Jerri Manthey Survives 'The Surreal Life'
Tue, Jan 7, 2003 00:21 AM PDT
by Kate O'Hare Zap2it, TV News
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - On Thursday, Jan. 9 (9 p.m. ET), The WB premieres "The Surreal Life," which the network describes as a comedy/reality series in which a group of ex-celebrities spends two weeks as roomies in a house in the San Fernando Valley, just outside of Los Angeles.
The participants are: rapper-turned-preacher MC Hammer; former child stars Emmanuel Lewis ("Webster") and Corey Feldman ("The Goonies," "The Lost Boys" ); former Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil; Gabrielle Carteris ("Beverly Hills, 90210"); Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick ("Baywatch Hawaii" ); and Jerri Manthey, who gained notoriety for her abrasive personality during "Survivor: The Australian Outback."
Manthey begs to differ with how the network describes the show. For one, she says, the house was not quite in the Valley, known for its malls and endless tract homes.
"Technically, it was up on Mulholland Drive," she says, "so it wasn't really in the Valley. It was in the Hollywood Hills. It was at the old Glen Campbell estate, which is on sale now for $7.5 million, so it was by no means a shabby place."
"But they blocked off parts of the house, so we all had to be roommates. Vince and Corey shared a room. The funniest was Hammer and Emmanuel sharing a room. They had bunk beds, and Hammer was on the top bunk; his feet hung over the end."
As for the idea of ex-celebrities, she says, "I get really defensive when those labels are thrown in our direction, because these people are still celebrities. We walked into a casino in Vegas, and bodyguards had to fight people off who were trying so hard to touch Hammer and Vince. It was unbelievable."
"There's no such thing as an ex-celebrity. This is something I feel I constantly have to fight with the media about. Once people know who you are, and you can mention someone's name and people know who that person is, that person is always a celebrity. That's just the way it works. Whether they're doing something else now or sitting at home, they're still celebrities."
Manthey said she knew Neil from when she used to work in Malibu years before. "When I walked into the house," she says, "he was like, 'Jerri, hey!' Because he saw me on 'Survivor' shortly after that. He was like, 'Do you remember me?' I said, 'Are you kidding?' Isn't that cute? He such a sweet guy."
"I knew already who everybody was, except I wasn't real familiar with Brande. I was totally intrigued by the fact that both Corey Feldman and Emmanuel Lewis were going to be in the house, because they're both child actors. They ended up so different."
Asked how they were different, Manthey says, "Emmanuel -- or as we like to call him, Manny -- he's a great dude, very positive, got his own record label. He's really working it. He's still very active, just a real positive little bundle of energy."
"Corey, I don't know why, I just thought of everyone that was in the house, I might have a problem with him. He really did cause a lot of conflict between everyone. He's been through a lot, and his career was at a crazy high when he was very young, and he made some really bad choices with his life, took the dark side of the business and ran with it."
"I know now that he's been through AA, and he's totally clean and sober, and I was curious to see what he had learned in from his life, and where he was at."
"I'm still wondering what he learned, and quite frankly, I think the show is going to be a great experience for him to watch. I felt very close to him in the fact that he turned out to be the bad guy, so I tried to talk to him, give him some insight of my experience of being the bad guy on a reality show, which is very different from playing a bad guy."
Manthey is still trying to shake the negative image she acquired during "Survivor." "I could tell Corey was trying very hard to change his image, but you can't hide who you are on a reality show. I think 'Survivor' is a very different experience, because you're under a lot of duress, and environmentally, physically and mentally, it's very stressful. And the hunger issue makes you really cranky."
As to what she missed the most during her two weeks, Manthey says, "My computer. I really missed emailing. And my cellphone."
With two reality shows under her belt, Manthey isn't sure she'd do another. "It would depend on what the aim of the show was. This one was basically to have fun. For me in particular, it gave me the opportunity to be myself -- the well-fed, well-rested Jerri that no one got to see."