The Real Me

"To apply to be on The Real World, you need to show us that you are an open, honest and sincere person who's dealing with issues of concern to The Real World audience."

--Jonathan Murray and Mary Ellis-Bunim, co-creators and producers
of MTV's The Real World


Let's talk about me. First, the identity thing. MTV believes that all skin is equal as long as it comes spunky and acne-free. As a former Clearasil coverboy and committed civil rights activist, so do I. On the surface, I'm white, het, male, 24-years-old. Remember: Three of those four points are negotiable.

While friends say that I possess a hunky ethnic charisma, I have not ruled out rhinoplasty. Watch me brush a big blond wave into my surfer hair; watch me pump my pectorals to frat-boy proportions. And yet, The Real World has never featured an ultraorthodox Jew. Imagine the yarmulke and the payess. Soundtrack possibilities: Great Jews of Rock. Lou Reed, Kiss, Ramones. Little Bobbie Zimmerman for the crossover-VH1 crowd. And though I am not now a practicing Hasid, what I'm trying to say is that I'll be your token.

Geography-wise, I can claim as many home states as a presidential candidate. I come from everywhere. I come from the people. I can speak Australian, British and "street" vernacular. Regional authenticity is my middle name.

When I'm not watching MTV, I am a powerhouse of youth-market avocations. I live in the buzz bin. Extreme sports. Poetry slams. Indie comics. Indie film. Indie 500. Show me the Next Big Thing and I'll show you what I was doing last year.

Alcohol? Smokes? Won't touch the stuff. Consider me a role model, an adult camp counselor. Here's the itinerary for a typical week:

* I lead the cast on a group bungee off a small passenger aircraft without warning the pilot or my peers. If the cameras demand it, I personally will go sans cord.

* Art without a net: Radical, inclusive, unbelievably transgressive. We reach out and touch communities through their cable boxes. Read my lips: I care. Just this morning I started writing a novel that reads like Jean-Paul Sartre crossed with Salt 'n' Pepa. It should be finished next week. I will singlehandedly prove to the 12-24-year-old target demographic that reading is cool. Make that "def." Make that "fly." Make that "butter."

* We form a folky, funk-metal, trip-hop, techno, cow-punk gangsta rap band; in between songs, we don smoking jackets and mix virgin martinis. Totally original--yet instantly accessible.

* Together, before camera and country, we construct an erotic website. The Real Naked World. Everything stays explicitly suggestive and PG-13, just like Big Daddy Viacom likes it. Wait for the best part: Special guest consultant, Bill Gates.

Back to me. Whether monitor or tube, I smolder on the small screen. My longtime girlfriend, meanwhile, is an aspiring hair model. Try this, then: MTV provides the horse, and she plays Lady Godiva right there in front of the camera. I follow, bald and bareback.

Or how 'bout this one: Real World Wedding. We'll be the Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki of the 21st century. We consummate the marriage week one, and the baby arrives five months later on the final episode. Boy or girl, we name it Kennedy. Or I'll dump Lady Godiva's ass on the first day of shooting and we'll fight, dirty and long distance, on the bugged phone.

See, I'm also promiscuous. I've got ratings in my boxer shorts and I have the Polaroids to prove it. A personal guarantee: I will bed at least one other cast member. Put it in the contract. Maybe two, but that's extra. Me and this player-to-be-named-later will conduct an on-screen serial romance, torrid and sincere and filled with dramatically satisfying conflict. You tell me and I deliver.

Granted, friendship comes first. I'm a giver, a listener, the oil in a complex social machine. Or just plain oily if the situation requires it. I'll talk about anyone, anytime, anywhere. Private soliloquies, off-screen voice-overs, mumbled asides. Here at home, I trash talk my friends behind their backs all the time. Go ahead and ask them.

I know what you're thinking now. Can the kid handle the surveillance, the pressure, the constant nagging attention? To answer in a word--hell yes. My life deserves a soundtrack montage of topical, billboard-topping tunes, and I will not be denied. I fantasize about being followed by camera crews all the time; as a matter of fact, I'm doing it right now. Look at me type on this keyboard: Fast, sexy, completely outrageous. On average, I look in the mirror for 10 minutes out of any hour. Oftentimes, twice that. I never pick my nose and I'll sign an affidavit to that effect.

Here's the thing: I think in edit-ready sentence fragments! Like now. CP

The Real World VI begins this summer in Boston; call MTV at 818-754-5870 for information.

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