The Real World first aired on MTV in 1993. The groundbreaking show throws together seven strangers and asks them to live, work and interact with each other for several months. Inside four walls, the seven 20-somethings have to figure out how to make it all work. There are always plenty of laughs, plenty of tears and plenty of screaming arguments. While The Real World can be seen as good entertainment, the show has also produced some thought-provoking and fascinating characters and has shone a light on important social and political issues.
With the new season ready to kick-off, now seems like as good a time as any to walk down memory lane and take a look at some of The Real World’s most important and fascinating cast members.
Pedro Zamora was born in Cuba and eventually emigrated to the United States. The Real World: San Francisco star came to fame for his HIV and AIDS advocacy and education work. Zamora was diagnosed with HIV when he was a junior in high school after donating blood. His family, although supportive, were devastated by his diagnosis and concerned about his homosexuality. He worked tirelessly to bring HIV and AIDS awareness to the world in the 1990s.
Zamora joined the Real World: San Francisco cast after a friend convinced him he could reach a wider audience through the show. Zamora became ill during the filming. Producers documented much of his illness at Zamora’s request. Zamora passed away on November 11, 1994. The final episode of The Real World: San Francisco aired the evening before. Zamora was committed to his partner Sean Sasser at the time of his death. Sasser and Zamora met during the 1993 Gay and Lesbian March in Washington DC. They later developed a romantic relationship while Zamora was filming the show. Zamora received special permission to go on dates during his filming without cameras. Sean Sasser, who also lived with HIV, died in 2013.
Irene McGee appeared on The Real World: Seattle in 1998. Raised in affluent Pleasant Valley, New York, McGee graduated from Georgetown University. McGee notoriously left the show after she was assaulted by another cast member and the crew failed the intervene. McGee spoke out about the incident, and even spilled secrets about the house in magazine interviews. She was subsequently sued by MTV.
McGee walked away from MTV as a notorious cast member, but she has since gone on to help pioneer the podcasting medium. She works as a standup comedian and is still actively involved in podcasting and writing.
Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin
Mike Mazanin seemed like a regular fraternity guy when he appeared on The Real World: Back to New York. The Ohio-born Mazanin was attending Miami College when he was cast for the show. He subsequently dropped out to take part in filming. He embodied the characteristics of a calm college kid when he first entered the house, endearing him to his fellow cast members and fans of the show.
During the season Mike Mazanin showed the world an alter-ego he called “The Miz”. Mazanin would go on to Join the WWE. He appeared on the WWE’s main roster in 2006 and has gone on to secure several championship belt titles.
Kyle Brandt is the show’s most recognizable face. Brandt was cast for the 11th season of The Real World and entered the home in Chicago as the quintessential all-American boy. Brandt grew up a football star in Lincolnshire, Illinois and went on to Princeton University, partly due to his athletic prowess. At Princeton, he served as a starter on the football team for three years before graduating from the school.
When he entered the house, Brandt brought a quiet calm to a manic cast. He often served as a voice of reason and utilized his relaxed persona to make friends with everyone. Brandt went on to act in several shows before he joined the cast of Good Morning Football on The Football Network.
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