Archive for July, 2008

Episode 4

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Brooke gets invited as a celebrity guest at multiple spring break events in Panama City Beach, Florida. When she and her roommates arrive, they are surrounded by thousands of hot, bikini-clad college students and cute boys with hard tanned bodies. But Hulk throws a wrench in the plans by inviting himself along, bringing his crazy wrestling buddy Knobs. Brooke doesn’t know how to balance family and friends.

Ep. 67 | I’m Deaf

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Imagine not being able to listen to music, being ostracized from your classmates because they can’t understand the way you speak, relying solely on text messages, IMs, and email as forms of communication, or not knowing the sound of you own mother’s voice. For most teenagers, those are things simply taken for granted, but for Amanda and Chris, those are things with which they struggle every day.

Chris is 16 years old from Vernon, NJ and has been deaf since the day he was born. Chris loves skateboarding with his friends. However since he is embarrassed about the way his voice sounds, he has never tried to talk, so he struggles to communicate with his friends through sign language. And even though Chris is the only deaf member in his family, he has an easier time communicating with them because his parents have always used sign language with him. Chris attends a regular high school with a special program for deaf teenagers, and while he is comfortable in the contained classes, he struggles in the mainstream classes because he has trouble feeling connected to hearing people. Although Chris is proud of being deaf, he decides to get a cochlear implant because he wants to be involved in the hearing world so that he can communicate with his friends, talk with girls, and ultimately fulfill his dreams of having a job and getting married.

Amanda is 21 years old and is a junior on the pom squad at Towson University in Towson, Maryland. She, like Chris, has been deaf since birth, however she communicates with people by speaking and using a hearing aid in addition to reading peoples’ lips. Amanda has to deal with many difficulties on a day to day basis as a result of being deaf, yet her inability to hear has not stopped her from pursing her passion for dance. Learning to listen to the vibrations in the music has allowed Amanda to start dancing at a very young age, and now, determined to not let her deafness hold her back from what she loves, Amanda has dreams of joining the Baltimore Raven’s Dance Team. For Amanda, although she sometimes wishes she could hear, she believes being deaf has also been the best thing that has happened to her-it’s made her who she is today.

How does a deaf boy date a hearing girl? How do you go from living a life in silence to fully understanding the spoken language? And how do you succeed in a cut-throat audition being deaf when the hundreds of other contests are not? Find out this and more on True Life: I’m Deaf.

Ep. 66 | I’m a Compulsive Shopper

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

It’s no secret that teenage girls love to shop. Trips to the mall to find that perfect dress or take advantage of a blow-out sale are no oddity among teenage girls and their friends; but what happens when those shopping trips become a little too frequent? For Gabby and Ali, shopping has become so addicting that they are no longer able to lead healthy lives. For these girls, shopping has gone far beyond a form of retail therapy-it is their only way of life.

Gabby is eighteen years old from Queens, NY, and her life is all about what she wears. Her closet is so stuffed with clothes that she can barely see what is in it-but she does manage to find a pair of unworn designer jeans she bought for three hundred dollars with the tags still on. Gabby’s mom has multiple sclerosis, so since she has always been unable to make trips to the mall with her daughter, Gabby starting using her parents’ credit cards from a very young age. Now, years later, her so called “normal” use of her parent’s plastic has turned compulsive, and as a result, she has put her family in about ten thousand dollars worth of debt. In order to support her shopping addiction and pay her bills, Gabby works two jobs and lives from pay check to pay check. Every two weeks simply means more money that she can spend on new clothes and accessories-and for Gabby, that means every last penny. Gabby’s father, frustrated with what Gabby has done to the family, demands that Gabby see a therapist, but Gabby refuses to admit she has a problem. And besides, why would she waste a trip into Manhattan to see a therapist when she could be shopping on Canal Street? Things start to look up when Gabby finally decides she wants to start saving money. However, deciding to save money for breast implants is probably not the best solution for curing her compulsive spending habits. Will Gabby ever be able to pay her parents back for the enormous debt she has caused them? And will Gabby ever be able to remove herself from the ruthless cycle of making more money just so that she can spend more money?

