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- October 11th, 2012 #1Super Moderator
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The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons - Frank Sweeney Interview
Editor's note: Frank apologizes in advance for his long-windedness.
1. So, since Real World: San Diego, you’ve moved across the country to Los Angeles. What else have you been up to since your season of the Real World?
Since "The Real World" has ended, I moved to LA and started living a very typical twentysomething's lifestyle. I'm working at a bar and studying for my graduate school exams, basically living in the awkwardly amazing purgatory between college life and being a full-blown grown up. I'm stuck in the very center of the in-between stage and truly living day by day. It's been one of the most exciting times in my life thus far, and I'm really enjoying not knowing what will happen next.
2. Some people have said that you are one of the most polarizing people to ever appear on The Real World. Do you think the way you were portrayed on both The Real World and Battle of the Seasons was realistic and fair? How do you feel about your fan reception?
Polarizing? Revolting? Absolutely Lovable? All three, without a doubt! Needless to say, I have a very strong personality, and I have found both in the real world, and on "The Real World" that my outspoken attitude does in fact segregate people into two distinct groups, those that love me and those that hate me. It is unfortunate that the cliché proves so true when I say this, but, you either love me our you hate me. I think that I have adopted this love/hate attitude in my own personal life, as well. If I love you, I can promise you that I will be one of the most loyal (almost to a fault), caring, and truly selfless individuals that you will come across. However, if you are not exactly my cup of tea, I very often and very easily, ignore you, and in the worst cases lose respect for you entirely after ensuring some sort of humiliation. I think that what we put into the universe we get back, and perhaps this double-sided attitude is what creates this polarizing effect I seem to have with fan reception. Also, if you take note as to what I said about individuals I do not get along with, I often ignore them, something that is nearly impossible to do in situations like "The Real World" and "The Challenge." What am I getting at? While I think my portayal on the shows has been fair for the most part, what would you do if you were constantly tested, consistently pushed, and incessantly annoyed by individuals you simply cannot get along with? You cannot ignore them because they live less than five feet away through a paper thin wall! Anyone would lose it from time to time in those sorts of conditions, and without any option to walk away, I chose always to stand my ground. That being said, my portrayal, I believe, is fair just often times one-sided. My reaction to certain events/individuals is blown up, but the details leading up to any sort of argument are left out.
Long winded answer, I know, so let me say it in brief: I am absolutely a living cliché. You either love me or you hate me. For those that love me, I reciprocate that love one hundred and ten percent. For those who do not like me, well, in situations like "The Real World," without the option to walk away or ignore any given situation, watch out, because there's probably a hurricane headed straight for you.
3. While being on The Real World, you struggled quite a lot with yourself and also with the way you were perceived by your surroundings. Were you able to resolve issues that you’ve had back then? In what way do you think you’ve evolved since then?
I am definitely in a transition phase into a greater sense of self, but really who isn't? I think it's fair to say that while on "The Real World" I was really just beginning to understand what it is to have self-respect and opinions in a place where not everyone thinks like me or agrees with my way of life. That being said, I did feel like a fairly normal kid who graduates from college and gets slapped in the face with life, more than an issue-ridden psychopath. I have a small-town beginnings where nearly everyone is brainwashed into some sort of cliquey high school stereotype and then ventured on to one of the most liberal colleges in the States. Both of these situations were unbelievably secluded and, in a way, sheltered from the ideas and opinions of the outside world. So before being on the show, I truly thought that conservative Republicans who prayed the gay away, only existed in older generations that were less informed or less inclined to agree with youth. Meeting individuals who had never known a gay person, or who reacted to an alternative lifestyle in such a manner was a total shock to me, as much as gay was a shock to them. And as far as difference in personality goes, I mean, I was raised by Southern Italians; if you didn't yell, cuss and throw a tantrum, no one was hearing you over the cousin next to you doing the same thing. My way of life seemed so different from my roommates, and I was just as much taken aback as they were with me. So sure, I may have been in a growing phase and sifting through personal issues, but really it was more of a culture shock. And since the show, and since having left my small town existence, I've learned to cope better with differences in opinions and backgrounds. Have I learned to bite my tongue and keep quiet, though? Never.
