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A Power Ranking of Former Real World Cast Members

Fifteen former roommates who rode their reality TV fame to careers in the spotlight.
  • Clockwise from top: Mike Mizanin, Karamo Brown, Tami Roman, Jacinda Barrett.
    Clockwise from top: Mike Mizanin, Karamo Brown, Tami Roman, Jacinda Barrett.

    While The Real World aired its final season three years ago (a last gasp on Facebook Watch that didn't take), the pioneering reality series is arguably more relevant today than it's been in decades, thanks to The Real World Homecoming, the Paramount+ series that's been reunitng casts from the show's glory years. The series has been downright fascinating for the show's longtime viewers, as we bask in the nostalgia and relate to the aging former roomates as they're forced to confront their younger lives lived in the show's cameras.

    Equally fascinating is the "where are they now" aspect of the series, where the castmates share the stories of their lives since leaving the show. A good number managed to parlay their brief moment in the reality TV spotlight into lasting careers in the public eye, and while those are the folks we'll looking at today, it's worth reminding each other that a life lived in private can be just as (and arguably more) fulfilling than one spent pursuing a successful career in movies, TV or politics. On to the list:

    15. Teck Holmes

    teck holmes

    Original Season: The Real World: Hawaii (1999)

    Height of Fame: Teck was very much the showman of his season, memorably jumping into the pool naked on move-in day. After the season ended, he transitioned into a short stint as an MTV VJ, had a guest spot on an episode of Friends (Season 9's "The One with the Mugging"), and at the height of his fame, co-starred in the breakthrough Ryan Reynolds comedy Van Wilder.

    Present Day: Teck still appears in small-budget movies from time to time, but he remains most notable for being on The Real World, having returned to The Challenge for its first two all-stars seasons.

    14. Janet Choi

    Original Season: The Real World: Seattle (1998)

    Height of Fame: After cutting her teeth on The Real World: Seattle's radio-station job, Janet worked her way up the ladder in TV journalism. She was a reporter for the in-classroom news program Channel One News, before moving up to KTLA in Los Angeles, and a correspondent job for CBS News in 2009.

    Present Day: Janet has since moved behind the scenes, producing for MTV's True Life, Channel One News, and most recently serving as deputy commissioner for the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment.

    13. Cameran Eubanks

    Original Season: The Real World: San Diego (2004)

    Height of Fame: A decade after her time in the Real World house, Cameran returned to reality television as one of the original cast members of Bravo's Southern Charm, following a group of friends in Charleston, South Carolina.

    Present Day: After exiting Southern Charm in 2019, Cameran published a book of essays on motherhood called One Day You'll Thank Me.

    12. Rachel Campos-Duffy

    Original Season: The Real World: San Francisco (1994)

    Height of Fame: Rachel's fame meter would've track even higher if she'd been hired as a The View co-host, a position she was considered for several times before losing out to Lisa Ling in 1999, Elisabeth Hasselbeck in 2003, and Jenny McCarthy in 2013. Instead of spending her mornings with Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg, Rachel made a name for herself in conservative media, specifically on Fox News, where she's defended detention camps for immigrants and blamed the Biden administration for Russia's invasion of Ukraine on shows like Outnumbered and, as of late, Fox & Friends Weekend.

    11. Eric Nies

    Original Season: The Real World: New York (1992)

    Height of Fame: After The Real World ended, MTV wanted to keep their breakthrough hunk in the fold, and out of that came The Grind, a show where hot young people danced to music videos, with Eric as the host (he also starred in a MTV's "The Grind Workout" videos, which were exactly what they sound like.

    Present Day: As we saw on The Real World: Homecoming, Eric has become a naturalist and self-styled shaman, which probably translates to "can set up an ayahuasca weekend for you."

    10. Kevin Powell

    Original Season: The Real World: New York (1992)

    Height of Fame: Eric's Real World loftmate has enjoyed an enduring career as a journalist, starting with his position as senior writer at Vibe.

    Present Day: Kevin continues to write and remains focused on social justice, with the book When We Free the World published in 2020.

    9. Kelley Limp

    Original Season: The Real World: New Orleans (2000)

    Height of Fame: After The Real World wrapped (and she and Danny won the only season of The Challenge they ever competed on), Kelley ended up marrying actor and former Party of Five star Scott Wolf in 2004.

    Present Day: As you'd know if you were watching the current season of The Real World Homecoming (which you should be), Kelley is currently working as a life coach, still married to Scott and raising their three children.

    8. Tami Roman

    Original Season: The Real World: Los Angeles (1993)

    Height of Fame: After her season of The Real World, Tami married (and later divorced) NBA star Kenny Anderson, and in 2010 she was cast on the VH1 reality show Basketball Wives.

    Present Day: After seven seasons of Basketball Wives and Basketball Wives: L.A., Tami left the series in 2019. She's currently hosting another VH1 reality series, Unfaithful: Caught in the Act, helping suspicious lovers catch their cheating partners.

