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Eric Nies Explains How MTV’s ‘The Real World’ Saved His Life (Video)

The reality TV pioneer tells “For Real’s” Andy Cohen that he started using drugs at a young age after being abused

Eric Nies, one of the original cast members on MTV’s “The Real World,” says his stint on the pioneering reality TV show helped save his life.

Nies, now 49, reunited with castmates Heather B. Gardner, Julie Gentry and Norman Korpi on “For Real: The Story of Reality TV,” hosted by Andy Cohen. The special “The Real World: New York” episode of “For Real” will air Feb. 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on E!, one month ahead of the series premiere on Thursday, March 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Nies was one of the breakout stars of “The Real World,” which debuted in 1992. After the show, he hosted “The Grind” and had a successful modeling career. The show not only launched his career, but it likely saved his life, he said.

“If ‘The Real World’ didn’t happen and my life didn’t go the way that it did, I might’ve been dead,” Nies told Cohen and his castmates. “There were a lot of wounds that I was suppressing from my childhood and I was on a self-destructive path.”

Nies revealed he started using drugs at a young age after being a victim of physical, verbal and sexual abuse. When Gardner inquired if Nies did drugs in the house, Nies said no because he was on probation and being drug tested while helping kids in an outreach program.

“I was able to look at myself and see the things I didn’t like about myself that I wanted to change, so in a way ‘The Real World,’ kinda saved my life,” Nies added. He also says using Ayahuasca has helped him deal with past trauma.

Nies isn’t the only “Real World” castmember to find fame. Other notable alumnis include Tami Roman, who became a cast member on “The Basketball Wives;” Judd Winick, a successful comic book artist; Sean Duffy, a former GOP representative; Rachel Campos, Duffy’s wife and conservative talking head; actress Jamie Chung; and current WWE heavyweight champion Michael “The Miz” Mizanin.

“For Real: The Story of Reality TV,” will featuring untold stories and never-before-seen footage, with Cohen reminiscing with some of the biggest stars to examine the evolution and decades-long cultural impact of unscripted television. Other episodes will examine “The Real Housewives” (where Cohen is an executive producer), “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” “The Bachelor,” and a special episode looking at the impact that Black women have had on the reality TV genre.

“For Real: The Story of Reality TV” is produced by Bunim/Murray Productions & Most Talkative with Gil Goldschein, Julie Pizzi, David Sambuchi, Lauren Lazin and Andy Cohen serving as Executive Producers.

A separate “Real World” reunion with the original cast launching is launching on Paramount+ on March 4.

Check out Nies’ interview above and a preview of “For Real: The Story of Reality TV” below: