The Reality of Reality TV

The end of January is approaching and if you haven’t let your resolutions fall by the wayside then kudos! If one of your resolutions were to be on reality TV, before you stand in the long lines and wait to plead to the producers why you should be picked over the midst of other contenders, here are a few words of wisdom from previous and current stars that have walked the paths you’re aspiring to go.


Before Flavor Flav gave her the moniker Prancer, Mercedes Clausen was just an average working girl with aspirations of fame. “I always wanted to be on television since I was a kid. I was always working toward that goal [once I participated on reality television] I got a lot of perks… a lot of freebies, upgrades, got to meet cool people and do really fun things. I got to travel more in two years than I did my whole life.

Mercedes’ VH1 cohort, Christine Ly, the actress who has been in “Janky Promoters” and “Next Day Air” who’s better known as Cali, felt the same way. “I was booked everywhere in the country; asked to do everything (mags, radio, charity events, etc.). I met so many people in the industry [and] everyone knew who I was, I was living a dream!”


“I understood the meaning of 15 minutes of fame… It seems like all these new shows that came out made me kinda fade and they wanted to see the new faces. My bookings slowly stopped and everything slowly ran down and my mistake was never having a backup plan as far as career and money… It’s hard to stay relevant when you’re not on TV, and it was harder to get back on TV because there were so many new show concepts and new faces that they weren’t really needing the “veterans” no more.” -Christine Ly/Cali.


Monica Leon was a San Jose State University undergrad with a major of Biology and Child Development, and a position as a preschool teacher before the lure of LA pulled her to pursue an acting career. On “For the Love of Ray-J,” her tattoos of a tiger and a painter’s palette lead her to being named “Danger.” “I made my character, Danger, larger than life, and the editing made her representation more devious than I had imagined… People really think that I am insane. It’s pretty funny to me, I take it with a grain of salt, The people who mean the most to me in my life know who I am. I know who I am and that’s all that truly matters.”

Kenny Santucci, a popular contestant on MTV’s “The Challenge” and co-owner of the “Suck Yeah” clothing company can agree to those sentiments. “I get pegged as a villain and still to this day don’t know what I did to be the “bad guy.”


“They can only edit what you give them. They edit to tell a story, not to alter your personality. I think people who think editing “ruined their lives” are actually just exposed to who they are for the first time and don’t like what they see. Instead of being like, “wow, I should make some changes in who I am as a person,” they try to place the blame on producers and editing.” -Mercedes Clausen/Prancer.


“My mistake was never having a backup plan as far as career and money. I lived in the moment and didn’t think long run… [Using the fame I garnered through my participation with reality TV is] easier said than done. These casting directors of high budget movies don’t care about a “reality” resume, they care more so of the acting resume… and the acting experience that you have.” -Christine Ly/Cali

“I have and still hold a 9-5 while on the show. I would never not have a regular job. It keeps me grounded.” -Kenny Santucci.


“It bugs me every time [a child reveals that I’m her role model]. I want you to want to be Michelle Obama, not Danger. You can look up to Monica Leon, she’s amazing. I always overcome, no matter what the world throws my way… I remember one girl told me that I gave her the courage to follow her dreams.” -Monica Leon/Danger

“Older and younger guys who watch the show always tell me [I’m their role model]…I was visiting Boston and some guy told me that I’m a modern day philosopher and a great leader.” -Kenny Santucci.


“The travelling has to be the best part. I’ve seen the world and such great things and have met so many people and got so many different experiences. There are so many people that dream to see the things I have seen.” -Kenny Santucci


Danger, she smashed the homies This is always very insulting, whenever someone says this I cringe. I think there are a lot of immature people out there. That goes with the territory of being exploited.


“You have no idea what you are getting yourself into. Think before you speak, stay humble, and don’t believe the hype. The most important thing is to keep your loved ones close, and keep the fake people as far away as possible.” -Monica Leon/Danger

“Pick the right show! Some can help, others can hurt.” -Kenny Santucci

“Be smart about the decisions you make after. Have a backup plan and this industry is very cruel. Gotta be strong because along with the fame comes the negative blogs and people trying to take advantage of you. And if you’re trying to advance your career through reality into mainstream you definitely need to network your butt off. Don’t think it’ll come easy, because it won’t. After reality TV, the mainstream is a whole new grind.” Christine Ly/Cali

“Don’t do it!” Just kidding. I mean, be yourself. Be the best you you can be. Be interesting. No, be more than interesting. It takes spunk and personality. Be careful what you wish for though. Think long and hard about what your future goals are and be sure that this will help you. People think that this is an automatic way to have everything they want in life and it isn’t. It definitely is not a road to guaranteed success.

Follow Mercedes Clausen(@PrancersWorld), Monica Leon (@monicadanger), Chrisine Ly (@ThisIsCaliLuv), and Kenny Santucci (@KennySantucci) on twitter.

Also, visit Monica’s fan page:

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