Get ‘Real’ Philly

Seven strangers, picked to live in a house – for the 20th time.
Casting directors from Bunim/Murray Productions, producers of MTV’s “The Real World,” are coming to Philadelphia on Saturday to scope out who the city has to offer for season 20, scheduled to begin taping this fall. The open casting call will be held at O’Neal’s Pub, 611 South 3rd St., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Casting director Damon Furberg considers Philadelphia to be one of his “go-to” cities, and said that it has consistently been a good city to find people for the show.

“There’s a sense of regional identification, with a certain kind of personality,” he said.

After 19 seasons of production, it’s important to keep casting fresh, according to Furberg, who has been working on and off with the show since season 12. Furberg said it has been one of his greater challenges, but he doesn’t focus on finding people who fit in particular stereotypes.

“Everyone thinks there is an angle,” Furberg said. “We don’t know what we’re looking for until we trip over it.”

To get a glimpse at what casting directors are looking for “The Temple News” caught up with Karamo Brown from “The Real World: Philadelphia,” season 15.

The Temple News: What about you stood out to casting directors?
Karamo Brown: How f–king sexy I am. I’m a sexy beast. No, it’s just being open. You have to know where the handle is to your heart, and know when to turn it and open it. You need to be able to articulate how you feel at any particular moment. Also, they’ve never had a man who is black, gay and sexy.

TTN: What was it like living in a house with six complete strangers?
KB: Crazy, crazy, crazy. The first two weeks are kind of rough, living with people who have none of the same interests, getting used to the crew of people following you around. It really just messes with your mind.

TTN: How did you cope with the constant following of crews and cameras?
KB: I was actually the only person in the house who went crazy. I got cabin fever. You just can’t leave on your own. You always have to call the director. I always felt watched.

TTN: You’re from Houston and live in Los Angeles. What did you like most about living in Philadelphia?
KB: It was my first time living on the East Coast. There’s a sort of realness that people have here that you have to love – the rawness and grittiness.

TTN: What did you like least about living here?
KB: The rawness, grittiness and realness – we had some rough times when people were particularly rude. Sometimes you want that Southern hospitality and the laidback style of the West Coast.

TTN: What is your best memory of Philadelphia?
KB: The Eagles games. There’s so much pride that Philadelphians have about their sports teams. By the end [of the taping of the show] I was a fan.

TTN: What is your worst memory?
KB: Any memory involving MJ. He is the only cast mate who no one talks to. He pretends that he got the same thing the rest of us got out of the show. After having two gay roommates and two strong female roommates, he should be a lot more open and a lot less sexist.

TTN: Do you have any regrets about being on the show?
KB: Not one. It gives you an amazing opportunity to have a period of your life on tape to see how you’ve grown. It’s opened any door to opportunity that I’ve tried to open.

TTN: Do you like cheesesteaks?
KB: I love cheesesteaks. My boyfriend (who he met during the taping of the show) is from Philly. He just recently went home, and I told him to bring me a cheesesteak back. The airport actually made him check it.

TTN: Would you ever consider moving to Philadelphia?
KB: I come back to visit all the time … To live there? Sorry. It’s been 85 degrees out here [in Los Angeles] since February.

Leigh Zaleski can be reached at

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