4. During the San Diego season, it seemed like you and Zach/Ashley hated each other. But now on the Challenge, it looks like you and Zach are full-on bros. What happened that made you and Zach friends again? Also, is your opinion of Ashley still the same, or has it changed?
Ok, the question I get asked the most ever since "The Challenge" started airing. Zach and I became friends, or at least the process of rebuilding any sort of relationship, about six months after our show aired. He and Ashley had broken up, and he was really torn up about it. He didn't have a whole lot of people he could talk to about the situation, and really, only our roommates from San Diego understood exactly what had gone down between the two of them from the start. Priscilla actually facilitated our first conversation (she said she couldn't put up with the fact that he and I were far too similar and way too stubborn to just start talking to each other) and then from then on, we exchanged a ton of texts, a lot of drunken phone calls, and upwards of a million, "I'm sorry's," until we entered the Kingdom of Bro-hood. Really all it took was a step backwards and some reevaluation of our relationship from the start. I think Zach needed to get out of his relationship with Ashley to see himself and to begin leading the kind of life he legitimately wanted to live. I think he and Ashley were almost coerced into dating one another by the "production" itself, more than actually having similarities in lifestyle and a real emotional connection. Once Zach got out of the relationship, he came to see that I am not, in fact, the devil, and that he and I had more in common than what was portrayed on the show. We just needed to talk. We never talked before. I get him. He gets me. He actually puts me to shame when it comes to crazy, and we come from really similar backgrounds. He isn't the conservative ***** that he was portrayed as being, he's a really down to earth guy with a whole slew of psycho in him (the good kind, I promise).
As far as Ashley goes, my opinion of her has changed. Ashley is nice. She is nice. Like seriously, guys, she's nice. There's not much more to her. That's the thing. Often times when I meet nice people, I feel like it is feigned, as if it is to good to be true. There has to be some sort of backstory to her, I thought. Some sort of intention or ulterior motive. But no, Ashley is a pretty simple chick. She's nice, like I said. She loves to party (don't let her fool you). She comes from a really humble place and is, to me, the definition of a hot small town girl. She knows how to seduce her dudes, she knows how to get scrappy if she needs to, but all in all, she's a pretty centered girl who wants nothing more than a simple, easy, and fun lifestyle. And I don't blame her for "changing" Zach in their relationship like I used to. I think that together, they were absolutely toxic for one another, and separately, I truly enjoy being with both of them.
5. On the same note, you and Sam were really close during your season. However, now it is as if you’ve always hated each other. What happened between the two of you?
EDITING, people. I know, you can't blame the editors, but listen here. Sam and I were NEVER great friends. We were rolldogs. She was great to have in the house because we could go to the gayborhood and get hammered together. Her and I had a great time as the two members of the LGBT community in the house, gallivanting around Pride Festival, but the relationship stopped there. My relationship with her went no further than a good drinking buddy. That's it. The thing is, Sam and I had to put up with a lot of bull**** when it came to our sexuality, even things that were never actually aired. Therefore, by default, it kind of seemed like we stuck together though it all, the gays versus the world. But, believe me, we didn't. First of all, Sam never had to deal with a fraction of the ****-talking that I endured. Most of the time, she didn't even recognize the bullying for what it really was, and the other half of the time, she got the easy road because she was a lesbian (and lezbehonest, chicks on chicks is much more acceptable in mainstream American society than a dude banging a dude). Secondly, Sam and I never could have any sort of intelligent conversation because, well, Sam just is NOT intelligent. She has a great heart, and she rarely has negative intentions, but the girl is just not bright. I happen to have an extremely difficult time forming any sort of bond with individuals who cannot hold a stimulating conversation, and the only thing Sam knows how to stimulate is...I guess we won't go there. All I am saying is, there is a dramatic difference in our brain capacities, and I was never really Sam's bestie, because she could never get on my level.
6. As a member of the LGBT community (and reality TV personality), you must know firsthand the effects of bullying, particularly cyber bullying. Obviously there is so much we (the viewers) can’t see or possibly know. Many Vevmo members follow you on Twitter and have noticed that some of your tweets toward other cast members can be quite harsh. You’ve called yourself a “low-blower” in other interviews, but how do you justify some of the things you’ve publicly stated about other cast members (i.e., Heather, Nany, Trey, Sam, etc)?
