By Kathleen Vanesian
By Amy Silverman
By Robrt L. Pela
By Jim Louvau
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Benjamin Leatherman
By New Times
By Becky Bartkowski
NT: What else didn't make it on the air?
Smith: Ah, this is where it all comes down, huh? I can talk your ear off on this subject. Where do you want to start?
NT: Well, I was surprised to discover that The Real World cast could drag people home and have sex with them.
Smith: If you were on The Real World, having sex with anyone in New Orleans was easier than getting a free meal. Nothing could have prepared me for walking into a nightclub and having a dozen women pursue each of the guys from the show. It was funny, because they'd always start with Danny.
NT: The gay guy.
Smith: Right. I couldn't believe what people would do to be on television. The women who passed through the beds of our home, it was absolutely disgusting. It was horrible that they would become victims like that, and that they didn't have higher regard for themselves. I mean, what does that say about them?
NT: That they wanted to be on a reality TV show?
Smith: But a lot of those girls that ended up in David's bed became friends of mine. I sat and held so many girls and felt their tears on my shoulder, women who had been victimized, which you don't see on the finished show.
NT: There seems to be a certain profile to each show: the virgin, the gay guy, the cute blond chick from the sticks. So, which one were you?
Smith: I didn't fit a single profile. They could have cast me as the kid from the backwoods, or as the brainiac from Georgia Tech, or the virgin boy, or the Christian, or the white kid that likes black stuff. I'm not any of those; I'm all of those. Most of us were chosen either to provide sexual temptation or outright controversy or feuding. Just personalities clashing.
NT: Like when you confronted Danny about your belief that homosexuality is wrong.
Smith: What I told Danny -- and what I share with you -- is that the church's teaching on sexuality is that it's a gift that's about uniting in love and being open to creation. So any variation on that is a misuse of sexuality. That goes for contraception, masturbation or homosexual acts. Danny and I embraced this understanding, and he came to church with me several times; his boyfriend came with me several times, too. They're both great guys, and I love them. As I travel around, the most compassionate group I've talked to has been homosexual men and women. I'll be out in a nightclub, and some gay guy will come up to me and say, "I saw that part on your show where you talked about your beliefs about homosexuality. Thanks for clearing that all up."
NT: Thanks for clearing that all up. So, how do you get your hair to do that?
Smith: I use Freez-It 18-Hour Hold -- $3.99 at Rite-Aid. It's great, but you can cut yourself on my hair after it dries. I'm not one of those kids who uses wood glue or egg whites.
NT: So you travel the world, talking to Christian teens. How is that a segue from being on a hip, sexy cable TV show?
Smith: It's pretty exciting. I'm booked every weekend for the next year and a half. I travel constantly, and I really get to see how big the real real world is. Also, the impact that that show has on young people, which can be scary. One of the most terrifying things I've had happen was meeting a 7-year-old girl in a grocery store who said, "I thought it was so funny when your roommate danced naked on The Real World." Until you experience that, you really don't understand the impact that television has on kids.
NT: Does it wreck your credibility that you spent all that time in the Real World hot tub?
Smith: Well, by the end of the show's run, I wouldn't get into that hot tub. Because, you know, there was so much chlorine in the Real World hot tub because of the brothels of women who skinny-dipped in there. It was the most nauseating thing to be in that hot tub. So staying out of it wasn't a matter of running from scandal, it was just nasty!