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THE 'REAL' FACE OF MEMPHIS

THE 'REAL' FACE OF MEMPHIS

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I’m worried about our city. Not because of the crime rate or the poverty figures or the fact that one day downtown will break off into the Mississippi and float away. No, I’m worried because I’ve seen what we’re exporting. Chip. Trenyce. Robin.The “Real” Face of Memphis I’m worried about our city. Not because of the crime rate or the poverty figures or the fact that one day downtown will break off into the Mississippi and float away. No, I’m worried because I’ve seen what we’re exporting. Chip. Trenyce. Robin. Who, you ask? Memphis’ cast of reality show ejects (okay, to be fair, Robin hasn’t been kicked off America’s Next Top Model yet, and for all I know, she may win the whole thing). The point is, these people are the “reality” face of Memphis. First there was Chip from Germantown on Survivior Africa. He eventually purveyed his talents into a walk-on gig with Whoopie Goldberg at the Academy Awards, but before that, he lazed around Northern Kenya. Trenyce has a beautiful voice and she certainly wasn’t the only American Idol to meet a scandal (let’s face it; hers was tame in comparison to sister beating and booty posing). But meet one she did, in the form of a shoplifting charge. Then there’s Robin of UPN’s America’s Next Top Model. She is lazy; she is loud; she is always late. You’d think if you were 26, full figured and had a shot at a lucrative Revlon contract, you’d at least try to make a good impression on the judges. But even Tyra Banks told her she needed to lose the diva with-a-capital-DEEV attitude. Robin’s pretty, but no one, no one, is that pretty. It’s not like anyone’s going to remember that these people were all from Memphis (although when you hear about Rueben, they always mention Birmingham) or with each other, but geez. It’s really affecting my civic pride. I like to root for the hometown hero as much as the next gal. I loved that city councilperson Tajuan Stout Mitchell introduced a resolution for every Tuesday in the city to be Trenyce day. When I was at university, I sat next to Janet from “The Real World: Seattle” in one of my classes. I didn’t really know her, but I liked her and when she was on the show, I was proud of her. But I find it hard to get behind the Memphis contestants, especially Robin. On the last episode, one of the models wanted to bring her girlfriend over to the apartment. She asked everyone else if it was going to be okay and they agreed, although some of the girls only begrudgingly. Robin doesn’t believe in lesbian and gay relationships, she told the house, but they all had to be judged for their own sins. But that’s probably not why she was complaining. She was complaining because she complains about everything: getting a bikini wax (so they could do a bikini shoot), getting her hair cut and dyed (so they can look their best), having to work out (again, so they can look their best), having to take a picture with a snake, and on and on. I’m sure there’s an element of editing involved and Robin is probably shown to a dramatic disadvantage (she’s probably really nice in real life), but doesn’t she realize everything she says and does is being taped? To be shown on TV? Reality television has never showcased the best in people and I understand that. I just want to be able to stand behind one contestant proudly and say, “They’re from Memphis.” Maybe next season.

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