    7. Mike Manning

    Photo: Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection

    Original Season: The Real World: D.C. (2009)

    Height of Fame: Mike was a standout cast member of the show's post-Obama season, set in a momentarily hopeful Washington D.C., where he had ambitions to get into politics. But it was actually acting where Mike found his biggest success. In 2014, he starred in the Disney Channel movie Cloud 9, along with guest appearances on Teen Wolf and Hawaii Five-0.

    Present Day: Mike's currently riding the height of his fame, having won a Daytime Emmy Award for his performance on the Amazon soap opera The Bay and appearing in a recurring role on Days of Our Lives.

    6. Karamo Brown

    Original Season: The Real World: Philadelphia (2004)

    Height of Fame: After working both behind and in front of the camera on mostly talk shows in the years after he was on The Real World, Karamo re-entered the pop culture sphere in a big way in Netflix's 2018 reboot of Queer Eye, where he's one of the new Fab Five sent to makeover people's lives and looks in middle America.

    Present Day: Karamo continues to star on Queer Eye, which is on six seasons and counting. And just this past March it was revealed that Karamo will be hosting a daytime talk show that's being lined up as the successor to the retiring Maury Povich's show.

    5. Sean Duffy

    Original Season: The Real World: Boston (1997)

    Height of Fame: While Sean wasn't known on The Real World for being particularly politically active or outspokenly conservative, the Wisconsin native is a career Republican and in 2002 was appointed as District Attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin, where he was re-elected four times. In 2010, Duffy successfully ran for a seat in the House of Representatives, where he was re-elected four times before resigning in 2019.

    Present Day: Sean left his post in Congress to care for his and wife Rachel Campos-Duffy's ninth child, although he continues to contribute to Fox News and support Donald Trump.

    4. Kyle Brandt

    Original Season: The Real World: Chicago (2002)

    Height of Fame: Like many a Real World alum before him (and after), Kyle went to Los Angeles to pursue acting after his season. Unlike many a Real World alum before him, Brandt actually found some success, specifically in the soaps. From 2003 to 2006, Kyle starred on Days of Our Lives as Philip Kiriakis, scion of wealthy and unscrupulous businessman Victor Kiriakis.

    Present Day: After Days, Kyle moved into the realm of sports media, rising to the ranks of executive producer on The Jim Rome Show, and in 2016 moving to NFL Network, where he's co-hosted Good Morning Football ever since. In this writer's opinion, Kyle's outspoken support of the Buffalo Bills has gone a long way toward making up for how poorly he treated Keri on The Real World.

    3. Jacinda Barrett

    Original Season: The Real World: London (1995)

    Height of Fame: While Jacinda spent much of her time on The Real World pursing her modeling career, the Australian turned to acting after the show, and built a decently significant career for herself with roles in movies like Ladder 49 (opposite John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix) and Poseidon (opposite Josh Lucas and Keri Russell), and as a regular on TV shows like Zero Hour, Bloodline, and a recurring role on Suits, co-starring her real-life husband Gabriel Macht, with whom she attended the wedding of Prince Harry and their Suits co-star Meghan Markle.

    Present Day: Jacinda continues to act as well as raise her and Macht's two children.

    2. Jamie Chung

    Photo: John Nacion/Everett Collection

    Original Season: The Real World: San Diego (2004)

    Height of Fame: Jamie jumped into an acting career after The Real World, and after bit appearances in movies like I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and Rihanna's "Umbrella" video, she was cast in Zack Snyder's 2011's action fantasy Sucker Punch, starring alongside Vanessa Hudgens, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, and Jon Hamm in the action-heavy extravaganza. She went on to star in movies like Premium Rush and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and in the independent film Eden, for which she won an acting prize at the South by Southwest Film Festival. She also starred on the ABC drama series Once Upon a Time, playing the classic Disney character Mulan.

    Present Day: Jamie continues to act, having most recently starred on HBO's acclaimed series Lovecraft Country and on Showtime's Dexter: New Blood.

    1. Mike Mizanin

    Original Season: The Real World: Back to New York (2001)

    Height of Fame: What makes Mike "The Miz" Mizanin The Real World's greatest success story isn't just that he found huge international success after the show, but that he succeeded at the very passion that he talked about pursuing on the show, a career as a pro wrestler, and rose to the absolute pinnacle of that field. Starting in 2003, Mike signed up for wrestling school, learned the business, and made his WWE debut in 2004 (via, appropriately, their reality series Tough Enough). Since then, he's become an 8-time tag team champion, an 8-time Intercontinental champion, and in 2010, he pinned Randy Orton to become the WWE Champion. Mike is one of only 33 wrestlers to have win the WWE's triple crown of championships, a list that includes The Rock, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and Ric Flair.

    Present Day: The Miz remains with WWE, having defeated Rey and Dominik Mysterio at the most recent WrestleMania. He also stars on the USA reality series Miz and Mrs. with his wife (and fellow WWE superstar) Maryse.

    Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: The Real World, The Real World Homecoming, Cameran Eubanks, Eric Nies, Jacinda Barrett, Jamie Chung, Karamo Brown, Kevin Powell, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, Rachel Campos-Duffy, Sean Duffy, Tami Roman