When you graduate from college, you often do things that compromise your dignity. Some people become telemarketers. Some work at American Apparel. I audition for irrelevant reality shows like The Real World.
Unsurprisingly, the experience was demoralizing, dehumanizing and any other word that you can attach a "de" to. The aspiring Real Worlders I encountered that day were, hands down, the most delusional and sad people I've ever met. Everyone seemed to know each other from previous reality show auditions and they all took pride in belonging to this bizarre subculture of reality star wannabes. They brought laminated resumes -- perhaps to impress the casting director with their jobs at Chili's and Bebe -- and also felt it was necessary to do complex gymnastic routines and vocal warm-ups in line. To them, auditioning for The Real Word was like being in the running for a Martin Scorcese film.
But this wasn't a Martin Scorcese film. It wasn't even The Real Housewives of New York City. It was The Real World, a show well past its expiration date. Sure, it used to be cool. We all loved Miami, Seattle, New Orleans and maybe even Chicago. Once upon a time, the show could've even been thought of as progressive. HIV-positive Pedro Zamora from the San Francisco season, for example, put a face to the stigmatized disease of AIDS and did a world of good with his exposure -- even getting the recognition of then-president Bill Clinton. But somewhere along the way, the show forgot about stuff like AIDS and racism and became a lot more focused on hook-ups and booze-fueled rages. In 2010, this was what Real World had become: auditioning reality show pros with resumes and terrifying highlights.
The auditioning process reached its apex when a group of ten people were brought to a table with a casting director who would take roughly two minutes with each person, inquiring about their jobs, boyfriends, their hopes and dreams. Peoples' responses were frightening. In my group alone, there was a 22 year-old mother with a baby daddy locked up in jail because "he was a known member of The Latin Kings", a musician who claimed to be inspired by The Beatles but looked more like an ex-member of Crazytown, and a guy who had been wrongfully accused of cocaine possession which prompted the casting director to scrunch her nose up in confusion and reply, "Woah, wild!"
The casting director may have been the worst of them all. She was a super cheesy blonde girl from L.A. who was just smart enough to manipulate potential cast members but not smart enough to realize how disgusting her job actually was. At one point, she turned to a chubby blonde girl with acne and said ever so perceptively, "I can just tell you're a party girl." To which the girl responded as if she was a following a script, " I'm a good girl but I definitely know how to be bad, too."
By the time it was my turn to talk, I was so disgusted by everyone and everything around me that I couldn't bring myself to speak with any level of articulateness. I gave one-word answers and when the casting director asked me why I wanted to be on the show, I realized that I would rather eat glass than share air-time with these people. But that's not what I told her of course. I said, "Because it'll be really weird and bizarre and hysterical." Which I suppose it would be but I guess I'm just not willing to find out what happens when 8 people live together in a house, stop being polite and start getting real.
Needless to say, I didn't get a callback.