As a member of the LGBT community, I am fully aware that cyber bullying does take place. In fact, I get Tweets daily that that read "get AIDS and die," or "Kill yourself, ******." However, there is a HUGE difference between cyber bullying, directly targeting an individual because of his or her personal identity, and the random bouts of insults exchanged between myself and other Real Worlders. Note, that I said EXCHANGE. Has anyone ever read the other side of these Tweets? Do you possibly take time to consider that beef does in fact exist between myself and these people? For several reasons that either have not yet been shown or have happened outside the show, SPOILER/SHOCKER, not all of us are friends. On this challenge, I have had the most disrespectful insults shoved in my face, and to be honest, many of us did not just make up and call it a day, particularly the cast of the Back to Las Vegas season. Nany, Dustin and I have our differences from the show, and will eventually work them out, but Heather has no place (nor did she have any right to START making comments at me) to Tweet derogatory messages at me in an effort to try and stay relevant. Listen, she's not on the show, I have never met her, and I was only reacting to her very surprising, condescending message she sent to me. I don't let people talk down to me, and yes I am a low blower, so if these other Real Worlders want to start with me, then I will be sure to have the last word. That to me is not cyber bullying it is an argument. I do not target these individuals because of their personal preferences, but rather I fire shots back at them as they have chosen to start **** with me. Heed this as a warning.
7. Regardless of alliances, who did you feel were the three strongest teams and your biggest competition when it was first announced you'd be competing as seasons?
The three strongest teams in the game were San Diego, Las Vegas and Cancun, without any doubt in my mind. Each team certainly had its kryptonite, but athletically speaking, no other teams could touch these ones.
8. Team San Diego has been able to avoid the Arena so far this season. Which was your favorite elimination to watch? If you had to compete, which one would play most to your strengths?
The best Arena to watch has to be the Physical Arena. I mean, c'mon, how awesome is it to see two people body slamming each other, struggling to stay in the game? It’s horribly barbaric and so insanely hedonistic that it made for a brutal and beautiful show of guts and glory. I think the Arena game that plays best to my strengths, however, is most certainly the Strategy Arena. I have endurance for days, and that game takes up to 40 minutes to complete, so if I had to choose a game, it would be Strategy. Plus, I'm great with a tug job.
9. Do you feel that if other vets had been on the challenge, like Johnny or CT, that you may have used a different strategy to get ahead in the game?
My strategy is simple. I rallied my friends together, those individuals I trusted and made an alliance. Very plain, very easy. I committed to them, that as long as we all stayed on the same page, executed our plans, and eliminated those other teams that were not a part of our alliance, that we could make it as far as possible in the game without having to eliminate our friends. Who doesn't want to be at a summer camp with their buds? It certainly makes the house an easier place to live, and it makes the challenges more fun when you can compete with your comrades and cheer them on. I'd rather be beat by my best friend than my enemy. So no, my strategy would not have changed if the vets were there. It was clear, clean and simple. There was no backstabbing, no underhanded deals, no ****talking behind my alliance's back. There was a commitment and a promise and that is that.
10. Who would you most like to face in a one-on-one elimination round, and why? Name one person from this season and one person who did not appear on this season.
One on one from this season would have to be Zach. It was awesome to compete with him, and we really did have this whole Yin and Yang thing going on where we played off of each other's strengths disgustingly well, butttttt, I'd like to see who'd win, the Yin or the Yang.
A one on one with an challenger in the history of challenges would have to be Johnny. Predictable, I know, especially in the current climate of Rookies V. Vets all over the Twittersphere. I just want to see why he has been given this golden throne to sit upon, and why he holds such high authority (or at least why he thinks he hold such a position) amongst other challengers. He has so much **** to talk, I'd love to see if he truly can back it up. I don't even know the guy, so I can't even say I wouldn't like him, I just hate how he trashes the show that he's not on, and deems "Battle of the Seasons" unworthy because he wasn't there to run a mob of brain-dead followers. As a competitor, he should be happy there is some new competition added to the pool. The challenge is called the challenge for a reason, and some rookies add the perfect amount of fresh competition to actually create a challenge, not a predetermined mob style show where newbs get kicked off first because they were cast on a show later than you were. That is just plain stupid.
