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Reality Check: A USF student’s life on The Real World: Hollywood

One year ago, Nick Brown was sitting in a management information class at USF. Today he’s getting paid to model clothes and visits clubs, all because he was one of seven strangers picked to live in a house and be filmed on MTV.

Brown, who graduated from USF in 2007 with a degree in management information systems, talked to the Oracle about his experiences as a housemate on MTV’s hit reality show The Real World: Hollywood. Brown discussed his aspirations to be a TV show host, what life was like in front of the camera and why he never wore any Bulls’ gear on the show.

The Oracle: Why did you choose to be on The Real World?
Nick Brown: Honestly, it was something I always knew was meant for me to do. They put seven strangers (together on the show) who are more or less supposed to reflect society, and I never found someone who reflected me — nobody I could really relate to. So I figured if I feel that way, then there must be tons of people who feel this way, so maybe I’m that for people.

O: What was life like in front of the camera?
B: The best way to describe life in front of the camera is heightened. You aren’t necessarily being yourself, but you are. You aren’t trying to put on an act, but a camera is following you around. You think about things a little bit more. You feel like you are on stage a little bit.

You definitely second-guess your thoughts about what you are saying. I know when I first got to the house one of the things (I thought) was I am not going to curse too much, not going to do this, not going to do that, everyone will like this on camera. But to be honest with you, I spent so much energy trying not to play up the camera … after the first day I was like, “F’it.” It was taking too much energy and time. And then you really let loose ­— it’s really natural after a while.

They (the crew) do a good job of overdoing it when you first get to the house, so that anything else is just normal.

O: What are your plans for the future, like your modeling career?
B: I started doing modeling when I was at USF, but the goal for me is to be in shows. Right now it’s a grime; people think (that because) you’re on TV you have all these opportunities, and it’s not necessarily the truth. It’s good because I can’t walk on the street without people recognizing me. But it doesn’t mean that somebody who has a show is like, “Nick, hey, come host my show.”

It’s not as easy as people think it is … I guess my plan right now is going to casting auditions, hosting stuff. I also realize that no one is going to give me anything: I’m going to take it. I’m with a small production company (and) even though it’s on a small scale, I’ll get my feet wet.

O: Anything else you would like USF students to know?
B: I wanted to wear USF stuff. Everyone gets on me because Will wore a lot of Michigan State stuff.

Everything has to be cleared, they have to get approval from the school, from the clothing label and everything. So trust me when I tell you I asked for USF to be cleared, but it didn’t get cleared in time or USF didn’t want an affiliation with Real World. I did try … next time, I’ll try to do it on Challenge (Real World/Road Rules Challenge, another MTV reality show).