40 Surprising Rules 'The Real World' Cast Members Had to Follow

real world austin
KMazurGetty Images

Viewers first got hooked on finding out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real on The Real World in 1992. And even though you might think all of those "not polite" moments meant the cast members got to run rampant on the MTV reality series, it turns out there was a whole list of rules the seven strangers had to follow each season. From non-stop surveillance to no doors on the bedrooms, we broke down the craziest rules laid out by production, ahead.

1992 mtv video music awards
Ron Galella, Ltd.Getty Images
1 of 40
They had no say over how they were portrayed.

In The Real World contract, cast members agreed that they could be "humiliated" and "portrayed in a false light," a.k.a. producers could edit scenes however they saw fit.

twentysomething non actor cast of mtv documentary the real world incl l r kevin powell talking on phone as roomies andre comeau, julie oliver, eric nies, heather gardner, norm korpi,  becky blasband form a wild  crazy conga line in their trend soho loft  photo by mario ruizthe life images collection via getty imagesgetty images
Mario RuizGetty Images
2 of 40
They had to give blanket rights to their "life story."

The Real World cast members were nothing without their epic backgrounds. It's what made each cast so unique. But going on the show meant potentially allowing producers to misrepresent this part of you.

the real world rules
Stuart RamsonGetty Images
3 of 40
They had to be over 21.

This makes sense given all of the drinking. You also had to be a U.S. citizen, according to the eligibility requirements. If your application made it through the first round, the next step was scheduling an interview with producers.

the real world rules
Mike CoppolaGetty Images
4 of 40
They had to have the "it" factor.

While tons of people attended casting calls and applied for the show, producers were on the lookout for a very specific kind of personality. Emily Schromm from The Real World: D.C. was discovered while working at Starbucks.

mtv's the real world
MTV
5 of 40
They had to agree to 24/7 video surveillance.

Production placed cameras in every room, except the bathroom, so cast members had to sign off on being filmed around the clock before going on the show.

mtv's the real world
MTV
6 of 40
They were responsible for their own safety...

MTV held no responsibility for any accidents or cause of bodily harm that occurred while filming. In fact, per their contract, MTV is not at fault if a cast member died, lost a limb, or suffered a nervous breakdown. Yikes!

celebrities attend the premiere of "what lies beneath"
Chris WeeksGetty Images
7 of 40
...And that included their sexual safety.

By signing the contract, the cast stated that they had no known STDs, but "accept that other people on the show might" and that they understand the risk of non-consensual contact when interacting with other cast members.

mtv's the real world
MTV
8 of 40
They couldn't be (or become) pregnant on the show.

Every female cast member had to confirm that they were not pregnant and would not become pregnant on the show. According to their contract, becoming pregnant was "grounds for dismissal."

the real world rules
MTV
9 of 40
They couldn't make changes to their appearance while filming.

Well, at least not without permission from a producer, according to the cast's contract. "They would control our haircuts, we weren't allowed to get new haircuts or tattoos. I tried to grow a mustache as a joke and they said 'You have to shave it,'" Pat from The Real World: Cancun told Cracked.

the real world rules
MTV
10 of 40
They had to be available to film at all times.

It was against the cast's contract to "hide from MTV cameras in establishments where they can't film." If you were removed from the house, your goodbyes were required to be captured on camera too.

the cast of the real world   paris
Frank MicelottaGetty Images
11 of 40
They had to promote the season when it aired.

All cast members had to attend press events and promote the show for one year after the final episode aired. Whether that meant attending red carpet events or posing for publicity photos, your time with MTV didn't end after the season wrapped.

mtv spring break 2004 in cancun   day 2
Stephen LovekinGetty Images
12 of 40
They couldn't appear on competing programs.

The cast had to sign a non-compete clause in their contract, which limited their work in the entertainment industry post-show. This meant the cast wasn't allowed to appear on any competing shows for one year after their season wrapped.

mtv's the real world
MTV
13 of 40
They had to attend the reunion...

Don't want to delve into old drama? Sorry. All cast members were required to attend the reunion special, per their contract.

the real world hollywood premiere at midnight music wednesdays
Michael BezjianGetty Images
14 of 40
...But don't worry, they were paid.

