Reality television is a spectator sport we've been playing since MTV launched The Real World in 1992. Before Richard got naked on Survivor, before a group of effeminate guys embarrassed themselves by joining the boy band O-Town on Making the Band and before we met the bitchy babes on Love Cruise, MTV created the reality show that could -- and would -- for more than a decade. Lately, critics have proclaimed the imminent death of the genre, but people are still hooked on The Real World and its spin-off, Road Rules. Ten years after its debut, The Real World draws ratings among 12- to 34-year-olds that are almost three times higher than in its first season. To honor reality TV's best, we asked the most memorable alums from The Real World and Road Rules to take things a step further and get even more real -- as in, real nude. Take another look at The Real World Los Angeles' Beth Stolarczyk, The Real World Miami's Flora Alekseyeva, Road Rules Semester at Sea's Veronica Portillo and Road Rules Quest's Jisela Delgado. You've watched as they've hot-tubbed, partied and argued with their roommates, but you've never seen them like this.
Promoting itself as the "true story of seven strangers, picked to live in a house and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real," The Real World features incredibly good-looking -- and often insane -- people in an immaculate living space. In the first season, filmed over the course of 12 weeks in New York City, the MTV generation became flies on the wall as Soho loft dwellers Eric, Julie, Kevin, Norman, Heather, Andre and Becky pursued their dreams of becoming a model, dancer, writer, artist, rapper, rock star and singer. Eric was the vapid male model. Julie was the small-town virgin. Norman was the token gay. And so on. On the small screen, they flirted. They cried. They talked about sex. They drank. Kevin moved out as a result of racial tension. Now that's compelling TV. Ten years, 10 cities and more than 70 cast members later, The Real World is still a formidable television presence, the reality program that has launched a thousand copycats. In 1994 came Road Rules, basically The Real World in an RV plus a slew of life-threatening stunts and games and a big monetary prize. Today, prime time is crowded with dozens of reality shows in which nonactors (i.e., wannabe actors) are placed in manipulated circumstances.
To see more of the MTV girls and read the rest of this article, buy the May 2002 issue of Playboy magazine.