MTV's 'The Real World' looks for cast members in Columbia

Saturday, March 19, 2011 | 6:15 p.m. CDT; updated 8:59 p.m. CDT, Saturday, March 19, 2011

COLUMBIA — "The Real World" returned to Columbia on Saturday to interview potential participants for an upcoming season.

The "fishbowl" reality show — the longest in MTV's history — films interactions between people, ages 18 to 25, living together in various cities around the world. Previous seasons have been filmed in New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia.

A few seasons ago, "The Real World" found Columbia resident Emily Schromm during a local casting call. Schromm participated in "The Real World: Washington D.C." in the 2009-10 season.

"It's a good town and it's a big school so we hope to meet some people here," said casting director Josh Herbst, who met potential cast members Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at Bengal's Bar and Grill.

Prospective participants filled out online applications and then came to Columbia where they filled out another application. The show's process for selecting cast members takes a few months, Herbst said.

Herbst talked to the applicants in groups to learn their stories. He said the turnout was good, but didn't have an estimated number of applicants.

"We're just looking for people who, when you meet them, you want to hear what they have to say," Herbst said.

Olivia Heller, a freshman studying biological science at Southern Illinois University, drove about two hours for the interview. She said she was inspired to apply because her friends told her she'd make an interesting addition to a TV show.

James Guest, who goes to school in St. Louis, applied because he has watched "The Real World" since he was a kid. 

Guest said the audition process is going well. He received a VIP pass so he didn't have to wait in lines because his online application was strong.

"I've never auditioned for any reality show or anything before so I'm kind of curious to see what goes on," Guest said.

Think you have what it takes to make it on "The Real World?" Check out the show's online casting page to find out how.

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