The Real World was one of the first reality TV series to show up on our screens and to this day, people still enjoy watching it. The show is considered as the original reality TV series, essentially introducing this genre of television. The MTV original series has undergone changes since the earlier years. If you recall, Real World (no longer referred to as “The Real World”) used to showcase the lives of the usual seven strangers living together where they would deal with real-world issues such as prejudice, sexuality, illnesses, racism, substance abuse, and more. The show captured the attention of millions across the world for depicting world issues that needed to be addressed by following regular, every day people.
Along with conflicts, it was the cast members on the show that the audience couldn’t forget whether they were fan-favorites or just controversial characters. Fast-forward to the recent seasons, a lot has changed. There are still conflicts but rather insignificant compared to the ones before. The cast members seem to portray more immature behavior than the former cast members. Note that the producers have always had some input with these shows and not surprisingly, they have more of a say today than before. So what we watch isn’t exactly an accurate picture of who they really are, according to some of the cast members.
Regardless, they have all left a mark on the Real World platform and loyal fans everywhere can’t help but wonder what they’re up to nowadays. With social media, fans get to follow them on Instagram, Twitter or even Snapchat.
The following are some of the most popular and conflicting characters from the show and what they’ve been up to lately. Some of them have turned out to be success stories in the media industry, others continue to be the athletes we watched on the Real World spin-off series, The Challenge, and the rest have settled down with their new families. Take a look at these 15 Real World cast members and see where they are now.
15. Ayiiia Elizarraras
We first met Ayiiia Elizarraras on season 22 of the Real World Cancun. The brunette was one of the controversial cast members we got to know, who had to deal with her own issues but unfortunately, didn’t play out too well on screen. She first came in with ex-boyfriend baggage, whom got her pregnant and left her a week before she had an abortion. We watched her pursue a few relationships on the show where she even got involved in some lesbian action, including with one of the cast members, Emilee Fitzpatrick. Aside from her love life, we also witnessed her bad friendships with some of the cast members which led to her bad reputation on the whole series. Overall, it seems like we were watching someone who was finding herself and not everyone was on board with supporting her.
As a result, today Ayiiia continues to share her unique experiences via social media, while residing in San Francisco, after living in Los Angeles for a while. She considers herself a Latina Expressionist and has been open and proud about her sexual orientation. According to her Instagram, she works as a graphic designer and she no longer has an interest in appearing on the MTV Challenges.
14. John Devenanzio “Johnny Bananas”
On the Real World season of Key West, we got to meet John Devenanzio, or as everyone else knows him, Johnny Bananas. Little did we know, we got a small glimpse of who this guy was on the season but where we really got to know this stud was on the Challenge series. He was known as one of the really ambitious ones throughout the seasons including The Duel, The Inferno 3, The Island, Battles of the Exes, and so much more. Along the way, he’s made a lot of friends and a few enemies but overall, everyone enjoyed the personality of Johnny Bananas.
To this day, the 34-year-old California native is in no hurry to stop his MTV journey any time soon. He continues to pursue each Challenge, making a name for himself and even a career. He’s become one of the original cast members of the show and is considered now as a veteran.
13. Emily Schromm
You might recognize this cast member from season 23 of the Real World D.C. Emily Schromm came in to the show as the tomboy and the athletic one which is why it wasn’t surprising when she killed the competitions on the Challenge seasons. She was seen romantically with one of her Real World cast members, Ty, where they shared common interests but like the rest of those flings, it ended because of drama and a lot of conflict. She continued to pursue short-term relationships throughout the spin-off series of The Challenge but that didn’t stop her from being this strong figure in the series, both mentally and physically. However, it was her physical strength that stood out the most.
It was always obvious that Emily was destined for the fitness world. Today, you can catch her still on her athletic grind and join one of her fitness challenges. The Missouri native is now a personal trainer and nutritionist, along with her own fitness business and a huge Instagram “fitspo” sensation. Emily is a big inspiration to millions in the health and fitness industries, offering her two-cents and professional advice. She is the perfect example of how athletic these competitors on the show really are. Sometimes they get underestimated but those challenges are no joke and Emily proves it.
