Only a week before the opening season Miami vs. Florida State football game and a Seminole bravely walked onto campus to help promote STA Travel at Canefest 2006. Real World Key West cast member, Jose, 21, wore no Florida State apparel but secretly cheered for an FSU victory.
Jose is a self-proclaimed “east coast boy.” He was born in Brooklyn, New York, attended high school in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and plans to return to Florida State for his senior year in the spring. From waking up naked and alone in the guest room to being stranded at the gym, The Real World has thrust Jose onto the small screen and added him to the long list of reality TV stars.
The Miami Hurricane: Why did you audition for the show?
Jose: It was really just a shot in the dark, I never thought I was going to make it, I just liked the show. I drove three hours to the open casting call at The University of Florida. They (casting) thought they might get a Gator, but they got me instead.
What made you stand out?
I talked to the casting directors afterwards and they said it was my life story, where I came from and my business skills that separated me from the crowd.
What was the worst part about living in the house?
The drama! We couldn’t go a day without some argument and it was always messy. Tyler was my roommate and he was the messiest dude I’ve been around.
The show made Svetlana look like the most hated in the house, what was she really like?
She was bad, but an innocent bad. She had a different lifestyle. She was naive and attention hungry, but she did get a bad rap.
What misconceptions about your roommates would you like to clear up?
Paula looks like a crazy psycho-chick on the show but she was actually Valedictorian of her college (Quinnipiac University, Connecticut). They only showed crazy Paula and none of the intelligent conversations we had.
What misconceptions about you would you like to clarify?
After watching the show, some people thought I was gay because I didn’t hook up with that girl in the pool, but I’m not. A lot [of stuff] got cut out. They also made me a nice guy, which I am, but they made me look boring, which I’m not.
What have you been doing since the show?
I’ve been traveling around the country doing speaking engagements and making appearances, making some money and enjoying my 15 minutes of fame. I’ll go back to finish school in the spring.
What do you see yourself doing in the future? Any MTV challenges?
Maybe a challenge or two but I’m not going to be a reality star for the rest of my life. I’m going back to school and want to get a real job.
Since you’re from Florida, how did it feel when you found out it was taping in Key West?
When they called me, the casting director said she had good and bad news. Good news- I made the cast, bad news- I’m staying in Florida. I wanted to go somewhere out west since I’m an east coast boy, but Key West was good to us.
You’re the first Real World season that has dealt with hurricanes. How was the rest of the cast during the storms?
I’m from Florida, I’m used to it [hurricanes]. But, [the cast], was people from all over and had no idea what a hurricane was. They were freaking out and watching their reactions was my favorite part. MTV did a really good job of providing for us, even though some of us wanted to stay during the mandatory evacuation they made us leave. but they screwed us on gas, we had to pay for it.
On one episode you were stranded at the gym, but seemed to handle it so calm and collectively, are you really that low-tempered in person?
I was livid. If you look closer, the scene of me outside the gym was from a different day. When I was walking home I was pissed, but after walking seven miles you calm down a little bit. Normally I have a short temper but I decided to be mature about it.
What are your plans for the Miami vs. FSU opening game?
I’m actually not going to be here for the game. Last year’s game was during filming and I brought the boys [from the house] to Fat Tuesday’s to watch it.
What’s changed about you post Real World?
It’s changed my life entirely. I can’t walk down the street or be normal. I don’t mind though, I knew what I was getting into, but sometimes you want to relax and talk and its different now. When I go out, it is like working; it comes with the territory. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and meet people and a lot of doors have opened; in the end, the pros outweigh the cons.
What advice do you have for someone auditioning for the Real World?
Be yourself. A lot of people try to do something crazy but casting is unbelievable; they know when you’re being fake. Your best shot is being real, you never know what they’re looking for.
I have a documentation of four months of my life. There are things I could have done differently but you live and you learn.
Bari Lieberman is the EDGE Editor and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.