Hey Gasmii, I had the chance to catch up with Ryan Conklin from The Real World: Brooklyn last week and got to ask him a few questions about going back to Iraq, this past season, and all things Real World related.
Enjoy (it’s a quickie):
Nads: Tell me your initial reaction when you found out you had to go back to Iraq.
Ryan: Disbelief. I didn’t want it to be true. My brain kind of froze. A lot of thought process was going on.
Nads: Did you feel like doing the Real World was a little like being in the war zone at times (without your life being endangered of course)?
Ryan: Not at all. I had so much fun doing the Real World and I would do it all over gladly if asked. As for going to Iraq, I’m only doing it again because I’m forced to.
Nads: Did you always want to be in the military?
Ryan: No. I always wanted to go to college after high school but 9/11 changed my decision.
Nads: Did you have any inclination that you would ever go back to Iraq?
Ryan: I knew it was a possibility but I know hundreds of others that run the gaunlet of being recalled. None of them got recalled, I just happened to be the “unlucky” one among the chosen.
Nads: What’s training camp like?
Ryan: Training right now is not as intense as Ithought it would be. Pretty laid back. A lot of classroom instruction. A lot has changed in Iraq since most of us were over there last so there is a lot of catch-up that we receive in class. After being an
infantryman on active duty, it’s impossible to forget your job once you’re doing it again. The training all came back.
Nads: Tell me about your bromance with Chet, do you still keep in touch?
Ryan: Chet and I keep up our close friendship as best we can now. I love that guy. We are still trying to get something lined up with some things in the future. This show was not the last you heard of from me and Chet. We have big dreams and we try our best to see if they can come true.
Nads: Were you shocked when you found out you were living with a transexual roommate?
Ryan: Not so much. It was a new situation for me so obviously my curiosity lit up as soon as I met her.
Nads: From your small town to NY…when you get back from Iraq where are you going to live?
Ryan: Big City? NYC!
Nads: Is music what you’ll pursue when all is said and done?
Ryan: No. Music is a pastime and something I enjoy to do. I don’t plan on making the Top 40 but I would love to try my stab at being a part of a band and see what we could come up with. I would love to play live shows but I don’t think I would have as much fun playing solo as I would with other musicians.
Nads: Was it hard adjusting to cameras always rolling?
Ryan: At first it was comical to me. They were always around. It kept laughing when the cameras followed me do the most random and routine things. I don’t know how much footage they have of me brushing my teeth or eating a bowl of cereal. It wasn’t that hard to grow accustomed to their presence. They were there. There was no fighting it.
Nads: Have you considered doing a challenge?
Ryan: You’d probably win it for your team… I don’t know if I’ll do a challenge or not. I think the only way I would do one is if they made a totally new challenge that was like “The Amazing Race” and I would obviously choose Chet. We would win for sure.
Nads: Are the guys in the military supportive of you being on The Real World, especially since it’s currently airing? And are they treating you differently or the same?
Ryan: It’s not an issue and I’m so glad for that. I’m an IRR soldier. So are they. Before they got recalled, they were students, brokers, entrepreneurs, etc. Now, we are all soldiers. We are in it together. I never even mention what I did unless it comes up in conversation. We stay focused on what matters. Knowing how to stay alive.
I want to thank Ryan for taking the time to chat and wish him a safe trip (and return)…we’re rooting for you Ryan!
The season finale of The Real World: Brooklyn airs this Wednesday at 10PM ET/PT on MTV.