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29 Reality Show Facts From Contestants



One Chopped contestant was told not to cook bread pudding because everyone makes it.


Nick from Love Is Blind Season 2 told BuzzFeed that the couples aren’t supposed to be seen out and about in public together while the show airs because they would be a walking, talking spoiler.

Nick said, “The last few weeks of the show promotion, we’ve just spent a lot of time at home binging Dawson’s Creek, which, ironically, I forgot that we talked about when we were filming. Before that, it was, ‘Live your life and don’t post about it on social media.'”

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And according to Jarrette, another Season 2 contestant, the fewer people you’re dating, the longer the dates are. Jarrette told BuzzFeed, “You start out dating 15 women, and then each day, the women that you’re dating decreases — but as your dates decrease, the time frame of the dates are increasing. When we got to day eight or nine, we were dating for three hours during the day — and then night dates, where it was up to two hours.”


In a 2021 tweet, America’s Next Top Model Season 9 alum Sarah Hartshorne wrote that contestants on the show were paid “$40 a day, no residuals” and that they “had to pay for food.”


Captain Lee Rosbach of Below Deck told Cosmopolitan that what ends up in the show is only a slim fraction of what’s filmed. Rosbach said, “I think we ended up shooting some 45,000 hours of film, and that gets condensed down into 900 minutes of actual TV.”

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In the same interview, the Captain said that the cast “get[s] iced” when the cameras have to reset, meaning that they can’t speak to one another, so that the crew doesn’t miss a second of the action. Rosbach said, “If we’re moving from one part to the next — let’s say we’re on a night out, and we’re moving from the yacht to a restaurant — we might get iced for a second. That means no more talking to each other because the cameras have to move positions.”

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Dave Vasen, a Shark Tank competitor, wrote on Medium that if the contestants reveal plot points about an episode before it airs, “the production team can just cut you from the show (and will).” He added, “Even the night we watched, we couldn’t say a word about the outcome. I actually loved that.”

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In the same post, Vasen revealed that while he was questioned by the Sharks for “well over an hour,” it was “trimmed to 5–10 [minutes] for TV.” Vasen wrote, “So some details are left out and certain points emphasized, but the narrative is right on. The only exception was the previews, which made us look like we got clobbered.”

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Akiva Neuman and Logan Broadbent, both of whom competed on Season 8 of American Ninja Warrior, told Insider that contestants choose their own outfits and do their own makeup. They’re also responsible for their own transportation to the set, as well as their accommodations.

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Neuman and Broadbent also revealed that there was a trampoline available for contestants to practice on before they ran the actual course, which involved a trampoline-based obstacle. Broadbent said, “That allowed us to get a feel for falling from that height, hitting the trampoline, and then launching.”

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Top Chef competitors Shirley Chung and Brooke Williamson told Delish that despite the cast’s shared profession, they don’t eat particularly well during the competition, or cook much in between challenges.

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Williamson said, “We ate like shit for seven weeks. I lived on Cup of Noodles. I had a Cup of Noodles a day for about a month.” Chung added that the snacks available to chefs during filming included “Cheetos, and baked Sun Chips, Doritos, and fruit snacks.”

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Chopped contestant Josh Lewis told the A.V. Club that when he appeared on the show, he and his fellow competitors were told to avoid making bread pudding for the third round, because, “Apparently, everyone does that, and the judges are sick of it. They want you to be more creative.” Otherwise, though, he didn’t have to cater to the judges’ particular tastes.

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In the same interview, Lewis revealed that chefs are permitted to bring their own knives, and that to save time, the ovens are preheated (to 350) and pots of already boiling water are provided. Also, prior to each round, contestants get a few minutes to “familiarize yourself with everything” in the pantry. Lewis said, “They also show you how to use everything in case you don’t know, which surprised me. Like, ‘Here’s how you get ice cream out of the ice cream maker.'”

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At a 2013 press conference, Project Runway winner Seth Aaron Henderson said that following filming, “Everything is auctioned off immediately. The clothes that are produced by us go up for auction immediately after the show.”

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Chloe Dao, the Season 2 winner of Project Runway, told the New York Times that when she was on the show, the daily schedule looked something like this: Contestants started filming at 6 a.m., sewed until midnight, filmed confessional interviews for a few more hours, then finally got “to sleep at 1 to 3 a.m.” Dao said, “That’s why every season when you get to the final challenge, we’re all terrible because we’re exhausted.”

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According to reigning Great British Bake Off champion Giuseppe Dell’Anno, the hosts of the show, Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding, spent lots of time with contestants off-camera as well as on. Dell’Anno told Vulture, “Matt and Noel are also two true gentlemen. They would eat lunch with us every day and be so supportive and concerned about our well-being. I wasn’t expecting the experience to be so wholesome.”


Jürgen Krauss, one of Giuseppe’s fellow Bake Off competitors, told Vulture that a producer warned the cast that roughly half of the social media response to the show would be negative. Krauss said, “They said something like, ‘Yeah, 50 percent of the response will be positive, and the rest you better not read.'” Blessedly, though, this turned out not to be the case for Jürgen, who went on, “I have to say, 99 percent of responses I get are incredibly positive, and the rest are still friendly.”


