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Cast of BET’s College Hill Speak Out On It All

Cast of BET’s College Hill Speak Out On It All
Posted By: Daniel Moss on May 02, 2006

By Nyasha Chikowore, Claflin University

The wait is over as thousands of viewers across the nation finally get to see episodes of the third season of BET’s College Hill, the infamous reality-TV show that monitors the lives of black college students picked to live together in a house.
This season, the cast was selected from Virginia State University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in Petersburg, VA, where something special was seen in eight lucky students:

Anya, the outspoken communications major;
Audrina, the boxer;
Deirdra, the cheerleader;
Bianca, the Puerto Rican diva;
Ray, the school mascot;
Arlando, the chilled Omega;
Rodney, the smooth Sigma;
Will, the white football player.

“BET did a great job in the casting process,” Arlando said, “They picked people with different qualities…the house had a little of everything and we had great chemistry for the most part.”

On the other hand, some members of the show would have liked to see some diversity in the casting.

“There were several things missing; females who have children, the goody-two-shoes, church going person who doesn’t drink or smoke, a lesbian and a sorority girl,” said Ray, the homosexual member of the cast.

Audrina, a New York native, said, “I think they could have had more culture, like people from different areas, like D.C. where they have different music, slang, trends and a different way of thinking, most of us are from Virginia.”

Each cast member brought their own energy to the house, which contributed to the dramatic moments and also to those controversial scenes that have appeared on TV. Ray described himself as animated, Deirdra as bubbly and outgoing, Will described himself as adding ‘flava to the mix’, Arlando as chilled and mellow, Rodney as the ladies man, Bianca as fun but deep, Audrina as real and Anya as the spice in the group.

“I really think they made me look like an a**hole,” said Deirdra, in response to recent episodes where she has appeared arguing or insulting her housemates.

Bianca, who has been shown in some interesting scenarios herself said, “I wouldn’t take back anything but they haven’t showed my whole self.” She urges viewers to watch the whole season in order for them to get the big picture.

Arlando, on the other hand, said “They’re not making me look dumb on TV, they got me in my real character…I’m a laidback dude.”

Will, who is the first white participant in College Hill history, feels that he appears to be quiet on the show. “With all the editing they do, you’ll probably never see the real me,” he said. As a freshman at VSU, Will lists the football recruiting and his love for black women as the determining factors that led him to an HBCU.
There are many reasons why someone would be interested in participating in a reality TV show such as College Hill, and for the majority of the cast members; the entertainment industry played a big part.

“It was an opportunity to get my face on TV,” said Arlando, an aspiring model. Audrina was also looking for exposure for a future modeling career, and Rodney, who has his own website, www.rockstarrod.com, is enthusiastic about breaking into the entertainment industry as either an actor or a model.

Bianca’s reason for signing up for the show was a little different. If she had not made it as a cast member, she may have dropped out and enrolled herself at a local community college. “My father was actually supposed to pay for school but he disappeared and I couldn’t afford to live on campus,” she said. “College Hill came at a perfect time and because we didn’t have to pay rent, I saved money and stayed in school.”

Cast members of the show got to live in the historic 10,000 sq. ft Ragland Mansion in Petersburg, which is a real luxury for any normal HBCU student.

Audrina, who feels that it wasn’t an accurate perception of Black college life, said, “I didn’t feel like that was my home. They should have showed more footage of us in the classroom.”

Ray, who agreed, said “They’re only gonna’ show what gets ratings. They’re not gonna’ show when we have family problems, or us in our advisor’s offices because we’re failing a class, or trying to figure out how to get in the café when your meal card is low.”

Rodney believes they showed most of college life but missed out the “struggle” aspect as well. “Sometimes you have nothing to eat but oodles of noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner…cause you be struggling,” he said.

Anya also trusts the editing could have been done more tastefully, “It’s more than just partying. It’s about education, careers and Black people trying to present themselves for the future.”

On the other hand, Ray was convinced the show accurately demonstrates how people can bump heads because of conflicting cultures, beliefs, attitudes and opinions. “I learnt that I should keep some of my comments to myself,”

Deirdra said. “I’m not a sneaky person like Anya said I am, anything I had to say to someone, I said it to their face.”

Arlando, who was a self-proclaimed homophobe before the show, found he learned to adapt to different types of people. “I could be in the vicinity of different people without losing my composure,” he said, “I was skeptical at first but I got over it.”

Anya learnt throughout the process of the show that she wasn’t a morning person at all. “Don’t talk to me or even look at me in the morning,” she said. “I’m not a people person as much as I thought I was.”