Ali is nineteen years old from Columbus, Ohio, and she shops whenever she can-whether or not she has the money. She works hard on her image and figures if she keeps it up she will eventually live up to the likes of Paris Hilton or other pop divas and finally start believing in herself. Ali works the door at a strip club, and unlike Gabby who has to wait two weeks for her next cash flow, Ali bypasses the anxiety about waiting for a paycheck by taking home a nightly wad of cash. However, despite this constant flow of money, Ali still manages to run out of money, and in order to satisfy her “shopping fixes,” her boyfriend, Kyle, ends up footing the bill. As a result of her constant need to shop, Ali has let her bills accumulate for the past 4 months-which means a debt accumulation of almost eight thousand dollars. While Ali acknowledges she should pay off her debt, the high she gets after a shopping spree makes it hard for her to change her behavior. Ali starts going to Debtors Anonymous meetings twice a week, and while she would like to think she is changing her behavior, she doubts if she really is-especially after she spends every last penny when shopping for her birthday. Eventually, Rent-A-Center comes and removes all her bedroom furniture which Ali never paid for, leaving Ali’s room a cluttered mess of clothes. Despite this reality check, Ali still continues to shop and rack up her debt- now totally almost 15,000 dollars. Will Ali ever realize life is not just about the shopping and purchasing? And will she ever be able to find the money and confidence she needs to get the intensive therapy she recognizes she needs to get her life back on track?

Watch True Life: I’m a Compulsive Shopper to find out what happens to these two girls when they literally shop till they drop.

Ep. 65 | I Live Another Life On the Web

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

The Internet is not just for emails and Googling fun facts anymore. It’s becoming increasingly popular as an interactive social arena…and the options are limitless. But in a world where you can become whoever you want, where do you draw the line? On this episode of True Life, you’ll meet three young people who, when online, embody an alter ego that is in stark contrast with who they are in real life. Does following your dream in the virtual world make up for not having the courage to attempt it in real life? Can the Web act as a worthy substitute for an otherwise nonexistent “real world” social life? Will the freedom to be who you really want to be online suffice for an “offline” life riddled with secrets? Find out on True Life: I Live Another Life On the Web.

Ep. 64 | I Have Schizophrenia

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Schizophrenia is one of today’s most misunderstood mental illnesses. Often confused with having “multiple personalities,” schizophrenia is defined by a person’s distorted experience of reality, including: hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and disorganized thinking. In this episode we meet three young people who are living with the illness and get a glimpse into the everyday challenges they face. 25-year-old Josh refuses treatment because, for the most part, he feels his voices are his companions and doesn’t see his illness as a problem. Most of the symptoms 23-year-old Ben suffers from are controlled with medication, but the varied side effects of the meds keep him primarily in the house, only comfortable hanging out with his family. Amber is 19 and was only diagnosed a year ago. Her response to medication was so successful that you wouldn’t know she had a mental illness unless she told you. True Life: I Have Schizophrenia shines light on a dark world and give viewers a glimpse of what it’s like to go through life with this most debilitating mental illness.

Ep. 63 | I Have Embarrassing Parents 2

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Every kid is embarrassed by their parents at one point or another, but on this episode of True Life you’ll meet two familes where the kids have it exceptionally bad.

Niki, a 15 year-old goth girl from suburban Los Angeles, can’t keep her midriff-baring mom from acting like a Playboy Bunny. Niki’s mom, Kinley, is over-the-top in everything she does, from her dress, to her friends, and her demeanor. Can Niki ultimately learn to accept her mom for the person she is? Or will Kinley cave to Niki’s demands and tone it down in order satisfy her teenage daughter?

Holly, Millie and Candy Graham are typical teenage triplets with some not-so-typical parents; their folks are Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey clowns. When the girls were younger, it was cool to have clowns as parents. Now, in High School the triplets are screaming for their own identity. Can they get through this school year with their dignity intact? Or will the family motto “If you’re not having fun, we’re not having fun” be just the thing that sends them over the edge?

They say you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your relatives. Can these teens survive their adolescence without having a nervous breakdown? Find out on True Life: I Have Embarrassing Parents 2.

Ep. 62 | I’m Under Peer Pressure

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Nikki, 23, is in image-based Miami, soaking up the sun and choking on the pressure to be gorgeous and beautiful twenty-four hours a day. She doesn’t feel she fits into the jet-set styled-set because she’s “a girl with no boobs who wears trucker hats.” Unfortunately for self-conscious Nikki, she works at boob-obsessed Hooters surrounded by girls with huge chests (thanks to silicone and saline). Her insecurities over her appearance may not be all in her head — her fellow waitresses (who happen to be well-endowed) are making a lot more money in tips than her. But the world doesn’t completely revolve around life at Hooters; Nikki is in a committed relationship with Eddy, a guy who loves her for just how she is. They’re hoping to move in with one another but financially, Nikki is torn between bigger breasts and a starting a live-in life with Eddy.