11. It seemed as though out of all of the newcomers, you had a particular dislike for Trey. Trey apparently said this was because you read about him on Vevmo and formed an opinion before meeting him. Is this true, or did you dislike him for another reason?
Maybe my distaste for Trey is unfair, but the kid legitimately embodies everything I cannot stand about ignorant bros who think they are God's gift to humanity. Or rather, dudes that think they need to be that type of bro. Trey is a superfan. He is obsessed with the shows and wanted nothing more out of his life than to be on "The Real World" to embody one of the personalities he had grown up watching and worshiping. Trey is a faker. He isn't outspoken. He isn't a hardass. You know what? I am betting you that Trey is actually a fairly decent guy when you strip away the projections of what he thinks a manly man of manliness should be. He is trying WAY too hard to project a certain character of who he wants to be on television, that is distracting from his true personhood. He is begging to be a villain. He is begging to be that misogynistic ******* that looks like a badass to middle America for swooning the panties off of two ladies on national television and then creating a love triangle out of it, circulating around his ever so "functional" bicep muscles. Yes, I did read what Trey had posted to Twitter before even meeting him, and I truly found it disgusting. If he actually feels that way about different races, sexualities and genders, then I hold no respect for him as a person. But what I find even more off-putting, is that Trey probably doesn't feel that way and wrote all of those things and acted a certain way to become a caricature of what he thought he should be to fulfill a role on "The Real World." Sad, really. Unless he breaks his pathetic act, or ever shows his true colors, I'll never want any interaction with the kid, unless its a free smack across the face.
12. Say three words about the following people:
Three words is tough but I'll give it a shot (you may have to give me a few woopsies):
a. Laura - Im sorry, who?
b. Trishelle - Still got it
c. Wes - Conceited, arrogant, self-absorbed
d. Alton - Lost his [damn] mind
e. Camila - Wanna be superfan
f. Brandon - Just plain nice
g. Preston - Coming into his own
h. Derek - No opinons, ever
i. Jonna - Knows what she's doing
j. Sarah - Sly, manipulative, grounded
13. Are you willing to do another challenge? If so, what concept or past format would you like to see?
Doing another Challenge is a real catch-22, to be honest. Who turns down an exotic paid vacation, right? But, on the other hand, who signs up to live in prison camp conditions with people that you cannot stand? So, the question is really up in the air as to whether or not I'd do another one. I lean towards yes, but it won't be an easy decision.
I'd like to see a Rookie/Vet pair Challenge. There's been a lot of talk about Rookies v Vets, etc, but I think it would be a real equalizer, and an all out cluster****, if there was a random pairing of a Rookie with a Vet. That is a challenge that I would definitely say yes to, because all politics would be fresh, convoluted and twisted as hell.
13a. If you do return, who would you like to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
I'd really love to work with KellyAnne from RW Sydney. Her and I really vibe and she is a natural competitor. I think she has a great handle on how to play the game and she would do whatever it takes to win. She's a seductive political player, and I think we'd make one hell of an attractive team.
14. If you could choose any RW alumni to live in a house with for three months, which 6 would you pick (and why) and where would you want to live?
RW Allstars? Yup. Hands down I would want to live in NY. It's where it all started and for me, its the epicenter of just about everything. There is nothing sexier than summer nights in New York. As far as the cast goes, this is soooooo tough, because I have a real limited reach in RW history, but I do know people through the grapevine, and really its the people I don't know who it'd be nuts to live with.
So here's my additional six:
Aneesa from RW Chicago
Emilee from RW Cancun
Marie from RW St Thomas
Jenn from RW Denver
Issac from RW Sydney
Leroy from RW Las Vegas 2
Why? Simple. The girls are a great time. They know how to throw down and they definitely know how to smack down. They guys are jokesters and partiers. It’s an easy formula really. Everyone in this group loves to party, they look at life with a positive and really fun outlook, and they are all ungodly amounts of outspoken. Any fights that would go down, would be devastatingly intriguing, terribly traumatic and speaking honestly, far more interesting than any of the *yawn* dramatics that went down on RW San Diego 2.
15. You have the opportunity to have any baby animal as a pet. It would stay in baby form forever. What would you pick, and why?
Baby pig. Hands down. Wiry little hairs, wet snorting nose, tiny hooves and an insatiable pot belly. I. Cant. Even. I mean, have you seen Honey Boo Boo's, Glitzy?
