By just recently premiering, "The Real Friends of WeHo" has already captured the attention of fans everywhere and the ire of naysayers.
When the show premiered on Jan. 30 on MTV (following "RuPaul’s Drag Race"), fans finally saw what the internet has been talking about since the show was announced a few short weeks ago.
While the template is familiar-six people cast to showcase their “reality” and document their lives-it is clear that this is a type of reality show that we have not seen before. The opening shots show of Real Friends show something that reality fans are not familiar with the cameras. The “fourth wall” is immediately broken, with the cast each talking about why they participated in the show and being extremely open about both their hesitations and curiosities about opening their lives to cameras.
The cast also does not shy away from the fact that, while the show might be titled "The Real Friends of WeHo," some of the cast members did not have intricate and familiar relationships with each other prior to cameras going up, while others have true friendships. While drama has cropped up internally (cast member Dorion Renaud called the show “fake” saying he is not friends with any of the cast), the cast members that sat down to chat with South Florida Gay News are ready for the spotlight to be turned on them.
A veteran of reality television (his show "It’s A Brad Brad World" aired on Bravo a decade ago) Hollywood stylist and Canada’s Drag Race resident judge Brad Goreski is ready to step back in front of the reality cameras, saying that participating in the show was a no-brainer. He was “excited getting to know guys that he had heard about … and to jump back into the world of reality.”
Already a favorite of clickbait-worthy gossip sites, recording artist Todrick Hall chose to make absolutely nothing “off limits” during filming. He spoke openly on camera about controversies that are familiar to the press and told us that he is “not afraid of confrontation and difficult conversations. Nothing was off limits and there are no conversations that I was not willing to have” (spoiler: a conversation he has with Brad Goreski is particularly introspective).
While reality television is new to TikTok sensation Joey Zauzig, what he is not unfamiliar with is being at ease in front of a camera. When it came to putting his relationship with fiancee Brian Grossman on-screen for the world to see, Zauzig was hesitant but ultimately happy to do so. He said that “it was daunting,” but once he saw the type of show Real Friends was it was “clear it was the right decision.”
Known as a television show host and husband to actor Jonathan Bennett, Jaymes Vaughn was initially not sure he knew what he was signing up for and is surprised at the attention. He told us that he typically enjoyed “having a backseat” in the household and letting Jonathan take center stage, but mentioned that Real Friends shows a “much more real side” than other reality shows may do. Actor Curtis Hamilton being part of the cast may surprise some initially, but his participation is most definitely, by design. Hamilton spoke at length about wanting to “be a voice, so see more black and brown representation in the LGBTQIA community.”
Hamilton’s perspective on the show looks to be one that many will be able to relate to as he discussed his recent coming out at length, going on to say that the opportunity for Real Friends came at the perfect time.
“The show is like therapy to me; I was able to speak out loud, freely, and have support,” Hamilton said. Jaymes Vaughn is equally introspective about his participation in the show and said that when he is asked “what is different about this show?” his answer is layered.
While Vaughn says that “the why is different” for each cast member, Vaughn wants to show “the little gay kid out there that is in a dark spot ... there’s hope. I didn’t think I would have a happy ending … I wanted to show that. I know what it would have meant if someone would have said ‘hey I know you’re in a dark spot-but looks what happens after.’”
Check out the full interviews with the "Real Friends of WeHo" cast on YouTube.