Meagan Melancon’s life changed forever when she responded to a casting call on Facebook.
Last winter, the WAFB sports reporter saw a post by the casting director of The Real World. The reality show was auditioning Republicans between the ages of 21 and 34.
In search of new experiences, the Southern belle took a leap of faith and applied. A few phone and Skype interviews later, and she was jetting off from Baton Rouge to Los Angeles for her formal audition.
Melancon’s all-American style, Southern accent and pageant queen looks stood out. She typically dresses in trendy, modest clothing, with photo-ready makeup and wavy blond hair.
She was ultimately chosen as one of the seven roommates in The Real World: Atlanta house.
“Being on The Real World was wild,” Melancon, 24, says. “It was the hardest thing I’ve probably ever lived through. You’re living with six strangers being watched 24/7. It’s crazy.”
While The Real World once aired on MTV, this 33rd season reboot of the show was distributed on video streaming service Facebook Watch.
Melancon lived with six other people for 10 weeks during the show. While the cast was dominated by millennials, they all represented different backgrounds, ethnicities and sexual orientations. Her roommates included a conservative, gay African-American man; a queer Muslim woman; an undocumented Mexican woman brought to the United States as a toddler by her parents; a small-town farmer; a black activist; and a domestic abuse surviver.
In the beginning of the 10-episode season, Melancon’s Catholic and conservative upbringing caused tension between her and her roommates. As the season progressed, so did the difficult conversations and open dialogue. She and her roommates worked to find common ground and gain an understanding of different points of view.
“It was such an eye-opening experience,” she says. “I have thicker skin now, and I definitely am not the same person I was when I first got on the show.”
Since wrapping up The Real World: Atlanta, you might spot Melancon going about her everyday life in Baton Rouge. In addition to sports reporting, the University of Southern Mississippi alumna is pursuing her real estate license to begin a new career venture. She’s on good terms with her former MTV roommates, and they keep in touch via social media.
“Before the show, I needed a change and wanted to try something new,” Melancon says. “Now that I’m on the other side, I can definitely say I got the change I wanted.”
This article was originally published in the October 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.