When it finally happened, Brynne Odioso still couldn't believe she had landed on national television, challenged to drink the bodily fluids of a donkey.
But as the Tampa native and her twin sister, Claire, vied against several other pairs of twins for NBC's legendary gross-out stunt contest Fear Factor, she did notice one thing.
They were the only out-of-towners around.
"Florida has something to do with it I think," said Brynne Odioso, 22, noting she and her sister, who now lives in Charlotte, N.C., seemed to be the only people flown to Los Angeles for the taping last fall. "Maybe they're interested in bringing people who come from a different part of the country."
Airing at 9 tonight on WFLA-Ch. 8, the twins' episode proved controversial when NBC executives considered not airing the challenge, according to TMZ.com.
Brynne Odioso said NBC's rules prevent her from describing how she and Claire responded to the challenge, which involved drinking separate glasses of donkey semen and donkey urine. But the twins, who once fought each other to be independent, now balance each other emotionally, providing a storyline producers like, she said.
"Most people stereotype Florida as laid back," she said (both girls are daughters of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers spokesman Rick Odioso). "But that's not always true."
Turns out, reality TV producers may already know how exciting local people can be, given how many folks from the Tampa Bay area they have cast in big unscripted television shows this winter.
In the next few weeks, individuals from the Tampa Bay area will appear on Survivor, The Amazing Race, American Idol and MTV's The Challenge: Battle of the Exes. The people selected range from the wife of a former NFL star to married clowns who work for the Ringling Bros. circus.
And according to one casting director who searches out people for unscripted shows and commercials, this is no accident.
"Tampa is the new Miami," said Rose Rosen, who has found participants for Bridezillas and Dr. Drew's Lifechangers, among other shows. "(A producer friend from Hollywood) tells me Miami's completely tapped out. There are no fresh faces; everybody who wants to be on television has been on television at least once."
Rosen said casting calls in Miami can stretch out to distant neighbors — X-Factor winner Melanie Amaro is from Coral Gables — with limited results.
"They look at Tampa as a new, fresh market," she added. "They say they're looking for people who are genuine and real, but they really like it amped up on steroids. … We have that Florida twist."
Her advice for those who want to get on a reality show: Apply online, be energetic — but not crazy — and offer a twist that might get them excited.
And be prepared to spend some time. "If I'm casting for a commercial, you're in my room for five minutes if you're having a good day," Rosen said. "But for reality, (producers) give me a book of questions to ask. They want a sense of who the audience will get to know."
Rosen had one more prediction: As pretty girls who are twins, Brynne and Claire Odioso will get more reality TV offers.
"When we got back, I got an email from Masterchef asking 'Do you guys cook?' " said Brynne Odioso, who applied online for Fear Factor on impulse back in August. "I said, 'No, but we can learn.' "
When it finally happened, Brynne Odioso still couldn't believe she had landed on national television, challenged to drink the bodily fluids of a donkey. • But as the Tampa native and her twin sister, Claire, vied against several other pairs of twins for NBC's legendary gross-out stunt contest Fear Factor, she did notice one thing. • They were the only out-of-towners around.