U students seek roles on MTV ‘reality’ shows

Amy Hackbarth

University freshmen Cassie Soukup and Eren Roubal want to jumpstart their careers in theater. University transfer student Tanya Callias wants to get out of Minnesota for the first time in her life.

And University graduate Kristin Steiner just has nothing better to do.

These five joined more than 2,000 others, each with their own motivations to be on MTV’s reality shows “The Real World” and “Road Rules.” The shows’ casting calls took place at the Mall of America’s Planet Hollywood on Saturday.

In a sea of blondes, breasts, piercings and tattoos, MTV hopefuls stood shoulder to shoulder in a line more than two pickup trucks wide that stretched two blocks down the hallway.

While some eager people arrived at 7 a.m. to wait for the auditions, most people waited four hours to be interviewed.

The wait gave applicants plenty of time to fill out the audition application form, which – among other things – asked people for their most embarrassing moments, worst personality traits and acting experience.

Eyeing a group of blondes wearing late-model J. Crew clothing and an animated, well-manicured man talking about his beauty school experiences, Roubal took time to rethink his chances of being chosen for the show.

“I felt good before I came, but now I’m seeing all these people and my opinion of myself is going down,” he said.

University sophomore Jay Hanson, a theater and education major, said his average looks could play to his advantage on the show.

“I represent the scrawny, backwoods guy that you don’t see on the show,” Hanson said. “All the guys on the show now are buff and ridiculously good-looking.”

While no one at MTV could remember a Minneapolis resident who lived on “The Real World,” those odds didn’t temper Martin’s enthusiasm.

“I watch the show and look at these people and think, dude, I’m just as interesting as these people, if not more,” she said.

Applicants who survived the line to Planet Hollywood’s doors endured a 10-person round-table discussion as the interview’s first phase.

“It was a lot different than what I expected,” said University freshman Azure Adler, who didn’t make it to the second round. “Ten people was too big for everyone to be heard.”

Adler said casting directors asked the interviewees whether they thought prostitution should be legalized.

“The girl sitting next to me had a mouth on her,” she said. “People sitting in the back didn’t get a chance to talk.”

Hanson, who also auditioned for “The Real World” last year at Grandma’s, said people who couldn’t keep their mouths shut dominated the discussion.

“The stupid people like to talk the whole time,” he said. “I’ve decided to identify and smite such people anyway.”

Casting directors asked interviewees who passed the first level to stay for a second, smaller interview. Of those, casting coordinator Maddy Sloan said, 20 people would make the Minneapolis audition’s final cuts for additional interviews Sunday.

After adding the Minneapolis potentials to those of other cities, Sloan said, there will still be hundreds of applicants to sort through before the shows’ finalists will be chosen.

“You usually just know they’re different,” she said. “They just look different and act different. It’s a package.”

So, faced with astronomical odds, does Steiner really think she’ll be chosen for a position on the show?

“Hell no,” she said. “But it’s always worth trying.”