Diary of … a former MTV cast member

Kyle Dansereau is a sophomore biology major who was a cast member on MTV’s reality show “Virgin Territory” in 2014. He believes that college students can learn from his experience of being on television and turning into a celebrity overnight, all while managing school and a personal life. 

The process began with a simple post I responded to online, which said, “Casting virgins for a new true-life documentary series.” The concept intrigued me because I really wanted to share the story of still being a virgin at my age and that keeping your virginity, and not rushing until you find the right person, is OK. In most shows, you see people rushing into sex and having one-night stands, and I wanted to help change that image.

Several months later, a call from a number with a New York area code popped up on my phone, and I wasn’t even going to answer. But when I did, I was shocked.

“Hi. This is MTV. Is Kyle there?” I had trouble comprehending the words, and my heart was racing. For the next several months, they observed me through phone, Skype interviews and other evaluations to see if I would be a good candidate for the show “Virgin Territory.”

It’s hard to be evaluated and finally cast for a reality show. The phone calls and Skype sessions were almost daily, and sometimes I had to sneak out of class to take calls. It was also hard to keep quiet about the whole process because it had to be a secret. Months of this went by until, one day, another random call came through as I was walking from class. “Hi. I am the producer from MTV’s ‘Virgin Territory,’ and you have been selected!”

I remember stopping in my tracks and screaming at the top of my lungs. It was the craziest and most surreal moment of my life. After I hung up the phone, I actually cried with excitement.

Now, I belonged to MTV. I had to be ready to drop whatever I was doing at any point in the day to answer calls or FaceTime, and I still had to keep it a secret. For several months, MTV spent time just getting to know me and my daily routines in preparation for filming.

On the first day of filming, I ran outside my dorm and saw all the vans and film crew members, and the reality of the situation hit me. I walked into Flagler College’s dining hall at the busiest hour with a full camera crew surrounding me. It was a strange feeling, at first, having to act like myself while being followed by a crew with huge cameras and lights and microphones. But by the end of the first day, I felt so comfortable with the crew and producers that I hardly noticed them.

Filming every day was exciting but people don’t realize how exhausting it can be. It began the second I woke up and ended late at night; every moment in between was fast-paced. I would always forget I was wearing a microphone and that they were recording my every word.

I had a blast getting my friends involved with filming, and my daily routine remained the same. Everyone always wants to know if my performance was scripted, but I remained myself the whole time, and the crew followed my lead. It wasn’t your typical drama-filled show, but instead my true life story. I remained open and honest and never held back.

On the last day, during final exam week, I could barely film because I was so exhausted. I had never been so stressed in my life. I cried when it came time to say goodbye to the crew because we had developed a close bond. But after they left, I finally got to catch up on sleep.

I had no idea how much footage they were going to use or when the show was coming out, and I was nervous about how they would portray me. But one day, without any warning from MTV, there I was on MTV’s Facebook page. I nearly died; the show was about to air.

I never saw any of the footage before, so I watched the episodes each week along with the rest of America. The first time I saw myself, I was proud of the story I told because I felt it was the true me, and it was never manipulated. I went in thinking, “I am getting the opportunity to share my personal story with the world,” and that’s what I did.

So many opportunities and cool experiences came after the first episode. The morning after it aired, I appeared in a huge picture in the New York Times, and later I was on “The Talk,” “The Soup,” The Washington Post, Providence Journal, USA Today and local news channels. The show even aired worldwide; it was shown on MTV Australia, UK, Canada, Italy and France. I was voiced over in all the different languages, which was really cool.

My social media accounts exploded after the first episode, and I was so happily overwhelmed with the fan mail. That’s when knew I was telling a story that others connected with and appreciated. I answered every message, sometimes Skyping people; some would start crying while I talked to them. I loved being able to make someone’s day like that.

I would not change a single aspect of the process, and I am proud of everything I accomplished. Not once did I let any part of it go to my head, and that’s the biggest message I want to send to people. Some people have this misconception that because I was on MTV, I must have become a jerk, but I actually proved that I am a genuinely good person, and I never brag about the fact I was on MTV. If someone asks me about it, I love to talk about it, but having been on a reality show doesn’t define who I am.

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