On Monday, the official trailer for “The Real World: Portland” premiered on MTV.
And Texas Tech fans might have recognized a familiar face.
A former Tech football player and rapper, Marlon Williams, has had his tough points in life and is ready to share it with the world.
Growing up as a child of parents in the military, Williams calls Las Vegas home. While attending high school in Austin, Williams was offered a scholarship to play football at Tech.
“It was the best time of my life, yo,” he said. “Like, being around (Mike) Leach because he’s such a character, being around Ruffin McNeill because he’s, like, one of those real, like, ‘for the players’ kind of guy, it was great. And then I came into a class with Michael Crabtree and Baron Batch, a lot of those guys. It was just fun because we had a real family vibe and bonded through football, and it was cool.”
With about a year left before graduating, Williams stepped away from pursuing an industrial engineering degree and decided to play football for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Canada, but then stopped.
“Things didn’t really work out,” he said, “and it was kind of a bad time in my life. You just got to regroup.”
Then one day, while scanning the MTV website, Williams saw a pop-up advertisement looking for people with an interesting story.
The ad was for “The Real World: Portland.”
“It was just like — I’m a thrill seeker,” he said. “I like being that guy that it’s just, like, ‘Man, I don’t think that could ever happen in my life,’ and then I was like … I’d love to experience that and to be able to tell my story to people and see how they react. I just went for it. By the graces of God, it happened.”
One thing led to another, and soon Williams found himself auditioning in January 2012 and landing the part as one-seventh of the MTV staple.
As the opening monologue of the reality show states, “This is a true story of seven strangers, picked to live in a house, work together and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.”
Williams said meeting his roommates for the first time was like college freshmen orientation.
“You’re coming in and everybody wants to meet everybody,” he said. “And everybody’s just willing to just be like, ‘Look, whatever happens, let’s just have fun and go with it.’ So it was a great vibe coming into the house. A lot of talented, amazing people.”
Immediately, cameras are set up in the hot tub-accessorized Portland, Or. house to document everything the roommates do, Williams said.
“It’s overwhelming because most people go through life, and it’s just, like, I’ll do something or I’ll say something, and it’s just, like, whatever, but in that situation from day one, it’s like everything you do is documented. So you’re kind of in that situation where it’s like, ‘Do I say this or don’t I say this’ at the beginning, and then after that, you’re just like, ‘You know what, forget it. I’m here. I’m living life. I love the situation. I don’t like you. You don’t like me. I don’t care,’ and then it just becomes real life. It’s like you forget about the cameras.”
Williams dismissed rumors of the show providing unlimited alcohol, the roommates receiving an allowance and producers starting some of the drama. Instead, he said the roommates bought their own alcohol with the money they earned from their jobs, and the producers only asked about the already-created drama.
This season will be nothing short of exciting, Williams said. He hinted of conflicts, hook-ups and even one roommate leaving the show.
“People are going to love this season because there’s so much real life in it,” he said. “That real life brought drama that people can relate to.”
Blayne Beal, assistant athletic director of media relations at Tech, knew Williams when he played football at Tech and said Williams will be fun to watch on the reality show.
“He’s a funny guy,” he said. “He has a big personality, so I’m sure in the audience MTV is looking for, they’ll certainly get their money’s worth with Marlon because he has a great sense of humor, and I think he’ll be a lot of fun to watch.”
Since the season finished production, Williams lives in McKinney and said he has begun his Wavy Cartel T-shirt line.
“Basically, (I) just come up with cool shirts that people can feel good in,” he said while sporting an original Wavy Cartel T-shirt. “What we’re doing is — our goal is to make our shirts to where they display mottos with pictures, so if you you’re on top of the world or something like that, we’ll come up with a shirt, with graphics that display you being on top of the world without the words.”
While a clothing line is new territory for the reality star, he continues to pursue his music career under his rapper’s name, Jay Dillinger.
Williams said he started rapping in the seventh grade, was signed to an independent record label and opened up for acts while in Lubbock.
“Mainly, my goal with music, with people, is getting real-life experiences with, like, a little bit of inspiration,” he said, “a little bit of hope in it because me growing up, I was kind of that kid that everyone doubted. Even when I first started playing sports, I never played. I was the dude that after the game, my dad would take my jersey off my pads, put it back on a hanger, put it back in the closet, didn’t even have to wash it.”
With the world watching the 28th season of MTV’s longest-running program, Williams said he wants people to know everyone has problems.
“It doesn’t matter how successful you are or how unsuccessful you are, everybody has their problems in life,” he said. “People should take time to understand that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and even if it is green, people still go through problems.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from in life, you deal with situations differently, so take time to put yourself in their shoes and not cast judgment or hate on them. Get to know them before you build opinion of people because you could be making the situation they’re going through worse, which is terrible or you could be the person to make their situation better.”