The Real World is no stranger to drama. In fact, the show practically invented TV reality drama. Even though The Real World: Cancun marks the shows 22nd season (practically ancient by television standards), the franchise shows no signs of slowing down. And what better way for MTV to induce a new batch of ratings-grabbing antics than introducing eight angsty post-adolescents to booze, sexual tension, glass showers, and nightlife all set in a vacation paradise?
One of the new housemates, 21-year-old Derek, isnt surprisingly, like many a Real World alum, a hungry fame hound -- at least not yet, and not by trade. A waiter and aspiring sports medicine practitioner, Dereks on- and off-screen persona aches of the brutally honest nice guy. The Arizona native recently chatted with Out about his extended stay in Mexico, his sexual adventures south of the border, and why he isnt your typical flamboyant gay.
Out: Was living in Cancun like really a long vacation?
Derek: Yeah, its like spring break -- everyones in vacation mode.
Was it weird putting your life on hold to go on this crazy adventure?
Yeah, because Im the kind of person that once I start something I dont want to stop until its done. As soon as high school was done I started college. I havent really had any breaks to myself and I was like, If anything, this is going to better my life in a lot of aspects, its going to open a lot of opportunities for me, Im going to meet people out of this, and its going to be a crazy ride. Say The Real World ended in a couple more seasons, thats like what -- almost 200 people who got to experience something like this? -- some 200 people out of the entire nation, so, to be one of them is amazing.
What was your craziest moment not caught on camera?
There actually was one, and I dont know if Im allowed to say it or not. There was a time when were in the Jacuzzi and in the pool, they had de-miked us because we were there all day so the producers and the camera crew left. There was a guy there that I could tell was gay. He was giving me this eye and I ended up going to talk to him and we left the pool area and went back to his room for a meeting -- well just say it was a meeting. They were kind of mad that they didnt get that on camera.
But other moments like that were caught on camera?
Yes, there was one guy that I actually met down there that I am still currently talking to. I dont think its anything relationship-wise at the moment because hes in Washington D.C. right now and Im still in Phoenix. Im not the type of person who wants to get into a long distance relationship, but we still talk. Hopefully the way that they show him on the show is going to be good because hes a really good person and Im glad I met somebody like him in Cancun.
But for all intents and purposes you consider yourself single?
Yes. I am single -- Im on the market.
The Real World has a long history of having queer people on the show. Did you feel like you were the token queer cast member?
Of course they have had LGBT members in the past, so when they actually picked me I was like, Oh, Im the gay guy I guess -- thats whats going to be my storyline. I suspected I would go into this situation with someone who was ignorant and someone who was never really around gay people. So I was like, thats going to be my worst enemy. But, coming into the house with open arms from everyone made it a lot easier. As described by my roommates, they were like, Dude, youre the coolest gay weve ever met, because Im not the stereotypical gay guy. I actually like to go to straight bars and I like to go to straight things more than I like to go to gay clubs and stuff. I enjoy playing sports and physical sports. I like going to sports games and stuff. So, Im not your typical like flamboyant gay at all.
Speaking of your roommates, if you had to pick a favorite cast member and then a least favorite who would they be?
I would have to say, other than Jonna -- because I already knew her so I dont consider her one of the cast and Im gonna have her in my life forever -- if I had to pick one of them it would have to be my personal roommate Bronne. Just because Bronnes the type of guy, no matter what the situation is, he can make you laugh, and you have a good time no matter what youre doing with Bronne. He texts me every now and then, he goes, I miss you babe, where are you at in my life? I need you to help me dress, Im out of control right now.
Do you have a least favorite?
I wouldnt say its a least favorite because I love all my cast mates but if I had to pick somebody who we didnt bond well in the very beginning, Id have to say Ayiiia. She clashed with everybody. There was no huge altercation between her and me because I think she knows Im one of those people who will not be spoken to in the way she spoke to some of my other cast mates. Now we talk, and now that I got to know her more -- we ended up on good terms and she was really good to me. Shes not my least favorite she just wasnt my favorite in the beginning.
Did you have a crush on any of the guys in the house?
Going into it I saw CJ first. CJ was Mr. Dreamy, but going through this whole experience with him and being there for four months -- that crush kind of went nowhere and he turned into a big brother.
Were you happy with the way the show ended?
Actually, I am. Because through thick and thin, no matter what happened, I stayed myself throughout the whole process and I left with seven well, six because I knew Jonna going into it -- six of the best people I had ever met. They are going to be my friends for a long time.
A lot of people sign up for The Real World because they want to get their foot in the door of the entertainment industry. Why did you apply?
I dont know -- its just something that I always wanted to do. Of course when youre little you want to grow up to be a superstar. Personally I think I was born to be somebody -- I think I was born to be known. Which part of the entertainment business that is, I dont know because Im still open to it -- Im still very young. When that opportunity presents itself, Im going to go ahead and take it.
The Real World: Cancun airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST on MTV.Send a letter to the editor about this article.