In honor of #ThrowbackThursday…
The year is 2002 and I’m a flamboyant, eleven-year-old boy with nothing but my future ahead of me. What’s the plan of action I decide to take before college, a career, and paying rent? Of course, it’s daydreaming about the hunky boys I’d see on Reality Television.
Flash forward fifteen years later; I’m sitting in the World of Wonder Offices talking non-stop about Unscripted Television.
Eventually, the conversations got me thinking: what ever happened to those studs?!
By miracle, magic, or power of persuasion…I found out! Not only are they all still dreamy, but they were so kind to take time out of their busy, post-reality television lives to reflect on their experiences and update me about their new endeavors.
Check out some of my absolute favorite Reality Television Hunks below!
Survivor: Thailand, 2002
Robb Zbacnik was the ultimate bad-boy. Not only was he voted one of Survivor’s Hottest Male Castaways at their All Star Reunion, he was known for his large personality and spontaneous behavior, including putting an allegedly racist castaway in a chokehold. Robb’s aura was hypnotizing. He was fresh, funny, and abrasive in all of the best ways.
Robb Zbacnik, 2017
BK: “How was your experience being on Survivor?”
RZ: “Doing Survivor changed my life for the better, gigantically. I still feel indebted to [Creator] Mark Burnett. Subjecting yourself to the elements and the psychological warfare is pretty gnarly. What it all boils down to is really just you against it all… it’s an individual effort. Playing [Survivor] definitely made me more aware of what I’m capable of and what I have to offer as a human being. I definitely had a huge personal awakening on that lonely beach in Thailand sleeping under the stars. I’m woke!”
BK: “What have been the perks of Reality Television?”
RZ: “It has been pretty dope going to events, award shows, and especially helping charities. I feel like the more opportunities I’ve had in life, the more thankful it’s made me. It made me more humble. I feel really fortunate to live the life I live.”
BK: “Would you like to be on Reality Television again?
RZ: “I would love another chance to compete in [Survivor]! A lot has changed in the past 15 years. To say I’m older and wiser sounds so cliche, but it’s the truth. As far as all other Reality Television goes, I’d love to do Big Brother or even a cooking show. Cooking is one of my hidden talents
Since Survivor, Robb has moved to Los Angeles and works in the entertainment industry as a voice over actor and various commercial work. He also spends time with his rescue pit bull, Frankie, and works closely with the Angel City Pitbulls. He recommends anyone head to their website and find their forever friend as he did.
Big Brother 5 , 2004
Will Wikle was the mega-hottie on Big Brother’s Fifth Season. He solely represented for the gays, aside from a very questionable Drew Daniel, in the best light. He was adorable, kind, and genuinely likeable. His flamboyant, southern personality was especially necessary during the Bush administration’s re-election, which weighed heavily on Wikle’s mind throughout the competition. Fortunately for viewers, we never saw Will succumb to the terrible, shaved head that most Big Brother Hunks end up with towards the end of the season.
Will Wikle, 2017
BK: “Do you still speak with your former cast members?”
WW: “It’s funny, filming the show recalled the same high stakes emotionality of being in high school. When you’re immersed in it, you can’t even imagine a life without those people. But just like high school, life happens and you drift. That being said, I actually just reconnected with Diane [Henry], my best friend from the cast, and it was seamless. She’ll always be my sis in that way.”
BK: “Do you still get recognized from being on Big Brother?”
WW: “I was a baby fresh twink and about 30 pounds lighter. I’ve kept hustling since the show so I do still get recognized, but nothing makes me happier than a BB sighting, because I know those folks are true ride or die status. When I got married last year, I got wedding presents from the [Big Brother] community. Major full circle vibes!”
BK: “Has Reality Television changed your life?”
WW: “Oh, hell yes…BETTER! Besides the “ready or not” personal conversation it forced me to have; I can trace jobs, friendships, travel, [and the like] right back to spending 3 months in Big Brother. Among many things, I’ve hosted two seasons of a travel show, filmed a gay indie movie opposite RuPaul and Lady Bunny, and am a published contributor for PAPER Magazine. It’s always been just in addition to my “on paper” career. My story is just so fucking colorful and random and continues to be the life that I left Mississippi in search of.”
BK: “Would you do Reality Television again?”
WW: “I’m a typical Sagittarius who loves to say ‘YES!’ to experimenting with new identities. Though at this point, I can’t imagine a reality show that would tempt me besides being the first gay Real Housewife. I’m too old to be pulling ticks off my nutsack on the Survivor beach. I’m looking to catch a buzz with Faye Resnick.”
