Quick run down; in case you missed it, last month I was selected by a New Zealand radio station called The Edge to be part of something called the Social Games. I was one of ten contestants that lived in a house for up to three weeks with constant web-cam surveillance - big brother style. We had many challenges to participate in, which helped us win things (immunity, facebook credit, mobile phones for fans, etc) and had to get as many votes as possible. We were aged from 18-27; I was second-oldest at 23. Seven were single, three were in relationships, and there was a mixture of straight, gay and bi sexualities. Oh, and there was $20,000 up for grabs ;).
It was an experience, to say the least! I was originally going to write a play-by-play account of what happened, but not only would it be biased but a bit irrelevant now. Then I thought I'd make a list of big things that happened, but really that did nothing but fuel (old) gossip and entertain for the wrong reasons. So I've decided to write about what I in particular learned from the Social Games - about myself and other people, in list form. It's still going to be completely biased and whatnot, but hey, my blog, my rules.
Here are a couple of promotional pictures that were taken (there was also a TV commercial which I can't seem to find). I'm the one on the right being strangled by the guy who ended up winning - good move on his part, I guess!
|Photo credit here.|
|I'm top left - found this photo here.|
So what I learned from this wee social experiment...
- I'm relatively quiet. This surprised me, as at home I'm really not! I was up against a lot of people chosen for their loud, outrageous personalities though, so I guess I was always going to be the quiet one. The reactions from some of the louder people I met (and not just contestants) because of my passive approach was interesting. I found that some will see you as humble, approachable and friendly for being this way, others will straight-up see you as boring. When it came down to it, the ones who saw me as boring I saw as arrogant and annoying, so it's all about personal opinions - none of which really mattered for a three week stint.
- It's near-impossible to be yourself in that situation. Think about it - a mix of (mostly) total strangers, live web cams, four hours sleep, crazy challenges, away from those we love... how could we act normally? One thing that was constantly repeated by pretty much all the contestants was how you had to "be yourself." If someone decided you weren't being yourself you'd better watch your back - personal attack incoming! The most ridiculous thing about this is that we didn't know each other that well. We weren't life-long friends. We didn't know who our housemates actually were, so who were we to criticise their personalities? At the time, I was confident that I was being myself. It wasn't until I was eliminated and got home I realised I hadn't been "me" for the majority of the time. When you're in a situation where every move is being scrutinized and the people you live with are your competition, you're hardly going to be able to act naturally. I think the biggest thing that threw me was the fact that my family, my friends and complete randoms were watching me. I act very differently around these three groups so it was hard to know how to act with all of them watching me. Honestly, I'd be eating my breakfast and one of my friends would message me saying "enjoying your weetbix?" or if I said something un-pc my mum was instantly correcting me. Exhausting!
- The media are vultures. Nice vultures, but vultures none-the-less. Thankfully my BA in media studies was FINALLY worth something (hahaha) and I knew that if I was going to show any emotion I was going to not let anyone else see it. There was at least one instance that they could have made a dramatic video out of me but I made sure they couldn't, by keeping out of sight. And it worked! I don't think my reputation was damaged, I wasn't pulled apart and didn't talk about things I didn't want to. I knew who was going to win from day one (and I was right), so decided to enjoy the experience for however long it lasted, rather than put on a show.
- Famous people are normal people. I mean, I always knew this but as I had never actually met a famous person properly before I hadn't seen it. You know how in life some people you like, some you dislike and some you're just a bit "meh" about? It was totally the same with the well-known people I met. Most I liked, one I didn't at all and the rest were just okay.
- I get starstruck. This. sucks. I always imagined myself to be the kind of person who'd be totally cool and casual. Nope. I fangirled so hard when Jamie McDell walked in the door. So embarrassed -_-. I'm prepping myself for the next time I get a similar opportunity... Act cool, Jessie, act cool.
- Confidence doesn't equal happiness. This was kind of sad. Naturally, in a show like this you're surrounded by big personalities and people with bucket-loads of confidence. It was interesting and kind of depressing to see the other side, and some of the people I met didn't seem that happy underneath it all. I'm not saying my life is perfect, but I came home to a place where people loved me for who I am and I knew where I belonged. I might be wrong about these people, of course, but either way it was eye-opening.
- You have no right to treat people badly. I knew this already, obviously, and I've got very strong opinions about this from other life events but I was quite disgusted at the way that some people were treated by fellow contestants. I know it was an entertainment promo, but these are real people you're pulling apart.
- It's so easy to get wrapped up in the moment. I noticed that some of the others thought that this was it, they were going to be famous - I imagine it would have been a bit of a let down at the end! There were also moments when one particular person was disliked by most of the other contestants. When you stand back it's like "why do you even care?" but in the moment it's all so real and passionate. I felt a bit sorry for one girl in particular that got it the worst.
- First impressions are scarily accurate. With everyone except for one person, my first impression of them was spot on. And with that one person, my impression of them improved dramatically, which was an awesome surprise!
- I can do things I never imagined. I WENT BUNGY JUMPING! I ATE SNAILS! I MET CELEBRITIES! Honestly, two years ago I never would have dreamed of entering this competition. But I did, and I got in, and it was amazing and crazy and weird and messed up and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Basically, The Edge Social Games was great. It was real, it was insane, it was exciting and confusing and I was so lucky to have taken part in it. All the promo staff were awesome people, I met some great new friends and ticked off several things from my bucket list. If any of you get a chance to do something like this, TAKE IT! Create memories, live life, but live it the way YOU want to. Here are some photos of my adventure, enjoy. ♥
|I have no poker face. Seriously, couldn't I have looked a little more cool?|