Day 18, Reality TV Show Contestant


Today I’m looking into the reality of those starring on reality TV shows like Hell’s Kitchen, The Biggest Loser an Geordie Shore etc. This should be interesting…

First before we look into this gig lets find out a bit of truth about reality TV.

This clip, by Reality Check Doc, completely shatters many of the preconceptions of reality TV.

Ex-Bachelorette contestant, Kaitlyn Bristowe, lets us in on the actual reality she faced as a Reality TV Show Contestant:

Something she says in this video that stuck to me was that reality TV is basically train-wreck TV that makes all of us feel better about ourselves whether we want to admit it or not. This is why there will always be a market for it and hey, if you want to help others feel better this is one way to do it.


Tasks involved:

These vary entirely but the generic tasks template is filling out forms, attending auditions and finally submitting to the show and all the tasks it gives you until the filming period is over.


Personality and skills required for this position:

 As reality TV is all about entertainment candidates have to have vibrant, eye catching personalities and backgrounds. “Diverse and fun” is the general rule casting directors follow when scouting for contestants. Depending on the show, certain talents could be required above a type of personality eg. good singing or cooking skills. A free and flexible schedule is also required as you will have to commit a lot of time to the show.


How to get into this career:

Visit the TV shows production company website, find the sign up link, and fill out the sign up form (put in effort to make yours stand out). Once you are contacted (providing your form stood out enough) you go through the interviewing process-the casting director contacts you to book an interview date to which you show up (via Skype) and try your best to woo them.

After this all you can do is wait to find out whether you made it or not, a process that can take 1-4 weeks. You then have to go for an audition at the studio headquarters (they often organize your transport) and finally you have to wait again to find out if you really did make the cut.


The working hours:

Being a contestant is more often than not a temporary occupation. Depending on the shows shooting schedule, the time a Reality Tv Show Contestant has to commit to “work” could be from 1 straight week to 4 months to 5 hours per week.


The pay:

This is totally dependent on the show and whether or not you are its winner. While your accommodation and food supplies are always provided your pay check ranges from $0,00 to $1,000,000+. Most people on Reality TV do it for the experience rather than the money.


The pros:

-Being on a TV show is a good way for you/your brand to become popular and so marketing yourself post show becomes easier. However if the audience doesn’t like the way the show portrays you the reverse could happen (see in cons).

-You meet new and interesting people with many of the same philosophies as yourself (there definitely is a certain personality required to be on a reality TV show).

-It is very dynamic, exciting and unforgettable experience (unfortunately this could also be a bad thing, if the experience was negative).

-You often get the opportunity to meet many of the big shots in TV and if all goes well they can become your connections.

-Trunks of cash could be in store for you if you win the show.


The cons:

-By rule of thumb, reality TV contestants do not get paid, unless they win.

-Often reality shows twist around truths and can portray you as someone you are not, which could have terrible side-effects (see next point).

-If you are portrayed as being an unlikable person on the TV show you/your brand could generate a lot of hate. This is especially detrimental if you do not cope well with hate (reports of Ex-Reality TV Contestant suicides are common).

-There’s a lot of stigma against Reality TV Show Contestants.

-All other aspects of your life get left behind during your time on the show.

-You are exposing yourself, with little to no privacy, to millions of viewers.


My conclusion and rating on this career:

This may be one of the most capricious gigs out there. It balanced on such a fine line, from being a rewarding and positive experience resulting in fame and unlimited cash to being a disastrous experience resulting in suicide, that, while some dream to be on a reality TV show, most wouldn’t dream of risking it. Based on the unpredictable nature of this gig, it’s a 5/10 for me.

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