Now, Will is a married man to his equally loveable husband. When he isn’t posting (NSFW) pictures on his Instagram (that make me envious and thirsty), he’s working in healthcare, contributing to PAPER Magazine, and living his fabulous life in New York City.
I Love New York 2, I Love Money 2, 2007
George Weisgerber, or as many know him, Tailor Made, not only won over our hearts, but also the love of Tiffany “New York” Pollard. He finished in first place on the second season of “I Love New York” and finished as the runner up for a huge cash prize in “I Love Money 2”. George was on VH1 when everyone’s eyes were glued to the screen due to his charm and relationship with one of Reality Television’s biggest personalities.
George Weisgerber, 2017
BK: “Has Reality Television changed your life?”
GW: “Overall, Reality Television is just another chapter in my life. I have no regrets and wouldn’t change a thing.”
BK: “Do you see more Reality Television in your future?”
GW: “My ideal show would be one focused on local politics. Although young people pay attention to politics at the national level, most don’t understand how the decisions made by community boards and city government impact their daily lives. If there were a show that shed light on important local issues, while entertaining audiences with the intrigue, deal-making, and drama that make people tune into BRAVO & VH1 each week; I’d be all for it.”
BK: “What was it like transitioning back into society after Reality Television?”
GW: “We filmed I Love Money during October and November of 2008 in Huatulco, Mexico. Being sequestered with no internet access, missing the historic election of Barack Obama, and returning to the US just as the financial crisis unraveled; was truly the “surreal life.” It took me a few months to transition, and come to grips with the fact that I had quit my job to go on the show. Fortunately everything worked out in the end.”
BK: “Do you continue to speak with any of your former castmates?”
GW: “I keep in touch with several former cast members via text and social media. I try to meet up with Kwame “IT” Smalls whenever I pass through Queens [New York]. I saw Mercedes “Prancer” Clausen and her baby the last time I visited New Orleans.”
In 2017, George is not only a huge, political activist, but he also is watching as his daughter heads to college. He remains an entrepreneur living in New York City, where he is unfortunately, off the market. George is in a relationship that’s most definitely not with Tiffany Pollard.
My fingers are swelling as I type this looking at past and current photos of Zack Stewart. Zack was on both seasons of FOX’s Paradise Hotel. On the first season, he was the resident bad boy who stole each scene from his fellow contestants. While he didn’t win, he was invited back for the next season due to his alluring personality and well, look at his damn body! Zack would turn around his image and eventually go on to be declared the sole winner of Paradise Hotel 2. He was so kind to even split the prize money with two of the other contestants.
Zack Stewart, 2017
BK: “Do you still get recognized from Paradise Hotel?”
ZS: “Sometimes I still do! Not too often anymore! I get a lot of crap at work! [Laughing]”
BK: “Do you still talk to any of your fellow contestants?”
ZS: “Yes I speak to Dave [Kerpen], Tara [Gerard], Toni [Ferrari], and Alex [Van Camp]!
BK: “Was it easy to return to real life after the camera stopped rolling?”
ZS: “This was really tough at first. We lived in isolation for awhile, so coming back was a huge change! Not to mention we were out of the country! I was shocked how hard it was to adjust! [Reality Television] changed my life for the better, because I wanted to change how I acted!”
BK: “Would you do Reality Television again?”
ZS: “I would consider it! I think Survivor would be cool or something involving my home of Hawaii, or the ocean! I wish I would have maybe explored some other avenues after, but it was a lot of fun! Got to meet some very cool people!”
Today, Zack lives in sunny Arizona and is –get ready for this– a paramedic and firefighter. He can be found on Instagram taking care of his cutie-pie daughter, serving black belt status in martial arts, and being all around suave and gorgeous. He is divorced, which means that someone, probably not me, has a chance! Zack remains a hunk.
The always chiseled Mark Long first came on our screens in Road Rules: The First Adventure. We’re talking 1995…I was four. Mark may have well been the face of MTV (opposite Eric Nies) for the entire early 2000s. He was a participant and host in many of the Real World VS. Road Rules Challenges and their spin offs. While this Greek God steamed up our screen, his delightful compassion swooned his fellow contestants for the last two decades. Mark is an example of how every Reality Television Hunk should act!
Mark Long, 2017
BK: “How was Reality Television changed your life?”
