Shooting the Sh*t with Real World, D.C.

The super cool Real World house in the Dupont neighborhood of D.C.

I loathe checking my email.  I really do.  Because usually it just disappoints me by reminding me about my paper due the next day that I haven’t started or how my favorite band is playing the weekend that I happen to be going home.  So when I saw one with a subject line that read: “Cool opportunity in DC,” I eagerly opened it, only to realize that this was not a cool opportunity… this was an AMAZING, TOTALLY AWESOME, opportunity.

I was going to get to meet the Real World cast!

When word spread around GW that The Real World would be filming here, the student body went a little crazy. It’s all anyone could talk about. Where would they be living? Where would they be partying? How would we get an invite back to the swanky MTV pad?  I had been trying to spot these reality stars since September, but clearly my embarrassingly impressive stalking skills applied solely to Facebook, as I had no success tracking down any of the members.

But then I was offered the chance to meet and interview them! There was no way I’d be passing that up.

After two days of endless bragging and obnoxious excitement, it was time to go to the house.   Expecting to meet the stereotypical Real-Worlders – the “jock”, the “nice guy” the “party girl” the “bisexual”-  I stepped into the brownstone mansion in Dupont, and “seven strangers” eagerly greeted me. And I mean strangers. This cast was totally unlike any cast I’d ever seen in the 22 previous seasons of the show.

Perhaps influenced by their surroundings, the D.C. cast of The Real World was more real, involved and inspiring than ever before. Living in the heart of social and political change seemed to add an entirely new dimension to the housemates, and, for once, I think this 23rd season of the Real World might be a little bit different than the others.  The idea that younger generations have become increasingly more involved and engaged in what’s happening in the country is clearly portrayed in these cast members as they’ve taken advantage of the endless opportunities the city offers, pursued their passions, worked for amazing organizations, achieved their goals and formed new perspectives on life and how to go about living it.

Allow me to introduce you to a few of the D.C. kids:

By far my favorite of the bunch, Josh walked in sporting a black beater, tattoos coating his body and noticeable scars on his face.  But there was a whole lot more to him than his bad-boy appearance.  Josh blew me away with all of his ambitions, passion and excitement. I first asked him his thoughts on my “home” town. “DC is such a happening place, so driven for change,” Josh said.

D.C., it seems, is just like him. Between performing in his band, Funk Hop Rock, (a mix of Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Roots), working on making his vampire movie idea a reality, bartending, and hanging out with Spike from Top Chef to boost his cooking skills, Josh was constantly on the go.  He felt so privileged to be able to experience his Real World time in D.C. and wanted to take advantage of it as best he could.


The biggest thing about Mike is his strong belief in taking advantage of everything that life has to offer.  When asked if he would consider appearing on Road Rules in the future, he said he has no concrete plan, so if offered the opportunity, then why not? “Fear Factor was my favorite show growing up.  I said to my mom, I’m going to be that guy eating a grasshopper.”

But there’s much more to this guy than his daredevil and spontaneous ways.  Mike also interns  for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. He also works for Energy Action Coalition, a nonprofit organization that builds youth and student clean energy movement.

Much like the cast members before her, Emily was full of energy and a desire to explore all of life’s offerings.  “I have life A.D.D.,” she explained, saying how she loves taking risks, and literally Googles new and adventurous things to do in DC.  When she’s not rock-climbing, glassblowing, jet skiing, writing poetry, planning benefit concerts, or mapping out trips to Uganda and Argentina, she is volunteering for African Action, an organization that works to change U.S. foreign policy to support African struggles for peace and development.

Her experience on the show has taught her that “its okay not to be figured out, life is about figuring yourself out, being figured out is so boring.”

Despite their different backgrounds, goals and passions, all of the Real World D.C. cast members exhibit one similarity, which Josh pretty much summed up:  “We’re not just people in our 20’s who like to party and have sex, we are trying to make a difference.”

After meeting the cast and being totally inspired by them I am extremely interested to actually watch the show. Will these cast members use their time in D.C. to actually motivate the viewers, or will MTV cut and splice them into flat, dramatic characters like every other season? Will they roam the city using their opportunities for good, or will they party all night and get into fights?

I’m hopeful this will be a new chapter in the Real World saga, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Real World, D.C. premieres December 30th! Will you be watching?

Could You Handle a Pooch?
Could You Handle a Pooch?
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