The Real World Back To Las Vegas Hits 10 Years Old
The Real World Back to Las Vegas debuted on March 9th, 2011. Back then, I was a Freshman in High School, Obama was in his first term, LeBron had not won an NBA Championship yet, and the Academy Awards tried to convince us that the King’s Speech was a better movie than The Social Network (which is patently ridiculous). Ten years later, and MTV’s Challenge Double Agents is airing, and as it currently stands, two RW LV cast members Leroy and Nany, are still on our televisions.
I know so many people around my age who have been watching since 2011. To be able to have ten years with two different reality television characters is something special for fans. As they have grown up and evolved as humans, they have been able to watch Nany and Leroy both grow and be much of the same person they always were. Reality television is often something you watch for comfort. Having the stability of two individuals you enjoy and care about is like having a family member on screen, especially since Nany and Leroy have always been relatable good people.
Real World Las Vegas is one of the only RW seasons to have their entire cast represented on the Challenge. With it being the 10th anniversary, let’s celebrate them!
Leroy has the 4th most appearances of any male to compete on the Challenge, only trailing Wes, CT, and Bananas. To this point, he is the greatest male competitor, never to win. Despite this, Leroy is regarded as a legend and is beloved by fans, fellow competitors, and even TJ Lavin. Since his days on the Real World, Leroy has always been the coolest guy in the room. When he got partnered with Mike on his rookie season, everyone looked at Mike as a dork, whereas Leroy saw a friend who was smarter than everyone and could make up for his own weaknesses. From dealing with Adam on the Real World to Camila on Dirty 30, Leroy has always shown a remarkable amount of patience in the face of adversity.
When I made a Challenge Stan burner account years back before I ever wrote about the Challenge, my username was LeroyIsTheMan. Leroy is somewhat like the Vince Carter/Allen Iverson of the Challenge, where if he doesn’t win a Championship, his “WHAT THE FUCK” moments of physical dominance will live in infamy. Leroy announced he would be retiring after Double Agents; let’s cross our fingers in hopes he can finally pull off the big one.
She is a vibe. What makes Nany perfect for reality television is she makes authentically bad choices without malice. In 2021, we have to deal with so much fabricated drama or people putting personas only for the screen. What you see with Nany is what you get, and I mean that in the best way possible. Her hook-ups and fights make for great entertainment, and her performances as a competitor break your heart every season. Watching Nany go far into every season only to lose one of the final eliminations kills me every time.
It speaks volumes that so many people still cheer for Nany after all the losses, especially since there is little indication that she should ever get the win. I’m a cynic, yet every season, I fall into the trap of believing that she could maybe pull off the win. Nany might not be one of the greatest to ever compete on the show, but she is easily one of the most important women to appear on the Challenge. She has had a massive presence in the franchise and embodies the best qualities of the show. When I picture a Challenge house, Nany is there; its people like Wes, Paula, CT, Cara, Bananas, and then Nany.
He appeared on four seasons of the Challenge! Dustin was a great confessional, had lots of charisma, kept himself in fantastic shape, and after his second-place finish on Battle of the Seasons; it felt like he was primed to be a future star. The way he supported Nany on their seasons was admirable — the way he dived in the pool to retrieve all her clothes after Knights dumped them in was such a cute moment. His fight with Frank on BOTS is iconic. At random times when working at home, I’ll randomly yell “YOU WANNA GET STREET BIYOTCH” while banging my fists together. The guy had two women fighting for him openly on Free Agents in the first two episodes; he was being built up as a star!
He had early exits on Free Agents and Exes 2 due to bad luck and a bad partner (Jessica Mccain). Then he faded into obscurity. Dustin would probably do the show again if asked (I know it has been 10 seasons). A Dustin return would be a welcome sight. One of the big wins of Dustin’s Challenge career was a Free Agents aftershow where cast members talked about his sizable male figure.
Many of the female stars of the Challenge should be happy that Heather Cooke pursued professional soccer, marriage, and becoming a mother. Based on her performance on Rivals 2, it is not crazy to think that Cooke could have potentially become the female face of the franchise, or at the very least, one of the five-ten best women to ever compete on the show.
Cooke was also a representation for the Asian-American (Filipino) and LGBT community (Bisexual). She played the game with a cutthroat attitude, even towards her own partner Cara Maria at times. The rumor mill has been churning, and apparently, she is open to returning to the show. Since she is married, I wouldn’t expect her to bring as much from a drama perspective. However, if she came back to play, she would be an immediate contender to win.
One of the most beloved one and done Challenge competitors. Mike came in to replace Adam Royer as Leroy’s partner, and the two excelled together. Obviously, two men being friends in a Rivals game is a huge advantage. Nonetheless, they still had to deal with the trouble of being rookies in a vet-dominated game. Mike played up the nerd card to the highest level and was able to keep up physically in the challenges. Together, they made it to the final and completed 97% of what was easily the hardest final in Challenge history to that point. Some modern players we would consider top competitors would likely not complete Day 1 of that final, and Mike Ross fucking did that.
He also had a showmance with Paula that was so weird and so perfect. Mike had such a perfect season for someone who really should not have done well on the Challenge that I’m glad he never came back. His season was one big high note.
Naomi would be one of the most notable and charismatic characters on most seasons of the Real World. With the Real World Back to Las Vegas, she was probably the 8th most important, which tells you how awesome this season was. She was a powerful woman in character, not as much as physically in terms of performance on the Challenge. Naomi appeared on two seasons: Exes 1 and Rivals 2. Her relationship with Leroy on both RW and Exes 1 was a perfect mess of FWB turning into real feelings.
Both her Challenge runs were abbreviated, and that’s fine since she wasn’t meant for the Challenge. She does own an elimination win, at least!
Adam had one of the most explosive runs in Real World history. He was an absolute mess when drunk, was not great when sober either, and he had an up and down relationship with Nany. Adam is why Cooke got to join the cast since he got banned from the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel (where they lived). His run on the Challenge flamed out even faster. After winning the first daily challenge of the season with Leroy, he got into it with Ty Ruff, and even though cast members tried to separate them, Adam sprinted through a crowd (knocking Mandi Moyer to the ground with her head hitting the floor) to throw a scuffed punch at Ty.
He got kicked off the show and holds an immaculate record of 1 daily challenge competed in, 1 daily challenge won, and possibly 1000 dollars won (not sure if they didn’t let him take the money he won because he was kicked off). If you wonder what Adam is up to in 2021, he is currently working as a lawyer!
One of the most attractive in Real World History. Her entire arc on the Challenge/Real World was mostly connected to her relationship with Dustin. That is not completely fair to her as she was her own individual, yet when your one Challenge appearance is an Exes season, you and Dustin get paired together and leave within three episodes due to Dustin getting injured. Regardless, Heather had one of the hottest moments in Real World history. Heather and Nany’s hot tub hook-up seemed almost like a fantasy.
She recently got married and became a mother!