Ryan Jenkins was a famous reality TV star. He had appeared on the VH-1 series Megan Wants a Millionaire, winning the $1 million prize. He was selected for the third season of the VH-1 reality show "I Love Money," and reportedly won the $250,000 prize on that show, too (which apparently will not air).
What Ryan Jenkins really was in reality (as in, real life) was a violent man who had been sentenced to 15 months probation and ordered to complete domestic violence counseling after assaulting his girlfriend during 2007. He also was apparently capable of killing his ex-wife Jasmine Fiore and then removing the tips of her fingers and her teeth, in an attempt to prevent police from identifying her (which they ultimately did, ironically, by tracking the serial numbers on her breast implants). He then fled and hung himself from a coat rack in a motel room in Canada.
The underlying character of a man asserts itself eventually, no matter how many scripts he is handed or how well-honed his acting skills.
The truth is that most reality television shows have nothing to do with real life or with real emotions or with real people. Most showcase situations that never occur in our genuine day-to-day existences and run the risk of attracting participants who are on the run from their feelings, not at one with them. These "stars" are often quite different from actors like DeNiro or Pacino or Streep. They aren't practitioners of any particular art form and don't know the first thing about getting into and out of character. And they might not need to because they are always acting. They may be particularly good at what they do because they lack a core self and can adapt to the unreal, real-life predicaments into which they are written. Their narcissistic needs for approval and applause and fame and their lack of a desire for privacy may, in fact, be intense enough to qualify as psychopathology. They run to fake dramas because they have been running their whole lives-from core sadness and rage and shame.
Ryan Jenkins was gifted as a reality TV star because he was a tortured human being.
Just think about Jon and Kate Plus 8 "playing" parents to sextuplets by putting them before the lens of a camera that can't help but distort their developing emotions and perspectives. Great parenting there, huh? They qualify as reality TV stars because they aren't real parents, not because they are.
The real, real Ryan Jenkins was a person full of rage and self-hatred who terrorized more than one woman, killed his ex-wife, then hung himself. If he had managed to live longer without taking any lives, he probably would have won some more prize money and gotten more famous.
Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatry correspondent for FOX News Channel and a New York Times bestselling author. His newest book, "Living the Truth: Transform Your Life through the Power of Insight and Honesty" has launched a new self-help movement. Check out Dr. Ablow's Web site at livingthetruth.com.
Keith Ablow, MD is a psychiatrist, and was host of the nationally-syndicated "Dr. Keith Ablow Show." He is a former member of the Fox News Medical A Team.