Pioneer reality star Eric Nies is working hard lately to keep his world in sync with the real world. Through a new non-profit youth organization and outrageous reality DVD, Nies plans to promote everything from himself to world peace in the coming year.
“It’s all about keeping the iron hot,” Nies said, en route from a college stomping ground in Virginia to Tiki Bob’s – a similar haunt in Philly.
Nies and fellow Real World/Road Rules “survivors” are crawling bar-to-bar to promote “The Road to Reality,” a cast-produced program selling viewers on the stories behind MTV editing and the real people behind the Real people.
“Basically this is a platform for us to make money,” Nies said.
A primary objective in making the DVD for the former fitness guru and The Grind host was to clear up “misconceptions the public has about reality stars…about the money we make.”
“You get a little money up front, but no royalties…we’re trying to eat,” Nies said.
Divided into four groups, the cast clusters are covering some 50 cities across America. Nies is a member of “The Old School Tour.”
More than a decade has passed since Nies made his debut on an unknown MTV upstart that spawned a grand generation X (trickling down to Y) tradition of the true story of seven strangers picked to live in a house and so on and so on.
Through the years, Nies has capitalized on his celebrity status, blipping in and out of celebrity radar while simultaneously digging a niche in popular culture for himself.
“If you don’t do a reunion show or a challenge, you fade away,” Nies said.
The task of staying afloat in an entertainment landscape now dominated by reality stars (more new than old) has been a trying one, but now Nies stands on the brink of what looks to be the culmination of his experiences: “A Moment of Hope.”
Rooted in educating and empowering youth around the globe, “A Moment of Hope” is a chance for Nies to break into mainstream stardom, all the while making a difference.
“[We] have a responsibility to give back,” Nies said.
Via the official MOH Web site, high school and college-age youths can network globally with peers to find out how others and ultimately they can influence their communities and lend support.
“Issues with trust, growing up in a dysfunctional home, dealing with my father and alcoholism,” Nies listed as experiences he faced as an adolescent, but weren’t dealt with until well into his 20s.
“If we can get these kids talking, seeking advice…maybe things like Sept. 11, 2001, wouldn’t happen. We need to get kids learning how to take care of themselves.”
MOH will tackle several different projects in the new year, including a focus on building a healthy user-base on the Web. It is also in efforts to produce documentaries and concerts, as well as raise funds with and for young people.
Although MOH has been active since 2000, Nies remains on a steady, controlled path, aiming to hit the right notes with both the budding organization and his career.
Time will tell which shows more stamina: Nies or his brainchild.
From the looks of things, Nies has a future, both in the business that made him and the public he’s giving back to, as long as he keeps it real.
Matt Donnelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.