Alex, 24, is stationed in sunny California with dreams of finding fame and fortune. While he’s on that search in Los Angeles, the daytime finds Alex in school studying to be a sound engineer in recording studios. When night rolls around, this passionate musician is fighting to be a rockstar, and along with the rehearsals and gigs comes drugs and alcohol. Life in the band had taken over Alex’s life outside the music scene and alcohol and drugs became a daily requirement. Since realizing he was addicted to abusing, Alex sought treatment and stability by quitting the band; he is getting his life back on track with school and finding love with Kelsey, but music is still calls to him. Alex wants to get the band back together but Kelsey’s worried it could just lead to relapse. One night back with the boys, Alex is peer pressured into drinking a beer — he calls it a night after one, but he’s terrified hooking back up with the band could lead to more than just a can of beer.

AJ, 18, is caught in a circle of jocks. As the overweight, artistic type surrounded by muscley-athletic minded guys, AJ finds himself on the receiving end of some hurtful remarks — based entirely on his size. While the guys love to be around the ladies, AJ has found it a tough time making moves on the girls. He’s the go-to friend, the lovable but not sexy guy. His friends are getting more and more frustrated by his third-wheel status.

Nikki decides to make a date with a doctor — her bestie comes along with for moral support, and ends up talking the unsure Nikki into going a size bigger than she had intended. The doctor’s happy, Nikki’s enchanted with her new voluptuous appearance but her boyfriend is scared of the cost and the future of their relationship.

AJ strives to forget the embarrassing experience of being dissed by a cute girl, but his friend uses it as a reason why AJ needs to get his physical appearance in order. Are AJ’s looks really keeping him and his friends from being a hit with the women in their circle, or is the pressure on AJ just an excuse to bully him? AJ’s sick of the teasing, but is that really enough to change his eating habits and get healthy? He decides to try and make a go of a diet and lose weight.

Alex and his band have reunited and while it may feel good for some, Alex’s partying habits are reigniting. Going out, drugging and drinking leads only to wanting more and Alex’s priorities to his girlfriend and school are losing in the running to the band and his addiction. One night out, Kelsey surprises him and is shocked by her boyfriend’s behavior — she leaves and her disappointment in his willingness to relapse wrecks their relationship.

Meanwhile, AJ heads to the gym and with his buddy as his personal trainer, AJ is hit with free weights and harassment. They’re not off to the best start, but at least AJ is making changes to his behavior.

In Miami, Nikki and Eddie house-hunt and while he realizes that house payments will be really hard to reach with her medical bills to pay, Nikki is still focused on getting breast implants.

AJ has been working out hard on his physique and within six weeks he’s dropped 22 pounds. Nate is proud of his friend’s work and he apologizes, in a backhanded way, for all the comments he had made. Feeling fine after his weigh-in, AJ heads over to meet with his friend Valerie and asks her out; she accepts and he leaves feeling finer than fine.

Back in LA, Alex is at a low point. His girl’s gone and he’s drugging and drinking; mom knows there’s something up with Alex and confronts him on his decisions and her fears over losing him to a downward spiral. If he wants a happy ending in his life and career, he needs to get himself on the right track before it’s too late. This talk spurs Alex to meet with Everett, a drug and alcohol counselor. He reminds Alex that it’s up to him to keep his sobriety and to keep triggers at bay by setting some rules for his bandmates. Hopefully, Alex can keep a healthy mindset and learn to shake off the desire to drink and drug.

Miami is sunny and warm, but rather than the beach, Nikki is headed into surgery. Eddie is still against the idea but he sits with her in the doctor’s office and supports her decision to go big but not go extreme. Nikki finally realizes that it’s ultimately her body and her choice, and even though her friends played a part in the process, that’s all they were: a part, not the majority.

AJ and Valerie are headed out on their date, and a nervous AJ is terrified at being pushed away by her. However, by the end of the evening they’re having a fantastic time. While his friends pressured him to lose weight, AJ is so happy at the changes in himself that he wouldn’t have done it any other way.

A month since her surgery, Nikki is overjoyed at her newfound confidence; who knew a boob job could bring so much happiness? The implants have done their job on her wallet too — Nikki’s pulling in extra hundreds since succumbing to the saline.