ML: “I have always been a huge dreamer! It’s actually a blessing and a curse. I still think there are bigger and better things for me to accomplish in the entertainment industry. I have started pitching and producing show concepts now so that has been fun. I still love hosting and am thinking of diving back into that world in the months to come. So if you need a host, i am your man!”
BK: “How often are you recognized from MTV?”
ML: “Almost every day. I am still surprised when someone walks up to me and starts asking me questions about MTV, or The Challenge, or just reality tv in general. It never gets old. I have been on and off television for the past 20 years, I still haven’t transitioned to a ‘normal life’……that’s seems boring to me. Who wants to be normal anyway?”
BK: “What Reality Television perks have you enjoyed?”
ML: “The thing that I love the most is the places I get to travel and different cultures I get to see. Travel is priceless and I thank God i have been to so many great locations across the globe.”
BK: “Who do you still keep in touch with?”
ML: “I still speak with Kit [Hoover] but have lost track with the other original Road Rulers. I still have lots of Challenge friends. I actually just spent New Years Eve with The Miz [Mike Mizanin] at his house in Hollywood. Always a fun time with [Mike].”
Mark continues to be the eighth wonder of the world. He is as ageless as he is sweet. You can find him living in Los Angeles, California producing and hosting events and television. Consistently, he has worked for the last twenty years and is not stopping anytime soon. Mark is very single, so if anyone is willing to dive into his extremely active and healthy lifestyle, be my guest. Mark is so smoking’ sexy, but I don’t know if I could keep up with this guy!
I Love New York, I Love Money 1 & 2, 2007
Jason Rosell, 2007
Jason “Heat” Rosell literally turned up the heat while he was on I Love New York and a variety of VH1 Shows. He was nicknamed “Heat” because New York openly said he was the hottest guy in the game. I definitely agreed with her! When he wasn’t sharing a bromance with fellow contestant “12 Pack”, Jason remained adorable by claiming that he’d build his mother a guest home in his backyard. He put his family first, ultimately leading New York to cut him loose.
Jason Rosell, 2017
BK: “How have you enjoyed the perks of reality television?”
JR: “I sure did and don’t regret anything. I am in a much better place now. I am blessed to be on TV each year since [my reality television days], only this time around by simply making people smile helping them lose weight with my dance-music workouts and fat loss programs. I love what I do [now] much more than before!”
BK: “How has Reality Television changed your life?”
JR: “It opened up my eyes by living a life only most dream about. I learned a lot. I have grown out of partying and living a crazy life. That was a big part of [my life change]. I’ve matured with knowing that I don’t do what I do to be famous, I do what I do because I’m passionate about helping people change their life. I do this while entertaining them simply by being me. I’m not a role on a daytime soap opera or a role on a reality show, now I’m just me.”
BK: “You do continue to have a popular presence in social media.”
JR: “Most people did not know that I was very overweight for over 20 years. After the VH1 shows, I exposed myself to the public on how fat I used to be [which led to] depression and bullying. From there, I was blessed to start working with celebrities, nationally syndicated television shows, and later sharing my story and knowledge with global publications which then transitioned to me hosting food and fitness shows.”
Today, Jason is the CEO of his own company, Caliente Fitness. You can find him directly through his website, his popular Youtube Channel, or being featured on various morning talk shows as he tries to get the host to turn up a sweat. He resides in Los Angeles, California, continues to put his family first, and is shockingly single. Count me in, Jason!
Steven Hill, 2003
We met Steven Hill when he kept it real with six other strangers on the Las Vegas strip. His season still has the highest ratings the MTV Series ever had. Was it because of Steven’s hunkiness? Likely. The season-running storyline was the love between himself and former cast member, Trishelle Cannatella. Steven was never shy of drama with the girls, as one of the cast mates physically attacked him. His genuine, sweet loving-self allowed the cast member, Brynn, to remain on the show to work out their problems rather than being expelled. Steven told his story of working in a gay bar in Texas just to make ends meet. He’s came a long way from slinging drinks!
BK: “What was it like transitioning back to real life?”
SH: “It was so strange! We had cameras following us for 6 months. Every move seems so important. Then, it all just ends. It’s surreal. After filming, I kicked around hosting shows, a little bad acting, bar events, and college speaking engagements. It was a very nomadic life. I woke up one day with a burning desire to plant some roots and grow my life. You know, be an adult.”
BK: “Who do you still talk to from the cast?”
SH: “We’ve all moved on. I’m social media friends with a few of them. They are all nice people, but most of us live in different cities, have careers and families.”