Cast members were reportedly paid $2,500 for each reunion special.

mtv's the real world
MTV
15 of 40
They couldn't get into any physical altercations.

This was the quickest way to be sent packing. Throughout the years, viewers have seen plenty of housemates evicted over physical brawls—sometimes even two cast members at one time.

mtv's the real world
MTV
16 of 40
They could have a cell phone (eventually).

In the early days, cell phones were confiscated before entering the house. But in recent seasons, producers let cast members use cell phones to make calls and text one another. "Normally, we had just one phone line in the house they all had to share and that allowed us to video record all phone conversations, but it wasn't true to how young people are today," executive producer Jim Johnston told The Seattle Times.

mtv's the real world
MTV
17 of 40
All phone calls and texts were monitored.

While introducing cell phones gave cast members more access to the outside world than in the past, producers provided the phones and monitored all phone calls and text messages.

mtv's the real world
MTV
18 of 40
Social media was off-limits.

Sorry, no mindless Instagram and Twitter scrolling in the house. The production-provided phones didn't have access to social media to prevent spoilers. Plus, who wants to watch people staring at their phones?

the real world rules
Jason SquiresGetty Images
19 of 40
They had to pass regular drug tests.

The show had a zero tolerance policy for drug use and the cast was subject to random drug testing while filming the season. As fans saw on The Real World: St. Thomas, failing said drug test is cause for eviction from the house.

the real world rules
Ron Galella, Ltd.Getty Images
20 of 40
They had to be in good physical shape (whatever that means).

Before joining the show, cast members must agree that they are in proper physical condition to partake in a myriad of activities from bungee jumping to horseback riding.

the real world rules
MTV
21 of 40
They had to agree to months of filming.

The cast was expected to film for at least 10 weeks on location. That schedule was subject to changes and delays, but either way it's quite a chunk of time to be away from home.

mtv's the real world
MTV
22 of 40
They had to work at a job assigned by production.

During the season, each housemate worked at an hourly wage job that were selected by producers. Agreeing to be on the show was also agreeing to work a certain number of hours at said job each week.

mtv's the real world
MTV
23 of 40
They had to leave if they quit or got fired from their job.

There weren't a lot of ways to get kicked out of the house, but being fired was one of them. When this happened, the cast member had 24 hours to move out of the house and their contract was terminated.

adam photo
Stuart RamsonGetty Images
24 of 40
They could only go to pre-approved restaurants and bars.

This list was provided by production. All of the establishments that were pre-approved said they'd allow MTV to film inside of them.

july 28, 2006 boulder  mtv real world hangs out outside the denver house where mtvs real world is currently being taped july 26, 2006  sammy dallal  daily cameraphoto by sammy dallaldigital first mediaboulder daily camera via getty images
MediaNews Group/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty ImagesGetty Images
25 of 40
They had to tell production before they left the house.

A direct phone line was used to get permission from production on a number of things, but mostly to let producers know when they wanted to leave the house to run an errand or go party.

mtv's the real world
MTV
26 of 40
They agreed to a stipend beforehand.

Cast members didn't just rely on their on-air jobs to support them while in the house. Production also provided a stipend to each participant. It's unclear what more recent stars received, but during the early seasons they got approximately $2,600.

mtv's the real world
MTV
27 of 40
If they left the show, the money stopped.

One reason to stick it out the whole season is the cash. Anyone who left early only received payments for their stipend up until the week they left.

the real world rules
MTV
28 of 40
They didn't have to pay for travel expenses.

MTV handled travel expenses to and from the filming location, as well as for the cast trip. The only time travel wasn't covered? When someone was fired from the show.

mtv's the real world
MTV
29 of 40
They had to buy their own food.

While some reality shows are flushed with catering or live-in chefs, The Real World cast had to fend for themselves. They each earned a weekly paycheck that went to expenses, such as food.

the real world rules rent
The Washington PostGetty Images
30 of 40
Their living accommodations were covered.

The best part of The Real World is the lavishly decorated house the cast got to move into—and, no, they didn't have to pay rent.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
More From Culture