Ray, who couldn’t stand living with eight people in one house, also had to deal with his alternative lifestyle, as the homosexual in the house.



“I didn’t have any issues with being gay, I went into the house with an open mind,” he said. “The reason why people don’t know a lot about gay people is because they never ask…I also wanna clear up, I was not looking at Rodney’s [****] cheeks in the Jacuzzi!”

One aspect of reality television that cast members could not escape was the loss of privacy and the automatic assumptions and criticisms that they receive from viewers. The cast members had cameras following them day in and day out, from the time they woke up to the time they went to sleep.

“I’m told that I’m insecure, I’m told I act like I’m trying to be tough but I’m a real person who laughs, jokes and has some insecurities,” Audrina said. “We’re human beings who don’t always say the right things or make the right decisions; we’re just on TV doing it.”

Will has been called a poser and has also been accused of trying to ‘act black.’ “That’s just my personality, certain people respect me, and certain people say I’m whack…but I’m one of the realest people you’ll ever meet.”

Anya didn’t realize how much of a private person she actually was. “They wanted everything on camera, some things everyone needs to keep private,” she said.

Ray felt the need to put his personal life on hold as a way to respect his family and often ate alone in the cafeteria. “Everybody doesn’t need to know your personal business; some things are better left unsaid. I was ducking and dodging the cameras to talk to my friends ‘cause some people just don’t want to be on camera,” he said.

Not only did the show take a toll on their personal lives, but the hectic schedule before and after the show, made it difficult to find a balance between school and other activities.
“I had to figure out how to organize my life,” Will said, “I had football, school and the show.”

Another athlete, Rodney, who plays basketball for the VSU Trojans, found it hard at first but later learned to adjust to the busy schedule.

Because of the one-sided view of parties and drama, Bianca learned that ‘not everything is as it seems.’ “We were still going to school, participating in activities and being active in our organizations,” she said.

The cast have even had school administration and older influences, frown upon the show. “Administration was ashamed, think that all we do is party and drink and that we’re not focused on our work,” said Rodney.

Arlando, a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, received a few words from his organization’s officials. “They felt it disrespected the frat,” he said. “Older frat weren’t feeling it but collegiate [frat] loved it.”

Ultimately the cast had 100% backing from their families and friends, and continue to work as each other’s support systems.

“The bus rides really brought us together and we also bonded once the show was over. We may not hang out but we share the same love,” said Audrina, who is currently Bianca’s housemate.

Rodney, Arlando and Deirdra, felt that they clicked, while Audrina, felt connected to Will, who was her roommate throughout the show and Anya felt she could have bonded with Bianca more.

Now that the celebrity and fame of the show is starting to hit, cast members are having opportunities thrown at them left and right.

“I’ve made a lot of contacts with some radio stations, and when they actually see that I know how to use their equipment they’re impressed,” said Bianca.

Will, who has been exposed to the celebrity lifestyle, doesn’t feel he could live any other way. “My dream would be the NFL or being a VJ on a network like BET; I just want to be famous,” he said.

With the numerous appearances and promotions they have endured, Rodney has realized the entertainment industry takes a lot of hard work, but remains eager to take on the challenge.

When thinking over where the fourth season of College Hill should be filmed, many of the cast members named Florida A& M University because of its southern location. “They should go somewhere real country like Georgia, South Carolina or Texas,” said Anya. Will named Howard University, while Ray decided to go a different route. “I think they should go to a predominantly white university and follow the lives of the Black students there,” he said. As a word of advice to the next cast, Ray said, “Do something bigger and better. The cameras don’t lie; use the show and don’t let it use you!”

You can hit up each of the casts guestbooks right here on www.HBCUCOnnect.com. And YES they actually get your messages!

Rodney:
http://hbcuconnect.com/alumnidb/cgi-bin/se...

Bianca:
http://hbcuconnect.com/alumnidb/cgi-bin/se...

Deirdra:
http://hbcuconnect.com/alumnidb/cgi-bin/se...

Audrina:
http://hbcuconnect.com/alumnidb/cgi-bin/se...

Arlando:
http://hbcuconnect.com/alumnidb/cgi-bin/se...

Ray:
http://hbcuconnect.com/alumnidb/cgi-bin/se...

Will:
Will will have his profile up soon!

