Which Iconic MTV Reality Show Did Heather B. Gardner Help to Pioneer?

Rapper Heather B. Gardner made a huge announcement on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. The rapper turned radio host announced she has a new show called Heather B. Live, which will hit SiriusXM this September.

She said, “The show will be on every single day, Monday through Friday, 12 noon eastern to 1 pm.” Cohen said she was already working as a morning show co-host on Sway in the Morning. But she said she’d just “make a dash over the next studio.”

Heather B and Xavier Rhodes
Heather B and Xavier Rhodes |Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Cohen remarks, “Heather B., the hardest working woman in showbiz!” Seriously. Gardner is no newbie to the entertainment world. She was one of the members of the groundbreaking, first season of MTV’s The Real World.

‘The Real World’ breaks ground

When The Real World hit the airwaves in 1992, reality television was still a glimmer in Andy Cohen’s eye. The show was billed as “a reality-based soap opera,” The New York Times reported, which was reviewed as being a “force-fed documentary series.”

In order to create a balance of “characters,” MTV considered about 500 different young people and narrowed the list down to seven. Each person came from a different area of the country and from various backgrounds. Julie from Alabama was the youngest cast member at age 20 followed by Eric who was 21 and from New Jersey.

Norman Korpi, Andre Comeau, Julie Oliver, Rebecca Blasband, Heather B., Eric Nies and Kevin Powell of The Real World
Norman Korpi, Andre Comeau, Julie Oliver, Rebecca Blasband, Heather B., Eric Nies and Kevin Powell of The Real World New York |Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Rebecca was 24 years old and was a “Suzanne Vega” type musician from Philadelphia. Gardner was 21 at the time and was an aspiring rapper from New Jersey. Andre was a 21-year-old rocker from Detroit. The oldest cast member was Kevin. Kevin was 25 and was originally from Harlem. Finally, Norman, age 24 was gay and an artist. MTV rented a super-hip New York City loft by 1992 standards for the cast to live and interactions to ensue.

Gardner had no idea she was paving the way for the iconic show

When MTV caught up with Gardner in 2013, she said she didn’t know she was making history with The Real World. “It’s still kinda hard to wrap my head around the concept,” she said. “I will say, though, if the credit is deserved…I’m glad that I was blessed to do the first one.”

Even though the first show aired more than 20 years ago, Gardner says she continues to be recognized. “Since the very first episode aired I have never walked outside of my front door without being recognized by complete strangers,” she shared. Most of the time, they say two things: ‘What’s up, Heather B, you my girl!’ and ‘Do you still talk to Julie?’ You might be surprised to know that the answer is ‘of course!'”

She added, “I’m truly happy for anyone who had or has the opportunity to do the show, but I’m grown as hell now!” After The Real World, Gardner has been making music, both writing and producing. She also appeared in the film The Wedding Video, directed by Real World cast member Norman Korpi. She’s been on the radio mic since 2012 with former MTV reporter Sway Calloway.