Whatever Happened To The Cast Of The Real World?

Stop us if you've heard this one before: "This is the true story of seven strangers picked to live in a house..." The iconic line opens nearly every season of MTV's genre-pioneering reality series "The Real World." The show brought strangers from different places and backgrounds together and filmed their dynamics, relationships, and antics. While this formula might sound typical in the current days of reality television, the show laid the path for a new format when it debuted in 1992.

"MTV's 'The Real World' has been credited with creating the reality TV genre and was one of the first series that tackled important and yet unrepresented topics of the time, from HIV/AIDS, Race, Gender, Orientation and Religion," MTV Entertainment Group President Chris McCarthy told Today.

Not only did "The Real World" make way for new documentary-style shows, but it also birthed many spinoffs (like competition series "The Challenge" and reunion series "The Real World Homecoming") and launched several notable careers. From Congress to Hollywood, here's what some of your favorite former castmates have been up to since they "stopped being polite and started getting real."

Heather B. Gardner reunited with her original Real World castmates

When rapper Heather B. Gardner entered the New York City loft on the inaugural season of "The Real World," she became a reality television pioneer. Not only as one of the first people to appear in the new genre, but also as one of the first Black women. She now works as a Sirius XM radio host with fellow MTV alumnus Sway Calloway, who recalled her impact. "Sway was really one of the first people to remind me of that," Gardner told Shadow and Act. "He said, 'Do you realize you're the first Black female to ever do reality television?' I never looked at it like that. Other than music videos, they didn't show Black women on MTV."

In 2021, Gardner reunited with the rest of the original cast on the six-part Paramount+ series "The Real World Homecoming: New York." Though it had been almost three decades, the group was able to come together in the same loft that made the first season special. "To go back into the same place where we did this thing 29 years ago, you can't even imagine it," Gardner told USA Today. "It was just absolutely crazy."

Eric Nies teaches health and wellness

Also a part of the first season, cast member Eric Nies appeared on "The Real World" while on probation after he was arrested for "possession of steroids." Fans might be surprised to learn Nies turned his life around, which he credited to the reality show on E's "For Real: The Story of Reality TV" (via People). "If 'The Real World' didn't happen and my life didn't go where it did, I might've been dead," he said. "I was able to look at myself and see the things I didn't like about myself that I wanted to change."

Following the show, Nies continued his work with MTV as the host of "The Grind" and appeared on multiple seasons of "The Challenge." He now helps others through his work as a spiritual health and wellness facilitator. "I've been able to travel around the world and chant and meditate with 2,000 monks in Tibet, and travel to New Zealand and the Far East and all over the world and had many, many incredible experiences," Nies told People.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Kevin Powell is a prolific writer

Young writer Kevin Powell came to the first "The Real World" house after he had just been expelled from college. What started as a way to gain more exposure for his writing ended up catapulting his career and a new form of television. "The only thing I thought was like, 'If I end up on this show, maybe because I'm on TV I'll get some speaking gigs and some poetry gigs,'" he said in a 2015 Death, Sex & Money interview. "I had no idea that all these years later everybody and their momma would have a reality TV show."

Powell continued writing after "The Real World" and has authored several books, including the memoir "The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy's Journey into Manhood" (via HuffPost). His writings have also appeared in several publications, such as Esquire, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone. Additionally, Powell is a speaker and "pop culture curator," and he ran for U.S. Congress in 2008 and 2010, according to Biography.

Tami Roman became a reality show staple

Early viewers of "The Real World" no doubt remember Tami Roman from the show's second season in Los Angeles. During her stint, cameras captured Roman's many experiences, including an abortion and housemate David Edwards ripping the covers off her barely clothed body (resulting in Edwards' removal from the show).

"She had this amazing ability to be vulnerable and be completely honest about who she is," series producer Jonathan Murray told The LA Times. "There was a confidence there that made her incredibly attractive."

Roman continued to show that authenticity throughout the years on several other reality shows, such as "Celebrity Wife Swap," "Marriage Boot Camp," and "Basketball Wives LA," starring in "Basketball Wives LA" for almost a decade. Roman now works as an actress and producer after growing tired of reality television. However, the "Truth Be Told" star did make an exception when she reunited with her Los Angeles castmates in 2021's "The Real World Homecoming: Los Angeles." Roman dished on her decision in an interview with Los Angeles Magazine, revealing she had said no "so many times" before deciding to sign on to the reunion series. "I felt there was no harm, no foul in going back to finish what I helped start," she added.