16. What television show is your guilty pleasure and why?
My guilty pleasure is House Hunters International. Nothing gets my blood flowing on a Friday night in like a House Hunters marathon, especially when there are extravagant budgets involved.
17. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A smoothie! Its called "Radiant Skin" and it’s a whole lot of oils, vitamins and powders I cannot pronounce that are supposed to give you, well, radiant skin. Really, its just a brown muck of a drink that looks absolutely disgusting, but to me tastes like heaven (or maybe I think it tastes like heaven because it is allegedly making my pimples go away). It's my life force. I drink one every day. And at ten bucks a pop, it’s not a cheap smoothie, but I cannot survive without it! Weirdly specific, I know, but honestly it’s worth it.
18. Who is the one person (dead or alive) you would want to have dinner with, and why?
This is an oddly sentimental question for me. I would want to have dinner with my grandpa. And no, he's not dead. He's still alive. So you're probably wondering why I just don't go have dinner with him. I do, actually, all the time. The thing is, is that my grandpa is a very private person. He's really old (REALLLLY OLD), very conservative and shut off to almost any emotion when it comes to himself. He is a very selfless guy. He took me to and from school every morning. He was on the sidelines for every football game I ever played. But he and I never really talked about him. I have no idea about his life, his struggles, how he came to be where he is today, nothing. I would love more than anything to drop the talk about me getting a 'real' job, or how the economy is doing, and just find out what Papa was like as a kid, or as a twentysomething. That would mean the world to me. But, in a very "Frank" fashion (his name is Frank too) I think he's too stubborn to break. Can't teach the old dog new tricks, I guess.
19. Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color…if you could be any color crayon, which color would you be and why?
I'd be eggplant purple. Its an elegant, beautiful color, but too much of it can edge upon obnoxious. For me, it represents loyalty and pride, two things I try to balance everyday in my relationships. Plus, its the color of royalty, and let's be real, I'm a regal *****.
20. Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
People get down on me down by calling you a bully, saying I am completely unlikeable and hard to watch and to that, I say this:
I fought hard during this game. I fought against other teams, I fought against my own team, and I fought against my own conscience. I was never a bully, but simply reacted to the game and its players and chose to do what was best for myself and my team to do well. To that I say, I am no bully, I am a competitor.
As a competitor, I also stand by my competition. I never once did anything to compromise my friendships or my loyalties, and will forever remain true to those who I give my word. As the game adapted, my team and I evolved with it, however, we never revoked our promises or responsibilities to other individuals or other teams, unless such a decision directly affected our own ability to win.
I am not a bully, I am an honest, true competitor, and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. I also challenge anyone to find a leader in the game who has done the same without backstabbing or going back on his or her word to a fellow competitor.
Have your opinions on me, I remain secure in my decisions, my gameplay and my personhood.
- October 11th, 2012 #2Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
Re: The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons - Frank Sweeney Interview
Great interview! I liked his Zach/Ashley answer, but I'm a little saddened by his Sam answer. I understand the editing part and how they weren't as great of friends as the cameras portrayed, but the intellect part seems a little underhanded and out of context of the question. But then again I guess that's the loyal vs "not my cup of tea" way that Frank goes about it.
I loved the long winded answers he gave, it shows that he is very smart in written word as well as clever. Hedonistic is not a word I've heard in a long time lol! If I recall, when I joined Vevmo last year before San Diego 2 began we discussed that he was very smart, this just reminded me of that.
I love his idea of a concept for the game! For some reason I don't think Old School vs New School would be as fulfilling as people may think since we may see some select vets align with some select rookies and still control the game, against the others. But this would actually be a pairs concept that would be pretty awesome. Especially if pairs aren't picked pre game by producers. If anyone remembers Moolah Beach's pair picking challenge, something like that!
If Frank is reading this, I'm sorry to read that people are saying things like that to you on Twitter. Best of luck with graduate school! :-)
- October 11th, 2012 #3Senior Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2012
Re: The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons - Frank Sweeney Interview
As far as him and Sam being "edited" to seem close, I'm not sure I believe that. Excluding Nate and Alex, she was the only person to actually listen to his issues all the time. Production can't really edit heart to heart conversations. ..or can they?
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