I had the opportunity to interview Ryan Knight (“Real World: New Orleans 2010”), who is currently a cast member of “The Challenge: Rivals II.” He was candid, as usual, as he talked about his time on “The Real World,” “Rivals II” and his relationship with Jemmye Carroll (“Real World: New Orleans 2010”), Frank Sweeney (“Real World: San Diego 2011”) and Preston Robertson-Charles (“Real World: New Orleans 2010”).
Is it weird seeing yourself on TV?
Have you ever listened to yourself on a voicemail or on an answering machine from like back in the day and been like, oh man, that’s how I sound? Imagine seeing yourself on TV and being like, that’s how I sound, that’s what I did, oh my gosh my mother’s going to kill me. That’s more of my thinking of it because at times, I do do some dumb things on the show just because I tend to get bored so I find ways to amuse myself and unfortunately sometimes it’s to other people’s misery, like it makes me chuckle at times, you know? But I’m not bad, I’m not an evil person in the outside world when you have your outlets and can be by people who you genuinely like – although I do like a lot of people on the show as well.
Yeah, it seems like you get along with people, for the most part. For the last episode, I notice you put on Twitter that the editing made it look different, what’s your version of events?
Well, it’s just funny, because the whole me and Jemmye, during our fight thing, what they did was this one time I had mesh shorts on, that are like a tan color, another time I wore that same under-armor shirt on, but it was like 2 weeks different in time.
The first time is she threw a garbage can at me, she threw a coke at me, she hit me with 2 shot glasses in the head, she put a knife to my throat and then that’s when I had the ketchup like, “Yo, get the hell away from me,” and threw the ketchup on her. It was more so like a security blanket for me, like I knew she didn’t like ketchup. I didn’t do it maliciously. And then it turned into a big her crying-fest like, “Blah, blah, blah, you don’t have my back and like this and that.” It’s a lot of underlying stuff, I think, but they don’t show that because it’s not about drama, it’s about the challenges so there’s a lot of stuff that’s not seen.
And then the other time, when Leroy was talking to her, I’m kind of feeling like a stupid drunk, like, “what the heck is this person talking about?” Well, that was because Jemmye yelling at me for 3 hours and I told my boy Johnny because Johnny Bananas was like, “They should call you Gandhi, I don’t know how you stay calm when someone berates you like that.” Because, you know, with Jemmye I don’t laugh when she’s doing stuff because I care about her, most people I laugh when they’re yelling at me, I give a little smirk on my face just to be a dickhead, and like with her I actually care about her opinion so I don’t do that, you know. I know how to handle Jem, I know if I mouth off, it’s gonna get worse and Jem’ll end up losing it and she’ll end up crying and I don’t wanna see the girl cry, because I obviously care about the girl, you know? She’s obviously close to me.
So did you guys interact at all before that? Because on this season, prior to this episode, we did not see you guys interact at all and in the confessional, Jem said, “He’s just doing this because I’m ignoring him, he wants any kind of attention from me, even if it’s negative.”
I don’t think that was false, it was weird when we first saw each other, but the [expletive] up thing was I was down in South Padre Island, TX, a month before hosting spring break stuff w/inertia tours, CT was down there…but I mean I spoke with Jem four or five times a week via text or phone so, like, she plays this act where she doesn’t like me and she doesn’t talk to me but she calls me like we’re good friends. It’s nothing sexual, it’s nothing like that but it’s always just like friendly. I actually ended up texting her today and I was like, “Why are we not friends? Like, I don’t understand what the hell happened. Like I know why we’re not together anymore but what did I do? Did I do something?” Like because when I leave Thailand, we left on shit terms, she went her way, I went my way, then all of a sudden she’s texting me a lot after the show and then after that she just like cut it off again and so I got a random text from her, I texted her back…it’s weird with us. I think she’s got a lot of issues that she needs to talk to me about….but as much as she says she hates me or whatever, she has my back and I had her back throughout the whole [challenge].
What happened between you two? I watched your season (“Real World: New Orleans 2010”) and it seemed like she was pretty attached to you and you were sorta the more detached one. Now, you obviously grew to like her a lot more than you did, but it seems strange to me that she was just able to cut you off because from what I saw on your season, that did not seem like her personality. She seemed like the type of person who could let a lot of things slide and put up with a lot.
I cheated on her, with my ex-girlfriend, and this was a girl I dated for 7 years – all throughout college – so I think it woulda been different if it had been another girl. But honestly I didn’t realize what I had to lose. I didn’t realize how much of a ride-or-die best friend I had. On the show, I watched it and I’m like, “Man, I shoulda treated her better then.” We had a really good relationship. I mean we could just hang out with each other for like, weeks, straight and like both of us were having a great time. We had like a really weird connection and I’m not the most spiritual person in the world or anything but I believe we were put on that show for a reason – she helped me out with my issues, I think I really opened her up to show her like, hey, there are guys out there that aren’t assholes – then I totally stuck my foot in my mouth by becoming that douche bag…but just as much as I helped her, I believe that she helped me.