In LA, rocker Alex tries to talk seriously to his friends about his drug and alcohol addiction – he asks them to join him in not drinking all night, they quickly shake off that wager and toss off his work at sobriety. They think the night will lead him to alcohol and drug use, but he’s resilient. Or not. A little drink leads to wanting more and more. Once again, his friends have gotten the best of him and Alex realizes this problem is bigger than him. If they’re unwilling to accept his desire to live life without reliance on drugs and alcohol, there’s really only one option: to leave the band.

Ep. 61 | I’m Going to Fashion Week

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

For an audience, New York City’s Fashion Week is all glitz and glam. But for the designers and everyone working for them, it’s all stress, headaches, and hard work. This year, three lucky girls with big dreams are given a chance to show their stuff at Fashion Week, if they can stand up to the pressure. Each girl is about to put all her time, energy, and heart into preparation for the big show, hoping it will take them one step further toward their future fashion careers.

Stefanie is an assistant at People’s Revolution for one of the biggest names in fashion, Kelly Cutrone. Kelly’s a tough woman to please, and she almost always fires assistants during Fashion Week, but Stefanie feels it’s worth it because she’s working for the best. She’ll do whatever it takes to make Kelly happy, including sacrificing any dreams of having a personal life. When Stefanie’s mom comes to visit for her birthday, their mom-and-daughter time constantly gets put on hold when Kelly’s demands force Stefanie to work late into the night. Stefanie is upset, but knows that Fashion Week is the most important time of the year to focus on her job. The first day of Fashion Week finally arrives, and Stefanie helps Kelly with four shows at Bryant Park. Of all days, this is the most important not to mess up. Stefani manages to make sure things run as smoothly as possible, even when people give her problems at the door about their lack of seats. On the last day of fashion shows, Stefanie’s mom comes to watch, and Stefanie’s coworkers even give her a quick birthday celebration before the show starts. When the runway lights go on and the first model struts out, all the strenuous hours of work are suddenly worth it.

Jaime is a design student, working on her masters at the only school in the country that shows at Fashion Week. One of Jaime’s garments made it into the show, and while she’s excited, all the hard work to follow is daunting. Jaime meets Travis, the stylist for her show, who throws a curveball into her design by suggesting she morph her style into a Marvin the Martian theme. He even asks her to add Velcro masks! Jaime’s not so sure that Velcro belongs on the runway, or anywhere, for that matter, and worries that the mask will distract the audience from her garment. But she takes Travis’ advice; he does have more experience, so he must know what he’s talking about. But after Jaime spends days sewing masks, buying bright colored shoes, and even adding Martian-style caps, Travis changes his mind about the whole style. Now he hates it, thinks it looks stupid and cheap, and wants something new. With very little time left and all her previous time and effort going down the drain, Jaime can’t help but think that everything would run a lot smoother if she didn’t have to listen to a stylist. On the day of the show, Jaime is afraid everyone will think her collection looks stupid. After making some last-minute adjustments to some outfits and dealing with wardrobe malfunctions, time’s up and the show starts. As the models walk onto the runway, Jaime sees her style finally coming together, and is proud of her successful work

Cassie designs her own small boutique clothing line, NY Couture, and hopes to attract the attention of larger stores and designers at Fashion Week. Even though her show will be independent, has low funding (just her credit card), and barely any help, Cassie is determined to make it big. In the week that could make or break a designer, will Cassie’s reputation, and piggy bank, be totally broken? Cassie goes to Bryant Park to network with the press, stylists, and celebrities, and hands out flyers everywhere to promote her show. Later, she meets with her models for a fitting and rehearsal, but isn’t quite prepared. Every outfit needs adjustments, but Cassie only has two days to do it. To make things worse, now that she’s seen the bigger shows and designers in Bryant Park, she’s worried her small collection might not measure up. When the day of her show finally arrives, Cassie’s just ready for it to be over. Unfortunately, her grand finale piece still isn’t even ready! But her interns rush to her rescue, and minutes before the show, Cassie is excited to learn that there’s a line around the block, and the final stitch has been sewn into place. During the show, even though a model’s shoe falls off, the crowd loves Cassie’s original designs.

