Priscilla Mendez, 19, is the youngest cast member on MTV’s Real World this season, which was filmed in San Diego.
She is also a pre-med transfer student at UC Davis who is majoring in psychology. I chatted with her Tuesday after she returned from Los Angeles where she was doing some last-minute postproduction work.
Mendez grew up in San Diego. She chose to go to UC Davis in part because of the medical school, but also because she wanted to take an adventurous step out of her hometown, and her comfort zone.
The premier is at 10 pm on Wednesday. In her 16 second MTV promo clip, she proclaims that her boobs, which are fake, "are " and "I'm to a single thing this whole vacation."
Here's an abridged version of our conversation. Like Davis Patch on Facebook for weekly updates:
What have you been up to since the show ended?
We actually finished filming really recently. I spent a week at home and then I moved to Davis last weekend. It’s been kind of a crazy experience transitioning from the [Real World] house to this whole new chapter of university that I’ve never gotten to do before.
I didn’t realize they begin airing the show so soon after.
I know. Typically there’s a longer post-production period. We’re just getting out of living in this house and now we’ve been thrown into a world where we’re seeing our promotions on TV and we’re being recognized here and there. It’s definitely really exciting, but it’s also surreal.
So, this is your first time living away from San Diego?
I’ve always, always, always lived at home with mom. This summer was kind of a mini-prep for me. [Real World] was kind of like a little vacation away from mom; I could still call her with an issue or see her on weekends and whatnot.
This is my first time officially living on my own. I got my Associates Degree from Grossmont College, but I feel like a freshman getting lost everywhere. I don’t know where I’m going. The transition still feels very new to me.
What’s your living situation in Davis?
I live off-campus in a townhouse with one other girl. It’s definitely very different because if I’m alone in the house, I’m alone and there’s not a room full of production downstairs or six other people that are constantly making noise. One thing about living in that house is that you were never, ever bored.
If somebody’s up at 6 am, everybody’s up at 6 am. It was always very eventful. Now I am alone, and I’m having those moments where I’ve called my mom really in shock and really freaking out that it’s so quiet in the house.
Have you come away from the show with friendships intact?
We’re of course going to have our tiffs and our issues. Not everyone’s going to get along with everyone at every single point in the day, but when it’s all said and done, us seven did this together. Even though there are issues left and right and tons of things that go on, you have something so valuable to learn from each person.
How would you describe this season of the show?
It’s very pro-social. There’s a lot of awareness, a lot of issues, a lot of things that we get involved in. It kind of makes you realize these different perspectives. I came into the house really wanting to grow and constantly change my opinions and my viewpoints. I don’t want to be that person who is set in their ways. I want to find that I am wrong and that’s something I got to do in the house.
I’ve never been around a lesbian in my life, and here comes Sam, who is in the house and is full lesbian and full confident in who she is. From day one, she’s somebody that I was amazed by.
How do you feel about having your life broadcasted on TV?
There’s going to be drama that goes on. What else is going to happen when you have seven completely different personalities brought together? The fact that it’s on TV is just that added bonus. Every single one of us would have done this even had it not been broadcasted. The whole social experiment -- we would have gone through it.
As a 19-year-old, was it a challenge to abstain from partying in an environment so conducive to nightlife?
Of course! But I love the fact that my roommates were never like, “Let’s just leave her, let’s go out.” They’d say “Hey, let’s find somewhere Priscilla can go, too.”
Will you watch it as it comes on TV?
Right now, I don’t even have TV or cable in my house and the show airs tomorrow (Wednesday) night. My mom in San Diego is going to host a little party with all my best friends and my family members at her house. If anything, I’m going to just Skype her so I can kind of be there.
I’ll definitely be watching the shows. It’s going to be a completely different experience when I watch it on TV. One thing we’re all hoping for is that what shows through is the personal growth that we all go through.
Do you expect to see things that anger you?
It almost matters more to me that I have my roommates watching this than the millions of viewers out there. When you watch, you’re seeing the perspective of each person as it goes on. Things will unfold [on TV] and you’re like, “I thought that person felt differently.” The emotions brew within yourself, because there are situations that you thought you understood in the moment.
How do you like Davis so far?
Davis is amazing! It’s completely different than southern California, which I like, honestly. It’s green here, there are so many trees, there’s no much excitement in the atmosphere.
In San Diego, everyone is very involved in their own thing. Here, I can walk down the street, meet a girl from school, and be like, “Hey, let’s have lunch.”
Even the drivers are nicer in Davis, honestly. I mean I’m a terrible driver myself, but everybody’s so polite. And I love that there are so many bicycles, but I’m terrible at riding bikes!
I love downtown Davis. It’s amazing to experience. I’m meeting a lot of wonderful people, wonderful girls. My classes are amazing, but I’ve been overwhelmed because I’m used to my community college class with maybe 50 people in it. I’m here at UC Davis in my lecture hall with 230 people in it. It’s thrilling. I’m getting a lot out of it.
So you’re ready for the challenge of university?
I left home into the Real World house, and I got so out of my comfort zone. To return home to San Diego, it’s almost like I outgrew that comfort zone. Here I am in Davis, at a university for the first time, and I feel again like I’m testing myself. I’m getting outside my box and testing my limits. I’m loving that.