Of course, it just surprised me she was able to break it off with you so quickly, just like that.
Well, when we got eliminated together on Battle of the Seasons, I thought we were gonna get back together, then all of a sudden she just like disappeared. She called me every day, she was supposedly gonna move up to Wisconsin and then I dunno what happened. Her parents knew a lot about me, her mother, and her mother’s always had my back, but she thought I did her daughter wrong, which I did and she’d love Jem no matter what but I’m sure she would have lost a lot of respect for her if she went back to me after what I did…no one really knows our relationship. Our relationship was actually 100 times better than it came off on TV.
You miss her, don’t you? I can tell from the way you’re talking about her.
No, no, no, no, I don’t miss her, I mean, obviously, she was my best friend, I just wish I hadn’t done something to a really, really good girl because you kinda wonder, “What would it be?” you know? But no, I don’t miss her…I love her, but I’m not in love with her. I wish her the best. I’m glad that we’re talking again and that we’re friends and that’s cool, ya know? I’m absolutely 100% with that.
After you guys broke up, did you immediately move back to Wisconsin?
Well, no, I went back to Wisconsin to go to a wedding and she wanted to come with me, but there were some things that needed to change with our relationship, on both ends, and we needed space and when we got the space, I messed up where I shouldn’t have. I strongly believe if I would have done things differently…and I would have not cheated, and thought with the right head instead of the wrong head, things would be different. But we also needed some changes, you know? We started our relationship differently, I mean, I started off living with this girl…when the show ended, she went back to Mississippi, I went back to Wisconsin, and I ended up flying to Mississippi like the next week. I’m like, “I miss you,” and we moved to New Orleans the next week.
What’s the deal with you and Frank Sweeney?
Frank’s been talking a lot of crap about me because when he and CT got in that fight, you know, and I got between them, I was trying to help him out. Frank talks a lot of [expletive] about me, I talk a lot of [expletive] about Frank, but in the house, when we have to live together, me and Frank have like, decent conversations when he’s not talking all about himself. He’s very self-centered – he’s so insecure – I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if he’s jealous of me and Zach’s friendship, like he wants to date the guy or something, or what it is. I don’t like him, though, I don’t want people to think I like him. He and his boyfriend attacked me on Twitter the other night, saying they hope I OD and I’m a low-life. The kid works as a bartender and he has the nerve to call me, someone with a real job, a low-life? You’d think someone as smart as him would be doing more with his life, but he doesn’t because he has problems. His main downfall is that he’s over-emotional, I think he lets his emotions take over things, I think. But yeah, I don’t like the kid, at all.
Why were you and Preston Robertson-Charles paired as rivals? It didn’t seem like you guys ever had any real big friction on the show.
I despise Preston at times, not especially as a person, I think he’s a good person. He got mad at me because sometimes, he’ dressed up like lady gaga for a concert and he told me he wanted to become a professional businessman, and he got mad at me because I told him, “Dude, you don’t wanna be called a homo, what do you think people are gonna be calling you? People are gonna be staring at you,” you know? And I have gay friends – Derek from “Real World: Cancun” is probably one of the dude’s I talk to more than most on the show because I love the kid. And Tyler, I talk to Tyler quite a bit…but I was trying to explain to Preston, “If you’re trying to be a businessman, they’re gonna see this on TV,” and because older gentlemen don’t have the mentality we have, they’re not as open to things as we are, you know? We’re a different generation…and Preston thought, “Oh, you’re a bigot, you’re this, you’re that,” but I was trying to help him out. Did I go about it the wrong way? Yes…I put my foot in my mouth a lot.
Who do you keep in touch with from your “Real World” season?
Ashley, Jemmye, Sahar every now and then, McKenzie, so more so the girls….me and Preston, we talk every now and then, Erik Patrick I haven’t talked to in about 2 years, and Ryan Leslie I haven’t talked to in like a year, a year and a half.
What made you decide to audition for the show?
One of my boys sent pictures and a video of me, just like, “Hey, my friend would never nominate himself but you guys gotta see this guy, he’s perfect, he’ll say whatever the hell’s on his mind,” and these are my best friends that have known me for my whole life, we used to play hockey and stuff….then I got this e-mail from MTV, like, “Oh, you’ve made it to VIP, blah blah blah, you get to skip the line,” and asked if I could come in for an audition in Madison and I was like “No, I have school, I can’t do that,” so they took another group in Madison, and that was, I think, 100 people. Well, I met them the next day and put the camera in front of you and talk to you or whatever and I ended up doing well in the interviews…
So you never auditioned?
Nope, it was never my plan to do it.
Are you glad you ended up taking the opportunity?
Yeah, I’ve met some amazing people and got to go to places I wouldn’t otherwise go to. Like why would I ever go to Turkey in my life, you know? Thailand…and living down in New Orleans was great, too. I’m always up for an adventure.
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