Name: Paul R. “Paulie” Calafiore, age 34
Bio: Calafiore was born Nov. 13, 1988, and raised in Howell, N.J. He started playing soccer at three years old and wrestling at the age of six.
A state champion wrestler, Calafiore was on the NJ State Team, Northeast Regional Team and USA National team before he was even in sixth grade. In high school, he lettered in varsity for soccer and wrestling as a freshman.
Calafiore played soccer at Rutgers, and was named captain after his freshman year. Under his leadership, Rutgers became a top 25 team in the country and made the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
Calafiore enjoyed a brief stint as a pro; however, an injury in the preseason of his first season ended that dream. He has since diversified into DJ’ing, modelling, personal training and reality TV.
Viewers know him from his time as a contestant on Big Brother 18 in 2016, The Challenge (2019) and The Challenge USA (2023). He also appeared in the first season of Ex on the Beach.
Upon entering the Big Brother house, Calafiore followed in the footsteps of his younger brother. Cody Calafiore was runner-up in Big Brother 16 in 2014.
Paulie Calafiore has been with his partner, fellow Challenge contestant Cara Maria Sorbello, for the past five years. She is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Coming out: Calafiore revealed he wasn’t 100% straight on the third episode of The Challenge USA Aug.17.
Talking to fellow contestant Tori Deal, he said, “I came through athletics, so that forced me to repress who I was, sexually.”
“I didn’t know if I was attracted to women, attracted to men, or if it was just like an energy thing. I’d be like, ‘I need to prove that I’m the most alpha human in the world.”
A couple of days later, Calafiore came out more fully in an interview with the LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization, GLAAD.
“I am bisexual,” Calafiore said. “I feel good about finally being able to talk about this.”
He said he “almost felt guilty” it had taken him so long.
“I really had to change my perspective and be like, ‘Well, you know there might be other people that are going through this exact same thing… and maybe this is what they needed to hear and what they needed to see in order to do it themselves.’
“Maybe there’s a younger version of me somewhere who gets to see this and [says], ‘You know what? I don’t have to pretend to be this because I’m an athlete’. If I can inspire just one person, or motivate one person, then I feel like I’m doing justice for all the people who paved the way to get us to this point. And there’s a lot further to go, and I’m happy to continue to be a part of that going forward.”
He told Out, “I want to move forward and just be who I am. I want to express who I am. I still want to be Paulie and I want people to understand that I’m a fierce competitor and I’m a bad*ss. Now, I’m a bisexual bad*ss!”
Today, Calafiore divides his time between the mountains of Bozeman, Montana, and beaches of Destin, Fla.
He told Queerty he’s been blown away by the response to his coming out.
“The support has been truly amazing!” he said. “I’m extremely happy to be a part of the community and I’m looking forward to getting involved as much as possible. Representation matters and I am poised to show just how much we can all accomplish together ❤️🔥”