12. Jonna Mannion
Jonna Mannion also appeared in the Cancun season, alongside Ayiiia. She was the “catch” of that season, where she struggled to stay faithful to her then boyfriend, Matt, because of her new eye candy, Patrick. Eventually, she breaks up with Matt and gets with Patrick. For a while after the show ended, the two were pursuing a real relationship and not just their friends with benefits status that we watched on the show. However, that didn’t work out.
When it came to the series, she appeared in a few of the Challenges including Rivals, Battle of the Seasons, Rivals 2, Free Agents and Battle of the Exes 2. But today, the Cancun Alumni has her own family with Kevin Stephens, giving birth just recently to a baby girl. She proudly announced the news on her Instagram, speaking on behalf of her newborn. “Hey guys! My name is Naleigh J,” Jonna wrote in the caption of an adorable photo of the baby. “I was born about a week ago on 8/3 at 8lbs 14 oz. I am so excited to finally be home, happy and healthy with my mom and dad.” Congratulations to the new mom!
11. Johanna Botta
Fan-favorite Johanna Botta first appeared on the MTV screens in the Real World Austin season. After her season ended, she decided to try out some of the challenges but it seemed like it wasn’t in her pathway. She was linked to her Real World Austin cast member, Wes Bergmann, but is now happily married to her husband, Kenny Santucci, and living in London. She works as a TV presenter and producer there which she enjoys sharing on her Instagram account. As followers continued to keep up with her completely different life from her real world days, they also got to find out the news of her new addition to her family. The 33-year-old welcomed her newborn son, Diego, in 2015, in a slick way in a caption of her at the studio saying, “Back at work and it feels so good #workingmom #tvpresenter #itnproductions #london #johannabotta #2monthspostbaby #industrynews.”
10. Kenny Santucci
We first laid our eyes on Kenny Santucci on the first season of The Challenge: Fresh Meat. He was definitely the eye candy of that season and managed to do well as a competitor. Kenny believes it was his charisma and charm that won over the audience and other TV roles besides on MTV. After winning first place three times on the challenges, Kenny went on to pursue hosting gigs including for “Jersey Shore Hook-Up” as well as several morning shows and podcasts.
Aside from entertainment, Kenny is also successful in the fitness industry. The 34-year-old is a CrossFit coach with his own CrossFit gym in Rochelle Park as well as becoming the owner of New Jersey’s Premier CrossFit Facility powered by Reebok. He mentions on his website that he plans to build his brand in the fitness industry.
9. Jamie Chung
You’re probably well aware of Jamie Chung’s success after her reality TV career. The 33-year-old went on to pursue a real acting career, including gigs in The Hangover Part III and Grown Ups. Prior to being an actress, she first appeared on our screens when she was a cast member for The Real World: San Diego and a few of the challenges including Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno II. Although she was a quiet and drama-free roommate, she has completely turned heads around as the one with most successful career in media.
Aside from acting, she’s also joined the blogging and fashion industries with her own website, What The Chung. Along with that, she’s also become a social media sensation, most notably on Instagram for her fashion style. In 2015, she married her long-term partner and actor, Bryan Greenberg, whom she first started dating in 2012. The wedding was a three-day celebration in which guests were required to wear costumes since the first day was on Halloween Eve.
8. Abram Boise
Everyone remembers how Abram Boise was known for his unique personality which made sense when he fell for the unique Cara Marie later in one of the Challenge seasons. We first got to meet Abram on the Road Rules: South Pacific. But fast-forward to his relationship with Cara Marie, the couple became a fan-favorite because of all the drama that surrounded them. One that the audience cannot forget is the time when Cara Marie cheated on Abram with another cast member named Thomas. She did take it to Twitter to apologize for her actions.
The two have been dating for over five seasons of the Challenge and their status remains confusing to their followers. Aside from his love life, Abram has been a consistent cast member of the series. When he wasn’t on TV, he worked as a bartender and now works as an art director at Sound Color Studios, according to his Twitter profile.
