Category: Archive

MTV reality intrudes for Wicklow student

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

However, County Wicklow native Simon, who asked that his last name not be used, was given the opportunity and did not hesitate. The 18-year-old spent January through April in the City of Lights as a participant on MTV’s latest show, “The Real World, Paris.”
Reality TV has created a generation of young people who would do almost anything for their 15 minutes of fame. Simon is not one of them, never having been exposed to much of the genre. But he saw the opportunity for a great vacation. The sometime model was dancing in a Dublin club when he was introduced to one of the MTV casting crew. “MTV was looking for a European to be on the show,” Simon said, on the phone from Ireland last week. “He asked me if I would like to get involved.” After completing three interviews over the course of three weeks, Simon was chosen to be the seventh housemate and was given three days’ notice before filming started.
Simon had been a final-year student in high school but decided to postpone his exams in order to avail of the opportunity. “I left school before my Leaving Certificate,” he said. “My parents were very supportive. If they had a problem with me not doing my exams, then it would have been really difficult.”
The set-up of “The Real World” has stayed uniform throughout its 13 outings. A group of photogenic young strangers are selected, similarly photogenic accommodation is chosen, and a camera crew is embedded for the duration to capture the fun and frolics.
Vouching for the fact that reality TV is just that, Simon was adamant that the lives they led were relatively normal. “We were there for four months, so you can’t act the whole time,” he said. “
The housemates were each given a job. Simon enjoyed his role as a travel writer for the Frommers Travel Guide. “We wrote reviews for restaurants and shows in Paris,” he said. “The show is different to ‘Big Brother’ in that way. They are stuck in a house, but we went out, we worked, we met up with people.”
The show has been wrapped up and Simon is back in Ireland. Unsure as to his future plans, he is keen to see some of his housemates again and is planning a holiday in the U.S.
“I am not going to say that I have six new best friends, but I will definitely stay in touch with some of them,” he said. While the thought of living with six strangers initially made him nervous, Simon was determined to be open to new experiences. “I tried not to have misconceptions,” he said.
The first of the 24 episodes has aired in the U.S. and Simon expects them to be shown in Ireland in either July or August. “Not many people in Ireland watch the show,” he said. “I had only ever seen ‘The Real World’ once or twice. Word of mouth means that most people in my area know I was on the show and, of course, everyone in my school.”

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