For someone who never imagined being caught dead on a reality show, I’ve learnt one lesson: ‘Never say Never’.
The show that I’m currently shooting for isn’t a rip-off of any foreign reality series, thank Heavens!
It’s a fresh off-the-stove concept, on a hip channel, by a skilled director with a grand prize. Besides, it also means one more bullet point on my work profile and one more stamp on my passport!
I set out on the two-week long shoot and bid farewell to my best friend – my phone.
Before handing in the handset I quickly make my last minute wish-me-luck calls and was stormed with a rapid fire round of questions. Most friends seemed to be asking the same question: ‘Any cute guys on the show?’
Ready to roll
We arrived at the mystery location. The hotel was grand and the people seemed sweet. There was an interesting assortment of characters: the pretty, the witty, the bimbos, the himbos, the brain, the pain, the fitness freaks and most importantly the starlets!
Those initial icebreaker sort of questions bounced back and fourth: asking each others’ names, work profiles, hometowns etc. as well as the top two: ‘Are you seeing someone?’ and ‘Who shot your portfolio?’, which rank among the Top 10 model FAQ’s of all time. There was, strangely, no air of competitiveness.
Then the cameras began to roll. And they kept rolling all day! Being on camera all day long wasn’t as easy as I had imagined. But somehow the attention hogs seemed to work their magnetic pull with tears and trauma, giving me plenty of time to slouch.
The judges, interestingly, fell into the fixed format of a reality TV judging panel: one absolutely razor sharp one, another the ‘cannot-hurt-a-fly’ type and finally the ‘not-too- sweet-not-too-salty type’.
After a dizzy first day of shoot we retreated to the hotel to catch up on our beauty sleep. I decided to hit the gym… to be greeted by the usual suspects. All of them! The competition, had indeed, begun!
The following mornings, we followed the same cycle of having a power shower, followed by make up at 6 am followed by a power breakfast before it was show time. What soon became the driving force was fear as the eliminations started and one of us was going to be sent home. The judges finally mustered the courage to call out that name. It wasn’t me.
Friendships were budding, crushes were sprouting and attractions were sparking. Guy-girl preferences, right from choosing a seat at the dinner table to a partner for the round, were beginning to surface. It’s probably due to the fact we were shut in a closed environment, on a staple diet of rabbit food, with no time for television and no phonesm so there wasn’t much entertainment on offer.
Next another elimination was announced. Again, it wasn’t me.
Soon the competition was hotting up. So was the humidity level, with teary eyes on the rise. Egos were clashing, people were getting hurt and vindictive. Macho-exterior guys with softie hearts were behaving worse than the chicks.
You just cannot imagine how much drama takes place behind the scenes. It’s an editor’s nightmare and probably a director’s dream. Like you, I’ve always wondered if the tamasha on reality TV is scripted. Let me tell you: it is NOT.
Four episodes down, four more to go. Fingers crossed!