Exclusive Interview: Evan Starkman, Contestant on MTV's The Duel (Part 2)
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Were your friends and family supportive of you when you decided to get involved with MTV, or did they think you were kind of crazy? Well, I think everyone thinks you're a little crazy because it's such a foreign world. I mean, even if you and I were to have an interview all day, I could never truly explain to you what the experience is like, how it actually works, and what it's like to live it afterwards. It's such a small little family, and I think that's why so many Real World cast members stay so close because it's such a small group of people that truly understand what you've been through and what you're going through right now. What do you think is a major misconception that a lot of people have about you or the show? I think that one thing is people are like, "Oh, it must be scripted." That's 100 percent untrue. Everything you see is completely real. There's something called the "wall" which means that production can't talk to you. You could be standing there kicking a camera man in the nuts repeatedly, and they cannot tell you to stop, they do not exist in your world. So, there's an absolute wall between you and production, so there's no set situations. It's 100 percent unscripted, its 100 percent real. Cool. We got some questions from some of your fans as well, so here they go: Do you have any advice for making audition tapes to apply for the show? Well, first of all, my number one advice is to go to an open casting call. You can check on Bunim-Murray.com, they have open casting calls. The best way to get your face out there is to actually go in and sit in an interview and meet a producer, that'll stick in their mind. But, I do think a lot of people get casted through tapes. Actually, the majority do. And the one misconception is everyone thinks that "Oh, I got to do something fucking crazy like ride my bike naked in the snow or something." But, no, that's completely wrong. Everybody can ride their bike naked in the snow and they've probably already seen that a hundred times. So, throw out all your insane ideas about doing something stupid on camera, sit on your bed or on a chair, and tell them a story. Basically, what they're looking for is someone who can sit in front of a camera and be very honest about how they feel and tell a good story. So, if something pisses you off, tell them what pisses you off. If you like something or are passionate about something, sit in front of a camera in your room, no fancy tricks, and tell them what you're passionate about. Be honest and be able to express yourself on camera. That's what they're looking for. And you can imagine 300,000 people try out for the show every year, so I know they say five minutes on the tape...they look at each tape for about 20-30 seconds. So, don't save your big finale or big joke or whatever for the end. You've got 30 seconds to convince them to keep the tape rolling, otherwise they're taking the tape out of the VCR and throwing it out. It seems like you don't get along with Diem too well. Aside from everyone being nice to her about her cancer, what do you really think about her? Oh, that's a good question. Very insightful question. Honestly, Diem is a friend of mine who I speak to often. I really think she's a beautiful person. She's been through things in her life that I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. She's a real survivor and I really think through all these shows and all the interesting people you meet, she's one of the few people that have actually had the opportunity and has actually inspired other people, including myself. She definitely inspired me in a lot of ways. I love her to death and I think she's a beautiful person outside of the show. On the show, I think that sometimes she plays that nice, naïve, little Diem southern bell card, and she's a very smart witty girl. So, often, she's playing the game a lot better than she lets on and I guess sometimes in the challenge setting I get a little pissed off that she plays like I'm naïve, I'm the dummy along for the ride. I'm like "Nah, you know exactly what you're doing, you're very calculated, you got a lot of shit going on behind closed doors. Don't play me for a fool." But outside the show I love her and she's a real incredible girl. What do you think of Beth's comment on the after-show where she called you sneaky and manipulative? First off, I think that when you reach the tender age of 39, you really shouldn't be coming back to the challenge anymore. That's my number one opinion about that. I was a little surprised by Beth's comments on the after-show because not only was Beth nothing but nice to me on the challenge, and we got along great, and I've never bad mouthed Beth, even though people always ask me to, because she was nothing but nice to me. So, I don't want to just get on the bandwagon and say Beth is a bitch, Beth's crazy...because she's always very nice to me. But Beth, you did call me a snake or something to that liking on the after-show. I think that Beth is a little upset that she got sent home and Beth has a different way of playing the game or the challenge than most people, which is sort of just to tell everyone to screw themselves, and try and piss everyone off. But I think she was a little upset that she went home and may have been a little upset that maybe I was playing the game a little better than her, because she prides herself on the game. I really don't have any reaction because, honestly, Beth is a middle-aged woman, you know what I mean? She's pretty well going through menopause right now, and I don't want to talk shit about a woman who's going through menopause. I also think that she does certain things for camera time...I definitely think that if you create drama, yell at a lot of people, say stupid things, you get your face on television. So, I'm glad that she was able to pull my picture out of a basket and say something mean about me hoping that it would make an impression on people. I don't know, it's just ironic that she's calling me a snake in the grass when she's sort of like the...the dinosaur in the grass. But, yeah, she's going through menopause and I wish her well with that and I hope that the Real World pension fund...she's actually going to be the first cast member to ever receive the Real World pension fund. So, I really hope that goes well for her and I'm glad that I was able to contribute through the unionization of cast members and you know...we're all fighting for Medicare for her. Her first show was in 1992...to put it in perspective, I was eight years old when Beth began her journey on the Real World. So, my goal in life is to win a challenge and then convert her Real World Los Angeles home into a retirement house for her and I'm going to do a whole grass-theme so she can just slither around as a retiree. Have you hooked up with anyone on the show? I've heard some rumors! (Laughs) Well, yeah, it is all rumors at this point. It's fun to keep rumors rumors and, you know, I've been trying for a long time to start a rumor on the show that I have a ten inch penis, so maybe that contributes to me getting some of the ladies, but I wish they would exploit that more on the show, because that's a better rumor to have about yourself. Clearly it's not true, but I wish it was...
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