What it’s like being on a Reality Show

My friends who work in different professions always want me to share stories and tell them how being on a show is, or what it was like acting in a series. A lot of it may seem glamorous and sometimes it is, but most of the time it is writing emails, auditioning, learning a script, practicing accents, getting fit, honing your craft, and trying not to lose hope when you have heard nothing back.

Now, back to the Reality show. I think every reality show is different and every individual on the show will experience it differently. There are things that you can and can’t say, because we had to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

The Brief

I got an email from my agent in Johannesburg for a casting/audition. The email said something about requiring woman looking to break into the media industry and that it was open to all women. The first episode of this show would be filmed at the Call-back location with the top 50 candidates. The judges would then choose 13 ladies to reside in Steyn City for the duration of the reality show. One lucky lady would win cash and a lot of other cool stuff. This was season 2 of this particular show, but I was not even aware of season 1. So, I googled to find out as much information as possible, to gain a better understanding of what this show was about.

Breaking into the media industry sounded good but living away from my husband for an unknown amount of time between mid-August to early December and with people I don’t know. This idea seemed a bit daunting. I decided not to do it, but when I told my husband about it, he said go for it, why not? Okay, I thought, let’s see what happens, what are the chances anyway, they were casting nationally.

Audition Day

At that stage I lived in Pretoria, and the casting was between 10am and 2pm in Johannesburg. I went early to just get it over and done with, but when I got to the casting studio, it was packed. I had been to this casting studio previously, but I had never seen it like this. I signed in, got a number, and waited outside. As the line kept moving, we were eventually inside the building, I quickly noticed that you either went in for a few minutes and came out another door or you didn’t come out until much later.

My number got called and I stepped through the door, I didn’t know what I was going to be asked to do. In front of me was what looked like a panel. They asked me a bunch of questions like who is my role model and why? What do I normally do for work? Those type of job interview questions. After a while of questions and answers, they said I could proceed to the next area. What was beyond this room? An outdoor seating area, where we would wait to be called again. One of the casting directors from this studio called me into a room and asked me questions, but this time in front of a camera. He asked me how I would deal with conflict? Do I like to confront people? And a bunch of questions to get to know me more.

Waiting for my video interview

Waiting for the Call

I walked out feeling good, knowing that I answered the questions honestly and if I am not a match, it is not meant to be. I knew that they were letting us know within 5 days if we made it or not. I was a little hopeful, but you just need to carry on with your life and try to not obsess about what you think will happen or what you did or didn’t say. 5 days were over, and I assumed I was not chosen and just carried on with life. Then I got a call from the casting director 2 days later, he asked me whether I was coming to the call-back, wait what? This was going to happen in 2 days’ time. I had to bring an A4 size headshot and meet them at the call-back location.

Callback

When I arrived at the call-back location, there were 50 girls. I did not recognize any of them. Some were from Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and possibly various other places. We were all chilling and chatting, when the director informed us that we needed to do something for the judges, any talent you have, showcase it. We had to walk onto the stage, introduce ourselves to the judges and showtime. I sang, didn’t know what else to do with such short notice. After that was all done, we could kind of relax and they would choose 13 of us. We waited, ate lunch and then the big reveal happened. We were all on stage and they would say our names one by one and tell us whether we made it through or not. Of course this was a nerve wrecking moment, waiting for your name to be called, stepping forward and hearing whether you made it or not. “Annetjie” that’s me, okay step forward, “you are through, congratulations” What?!

Leaving home

Packing my bags and saying goodbye to my husband was tough. When would I be back? I just had to see where this would all go. They sent an Uber to pick me up, so no, I couldn’t just drive home whenever I wanted. Steyn City here I come!

Steyn City Villa

We stayed in a house where we had 4 bedrooms to share between 13 girls. There were bedrooms with 2 beds, 3 beds and our room slept 5 ladies. You had to just select a room and if it was already taken too bad.

How the show worked

The show had a few sponsors and we always had to wear clothes from a specific store. We had a stylist, and we could choose our own outfits, but the stylist would have to approve it. Whenever we would film, we would also have to do what they referred to as “Diary Room” sessions, where you would speak about the days happenings and how you experienced it. We would have to do activities and challenges. After each challenge there would be an elimination evening. Before the show started airing on national tv, there would sometimes be media days in which all 13 contestants would have to participate even if they were already eliminated, so that nobody would know who got eliminated.

Me in a diary room session

Activities & Challenges

Every week viewers would see us doing a lifestyle activity as well as an elimination challenge.

Lifestyle Activities

  • We visited Lesedi Cultural Village and got to know a bit more about our country’s cultures. It was good and very informative.
  • We did some Yoga outside our Steyn City Villa. We had a beautiful river in our backyard, and we just started our morning off with ease.
Attempting to do a Yoga Pose
  • We attempted skateboarding at the Steyn City skate park. No comment from my side, I am not a skateboarder, but I tried anyway.
  • Advanced Laser tag like never before. I haven’t actually played what people refer to as laser tag, I have just heard that it’s not painful. The laser tag we played at Black Ops worked with a stressX shock belt that tasers you when you got shot. It was fun but also a little painful.
My hiding place in one of the Laser Tag games

Elimination Challenges

  • We had to shoot a 1-minute video that showed our cultural differences and our heritage as South Africans, but we only had 2 hours to complete and hand in our edited video.
  • We had to complete an obstacle course with our partner in a record time. This was a very physical activity, which tested physical and mental strength as well as partner work.
  • We had to direct and style 2 models to attain a slice of life image. We were provided with a photographer, clothes, hair and makeup. We each had to then choose an image to present to the judges on elimination night. We had to share all the resources and complete the challenge in 2 hours.
  • The make-over challenge was my last challenge on the show. We got partnered up and had to perform a make-over on each other. We had to be adaptable for our partner to change our hair and look and visa versa. I gave my partner full reign, and she was open to make any change to her appearance as well. At the end of the day, they didn’t like the way that I styled her hair.
My last diary room session after elimination

Leaving the house

When I got eliminated from the show, it was quite sad. I had a real connection with some of the girls, as we were together every day. We went through challenges together and helped each other through them. Every time a lady would leave the house, it got quieter and I feel like the tension grew because we were constantly reminded that we were in competition with each other.

Other Stuff we filmed

They would sometimes film us doing stuff at the house or shopping for our wardrobes. We also had the privilege of visiting the Home of Hope, which is run by a lovely lady called Mama Khanisile Motsa. She takes care of girls who don’t have homes, who need love and an environment to flourish in. This lady is wonderful! We got to spend time with the girls at home of hope, we did an industrial theatre skit for them, shared a meal, and gave them some clothes. This was technically a challenge, but nobody got eliminated.

The Finale

We all got invited back to attend the finale, where they would reveal the winner. They played us clips from the season and asked us to comment and explain what happened in certain situations. We could each say which of the top 3 ladies we would felt should be the winner. It was lovely to see all the ladies again.

Walking the red carpet at the Finale

I learnt a lot from doing this show and I am grateful for the friends I’ve made.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this blog. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below. Until next time, lots of love and stay safe xx

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