Brooke Lynn Hytes, a RuPaul’s Drag Race finalist, described the extensive list of requirements that a potential contestant’s audition video is required to fulfill to Cosmopolitan. Brooke Lynn said, “You have to make a video that’s no longer than 20 minutes, but in that 20 minutes you have to do two lip sync performances, acting challenges, three Snatch Games, 14 runway looks, as well as a boy interview, as well as a costume you made out of paper.” He added, “The hardest part was the boy interview because they said it should be no longer than three minutes, but they ask you like 20 questions. I had to speed talk.”

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In the same Cosmopolitan interview, Brooke Lynn explained that contestants are given iPods loaded with the season’s “lip sync for your life” songs, as well as the written lyrics, so that they can learn them in advance. He said, “They sometimes ask for them back at certain points, taking songs away and adding songs on as the season progresses.”

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Pictured is Season 7 contestant Katya practicing the lip sync song during an episode of the bonus show Untucked


Neal Reddy, one of the “Heroes” featured on the first season of Netflix’s Queer Eye, told the Evening Standard that he stayed in communication with the cast following his appearance on the show, and even hung out with Bobby Berk when he visited Los Angeles. Reddy said, “I communicate with Bobby the most, he’s really helped me post filming. When I was in LA a few months back, we spent a few days together. He opened up his home to me, we went hiking, I got to spend quality time with him and his husband. He is just one of those people who treats his friends like royalty.” He added that he reaches out to Jonathan Van Ness when he is “feeling like garbage about myself,” because they have “a way of reminding me to not be so hard on myself.”

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Former Jeopardy! contestant Hannah Safford told ABC10 that if players try to buzz in too early to answer a question, they’re “locked out for a fraction of a second.”

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Newly minted Jeopardy! legend Amy Schneider told Entertainment Weekly that she prepared for her run on the show by “pretty regularly going through old Jeopardy! games and old clues on the website, J! Archive, that has every one of them ever, and then just trying to keep an eye out for areas or topics that I was consistently missing so I could go back and focus on them.” She noted that one of her weaker topics was “popular music.”


Chris Williamson, a contestant on Love Island, told the BBC’s Radio 1 Newsbeat that the cast are told to avoid talking about certain topics while on camera. This includes the pre-filming weeklong “media lockdown” the contestants experience. Williamson said, “That’s the one thing all of the cast have in common — but that can’t be aired because it’s not a part of the show and the audience would get bored.” He added, “You’re not allowed to really talk about the outside world that much; obviously, you can’t talk about brands and things.”


In the same interview, Williamson said the show doesn’t spend much time showing the contestants eating because their microphones are so sensitive that it would just sound gross. Williamson explained, “Have you ever heard anyone eat up close with a microphone around their neck? It sounds like someone walking through mud — it’s absolutely disgusting. And everyone’s got sauce all over their face and stuff like that. Who wants to see that?”


Survivor competitor Elaine Stott revealed to Insider that she and her fellow cast mates were allowed to store essentials in a “medical chest that’s in the woods.” Stott said, “If you wear contacts or if you have medicine that you have to take, that’s in there, as well as these vitamins they give us to take.” Sunscreen, tampons, bug spray, and birth control pills are among the items included.

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Karishma Patel, another Survivor contestant, told Insider that host Jeff Probst’s mid-challenge commentary is both constant and a little bit annoying. Patel said, “He’s screaming the whole time. They’re cutting it for you at home. But when you’re out there, he’s doing it because we only do it once, so he’s got one chance.” She added, “I screamed back a couple of times, and it was funny. My tribe didn’t like that, but sometimes you have to stick up for yourself.”

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Big Brother alum Andy Herren told HuffPost that houseguests are woken up in the morning when producers “blare pop songs.” Herren went on, “It could be any time between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. You have to wake up to change your mic pack out, and then once you do that, you can go back to bed if you want.”

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Another contestant, Ian Terry, told HuffPost that quite a lot happened immediately following his win. Terry said, “After the episode, security rushed me to the basement offices of the house. There was a short debrief with the show’s psychologist. Producers congratulated me and reunited me with my family. I was shown the check that would be mailed to me. Then there was a party on the lot in a giant tent.”

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Paul Scheer told CinemaBlend that when he competed on the amateur baking competition Nailed It!, he didn’t have access to a timer or even a watch to keep an eye on how long things had been in the oven. Scheer said, “But it’s weird, the other thing that was really hard is there’s no timers. So like, if I need to cook a cake for 25 minutes, I have to like mentally keep track of it.”

Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection


And finally: Dani Beau, who appeared on Naked and Afraid, told Nicki Swift that she improvised a toothbrush during her time in the wilderness. Beau said, “I was taking a piece of green wood, like a freshly cut stick, and then fraying out the edges, and then buffing my teeth.” She added, “And then we had floss made out of the inner bark of a tree.”

What reality show have you always wanted to know more about? Let us know in the comments!


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