Daisy Lewellyn with her co-stars from “Blood, Sweat, & Heels”

When Reality Hits Too Close For Comfort, And Reality TV Stars Die

Ezinne Ukoha


April 8, 2016 — was the day Daisy Lewellyn — one of the stars of Bravo’s — Blood, Sweat & Heels — tragically passed away — at the age of 36. I remember being stunned by the news and slightly taken aback by my heightened emotional reaction to it.

The reality TV show about a group of successful Black women — who were conquering the brutally competitive media circuit while strutting their goods and services on the paved runway of NYC — only lasted two seasons (2014–2015) — and the final season showcased how Daisy gorgeously dealt with her cancer struggle.

Ever since MTV’s The Real World: New York made its debut back in 1992 — I’ve been a sucker for the deceit of how television makes anything seem “real” when the cameras are rolling — even when its obvious that we’re witnessing the best version of a soap opera that could ever be conceived.

The earlier shows from MTV’s most popular franchise were amazingly raw and still rule supreme when it comes to the realness of a White young woman from the South — butting heads with a budding activist — who also happens to be a Black guy from Jersey City — who doesn’t have the time or privilege to accommodate the blatant ignorance of his woefully sheltered housemate.

It can certainly be said — that the creators of Real World — don’t get enough credit for the way the long-running series captivatingly re-shaped the landscape of television with the participation of thrill seekers — who were often times overwhelmed by the magnitude of what they had naively signed up for — and that shock value was depicted in episodes that are still memorably genius.

But — all through the drunken fights, near-rape incidents and celebrated fuck fests — there were some disruptions that abruptly reminded viewers that life isn’t just about being sourcing your youthful appeal for adventurous orgasms.There’s also the matter of death and how it can’t be avoided — or regulated to the cutting room.

When AIDS educator Pedro Zamora — from The Real World: San Francisco — succumbed to the deadly disease back in 1994 — it was the first time I had ever watched a cast member on a show die in real life. Despite faithfully watching his slow decline — which he used as an unfiltered tool for his…