Jamie Chung Is Open to Doing a 'Real World: San Diego' Reunion: 'I Would Go Back in a Heartbeat'

"I have no shame in my humble beginnings. They kick-started my career," she tells PEOPLE exclusively

Jamie Chung isn't opposed to revisiting her Real World roots.

While attending The Women's Image Network's 23rd Women's Image Awards at The Saban Theater in Beverly Hills Thursday, Chung opened up to PEOPLE exclusively about wanting to return for a Real World: San Diego reunion.

"I have no shame in my humble beginnings. They kick-started my career. They gave me the opportunity to live with six other strangers in a house. And I think those are the growing things," said Chung, 38. "I don't think we have that with social media. You can't have a conversation and have disagreements and live with each other for three months. That's insane to do."

"I think people would kill each other these days. And [the show] teaches you to be empathetic and understand where the other person is coming from," she added. "I would go back in a heartbeat."

Jamie Chung attends the 23rd Women's Images Awards Presented By The Women's Image Network at Saban Theatre on October 14, 2021 in Beverly Hills, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Before becoming known for her acting roles in Once Upon a Time, Gotham and Lovecraft Country, Chung was a cast member on The Real World: San Diego in 2004. She then appeared on its spinoff Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno II the following year.

The cast — which included Cameran Eubanks (who later appeared on Southern Charm), Randy Barry, Brad Fiorenza, Robin Hibbard, Jacquese Smith and Charlie Dordevich — "still keep in touch," Chung said. (Roommate Frankie Abernathy died in 2007 of cystic fibrosis.)

The Real World San Diego Jamie Chung

"Cameran Eubanks, we still keep in touch. I still keep in touch with Mark Long — we did one of The Challenges together. And unfortunately, because of my filming schedule, I wasn't able to do the last Challenge," she said. "But I think it'd be fun just to physically push myself, mentally push myself and win some money for a charity."

Earlier this year, the original Real World cast reunited for a new Paramount+ show, titled The Real World Homecoming: New York. Former stars Eric Nies, Julie (Oliver) Gentry, Heather B. Gardner, Kevin Powell, Norman Korpi, Andre Comeau and Rebecca Blasband returned to the New York loft they briefly lived in nearly 30 years after filming the first series. The cast of the show's second season, set in Los Angeles, is reuniting for The Real World Homecoming: Los Angeles, premiering Nov. 24 on Parmount+.

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Offscreen, Chung has been happy to get out of the house more following the coronavirus quarantine period.

"I'm glad that we're at the tail end of it," she said.

"I know that everyone's being cautious. I think we found a system that keeps people safe and still feel somewhat normal," she continues. "And I think we still need to stick together, and I'm glad we're at the tail end of it though. But you've learned a lot."

Updated by
Dory Jackson
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Dory Jackson is an Associate Editor for PEOPLE's digital TV team. While at the brand, she's had the opportunity to interview a long list of celebrities, from Kate Hudson to Pierce Brosnan to Billy Porter. She also recaps popular TV shows like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules.

The New York-based Maryland native graduated from Randolph-Macon College in May 2016 with a focus in Communication Studies and Journalism. She came to PEOPLE in March 2021 after working at a number of major news companies, including Newsweek and Us Weekly. She also previously co-hosted a podcast called "Idol Nation."

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