Sean Duffy served in the U.S. House of Representatives

More than a decade after being featured on the show's Boston installment, Sean Duffy went on to represent his native Wisconsin for five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before his life on the Hill, the attorney, who appeared on "The Real World: Boston," served as Ashland County, Wisconsin's District Attorney.

The Republican Representative announced his resignation from Congress in 2019 after learning his ninth child, whom he shares with his wife and fellow "The Real World" alum Rachel Campos-Duffy, would be born with health complications, as the Daily Mail reported. Duffy met his wife in 1998 when they competed on MTV's "Road Rules: All Stars," and he now works alongside his spouse at Fox News (Campos-Duffy is a co-host and Duffy works as a contributor). In 2021, the couple released the book "All American Christmas" in partnership with Fox News Books and HarperCollins (via The Hill).

Irene McGee started a podcast

Although she wasn't at the "The Real World: Seattle" house for too long, Irene McGee lives in infamy for a dispute in which roommate Stephen Williams slapped her as she left the series. "People still recognize me every single day," McGee recounted in an article for Vulture. "Half of them know that, in 1998, I was on the receiving end of what many have dubbed 'The B***h-Slap Heard Around the World' when I was moving out of MTV's 'The Real World: Seattle' house early in the series' seventh season."

Following her heated departure, McGee started the podcast "No One's Listening," which was "picked up by CBS Radio," according to McGee's website. She also educates the public on her experience with Lyme disease and has performed in the one-woman show "Me, Myself, & Irene."

"People always ask me if I regret being on the show," McGee wrote about the aftermath of her MTV appearance. "I don't know, I can't say. I was on the show, and my life is forever changed because of it."

Ruthie Alcaide transitioned to a career behind the camera

Hawaii native Ruthie Alcaide made her television debut when "The Real World" headed to her home island in 1999. Like many of her fellow MTV reality show alumni, Alcaide went on to star on "The Challenge" — specifically in "Battle of the Sexes" and "The Duel II" — and 2021's "The Challenge: All Stars" on Paramount+. Unfortunately, Alcaide never won any of the competitions, according to Us Weekly.

When she's not on MTV, Alcaide still works in the entertainment business. She's been a part of the production teams on films like "Almost Home" and "The Rainbow Bridge Motel," in which she also acted. Now living in Los Angeles, Alcaide also works as a motivational speaker and is an avid traveler, which she spoke about in an interview with the local Hawaii podcast "It's a Hawaii Thing." "I've wanted to travel the world for so long since I was a kid," Alcaide explained, adding, "So far I've got about 19 other countries and 47 out of the 50 states."

Mike Mizanin became a professional wrestler

MTV fans might remember Mike Mizanin, as well as his alter ego "The Miz," from "The Real World" Season 10. These days, wrestling fans now know that alter ego as a WWE Champion.

"I'm living with seven people who don't gravitate towards me," Mizanin said of his time (via Yahoo!), noting, "I'm saying things that are rubbing people the wrong way. That's why The Miz was created. All of a sudden on the show, people started liking The Miz more than they liked Mike. I started doing The Miz all the time because they liked it more."

After "The Real World," Mizanin set out for a career in wrestling by joining California's Ultimate Pro Wrestling league (via Bleacher Report). He eventually made his way to WWE after gaining attention in the competition series "Tough Enough." When he's not wrestling professionally, he also continues starring on reality TV in shows like "Dancing with the Stars" and his series "Miz and Mrs." with his wife and fellow WWE star Maryse Mizanin.

Aneesa Ferreira maintained her MTV presence

Aneesa Ferreira has been an MTV mainstay since debuting as one of the first bisexual Black women on "The Real World" in 2002. Early on, the Philadelphia native was a natural on film. "I didn't care that they were there," Ferreira told Vice about the MTV cameras. "I was living my best vegetarian, queer life and being me. I didn't realize there weren't as many people that were as comfortable or carefree as I was until I went on television."

These days, MTV fans know Ferreira from her appearances on "The Challenge." Although she's competed on the show throughout two decades, she, unfortunately, has the longest losing streak, according to Bustle. However, this hasn't stopped Ferreira from competing, telling Vice she will return to the show for as long as she can. "There's going to be some point where either I'm not going to want to do this or they find other people to do it that are more fitting for whatever themes they're going for," she said. "But I'll keep going until that time comes."

