Those were the infamous words of Teresa Giudice yelled seconds before the Real Housewives of New Jersey veteran (who calls herself the “Tom Brady of Housewives”) flipped a table at castmate Danielle Staub.
The 2009 moment solidified Giudice’s status as a reality TV icon and became an epic tale for Bravo-lites to reference and parley in the years that followed.
This is the kind of television we salivate over.
Reality TV fulfills our desire to watch everyday people navigate dramatic, borderline absurd situations. We root for a hero; we are infuriated by a villain’s lies, and we become invested in the struggles that unfold every week.
But how do these “normal” people land a spot on our screens and in our hearts?
That comes down to the job of a casting team.
Mike Lush is a Los Angeles-based reality TV casting director who’s had his hand in hit series like The Real World and Bad Girls Club.
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(Speaking of the latter, he’s one of the peeps who pushed for Bad Girls Club leading lady, Seven Craft, to get the gig.)
His obsession with the genre led him to develop friendships with Bravo headliners like Margaret Josephs, Dolores Catania, and Eboni K. Williams.
On his Instagram Live series (@MikeLush), he casually chats with reality TV stars and offers advice to the wannabes — a niche that has garnered him nearly 20k followers.
If you want to appear on one of our generation’s most addicting shows, Lush is your guy.
Social media is a gateway to this kind of fame.
“The first thing I say to everybody who wants to be on reality TV is: Make your Instagram public. Make sure you’re keeping it up to date and providing content all the time because that’s how we find a lot of people," Lush said.
“And always answer the phone. If you don’t answer the phone, we’re on to the next.”
Sliding into his DMs is encouraged—he reads every single one. Because who knows? He may have the next Bethenny Frankel on his hands.
As for the DMs that the casting director ultimately ignores, it’s the ones that read like boring emails.
“Things not to say in my DMs: ‘Hey Mike, I saw you’re a casting director. Everyone has always told me that I should be on TV.’"
Eager to discover the next breakout star, the 27-year-old Hollywood aficionado keeps a link in his Instagram bio that provides active casting call applications for those interested.
“Be super descriptive with what you’re writing in the application,” he advises, “but also selective.”
Don’t just say you’re competitive; explain how even a torn ligament couldn’t deter you from the New York Marathon. Don’t say you’re possessive; recount how you yanked a woman’s hair when she got too close to your boyfriend. Don’t say you’re family-oriented; share details about your household traditions.
Casting directors want to hear about the intimate, the moving, and the gory.
“A story from your past that’s telling of who you are. Things like that can help me create a vision in my mind of what your character would be like on the show,” he explained.
“I definitely look for story lines.”
SHOW YOUR TRUE COLORS
Perhaps the more intimidating part of the process is the video interview that shows often require.
It should be treated with balance: part job interview, part conversation with a close friend.
As a rule of thumb, always ensure you’re in a private space with great lighting. Don’t take the call from your car or a park.
“Just be at home where you can really be yourself and let it all out. No distractions,” Lush said.
It’s also crucial to be relaxed. If you feel nervous, he recommends taking a coffee break or tossing back a shot if that's your thing. It’s better to reschedule than deliver a fidgety performance. This meeting, after all, determines whether you’ll entertain non-committal audience members.
“Talk to me like you’re talking to one of your best friends. You can laugh, you can joke around, you can cry, you can jump up and dance if you want to,” he said.
“There’s really nothing that you can’t say.”
DOWN MEMORY LANE
Recalling past auditions, Lush said he once saw a woman pee off a roof. Another guy sent in a video of himself having an orgy.
“And that’s not really what we’re searching for, but if you’re being yourself, you’re being yourself.”
These kinds of shows are looking for what Lush calls, “big personalities.” People with high energy who will have no shame baring it all (sometimes literally) for millions of viewers.
Early on in his career, he saw a sort of unveiling in action:
“I once picked up a finalist for a show from the airport, and we were driving on the 405. I was taking her to her final interview, and she just got completely naked in the car. She wanted to change into a different dress.”
When asked if the woman in question was ultimately chosen for the unnamed reality show, Lush said absolutely: “That’s when I knew this girl was perfect. She doesn’t give a s***.”
Though one obviously doesn’t need to go that far, he recommends auditionees share some out-of-the-box experience they've had. Maybe it’s a humorous first date, or an intense past relationship, or a cultural hardship.
One of his go-to questions to get the juices flowing: What are your best and worst personality traits?
“Everybody on reality TV has a spicy side,” he said, and he uses this question to ensure potential cast members can deliver.
“As long as they’re being themselves, and they’re likeable but could also maybe have a spicy side to them, they have a chance.”
At the end of the day, it all comes down to how much of yourself you’re willing to put out there.
“For people who want to be on reality TV, you got to either be all in or all out. There's no middle ground with it. You either go for it and just know you're the s***; or maybe it's not the best thing for you.”
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