Now, when I think back on the experience, I find it strangely endearing. There I was, before I even knew who I was. A ruminator, an observer. Wanting to call bullshit but searching for the right voice.
At the time of filming, the show still has a working title. Eventually, once the cameras stop rolling and all is done, the title is confirmed as Miss Seventeen
. This is unfortunate for at least 17 reasons.
The show airs in October of 2005, immediately following The Hills
. I watch the first episode at the fancy launch party, my heart in my throat. The only words I speak on air take place at our first group dinner, where each cast member is asked to share a fact. Who are we and what are we about? We can share anything we want, they say, but it should be something a stranger couldn’t see upon meeting us. The answers are varied: tennis, slam poetry, family. When it’s my turn, I say the only thing that comes to mind.
To this day, my fact — “My name is Caroline, and I’m concerned with the way women are portrayed in the media” — remains the only sentence I’ve uttered on television. It feels like a peculiar kind of justice.
Now, when I’m asked to provide a “fun fact,” I like to say I once appeared on a really embarrassing reality show. But for the record, I’m still concerned.