The Reality of Being on a Reality TV Show

In a reality TV-obsessed world, is it any wonder that teen girls would be willing to do just about anything to get on television, including have a baby?

After all, what's a baby when your future career is on the line? Think of Amber Portwood, the teen mom who beat her way (literally) onto the cover of dozens of tabloids just by starring in MTV's Teen Mom. It's no stretch to imagine that dozens of young girls would be frantically having unprotected sex just to have their own shot at stardom.

According to PopEater:


This is yet another example of the desperation of fame, Matt Titus, a relationship expert from, [says] ... The sad state of reality television has created a lowbrow vehicle for untainted train wreck personalities to display their private lives. Getting pregnant to be famous is like eating as many cockroaches as possible in a one minute period.

And indeed many have done just that. But as anyone who has ever been on a reality show can tell you, there is a whole lot less "reality" than it seems. I should know. I did one.

It was eight years ago now and isn't something I like to bring up during the conversation, but my husband and I did an ABC Family reality show with Ali Landry and Mario Lopez (back when they were together) called Will You Marry Me?

My husband and I have known each other since we were 10 and reconnected through They loved our story and promoted it, and that caught the eye of the producers of the show who called us. Once they heard about my then fiance's unique proposal, they asked us to be on another show that was already in the works about unique proposals.

Earlier that year, I had returned home from work to find a cryptic note on the door:

Roses are red, violets are blue, go to where we sweat for clue #2

There, there was a subway token and another note. The scavenger hunt went on and on to all the various places we had gone on great dates all over our city and finally ended on a bridge where I found my man on one knee, ring in hand.

Very cute proposal and we reenacted the whole thing for the cameras. It was cute, but insincere. By the time we were filming it, we had been engaged for six months!

Nothing was organic. They pulled emotions from us, asked leading questions, and had us walk down streets 15 times to get it right. And being followed by cameras is its own version of hell. For two days, everyone and their mother were craning their necks to figure out if we were "someone."

We were not. Obviously. But for that brief 48 hours of filming, we sure felt like we were. Now multiply that by 100 and we get some sense of what those 16 and Pregnant girls must be feeling. And forget about the editing.

But the riches aren't there. Other than Elisabeth Hasselbeck from Survivor, how many reality "stars" can we even name? OK, so Sean Duffy from the Real World: Boston was just elected to Congress and his wife Rachel who was on the Real World: San Francisco was rejected from the same job Hasselbeck now holds, but the red carpet is littered with the ashes of thousands of "reality stars" who never were.

Reality "fame" barely exists. You're a blip, a nothing. And if you're making a permanent life decision in order to be a star, well then you're also an idiot.

What do you think of reality TV?


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