Six months ago, Juliette Porter and Brandon Gomes weren’t quite sure what life had in store for them.
“We don’t even know if they’re going to like us,” Porter said, shortly before the reality show she stars in, “Siesta Key,” premiered on MTV.
It appears that people do like Porter and her friends, at least enough to make the show a huge hit for the network. And Porter and Gomes both say they love what has happened to them since “Siesta Key” premiered in July.
“I think it’s been an amazing experience,” said Porter in a phone interview from New York City, where the cast was doing publicity for the upcoming series of new episodes. “I think it’s amazing that people are interested in us. It’s really taught us to be more open as people.”
“It’s definitely a dream come true,” Gomes said. “I’m extremely grateful to be part of it. I’m not surprised by what has happened, but I’m surprised by how fast it has happened.”
New episodes of “Siesta Key” have already been filmed, and they start airing at 10 p.m. Monday. It’s not a new season, though, it’s the second half of the first season. It will feature a greatly expanded cast, featuring three new women (Canvas, Hannah and Paige) and two new guys (Carson and Tarik). Tarik is the first gay character in the show’s cast, and according to the publicity material, “while Madisson adores and supports him, he’s finding that being a gay man in a conservative town like Siesta Key can be a difficult adjustment.”
I think we’re all a pleasure to be around.
It might seem surprising that Porter and Gomes have found the experience such a pleasant one, given that a lot of what happens on the show concerns the group of friends, all of whom live in the Sarasota area, doing not-so-nice things to each other. Couples cheat, people say nasty things about each other, guys dump one woman from the group and start dating another. Cameras show it all to the world.
There has also been some controversy on the periphery of the show, as main man Alex Kompethecras was connected to the perpetrators of a notorious video that shows a shark being tortured.
“I think our relationships have all gone through ups and downs,” Porter said. “There’s obviously been drama. The tensions that are depicted definitely have an impact on us. But we try to be civil to each other.”
“I think we’re all a pleasure to be around,” Gomes added, with no hint of sarcasm.
Both Gomes and Porter promise that people who loved the first episodes will enjoy these new episodes even more.
“Things are a little more raw, and we’re all a little more open,” she said.
All the original cast members have become comfortable with cameras recording their private moments.
“I forget that people are going to see these things,” Porter said.
It’s when they’re out in public that the cameras can be disruptive.
“We’ll be walking somewhere and people will say ‘There’s the “Siesta Key” people!’ and they try to photobomb us or wherever,” Gomes said.
But even without the cameras, life can be a little odd for the cast members when they’re out in public. They’ll be going about their business, just as they used to do before the show premiered, and they forget that they’re now celebrities. Until other people see them.
“I’ll be at Walmart at 3 in the morning and someone will say ‘Can I take a picture with you?’ ” Gomes said. “I’ll be like, ‘Um, why?’ and then “Oh, yeah.’ ”