Ep. 60 | I’m a Southern Belle

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

The Southern Belle is a fading but fighting tradition that few contemporary southern girls have the time and patience for. However, deep in the heart of the south, there pumps the life of a few girls still kicking it old school. Leigh Anne, Raini and Kate have ideals and motives that only so many girls have at their age — they live in a mentality of southern gentility that seems so surreal and yet for them, so achievable. Can they live in this way, in these times, and stay true to not only themselves and the way of Southern Belle life?

Raini, 18, is a pageant girl and true Southern Belle focused on outdoing herself and keeping perfection alive. She lives for representing Ole Miss in the best way possible, keeping sweet with her southern gentlemen, Justin and competing in beauty pageants. In three weeks she has the Miss Southern Magnolia State Pageant. She wants to win and be known statewide as Miss Southern Magnolia. While she loves the competition, she hates the stress; Raini is hoping she can make it through the show without her mother’s constant nagging, with a smile on her face and hope for the title in her heart. Just like a true Southern Lady.

Leigh Anne, 24, is getting her masters in Spanish at the University of Mississippi and serves as Miss Oxford Lafayette County Hospitality, but she still feels unfulfilled. While she’s pretty and perfectly sweet, Leigh Anne is single, and it is the crux of her being. Being engaged by age 22 is the norm for a Southern Belle. At 24, Leigh Anne is tormented by her singlehood. Mom and Dad are pushing, big sis is picking, and Leigh Anne’s fearful of living her life as an Old Maid. A Belle would never find a date over the internet nor even ask a man out, so what’s a girl to do when there’s slim pickings in her neck of the woods?

Kate is a Tennessee girl who was raised to love the land. She’s dedicated to her horse riding and isn’t afraid of getting messy. Sure, she’ll shoot a gun but she’ll also sport some mascara and high heels. Kate has some issues with relationships; her parents divorced suddenly when she was in high school, and being true Southern parents, they never once argued in front of her. The divorce was a shock to her identity as a young woman, and because of this, Kate is not sure how to devote herself completely to a man within an relationship. She doesn’t want to commit immediately, and she doesn’t want to lose herself either, but can Kate stay close with Jake, her boyfriend, or will he eventually trail off?

Conservative and demure, these Southern Belles are intent on upholding the traditions and values they grew up with. Even as the times change, Raini, Leigh Anne and Kate hope to find exactly what they want, and will not settle for anything less — stress, age and commitment be warned!

Ep. 59 | I’m in the Sex Industry

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

The adult entertainment industry is more popular and more mainstream than ever. But working in such a sexually charged field still greatly affects the personal lives of those who work in that field. On this episode of True Life, you’ll meet three young people attempting to maintain normality outside of their very unusual work places.

Rebekah loves her job for a company that produces amateur-style X-rated videos. Unfortunately, she fears that guys don’t think of her as relationship material because of her career. Tired of being alone, Rebekah sets out to find a man who will love her for who she is. She tries Speed Dating, but all the guys there have the typical response of assuming she’s only interested in sex and nothing more. Next, Rebekah attends a porn convention for work and hopes she might find a boyfriend in the industry. Unfortunately, the only cute guys are the gay porn stars. She is able to find a cute new girl to star in her company’s movies, which leads to getting her own office. But even with all her success, Rebekah wishes she had someone to share her joy with.

Aaron is a straight guy who just happens to do gay porn. He views it as just a job — and it doesn’t hurt that gay porn pays nearly ten times what straight porn does! However, he hates that he has to hide his career from his conservative family and decides to make the trip to Pennsylvania to tell them about it. At first, his sister and his cousin (and father figure) are very taken aback by his announcement. They worry about what people will think of Aaron and whether or not he’s really gay. After giving them a few weeks to come to terms with this bombshell, Aaron returns home again only to be blown off by his cousin. Fortunately, his sister is a little more understanding and says she’ll support him no matter what he does. He even gets her to admit that she’d probably hook up with a girl if someone paid her ten thousand dollars too!

Shawntelle is the host of a racy college radio show that’s based on her own adventurous sex life. For the first time in her life, she’s falling in love and wants to remain monogamous. This might make her talk show significantly less interesting, a fact her co-host continues to remind her of. Shawntelle attempts to keep things interesting while remaining faithful to her boyfriend Levi by buying her first vibrator and talking all about that experience on the air. Unfortunately, all of her hard work and stress might be for nothing, as Levi confesses that he’s just not looking for anything serious. Shawntelle may be single again, but she’s decided that she’s not going to have the revolving door of hookups that used to make her show so saucy. She’ll still have lots of adventurous sex — just not with as many partners!