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Friday, May 10, 2013

Flashback Friday: My {Almost} Claim to Fame

Did you know I was almost famous?!?! Yup. It's true. Instead of being a housewife and mommy blogger I could be living a TOTALLY different life right now! 

Pretty much my entire life I've always seemed to be one of those people who have a story for every topic of conversation. So much so that I've often times been accused of being a liar simply because many of my experiences in life are kinda unbelievable. During my teenage years I was the type of person who didn't have a filter. I said whatever was on my mind. I was an open book (that hasn't changed much, huh?) and was very outgoing as well as outspoken.

I started watching The Real World my freshman year in high school because so many people would tell me I reminded them of Amaya who was on Real World Hawaii that year. As I watched the show I started to think that I could really see myself as a roommate! People started telling me that I should audition quite often actually. I mean even now when I watch reality tv...I can still ONLY picture myself on The Real World. It's the only show that doesn't require any skills or talent haha. 
Towards the end of my Senior year in high school I vividly remember driving around Lawrenceville jamming out to my favorite song at the time ("Remix to Ignition" by R.Kelly. Duh!). Right when the song ended the DJ made an announcement that MTV would be at a restaurant in downtown Atlanta doing an open casting call for The Real World. I found two friends who were also interested in trying out (shout out to Ashlee and Danielle!) and we rode together to the 3 Dollar Cafe.

They did a very casual, group style interview. There were a group of us sitting around a big table and the interviewer asked questions and we each would give an answer. I remember them asking us which former Real World Cast Members did we most relate to and I think I said a combo of Trishelle from Las Vegas and Keri from the Chicago season (don't ask me why, I can't remember haha). I don't really remember any of the other questions. After the questioning session ended we were all getting up to leave and a random guy came up to me and told me he was with MTV and that I'd been selected for the next round of try outs and to come with him.

Um. We were in downtown Atlanta. I was 18 years old by myself with two friends. I was not ABOUT to follow some random dude off by myself. No way. I told him I didn't buy it and I needed to see some proof that he was really with MTV. I even remember saying to him that I was not about to go off with him and risk being raped or kidnapped or something. He didn't have any MTV identification and ended up calling over another guy who was higher up in the ranks (one of the producers for the show) and he gave me proof and thought it was HILARIOUS that I was being so hardcore about not believing any of them. 

Once I actually did believe them they took me into this trailer that was set up in the parking lot and I met several other show hopefuls where we were handed a HUGE booklet to fill out. I'm talking like it took me an hour to fill out the thing. It included every single personal question under the sun. I even remember that I had to draw a self portrait (which, duh, was a stick figure haha). It was VERY detailed and VERY personal and I knew it was going to be analyzed by some shrinks...since I'd been going to counseling for quite awhile myself I knew that was what it was about. 

It was during that process that I met another girl about my age named Cameron. We joked a lot about the questions and such and about the other people in the trailer with us. It was nice to have someone to talk to during such a long process! Once I was done filling mine out they told me to leave and that they would be doing call backs.

That next week I got a phone call to come to the next round of interviews. It was at a fancy hotel this time and I went by myself. It was the same morning as my baccalaureate ceremony for graduation so I was in a bit of a rush. I remember being so impressed by the hotel and that the person I met there was the same producer who proved that the random guy was legit ;) He was SO NICE. They video taped a private interview. I remember they kept talking about how impressed they were with my "street smarts" which I thought was hilarious. But they said in all their years of doing this process that they hadn't ever had anyone hesitate to follow them like I did and to be so hardcore about it. They asked me lots of things about my childhood and they were especially interested in my apartment living situation. I remember they asked me about my alcohol drinking habits which was odd since I was only 18! I told them I'd tried it but I wasn't really interested and that I didn't get WHY people drank beer when it looked like pee. A lot of questions were about my flirtatious nature and my outspoken personality. I remember them asking a lot about how I would handle different situations if they arose in the house. Conflict resolution type stuff. 

Once the interview ended they told me to make a tape and send it to them. I got SO busy with graduation and enjoying my summer with my friends that I honestly just kept putting it off. I figured I'd never get picked anyway and didn't wanna waste the time. They told me that my video needed to be 5 minutes in length and that they especially wanted to see my car, my apartment, and my closet. I had some friends video tape it and I got some other footage of me hanging out with friends and such. But I never sent it or did anything with it. 

I was in Maine with my brother and dad when the producers called me and said I'd been selected as one of the TOP 25! They said that there were over 300,000 people who had applied and/or auditioned and that I was in the final stages of selection. Once I got passed the top 25 interview phase then I'd be flown out to California for the final round of casting. Kinda crazy!!! They set up an interview with me for Jacksonville since it was within driving distance for us and said I HAD to send them a tape asap. I remember having my brother film me in Maine and we sent it off from there. They said the video didn't matter much at that point but that they had to have it on file for the process. 

The told me when I came to the interview that this video would be used on the pre-show when they show the casting tapes and such and that it was important for me not to wear any clothing with logos showing or anything too busy. Solid colors were best. 

