Bekah Martinez, Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi & More Reveal What Really Goes Into Filming Reality TV Shows
BEKAH MARTINEZ, THE BACHELOR
Though the show provides basic toiletries for The Bachelor contestants, the women are still expected to bring their own wardrobe — enough outfits for eight weeks of filming, to be exact. Luckily for Martinez, the 23-year-old breakout star had friends and family who let her borrow swimsuits and more.
But ultimately, there were still some pieces Martinez needed to spend a couple hundred dollars on before heading on The Bachelor. "Shoes were a thing: I needed a bunch of heels that I didn’t have," she told Glamour. "I probably spent about $700 or $800 on that stuff, but when I got back to Los Angeles, I was so broke I returned everything that still had tags on."
NICOLE 'SNOOKI' POLIZZI, JERSEY SHORE
When it came to filming the first season of MTV's Jersey Shore, the cast wasn't compensated in a traditional way (i.e. a biweekly check) — instead, they were paid in gift cards each week. "We would get $200 a week from the Shore Store. I had never gotten that much in a week, like, every single week, because you usually get paid every two weeks," Polizzi told InStyle. "That was crazy for me."
LAUREN CONRAD, THE HILLS
A big chunk of The Hills centered on Conrad's flirty relationship with Brody Jenner, and fans of the cult MTV show considered the pair to be the ultimate reality TV couple of their time. But during a 10-year anniversary special, Conrad revealed her relationship with Jenner was platonic.
"We had zero chemistry," the lifestyle guru said during MTV's The Hills: That Was Then, This Is Now. "It always just felt forced." The star felt pressured to find an onscreen boyfriend, so she decided to play up her dynamic with Jenner to humor the show's producers. "I just sort of let them do whatever they wanted," she added of the behind-the-scenes team.
MADDIE ZIEGLER, DANCE MOMS
Sia's mini-me experienced her fair share of faux reality when she starred on Dance Moms, and while she revealed some of the onscreen arguments between the moms are real, others are less than authentic.
"The producers set it up to make us all yell at each other. You know how I said that moms do fight?" Ziegler told USA Today. "The moms have a fake fight sometimes. Afterward they just start talking and laugh about it."
HOLLY MADISON, KENDRA ON TOP
While she didn't appear on fellow The Girls Next Door star Kendra Wilkinson's Kendra on Top, Madison did call out the reality show for teasing a confrontation between the two women at Madison's book signing that the Down the Rabbit Hole author claimed never happened. "Friends started hitting me up and saying, 'Oh I saw a preview for Kendra's show on this website. And it has footage of you. I didn't know you did her show,' " Madison, who had a falling out with Wilkinson years ago, told PEOPLE. "I was really surprised. I was like, 'I didn't do her show.' "
The 2015 episode in question ended with Wilkinson waiting in the parking lot as she worked up the nerve to confront Madison.
"It was definitely a new low in my opinion as far as trying to create content out of nothing," said Madison. "It was a completely fake setup. She spends the whole episode ranting about how allegedly fake I am, but it was just a whole fake scene."
FARRAH ABRAHAM, TEEN MOM
Although MTV's Teen Mom launched Abraham into reality TV stardom, the 26-year-old still threw shade after learning of the show's Critics' Choice Awards nomination in 2017. "I don't think it will win as it's very structured, manipulated by the network," she tweeted, adding, "production & almost scripted story lines at this point…"
JENELLE EVANS, TEEN MOM 2
The 26-year-old mom-of-three slammed MTV producers in an Instagram post in October 2017, saying the way her relationship with husband David Eason was portrayed was inappropriate.
"Yes, me and David have our ups and downs but yesterday's episode was uncalled for," she began in the caption alongside a photo of Eason planting a kiss on her cheek. "Because David didn't feel like explaining another argument or drama on camera they make it look as if David is hiding some weird a-- s--- from the public as if he was hurting me in some way?!
"I have decided after this season I'm probably calling it quits for filming this show. I told [a producer] it's getting to out of hand and it's not healthy for us anymore, just harming us mentally," she continued. "They treat all of us as if we are in a freak show and in cages. WE aren't human beings to @mtv what-so-ever."
KRISTIN CAVALLARI, LAGUNA BEACH
Though Cavallari maintains Laguna Beach and The Hills weren't 100 percent reality, the Balancing in Heels author did reveal to Buzzfeed that one show was more heavily manufactured than the other.
"The only time producers fed me lines on Laguna Beach were more fake phone calls or pickup scenes. We'd film for nine months out of the year and then they would start cutting episodes together and they would realize that they needed a specific scene," shared Cavallari, who admitted she treated her onscreen mean girl persona as a job. "So then we'd go back and film prom as though it didn't happen yet or we'd film it as though it just had happened. It wasn't necessarily an exact line as what to say on Laguna Beach. It was more just 'talk about this.' " She added: "Whereas in The Hills, they would text us exactly what to say."
TIFFANY POLLARD, I LOVE NEW YORK
As one of the most recognizable reality TV villains of all time, Pollard first made a name for herself as "New York" on VH1's Flavor of Love. Her memorable stint on the show spawned her own spin-off, I Love New York. And while she's starred in more than a handful of reality shows, Pollard understands a lot goes into the filming process.
"The thing that I like the most and respect the most about producers — I have to understand, they're watching the story unravel behind the scenes, so if they give you a nudge and they give you a push, it's just to make sure that the story is progressing," she said during an appearance on Steve Harvey.