Chris 'C.T.' Tamburello is an actor and The Challenge all-star

While MTV enthusiasts may remember Chris "C.T" Tamburello as the bad boy of "The Real World: Paris," these days he may be more famous for his many appearances on the network's "The Challenge." In fact, as of 2021, he's competed 21 times across the franchise and has won six times, after bringing his tough-guy persona into the competition, according to Distractify. "I do regret getting into fights and getting kicked off," Tamburello told Rolling Stone in 2018, noting, "It's all part of learning. I'm lucky that I had another chance to come back."

Tamburello has also landed acting roles outside of his impressive MTV streak. Fans can watch him in the 2019 horror film "Habitual," in which he credited "The Challenge" for preparing him for the movie's stunt work. "We didn't have any safety harnesses or safety nets or anything," Tamburello told People, stating, "It was worth it in the end." In 2021, he received his first leading role in the thriller "The Most Dangerous Game," alongside Oscar nominee Tom Berenger.

Karamo Brown has had a successful TV career

Karamo Brown made history as the first openly gay Black man on reality TV when he appeared on "The Real World: Philadelphia" in 2004. He's since become a household name and LGBTQ icon in his own right as the culture expert on Netflix's Emmy-winning reboot "Queer Eye."

Brown compared his first television appearance to his life now in a 2021 People interview. "At that moment in my life, I was so unclear, I was so afraid to be vulnerable," he said. "I was so afraid to talk about what I was feeling. All of my issues and challenges were coming up in negative ways, and now here I am, years later, fully aware of who I am, living my passions, being honest with myself, being vulnerable, and helping."

The father of two also flexes his hosting skills on his self-titled podcast and has appeared as a contestant on other reality shows, such as "The Challenge" and "Dancing With the Stars."

Cameran Eubanks appeared on another hit reality show

Cameran Eubanks made her reality television debut at just 19 years old when she first appeared on "The Real World: San Diego" in 2004. Now the real estate agent, wife, and mother is known for her starring role on Bravo's "Southern Charm," which she filmed in her home state South Carolina from 2014 to 2019. While Eubank's husband, Jason Wimberly, didn't have a huge presence on the show, he did encourage her to get back into reality television. "My husband is the one who pushed me to do the show," she told Glamour in 2015. "He's very supportive."

After six seasons of being "the voice of reason" on the hit show, Eubanks announced her departure from "Southern Charm" in 2020. According to E!, Eubanks wrote about her decision to step away from reality TV in her autobiographical book "One Day You'll Thank Me: Essays on Dating, Motherhood, and Everything In Between." "I'm pretty certain I am done with reality TV," Eubanks wrote. "I've got two shows under my belt, and at this point I am enjoying a simpler life without a camera in my face."

Jamie Chung is now a Hollywood actress

Cameran Eubanks' "The Real World: San Diego" castmate Jamie Chung has also appeared on screen after her MTV days. Chung has kept busy working as an actress for more than a decade on shows like "Dexter: New Blood," "The Gifted," and "Gotham." According to her IMDb page, she's also landed spots in several movies, including "The Hangover Part III" and "The Misfits."

However, Chung revealed she felt like a Hollywood imposter until her breakthrough role as Ji-Ah in HBO's "Lovecraft Country." "I've always lacked a lot of confidence knowing that I come from a reality background," Chung told The Hollywood Reporter. She added, "I always felt like I was an imposter, and that I didn't belong and was going to be called out. And it wasn't until I worked on 'Lovecraft' that I really found the confidence in my ability."

Off screen, Chung is married to fellow actor Bryan Greenberg, and the couple became parents when they welcomed twins in October 2021.

Arrows Fitz is now a YouTuber

When Arrows Fitz auditioned for "The Real World," they (and MTV viewers) were in for a twist. Thirty days into the filming, the show surprised castmates by moving their exes into the house on the season known as "The Real World: Ex-plosion." "I think [the cast] was really, really upset because it was our show," Fitz said, explaining the plot twist to Bustle. "And now it was us plus those people we thought we left behind."

Ex drama aside, Fitz became known for their androgynous style while on the show. "I've never gained so many followers, I've never had so much support and emails," Fitz told East Bay Express in 2016. "I was tomboyish. I was definitely still pushing it on both sides and trying to figure out who I was." They continued to showcase their style and other creative outlets as an influencer on platforms like Instagram and YouTube.