BK: “How has Reality Television changed your life?
SH: “It’s not bad or good, it’s just altered. Had I not been on the show, I would probably be in Austin, married with 3 kids. Instead, I’ve ended up as a real estate agent in LA, have one beautiful son, and a beau-tific girlfriend. I truly believe I would have been happy either way. I’m a happy guy! I’ve had so many wonderful experiences as a result of having been on The Real World. I was tapped to host Say What Karaoke, I was paid to throw parties, and a myriad of other opportunities. I love HGTV! I’d love to host a show on there.”
BK: “So, you still get recognized for being on the Real World?”
SH: “As shocking as it may be, after 15 years, I still get recognized. My 9 year old son is so over it.”
Steven is literally the entire reason this article came to fruition. He happened to train a friend of mine in Los Angeles. The wheels began turning and I was more than excited to reach out to him, among others. The articulate Steven now spends his days happily with his girlfriend (ugh!), adorable nine-year-old son, and is a real estate agent. His Instagram is unique and hilarious, seriously, go look – he fixes stranger’s cars (in basketball shorts). Steven’s kindness should win an award. I would definitely watch this stud hosting any television show on HGTV.
Big Brother 8, 2007
Nick Starcevic is the sexiest Big Brother contestant there’s ever been in the last ten years. Not only did he come from Midwestern roots, but this hottie also swooned three Big Brother babes since his time in the fishbowl. Unfortunately, Nick’s time was cut short – but not before he could begin the trend of the flirty Big Brother boys to shave their heads. The former college football player melted hearts and flooded basements during his stay in the game.
Nick Starcevic, 2017
BK: “Did you love the aftermath of being on Big Brother?”
NS: “I loved my experiences from Reality Television. Being a guy from a town of seven hundred people in Minnesota, I’ve got to experience a lot of opportunities that most people would never get the chance to do. After the show, I moved out to Los Angeles and I took a year to see what kind of opportunities came my way and what doors opened. After that, I went back and finished my Masters degree in Kinesiology and got right back into the swing of things.”
BK: “Do you still get recognized from the show?”
NS: “It’s been about 10 years since I was on the show, but there are the rare times when someone may recognize.”
BK: “How has Reality Television changed your life?”
NS: “For me personally, it gave me so many neat experiences and opened up so many doors. For some people it can affect them adversely, because some get sucked into the lifestyle but for myself I loved the opportunities that came my way and the paths I was able to choose. I still do a charity called “Hearts of Reality” in Orlando and get to see a lot of former reality personalities there. I still regularly talk to Eric Stein from my season. I also connect with Dick Donato frequently.”
BK: “What Reality Show could get you on my television again?!”
NS: “ I was originally connected to Survivor early in the casting process and ended up on Big Brother, which I wasn’t as familiar with. I think I would have done really well on Survivor. My ideal show would be something like Amazing Race. I’ve been traveling my whole life and been to five different continents and over forty countries. I like getting thrust into unfamiliar situations. Also, I wouldn’t be opposed to Bachelor/Bachelorette.”
Obviously, Nick also doesn’t age. This beefy, college-educated stud is a small business owner who is always onto his new adventure. In the photo above, Nick shows off his homemade, wooden watches, which he also sells. Trust me, I asked- they are nearly sold out. He’s moved back to Minnesota (I’m on my way!) and can be seen on Instagram flexing, being cute, and traveling- like, a lot of traveling. We were actually at Universal Studios around the same time, so upset I didn’t run into him! Nick would go on the Bachelorette, so of course, he’s single. After this article, I don’t think he will be for too long!
Survivor: Gabon, 2008
Hottie-hot, smarty-pants, Marcus Lehman came onto our televisions as he braced the perils of emotional contestants and Gabon in Survivor’s seventeenth season. While Marcus didn’t claim the grand prize, he remained in the game long enough due to his charming personality. He was so well-liked that it led to his elimination. While Marcus was the season’s token, jaw-dropper, he’s widely known for having his…tribe member, flop out of his shorts on national television. The editors…didn’t notice. I did.
Marcus Lehman, 2017
BK: “How often are you recognized from your stint on Survivor?”
ML: “Occasionally-usually now I just get someone looking at me funny and saying, ‘You look familiar.’ Then I have this awkward moment where I’m not sure if I’m supposed to out myself. That would be the douchy thing to do. [So,] naturally, I do it! It’s fun to see a show come on television and be able to say, ‘Yeah, I did that!’ An occasional Facebook note from a fan or excited person in real life is nice to get when you’re having an otherwise rough day. I’m glad I have that little extra nudge thanks to my Survivor Fan-mily.”
