It’s been nearly 29 years since MTV’s The Real World: New York first debuted, and while it had a huge impact on reality television, the experience greatly affected one cast member on a personal level.
The reality series premiered on May 21, 1992, and followed seven strangers who were picked to live in a house and have their lives taped.
“If the Real World didn’t happen and my life didn’t go the way it did, I might have been dead,” says Eric Nies in a teaser for the For Real: The Story of Reality TV‘s Real World reunion, headed up by Andy Cohen.
“There were a lot of wounds that I was suppressing from my childhood and I was on a self-destructive path. I started using drugs at a young age,” the 49-year-old former reality star, who went on to host The Grind on MTV, continues. “I was able to look at myself and see the things that I didn’t like about myself that I wanted to change. In a way, The Real World kind of saved my life.”
Nies says he turned to drugs after enduring “physical abuse, verbal abuse and sexual abuse,” but is adamant that he never did drugs while in The Real World house.
Nies then praises his experience on Ayahuasca, a plant-based psychedelic, and encourages his other castmates at the reunion, Norman Korpi, Julie Gentry and Heather B. Gardner, to try it. Nies says he was able to “access the files” of his “soul’s existence in many, many lifetimes.”
A special preview episode of For Real: The Story of Reality TV, including the The Real World in its entirety, airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on E!, while the series premiere of For Real will air Thursday, March 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, also on E!.
In addition to this reunion interview, the original New York cast will be back for The Real World Homecoming: New York, which drops the day Paramount+ (currently CBS All Access) launches on March 4.
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