“We wanted to mix it up and get some fresh faces. We’d love to get someone from Oklahoma,” said Bonnie Clark, casting producer for Big Brother. “We’re looking for contestants who are outgoing, competitive — people comfortable in their own skin, whatever their points of view in life are, that they can wear their emotions on their sleeve and just be comfortable with it.”
The show pits contestants in a house for several months, during which time they are isolated from the outside world and under 24-hour surveillance by dozens of cameras.
Shawn — the show’s producers asked that last names not be used so as not to hinder anyone’s chances — arrived early enough to be first in line. He said he knew full well how he’d appear if he lands a spot on the program.
“I would come off as the nice guy, but I think I have a vindictive personality,” said the 41-year-old Yukon resident. “I’m very controlling; I want it to be done my way, and I think I could plan things around that.”
These traits were echoed by many in line, but none so blunt and to the point as Alice, a mortgage loan officer from Edmond.
“I would do what it takes to win,” she said. “I would lie, cheat, scheme — anything to get to the top.”
But not everyone was there for fame and glory.
Maronda, a petite 33-year-old outfitted in a University of Oklahoma sweatshirt, has auditioned for the show five times.
“I want to be able to show my kids that if you keep going at a dream, as long as you don’t give up, you can finally do what you want to do,” she said. “Hopefully, I can show my kids that: Live your dream, keep trying and don’t give up.”
Not as earnest but just as enthusiastic, Oklahoma City native Cali said he would rely on comedy to win. The 20-something wore a T-shirt and baggy shorts to the Big Brother auditions.
“If I were to be watched by people 24/7, and there was nothing to do, I would try to make people laugh,” he said. “Like, try to act stuff out — maybe do like little puppet shows, hang around and be goofy, try to lighten the mood. I’d be like the comedic archangel, if you will.”
Just a few months ago, 22-year-old Jordan Wisely was going to college and working for his dad’s construction company, just trying to find his place in the world.
All that changed when the Mustang native found his place on The Real World: Portland. Wisely was one of eight people selected for the latest season of MTV’s long-running reality series, in which a group of people in their 20s live together and interact.
“Being on The Real World really teaches you about yourself,” he said. “You’re forced to come face-to-face with who you really are.”
Wisely gave credit to the producers for taking the series back to its roots.
“Originally, The Real World was about real people dealing with real-life situations and, somewhere in the middle, it kind of strayed.”
Like many a Real World alum, he would like to parlay TV screen time into an acting career.
“[It’s a lot of] work and dedication,” he said. “I feel like I have those qualities to really dive into a role.”
Until that acting career takes off, Wisely is putting his efforts into other projects, including a clothing line he began a few years ago.
“A big part of learning about yourself and going through this experience is taking responsibility for everything you do,” he said. “I feel like I do that well.”