7. Paula Meronek “Walnuts”
Paula, or “Walnuts” as they liked to call her, joined the Real World when she was cast in the Key West season. She was the one struggling to open up about her bad experience with anorexia and bulimia. It was on the show, when she finally revealed about her eating disorder and received endless support from her roommates. It wasn’t easy to watch her continue her struggle on the show. As viewers watched, it almost seemed impossible for her to recover. However, Paula finally grew into her own person in front of millions of viewers and overcame her struggle. We saw how much she improved and she even walked away with two victories from the Challenge seasons. She became a regular contestant on the Challenges but eventually got her own life together outside of reality TV.
In 2013, she announced her engagement to Jack Beckert and in 2014, she shared the news of being pregnant with their first child together. They officially tied the knot later that year in September. In July of 2015, Paula “Walnuts” and her hubby welcomed their new bundle of joy, Atlas, into the family.
6. Karamo Brown
We were first introduced to Karamo Brown on the Real World season of Philadelphia in 2005. He came in as a 22-year-old, single father who happened to be gay. With that being said, he made a name for himself as the first African-American to come out as gay on reality television. During the show, the audience saw his struggle to be confident in his own skin while defending himself to some of his roommates. In the end, Karamo thrived as a cast member and his experiences has led him to his success today.
He is now an on-air host and producer for the Oprah Winfrey Network, Huffington Post Live, and BET. You might have also watched him as a contributor for Access Hollywood Live on NBC, Dr. Drew Live on HLN and other CNN shows.
Along with his media career, he continues to raise his two sons, Jason and Chris, in Los Angeles. Karoma is definitely right up there along with Jamie Chung for one of the most successful cast members post Real World.
5. David Rainey “Puck”
Way back in the beginning of the Real World series, we met Puck during the San Francisco season in 1993. The Oakland native definitely left his mark in the series forever, being the bad boy he was. From the very first day of the season, not even inside the house, Puck was getting himself in trouble with the law. He was the last one to come in the house because he was detained by the police for a traffic incident. During the season, he had the reputation of starting heated conversations and arguments. Not surprisingly, this bad reputation followed him after his reality TV days. In 2012, Puck pleaded no contest after he allegedly was stalking an unidentified woman and then later, was sentenced to two years. However, he received enough credits to be released under a year. In 2013 though, he was on felony probation and was forbidden to leave the Los Angeles area.
On the brighter side, he married his wife which was televised on the Real World/Road Rules: Battle of the Sexes. The two had their third child in 2013, residing in Neenach, California. In 2014, he opened up to TMZ about his life after prison, explaining how ironically he works as a women’s makeup artist. It’s ironic because he’s known for his disturbing views of women and he was convicted for stalking a woman. Well not shockingly, he explains he’s going to benefit from the makeup industry because women need it since they’re “ugly” and “smell.” Looks like not all of them move forward and grow up.
4. Trishelle Cannatella
As one of the biggest household names in Real World history, Trishelle Cannatella made her debut in the entertaining Real World Las Vegas season. The 36-year-old has been very open about her experience on the show saying that the producers were pressuring her to be someone else from day one of the auditions. She said during the show, alcohol was made readily available and was asked about their plans on certain nights. Trishelle continued her MTV journey, participating in a few challenges including Real World/Road Rules: The Gauntlet and The Inferno. But the most exciting appearance she made was during the reunion of the Las Vegas season, appropriately titled as Reunion: The Real World Las Vegas.
The Southern native continued to pursue reality TV for a while and ultimately landed some modeling gigs including for Playboy. She is also a poker player on the side. She won $20,000 in the 2010 WPT Invitational Tournament.
In August of this year, the Real World alumni got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, John Hensz. “My engagement was amazing,” Cannatella said in an interview. “He completely surprised me.” She also got to dish out on how accurate her appearance on reality TV was. “It’s hard to say accurately portrayed. Clearly, there was editing,” she explained. “I can’t deny my actions, because they were on camera. Did I make out with two people in a hot tub, yeah. Could they have made it seem a little less shocking than it was? Yeah. Was there really a pregnancy scare? No, there wasn’t!” Overall, it was entertaining to watch whether the whole thing was real or not, but it seems like Trishelle is better off without reality TV.