Dad was SO supportive of everything and drove me down to Jacksonville for the interview. Sadie, my dog, was with us and we drove my dad's Corvette down so it was a fun ride. I remember exactly what I was wearing for each interview. Haha. I was wearing some striped pants and a purple top. I was SO excited and nervous at the same time. When we got to the hotel Dad and Sadie stayed in the waiting room while I went back for my interview. I remember how HOT the lights were and how sweaty I felt. There were two interviewers for this one and one of the girls had a really cute tattoo on her foot of a star that I just kept starring at when I was nervous. 

The questions were a LOT more personal and a LOT deeper. I could tell they were trying to get me to break down and cry and I wasn't going to do it. I was a lot tougher then I guess because I cry so easily now! I kept holding back the tears and stayed composed. They told me then that the next season would be in San Diego. I think my downfall of the interview was that 1) I didn't cry when they wanted me to and 2) I didn't get crazy excited when they told me the location. I'm just NOT a super excited type person. I'm pretty even keeled all the time and nothing really gets me worked up like that so I didn't give them some jump-out-of-my-seat-screaming reaction that they were hoping for.

When I left the room I knew in my heart that it was the end of the road for me. I could just feel it. My dad was chatting up my friend who I'd met in Atlanta, Cameron, in the waiting area. I stopped and talked to her and told her the tips that they wanted her to cry and that they wanted excitement when they told her where it'll be filmed. I wished her good luck and told her we'd see which one of us made it! In our talks to each other we totally realized we were the SAME "roll" on the show so there was no way we'd both make it. Both of us were from the south. Both of us were young. Both of us were on the spoiled side (she MUCH MORE than me though for sure, she was loaded!). Etc. Etc. 

Time passed and I never heard anything again. I wasn't really upset over it, it is what it is ya know? It was set to film in August when I would be heading off to FSU so if I'd made it I would have had to take off the semester for the filming. While I would have LOVED to have made it, I was also excited about college life and didn't mind not making it either. 

When the season premiered I was eager to see who all made it and if anyone I'd met in the process was there. I was okay watching it until I saw CAMERON. Ugh. We knew one of us would have been cast and it was her instead of me. She must have followed my advice and shed some tears for that interview haha! And if you watched that season, let me say that she was not NEARLY as Southern sounding in person as she was on tv. I think she milked it a bit for the cameras ;)

Here's the cast of people who did make it:


Here's Cameron who beat me out for the spot!
When I watched that season I couldn't help but think "what if I'd been there?" Each episode I'd mentally put myself in the situations they faced and wonder how I would have handled things? Would I have been a partier? Or stayed close to home? Would I have ended up with any of the guys on the cast?  Would I have been friends for life with the girls??? Would I have gotten into arguments?
What would it have been like if THIS was the cast photo instead??? haha!
It is neat to see where "my" cast-mates are now and to naturally wonder where MY life would be today if I'd been selected to be on the show. Would I be in a bunch of movies like my would-be roommate, Jamie Chung? (Google her...she's been in a LOT of big movies!)
Or heck would I have ended up married to Brad instead of Tori???
There are a few times in life where you really can look at choices you made and see how they were defining moments. For me, my Real World experience was a crossroads. If I'd made it my life would be COMPLETELY different from how it is today. I would have started at FSU a semester late, if I would have even gone at all. With the whole Real World/ Road Rules Challenges thing I may have ended up going that route (omg can you imagine me on that show? First voted off FOR REAL just like Cameron was on the one season she attempted it!). Being in the "spotlight" could have totally changed me as a person. I could have gone down a wilder path. Many of the roommates go on after the show to do club tours where they party it up at different clubs to collect the cash. Again, hard to picture me at some club but who knows what would have happened?!?!

If I hadn't gone to FSU when I did then I would have never probably met Zach. I met him Jan of 2004, at the very beginning of my second semester in college. I cannot imagine my life without Zach in it. I can't imagine myself married to someone else. Or picture who I would be without him as a part of who I am!

Us in 2004
If I hadn't met Zach then I also wouldn't get the greatest blessing of all: being a mommy to Kye and Britt!!! If I'd gone on the Real World who knows if I'd even have kids right now at all! Most of all though, I don't know if I would have ever found a relationship with the Lord if I'd gone down that path. Meeting Zach brought about the biggest decision of my life: becoming a Christian. Would I have ever been introduced to God's Word? Would I have ever taken it seriously? Come to know God and truly walk with HIm? I have no clue! But I know I am SO thankful that I didn't get chosen to be on the show. While it was such a fun experience and so neat to go so far in the process, I do believe God knew His plan for me and knew that becoming a "celebrity" wasn't what was best for my journey! And I wouldn't change it for the world!
So there you have it...I am a washed up almost celebrity ;) Since I didn't use up my 15 min of fame back then, I wonder when my fame moment will come? haha!

2 comments:

  1. Danielle EckerleMay 10, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    ohmigosh, that was sooo much fun! I remember how long that first group interview was and how sexual and personal it was... and being shocked at some of your answers ;) I also remember how worried Ash and I were for you when you got to go back alone! There was NO way I was getting chosen, I just wanted to see what a casting call was like and I really enjoyed it . I did the same thing as I watched some of the episodes, putting myself in there . No thanks though, I am happy I ended up where I am and just have a fun story between the three of us :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my goodness!! Great story!! Crazy story!

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