The Real World holds an open casting call in Fort Collins
Buy a red car and find someone young and spry to liven up your life. That's what most people would do when staring down the precipice of a life crisis.
I applied for The Real World online.
Last Tuesday I got an e-mail telling me that I was a very important person -- or at least invited to the The Real World's open casting call yesterday in Fort Collins for the 27th season, which will be shot in a yet undisclosed city, as a "VIP." I tweeted about it and gleefully told strangers at a bar. But when I showed up at the auditions at the Fort Collins Brewery yesterday, the friend I'd dragged along screamed, "These are all the people I wanted to get away from after high school."
Various shades of bottled blond milled around the parking lot. One guy who looked straight out of a Pac Sun ad asked if I wanted to play double dutch. A couple of girls in wrap-around sunglasses and hot pants were jumping up and down out of sync. It was imaginary double dutch, my favorite.
Could one of these hopefuls start getting real on national TV?
I had specifically swapped out my usual, massive glasses for contacts -- because when was the last time someone wore glasses on the show?
A cute blond girl handed us questionnaires, and we walked into the brewery, got a couple of tasting selections of beer, and looked at the single page of tightly printed text. The first question asked if I had performing experience outside of school or if I was part of SAG/AFTRA; as a writer with a serious case of stage fright, I doubted I was who they were looking for.
I handed the questionnaire in and was asked to stand in the middle of the parking lot. A large clump of people (including a total Snookie lookalike with a pink bow on her head) stood on one end of the lot. That group was already organized, I was told, but I'd be right after them. I was not feeling very VIP at all.
After about thirty minutes, my friend and I, along with six others, finally went into the casting room, where the casting director sat at one end. We were asked to say our name, age and anything else we wanted about ourselves. As we went around the table with our answers, everyone seemed to know which foot to lead with: I left home when I was 15; I danced in Cats; my apartment burned down; I like to party and have sex with people constantly.
And I fell for it. "I don't know what to do with my life! I take my life savings and backpack around Asia because I'm so confused and directionless!" just spewed out of me. Yes, I was genuinely trying. (Feel free to mock my first-world problems in the comments.) I'd been told by a close friend to play up my screwed-up family, but I didn't actually talk about that. It seemed all sorts of Emily Post wrong to say, "Hi, I'm Jenny and these are all the fucked up things about me" -- unless of course, you're auditioning for reality TV.