Then/Now: The First Cast of 'Real World'
Nowadays reality shows are a dime a dozen, but these guys were the pioneers.


Where are They Now?

Back when Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was in kindergarten, seven strangers were picked to live in a loft and have their lives taped on the first season of the “Real World.” 

Twenty years later, FOX411.com caught up with some of the original cast members of MTV’s enduring reality series to see what they're up to. 

“As soon as we started filming (the first season), we knew we had something special," Jonathan Murray, executive producer and creator of the "Real World" tells FOX411.com exclusively. “We’re proud to be an MTV staple and a show that has impacted several generations over the last 25 seasons.” 

Psst: Attention all future Andres, Beckys, Erics, Heather Bs, Julies, Kevins and Normans: “Real World” 27 is now casting!



Eric Nies Then

Long before New Jersey made its mark on the reality map with the “Real Housewives” and the cast of “Jersey Shore,” Eric Nies (left) arrived at the New York loft “straight out of Jersey.” 

The “charismatic young model” came with a “troubled past” to go along with his charm and six-pack abs. His season-long flirtations with Southern good girl Julie Gentry never reached a climax, and Eric’s temper got the best of him when he feuded with Kevin Powell and Heather B. Gardner.

Where is Eric now?

“I’ve been on quite a spiritual journey,” he tells FOX411.com exclusively. “Working with Native American Indians, I created a program called ‘The Beauty Way’ that utilizes super-food nutrition and internal cleansing. For the past five years, I’ve been a raw foodist–eating fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts.” 

Eric is also hosting his very first yoga retreat in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with Exhale Spa later this fall. 

“I’ve been living like a nomad, the earth is my home,” he says of his current living situation. 

Before Nies' spiritual enlightenment, he successfully pursued a career in entertainment, hosting MTV’s “The Grind” and acting in “Days of Our Lives,” “Above the Rim” and “The Brady Bunch Movie.” 

Nies is currently single.

(MTV/Amy Bennett)



Julie Oliver née Gentry Then

At 18, Julie Gentry was the youngest member of the original “Real World” cast. She became the template for one of the series’ most enduring characters: The wide-eyed innocent living in the big city. Filming the “Real World” in New York was Julie’s first experience living away from home. Back in the dawn of the ‘90s, she was “not always lucky in love” and “could write a book on bad dates.”

Where is Julie now?

“Julie is happily married to a successful restaurateur and living in Alabama,” a source tells FOX 411. “She looks amazing–exactly as she did on the show. Her kids are the sweetest, smartest kids in the world. Julie is very involved with her local public schools, committed to creating environmentally-friendly educational facilities.”



Norman Korpi Then

Norman Korpi (left) was the first in a long line of openly-gay cast members on the “Real World.” 

Described as a “free spirit,” Norman quickly bonded with his roommates. At the time, Norman was described as “a talker and a listener, ready for a conversation, a joke, a story, or an anecdote at the drop of a hat.” 

Nathan also fell in love with Charles Perez on the series, meeting up with him at a pro-choice rally in Washington, DC.

Where's Norman now?

My artistic career continues to grow,” Nathan tells FOX411.com exclusively. “Blackman Cruz in Los Angeles has been representing my work for over a year now, along with several other galleries. 

"I have recently received my patent for the Aero-Tray, a device that will increase the useful space for airline passengers. We are looking to have the Aero-Tray it in the market place for the holidays.” 

Norman currently lives in Los Angeles, and when he’s not creating art or inventing products for the airline industry, he works in entertainment. “I co-directed and produced ‘The Wedding Video’ with Clint Cowen, which has recently been released on iTunes,” he says. “My second film, ‘One Dog Man,’ based on the book by Ahmad Kamal, is currently in development.”

(MTV/Norman Arthur Korpi)


Heather B. Gardner

Heather B. Gardner was on the cusp of "blowing up" with her rap career in the early ‘90s when she joined the cast, working with the South Bronx-based Boogie Down Productions. 

During the season, she spent a lot of time working on her album (yes, there were actual vinyl records back then) and recording her single, “All Glocks Down.” 

Heather also sported a beeper (remember those?) which prompted Julie to jokingly ask in the first episode, “Are you a drug dealer?” 

Needless to say, the joke did not go over well.

Where is Heather now?

In 1995, Heather opened up the Nubian Nails and Hair Beauty Salon in her native Jersey City, NJ. It has since closed, but she has kept busy with her music, and is currently finishing up her third LP, executive produced by DJ Premier. 

She also continues to work in television, film and radio. “Heather’s doing really a great,” says a source. “She’s a very spiritual person, super funny, talented and magnetic.” 

She has been married for over ten years.



Becky Blasband Then

When the “Real World” premiered back in ’92, folk singer Becky Blasband was described as being a “moody wanderer” at a crossroads in her life, who was “searching for a grown-up relationship.” 

By the eighth episode of the series, Becky got her grown-up relationship–she became romantically involved with one of the “Real World” directors.

Where is Becky now?

Becky continues to work on her music, but prefers to live a private life away from the cameras in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

“She’s been writing a lot of music with some great people,”  a source tells FOX411.com. “Becky’s also trying to launch a couple of film projects, a book and other creative endeavors.” 

She is currently single.



Kevin Powell Then

One of most the intense fights in the “Real World” history (and there are so many to choose from!) involved Kevin Powell (left), “a poet, writer and educator” getting into a argument with Gentry outside the loft. 

As the oldest member of the cast, Kevin felt like he was “at a different place than the rest of his roomies” and had “some difficulty connecting with them.”

Where is Kevin now?

Since the “Real World,” Kevin has written for Vibe, Rolling Stone, Newsweek and the Washington Post. He has also published several books of poetry, essays and political commentary. 

While he unsuccessfully ran for for office in New York’s 10th congressional district three times, he remains a committed political activist for African-American issues.


andre thennow

Andre Comeau Then 

Described as a “true musician, working desperately to turn his art into a full-fledged career,” Andre Comeau was the lead singer of a grunge band, Reigndance. 

During the season, Andre and his band were busted by the police when their rehearsal got too loud. 

He also liked to “take it easy,” but wasn’t “afraid to challenge others and engage in heated conversations about social issues.”

Where is Andre now?

“I'm still heavily involved in music, both as an artist and as an executive,” he tells FOX411.com exclusively. “My band River Rouge is releasing a new album in September called ‘Not All There Anymore’. I also work in music publishing and licensing.” 

Andre lives in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA with his girlfriend. 

“No wife, no kids,” he jokes.

(MTV/Andre Comeau)


Gouda the Dog

Gouda, Norman’s Great Dane, made her mark on the first season of the “Real World”–literally–by doing her business in the street while Julie and Heather were out walking her. Julie insisted that Heather scoop up the offending poop, and while the pair were arguing over who would do the deed, Gouda bolted, dragging Heather behind her.

Where is Gouda now?

Gouda, sadly, passed on in 1997. “She was an old dog and it was just her time,”  Norman tells FOX 411. “My ex-business partner, Kim Baker, and I named a product design company after her. Gouda’s name lives on in many museum products throughout the world.”


Then/Now: The First Cast of 'Real World'

Nowadays reality shows are a dime a dozen, but these guys were the pioneers.

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