BK: “Do you connect with your former contestants?”
ML: “I’m still close with a few of them and always enjoy catching up with people at the Charity events, like the upcoming Reality for Diabetes event we are having here in Cincinnati [Ohio] in June. Randy [Bailey] from my season will be there, so I’m especially excited! And I’m going to see Jordan and Dan Pious of The Amazing Race this weekend. I met them through our Reality connections.”
BK: “How has Reality Television Changed your life?”
ML: “I think it gave me some perspective on something totally different from my normal professional trajectory. This helped me focus on things that mattered to me more effectively in the end. It gave me a hint of what “celebrity” really means, and what it does not. It took me a while to get re-engaged in the day-to-day stuff, as you get caught up in the intense focus of playing Survivor. Eventually, you realize there are lots of amazing things that can be done professionally and personally without having every minute filmed. Life is pretty amazing, and it’s cool that I understand that even better because of my Reality experience!”
BK: “Wold you do Reality Television again?”
ML: “I always enjoy the adventure of doing something new. I think I’d try Survivor again. But I’d also do The Amazing Race with my mom. Although at this point she probably wants me on The Bachelor so I can get locked down already. [Laughs]”
Today, Marcus is…wait for it, an anesthesiologist. That is literally the word I lost the spelling bee in, so I feel we’re destined to be together. Fortunately, he’s still looking for the lucky lady to be apart of his life and I can already hear you all sliding in his DM’s. When he isn’t busy protecting lives, he can be found on Instagram living socially and traveling all over. Marcus is absolutely gorgeous and his smile has me blushing while typing!
Phew, I’ve got to take a breather on this one. Seriously- who doesn’t remember Hardy Hill from Big Brother‘s second season? Hardy pretty much confirmed my sexuality, it was over and done with. On top of making the final four in his season, he had to deal with pettiness over his hotness. Yes, a woman on the show was so ticked over him not wanting her, she cleaned the Big Brother toilet with his toothbrush. Hardy’s mouth is still clean, as he did not use that brush. On the show, Hardy gained recognition for being the series first hunk. He would pave the way for many more to come, but it’s a little hard reaching the top of Mount Everest.
BK: “What Reality Television perks did you get to bask in? Adoring Fans? Money?”
HH: “To be honest, the adoration of anyone has never been my forte, but I always like to meet people who enjoyed the shows I was a part of. There was never really an assumed nor conveyed celebrity status, but I will tell you there were several opportunities for free upgrades to first class on flights about 15 years ago, but alas, those are days of yore! As far as money is concerned, the current wave of reality television peeps are probably enjoying the benefits of social media marketing opportunities that weren’t available when the shows I was on we’re aired. [Reality Television] hasn’t really impacted my life that significantly. I mean, it’s nice to be recognized from time to time, but it hasn’t really ever been something incredibly life-altering for the most part.”
BK: “Do you still connect with your Reality Television contestants?”
HH: “I see a lot of the cast members from Miami Social from time to time, much less so with my Big Brother castmates given our geographical differences.”
BK: “After Big Brother and Miami Social, would you do another Reality Television Show?”
HH: “Funny you should ask! I would love to do The Partner, the off shoot of The Profit with Marcus Lemonus. I have a great depth of business acumen and I just think what Marcus does for businesses is amazing! I love his approach: People, Product, Process!”
BK: “How was your transition into society after Big Brother?”
HH: “Initially, coming off of Big Brother was just bizarre. I never actually realized the scope and reach of what was happening while we were on the show. I remember being really skeptical of people’s intentions after Big Brother, and I developed some significant trust issues! [Laughing] But alas, those days are far in the past! I’ve adjusted quite swimmingly since then!”
Now, Hardy remains in Miami, Florida and is engaged to someone who I unfortunately cannot compete with: Barbie. He is the Regional Sales Director for KYBOE! Watches and I’ll soon be rolling around on a bed full of them because they are beautiful. Hardy has aged like fine wine. For real, I’d break my neck if he walked passed me. An inkling tells me we’ll be seeing Hardy on our televisions again within the year, but I’m willing to bet in our dreams before then.
That’s it for the Reality Television Hunks! I’ve found them all!
Now, go through their social medias and admire them. I’ll be sitting here in a daze trying to decide who’s my favorite!
Editor’s Note: Interviews have been edited for clarity.