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BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE GOOD Minneapolis 2001 - Jean Jordan

Readers' Choice: Rachael Leigh Cook

When reality TV hit home, it hit hard: Not one, but two Twin Citizens were picked to take part in Big Brother, CBS's attempt to follow up on the Survivor phenomenon (by dumping a group of strangers in a house, training hidden cameras on them, and getting 'em all drunk). Every drama needs an antagonist, and "Jordan the Stripper," a 26-year-old sociology major at the University of Minnesota who used to be an exotic dancer, more than fit the bill. But she was multidimensional, she wanted us to know: She was going to school! She had feelings of pride and rejection! She wanted to be a writer and a filmmaker! She was an Iron Man triathlete, fer chrissakes! Truth be told, there was a heckuva lot more to Jordan than the image the show portrayed. After she became the second housemate voted off the show (good for her; Big Brother was a dud, thanks to, as Jordan rightfully pointed out, poor casting), she parlayed several postmortem interviews into a one-woman crusade to warn about the distorted and demeaning world of television--and pointedly noted that four of the five first houseguests to get voted off the show were four of the five women. She made a level-headed appearance on David Letterman's show, gave an especially insightful interview to Salon.com, and is now writing a book about her life in the skin trade. Still, her failed idealism about what she wanted to do on the show (warn people about sexism, racism, and double standards) and how she was actually portrayed (conniving, drunken, sex-starved vixen) gnaws at her. "The problem is that this is all so public," she wrote in an essay for Nerve.com. "I don't want to be a victim: I want to fight, to be strong, to be certain of who I am." You go, girl.

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