Girls of The Next Joe Millionaire
"Joe Millionaire" was a surprise hit for Fox Television in America. The premise: assemble a group of beautiful girls in their mid-twenties and watch while they attempt to outmaneuver each other for the affections of a handsome rich guy. Then drop the bomb: the "rich" guy is really poor white trash and the girls are exposed as the conniving gold-diggers they really are.
Fast-forward to Fall 2003, the next season, and "The Next Joe Millionaire". But where in the world is Fox going to find a gaggle of girls who aren't already wise to the jive? Europe of course! Fifteen beauties are chosen, including four Czechs, all in their mid-20s. The early favorite, Linda Kazdová, asked to be eliminated, but was later invited to return. David eventually selected her as his favorite and she won $250,000.
This summer five of the contestants from "The Next Joe Millionaire" were living in Prague and the show aired locally on TV Nova. Determined to find out if television's version of reality was in synch with ours, the Compass caught up with Prague natives Linda and Karolina, along with Anique, a Dutch contestant who came to Prague to work for a few months shortly after the show ended.
Prague Compass: How did you learn about the show?
Anique: I was studying in Barcelona
and one night while I was walking the streets, ready to go to bed after
a night of partying, the casting crew asked me whether I would be interested
in interviewing for a reality TV show.
Karolina: I heard about it from an American
living in Prague who owns a bar where people from Hollywood hang out when
they are making movies here. He met the casting agent who asked him if
he knew some girls who might be good for this kind of show.
Linda: I found out from Karolina, and I also heard about it from my modeling agency. So we agreed that we would go for it [laughs].
PC: What did you expect to happen during the 30 days of the show?
Linda: I was expecting adventure, it was really exciting for me to go and film the show. I thought it was a good combination of my experience in modeling and traveling, and I was also hoping I would meet the right guy. I didn't know how many girls there would be and we were also told there would be more guys. We only found out about a week before the show actually started that there would be one American guy with European girls.
Karolina: I really didn't know, at the beginning I thought that we were going to travel somewhere to a romantic island or city, that it would be like a summer camp with lots of girls and guys.
PC: What was your general impression of American guys before you met David?
Linda: It was good, I met a few Americans while I was traveling in the States and I like them, they are open and friendly and I think they like brunettes [laughs]! They are gentlemen.
Anique: I'm studying and have American classmates, so David wasn't the first American guy I've met. Although there are cultural differences, I can get along with American guys pretty well, just as well as I can get along with Canadian guys or Chinese guys.
PC: Would he really qualify as a dream date for you?
Anique: Well, I don't think that's a fair question, since I didn't get to spend any private time with him to find out. Everything happened with two cameras on us, which worked on his nerves. It made him kind of introverted which made it harder for us to chat and just have fun. Therefore he wouldn't qualify I guess, but maybe he's different in real life...
Karolina: No, he was not my dream date at all [laughs]! Let's put it this way, I´m not saying he was a bad guy and it's not that I didn't like him, he was nice, but I wasn't interested from the first moment I saw him.
Linda: Yeah, of course! He was good looking and ... exciting. I don't know, it was exciting to find out about his lifestyle, he was from a totally different culture and background.
PC: What was the funniest thing that happened on the show?
Anique: [laughs] That happened off-camera. We were in a "too-posh-for-words" hotel in Rome and Olinda [from Sweden] and I started a toothpaste/body-lotion fight in our hotel rooms. Then we ran downstairs to this huge beautiful lobby, barefoot, covered with cream and toothpaste, chasing each other and screaming ... it was hilarious, everybody was staring at us. In the end we were literally caught by this huge guy who was supposed to be guarding us.
Linda: I think it was when we were supposed to meet him for the first time and we were standing in front of the villa waiting in a line with a rope in front of us and I thought, oh my God, he's gonna ride up on a horse ... and he did.
PC: What were your thoughts when you were told that David was worth $80 million?
Anique: That's a funny question, since during the show I assumed that all the girls thought that this was just part of the script. I didn't even bring the subject up, as I thought it was clear to everyone. But after the show I found out that some girls did believe he had money...funny how everyone's perception was so different even though we were in the same show.
Linda: I don't know, it wasn't very important for me. If he had the money it would be his money, so it didn't matter to me. I'm used to making money for myself, so it wasn't a very important issue for me whether he had money or not.
Karolina: I didn't believe it first of all, and even if he did have $80mm it wouldn't change anything for me. Because what would it mean to me? So what if you are rich? He was like nobody to me. There was nothing interesting about him.
PC: What do you think about having been cast as a gold-digger out to find a rich guy?
Anique: Couldn't care less since I don't feel I've been cast like that. I was cast as a girl open to new experiences. I think even the crew knew we weren't like that but they also had to make the show, right?
Karolina: Well we didn't know this, but I never felt that we were gold-diggers and I don´t think it was really shown that way in the show. You meet somebody and the first thing he says is, "I have $80MM" and it's like, so what? If somebody watches the show and thinks that you're a gold-digger then it's their problem, I don't care at all.
Linda: It's not true, because when we were cast we didn't know the guy would be a millionaire...people don't realize that the girls didn't know when they went on the show that they would be competing for some rich guy. We thought it was a new international reality show. I also think that none of the girls really believed he was rich, so it didn't really play a big role...maybe European girls are different in that respect. I've heard that in the States the guys really pay for everything and all the girls are hunting for the richest guy, but I don't think it's that way in the Czech Republic.
PC: How did you feel when David eliminated you?
Karolina: I felt kind of relieved at the beginning, I felt free. Then he said that he eliminated me because of Linda anyway. Production told us not to tell David we were friends, but we said why should we hide it.
Anique: Of course being eliminated is never nice, but it happened at the right moment since two days later I had to be fresh and fruity in class again.
PC: Linda, what happened between you and David after the show?
Linda: Even afterwards we didn't have any private dates because when we went out the production people would be there sitting next to us, so it was very strange. We had one dinner together and the next day I flew back to Prague and he flew back to LA and after that I didn't see him for almost three months. They didn't let me go to the US and they didn't let him come to Prague, so they kind of ruined the whole relationship. When I watch the show now, one year later, I think maybe we could have done more, but at that time it was very stressful, I thought we would have to stay together and all that! I think that's why it didn't work.
PC: So if David asked you to come live with him in LA now would you?
Linda: I don't know if I would live with him, but I would like to see him again. I'm actually going to the States next week, so I e-mailed him to see if we could meet. I'm much more relaxed this year and I see him differently now.
PC: What do you plan to do now?
Karolina: I'm working, I have a serious job in finance with an oil company.
Linda: Right now I'm considering some opportunities in television as well as some marketing and advertising work. I just finished school last week and I'm looking for a job but I'd love to stay in front of the camera. So if I get an opportunity to be a TV presenter I'll be very happy.
Anique: I'm writing my graduation assignment now and I'll get my diploma in marketing management this February. After that I'm planning to come back to Prague and get myself a nice job...all offers are welcome [laughs]!
PC: Anything else you'd like to tell our readers about this experience?
Linda: I hope they liked the show and that they didn't cry like my grandma [laughs]!
Karolina: I think that it was a great experience, I would never regret it. It's very interesting...I would basically like to say that a reality show should be a real show, and show what really happens, but it's really 50% screenplay.
Anique: The thing is, that even though the show makes people believe were gold-diggers, which isn't really the image anyone would want, it is all so worth it because these girls are really fun and the nights we all spent together were great. Just imagine; 14 girls, stuck in a huge villa, no television, no radio, just a huge supply of Italian wine. They didn't show you those moments that made all the camera stress worth it. We had so much fun!