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Real World Philly Tryouts Credit: Michelle Bigony

I want to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.

This is how I feel, in a nutshell, when I hear that MTV is holding an open casting call for the 25th season of The Real World right in Philadelphia.

The press release says MTV is looking for “people with strong personalities who are unafraid to speak their minds.” To me this translates to, “We are looking for you.”

But before I e-mail Housing Services to tell them that I have found alternate arrangements for sophomore year, I notice the word “diversity” in the release.

For its 25th season, The Real World is looking to include cast members who are overweight, physically challenged, widowed, a member of the emo/punk/goth subculture or someone who was affected by a natural disaster.

My chances of getting on the show as an average-weight, average-looking college freshman who primarily listens to bad pop look slim, but I refuse to give up hope.

Rather than try to gain 30 pounds or learn to cry on command in one week, I go the punk route.

I arrive at the casting call, donning a pair of fishnets, a short black skirt, a leather jacket and my Doc Martens — the only remotely “alternative” article of clothing I own.

The looks I get as I walk into the audition are evidence that the excessive black eyeliner and pale face powder have successfully made me look like a combination of Kristin Stewart and Avril Lavigne.

I know I’m at the right place because the line to get in continues halfway down the block.

But there is something wrong. None of the people standing in line look emo or physically challenged, leading to the assumption that they all have tragic life stories.

I ask Angelo Massa, a self-proclaimed “die-hard Jersey boy” what his deal is, and he responds with: “How can I explain this without being cocky?”

He then proceeds to tell me about how much fun he is and how many people he knows at all the hottest clubs.

“People call me The Mayor,” he says, while insisting that he’s not a Jersey Shore knockoff.

“The Situation is a tool,” he adds.

I politely decline his suggestion that we get to know each other better (“How do you know we’re not soul mates?”) and turn to a girl standing further up the line.

Carla Torrisi from New Jersey is “the weirdest person you’ll ever meet,” she says.

After she tells me that she usually matches her mascara to her bra straps, I begin to agree.

However, she insists that she is more than a Jersey girl.

“I’m just that person who will make a difference. You will know who I am,” she says.

I had almost given up on finding a tragic reality show-worthy story when I met Justin Buckley, a native of Norristown, Pa.

Unlike Massa, who came to casting for “shits and giggles” and Torrisi, who just wants to be famous, Buckley believes The Real World could change his life.

With an absent father and a mother with drug problem, Buckley has until recently been responsible for his mentally ill uncle’s care.

Now that his mother is recovering, however, he is “free.”

And what better way to enjoy freedom than signing a five-month contract with MTV?

—Staff writer Ellie Levitt contributed reporting for this article.

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