that point I didn’t feel like I showed my strengths at all. I had so much more to offer and I wasn’t ready to leave, so I think that was my fuel. The battering ram challenge, that was a team effort. Personally I’m happy that my team allowed me to have the pin, which I was very grateful for, but I think we all deserved that pin. We all worked hard for that. Andrew and Shondo really worked their butts off making sure they put everything in the right place and the door wasn’t going anywhere.

But the other one, where we had to find the orbs, that’s where I felt, “I HAVE to find this.” The episode doesn’t show how long we really were looking for the orb. We were in there; we went all the way to top. There’s actually stairs that led all the way to the top of the dome, and it probably took a good 15 minutes going up and down. Even though Andrew was in front of me most of the time I was like, “I can’t give up. That’s it. I NEED to find this.” And I just looked in every space, every door, and realized there was one little spot left unchecked. That’s when I was like ‘okay’ so I ran back and I think that’s what fueled my fire: just knowing “I have to keep going. I’m not ready to go home yet.” ‘Cause that really does it to you. Being up there faced for banishment… whew! You do not want to be there again!

Lina's team chooses her to win the medal.

Lina’s team chooses her to win the medal.

TD: Is there anything that did happen that got filmed and never made it onto the show?

LC: Ummm….I’m trying to think. When I was there I actually wrote in a journal every day. I was so into writing in it, trying to write down every single detail. And I haven’t looked at in a while to be honest with you. Seeing the show now, they are pretty on point with showing the most accurate scenarios and situations. Nothing could come to my mind now that I think, “Oh man, I wish that was on there!”

Oh wait! You know there was one, and I can’t believe I’m actually going to mention this, and I was kind of embarrassed but whatever. There was one point, it was after Katie got banished and I went back – this is so embarrassing *laughs* – I went back to the castle room where I was originally roomed with Katie and remember that we just got our uniforms that day. I guess you can kind of see it in the show, but there are buckles on the left and right sides of the uniform that you have to unbuckle and flip over your head. And so I didn’t know that or I didn’t remember that; I wasn’t used to the uniform. So I’m in my room about to take off this thing and I couldn’t lift it over my head ’cause I didn’t know about the buckles. I start grabbing it and pulling it over my head, and I knew I was being filmed and I was legitimately sad that Katie left. So I’m really more sad than I’m embarrassed, and I’m trying to get this thing off my head and finally gave up and was like, “If only Katie was here, she could have helped me!” Thankfully when I saw the first episode and it wasn’t in there, I was like ‘whew’ but now I’m telling you.

It was heartbreaking because the night before we stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning and just talked about each other, talking about our personal lives and  just getting to know each other. It really really stunk that she was the first to go. But we had to get use to that unfortunately.

Lina and Katie

Lina and Katie

TD: When they show Sir Ansgar or that other knight banging on your doors to wake you up, were they really waking you up or was that late in the day?

LC: Yes and no. The one time when Ansgar first came and met us I’m almost positive that he woke us up. But there were times we would just be in our room getting ready when they would come. We never knew exactly when they would pop up. It was always like, “Be ready.” And we’re like, “Be ready for what?’” So it wasn’t us always jumping out of bed half asleep.

TD: Were there any favorite moments with the actors? Ansgar, Crio, Grand Vizier, etc?

LC: Oh man… ya know, they were all so good. It’s hard to pick just one! Even Queen Ralia was so beautiful and sooo queen-like, you know what I mean? She was amazing and had all of the qualities of a true queen. That was amazing, meeting her for the first time. Sir Ansgar, too, it was so funny because when he came around we were all, “Oh my GOD, who is THAT?!” All of us girls, it was crazy. We were like, “Thank you! Thank you Everealm!” The best part is when we were around them and we weren’t even filming: they never broke character. For a while I was like, “Is this really who he is? I’m so confused right now.” It would confuse us! They would not break at all. The world itself never changed. There were people out there, it was amazing. Truly amazing how they made that work.

Sir Ansgar speaks to Lina

Sir Ansgar speaks to Lina

TD: Before we end, I was wondering if there is anything else you’d like to say?

LC:  All in all, I just I want to say I’m honored and blessed to have the opportunity to be on the show and meet everyone that was part of the show, including the producers and everyone that worked so hard on this project. The very last day when we all came together to take a group photo, there was like three hundred people that came out of the woodwork. That was so inspiring and again, I feel so blessed to be a part of it because it was a lot of people, a lot of creative minds that worked together, a lot of actors, the paladins. And of course all of you guys, the viewers! Thank you for keeping it alive!