3. Chris Tamburello “CT”
Everyone recalls CT from the Real World Paris and especially know him recently from the Challenges. Chris, or CT, first appeared as a cast member on the Real World Paris. He was controversial and that was just the beginning. After the season ended, he decided to jump on board with the Challenge where we discovered an even more terrifying side of CT. If you’ve watched the series, you know never to mess with the 36-year-old. The guy has made a reputation for himself as “the monster,” especially since that dark moment he had with Adam, who was also from the Real World Paris. The two were obviously not friends. However, there was only one person who could bring out the soft side of the Real World alumni and that was his on and off girlfriend, Diem Brown. Their love story would go down in Real World history. They met in The Challenge in 2006 which was odd at first, considering the two were complete opposites but perhaps that’s what made it work. Since, the couple were on and off and Diem was battling cancer in 2006, 2012, and again in 2014. The two continued to participate in the Challenge series but unfortunately, she lost her battle that year in 2014.
Today, CT is a real estate investor in Florida and explains how he got there after losing Diem. “It’s crazy. I tried to stay busy while I was in my little fog and when the dust settled, I took steps to move forward, not move on…I think there’s a difference,” CT explained. “I took this real estate tour and I ended up talking to this guy about getting a new place. Next thing you know, he was like a mentor to me. I do everything from rentals, to flips, to certificates…got it going on.”
2. Coral Jeanne Smith
Another household name, Coral Jeanne Smith was first discovered when she got cast in the Real World New York season. She was also a regular contestant on the earlier challenges including Battle of the Sexes. During her season on The Real World, she was most noticed for her confrontations with cast member, Mike “The Miz,” regarding conversations that focused on racism. Smith mention her role as “the b*tch” on the show was due to her assertiveness and outspokenness in which she never apologized for.
The racial conversations followed her throughout the seasons of The Challenge, as she got involved with “white boy,” Abram Boise. Before Cara Marie and Abram, there was an even more controversial relationship-Coral and Abram. Although Coral insists that they didn’t have a romantic relationship and it was due to the heavy editing of the producers, she was still open about whatever the kind of relationship they did have. In response to a comment about what they had between in them, Coral explains that she was there to help him and that she’s happy about who he has become. “We’re going through this weird racial thing. He doesn’t bring it up and it’s not an issue with us, which makes it even more wonderful. It’s just right and it’s something that happened naturally. He didn’t have to fight against this racist thing. I give all the credit to Abram for his changes, and for who he is now. I believe that it was his ability to learn and be open to other people’s words.” She then continues to say, “And when Abram and I opened up to each other, it was a beautiful, beautiful friendship that I’ve never experienced before, ever. I’ve never met anyone like Abram.”
Fast-forward after her days on reality TV, she started exploring her sexual orientation which she believed was “a long time coming.” In 2013, she gave birth to daughter, Charlie Beatrice. “Thanks everyone for the congrats-Charlie B really is a perfect little joy,” Coral tweeted. “Pics and stories to come!! #MomPower.” Today, she is an advocate for the LGBT Pride, Animal Rights, Marriage Equality and the Truth.
1. Mike Mizanin “The Miz”
If you watch wrestling, then you know The Miz. But what you probably didn’t know is the first time household name, Mike Mizanin, a.k.a., The Miz, got recognized was in the New York season of The Real World in 2001. He was such a character when he was on the show and his entertaining personality has taken him far in his media career. He decided he was done with that kind of reality television and knew what he was destined for. In 2003, he joined the Ultimate Pro Wrestling, making his debut as what else, The Miz. He later got into the WWE, joining Tough Enough, Deep South Wrestling, and more. From then on, he has made a career out of wrestling, completely turning around his reality TV reputation to his passion and career.
He was romantically involved with Real World cast member, Trishelle Cannatella, which the audience got to watch on some of the challenges. That relationship didn’t work out too well but Mike did meet someone else along the way in his wrestling career. He met WWE wrestler Maryse Ouellet and married her in the Bahamas on February 20, 2014.