Anya:
http://hbcuconnect.com/alumnidb/cgi-bin/se...
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No disrespect to VSU, but if anyone from BET is reading this, when are you all going to do a season of "College Hill" at a REAL HBCU?? FAMU! I mean, America needs to see what it's really like at a LIVE school!!! Go Rattlers:)
Friday, May 12th 2006 at 11:19AM
Jenean Dawson
Virginia State University class of 2011
No next season should definitely be at North Carolina A&T State University. It's time to see let the people see how we let our AGGIE PRIDE shine!!!
Friday, May 12th 2006 at 12:19PM
anisah hassan
Spelman College class of 2007
This is the first season I have actually enjoyed!!! College Hill has really come up! The producers should definately consider somewhere in the south!!! FAM would be a wonderful choice! But what about Spelman & Morehouse or CAU?!?!?! People always sleepin on Spelman and Morehosue!!!
Friday, May 12th 2006 at 12:51PM
Tasia Woods
Fayetteville State University class of 2007
I think a casting show should be held at Fayetteville State University. So many people come to FSU from states from all around plus you have your military people. FSU has it all!
Friday, May 12th 2006 at 1:13PM
Jasminn Diggs
Texas Southern University class of 2008
Yep, I agree. The fourth season of 'College Hill' should be shot down south. I mean, who else can dish up some real hospitality? I wouldn't mind seeing FAMU or CAU represent, BUT I guarantee that Texas Southern University would change the game forever!!!!
Friday, May 12th 2006 at 3:49PM
Kelsey Baldwin
North Carolina A&T State University class of 2009
I think that the fourth season of College Hill should be shot at North Carolina A&T also. Not just because it's my school but because the school itself is very popular and always talked about. It amazes me that BET hasn't thought of filming there already! AGGIE PRIDE IS NATIONWIDE BABY!!! Remember that!!!
Friday, May 12th 2006 at 5:55PM
Patricia Harris
Savannah State University class of 2003
The next school should be none other than Savannah State University in lovely Savannah,GA! People tend to overlook the smaller HBCU's; but I want you to know that SSU is a small school where big things happen. There's nothing like Tiger Pride!
Trish
SSU
Alumni c/o 03
Saturday, May 13th 2006 at 12:57AM
Karenja K. Saunders
Bethune Cookman University class of 2007
It would be tight if the cast came to B-CC, but I HIGHLY doubt our president and the board of trustees would allow it to happen. Therefore, I'll show support for our sister/rival school and say that FAMU would be pretty interesting to watch. Other than that, any of the AUC schools would be pretty hot.
Saturday, May 13th 2006 at 1:55PM
WILLIAM W. HEMMANS III
Florida A&M University class of 1995
I agree with all the FAMU people!!!!!!!
(^;^)

Sincerest
William
Sunday, May 14th 2006 at 1:34AM
Kenyetta Chapman
South Carolina State University class of 2009
Nah the next show should be at South Carolina State University. That's a REAL hbcu. Go Bulldogs!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, May 15th 2006 at 10:48AM
Kathleen Petrice Lindsay
Virginia State University class of 2008
MAN...if only people knew what college hill does to ones reputation!!! I live in FLA and ummm...you do not want BET at your school!
Wednesday, May 17th 2006 at 1:31AM
no the next college hill needs to be in the true south a school in a place that most people think lynching still goes on Alabama. College Hill needs to be at Alabama State University.
Wednesday, May 17th 2006 at 1:56AM
Branden Cooperwood
Texas Southern University class of 2008
ALL THE OTHER SCHOOLS SOUND OK. BUT IF YOU WANT A REAL SCHOOL COME TO TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY.. THE BAY AREA WILL GIVE BET THE HIGEST RATINGS THEY'VE EVER SEEN. BRING COLLEGE HILL TO TEXAS SOUTHERN
Friday, May 19th 2006 at 7:35PM
Branden Cooperwood
Texas Southern University class of 2008
ALL THE OTHER SCHOOLS SOUND OK. BUT IF YOU WANT A REAL SCHOOL COME TO TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY.. THE BAY AREA WILL GIVE BET THE HIGEST RATINGS THEY'VE EVER SEEN. BRING COLLEGE HILL TO TEXAS SOUTHERN
Friday, May 19th 2006 at 7:35PM
Markeisha Cassidy-Dawson
Clark Atlanta University class of 2009
Honestly. I hope College Hill DOESNT come to the AUC bcuz BET tends to portray those students in A NEGATIVE LIGHT. I mean I know ppl enjoy DRAMA but BET never shows anyone studying..or cast members preparing for their future..which is what HBCU's are intended to do. Our HBCU's in the AUC especially have prestigious reputations and I just dont want BET to ruin that!
Sunday, May 21st 2006 at 5:27PM
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