Photo: Sarah Andrews
Lawrence Crawford smiles in front of the camera, changing poses like he was born to be in the spotlight. When he was a first-year entering Drake, he proclaimed his major to be broadcast television and “faminosity.”
“I always thought I should be in the camera or in front of the camera,” said Crawford, now a public relations major and senior. “I just always wanted to be seen and be famous, and to have an impact.”
His latest endeavor? Auditioning for MTV’s reality TV show “The Real World.”
“I don’t know what this is going to be like, but I hope it’s doable,” he said. “At the end of the day, if nothing else, it’s an experience.”
Even last year, friends told Crawford to audition for the show.
“Once Lawrence and I became friends through classes and such, I had a recurring joke with him about how he should apply to be on the Real World,” said Abby Finkenauer, another public relations senior.
It wasn’t until recently, when his friend Matt Martin ran to Crawford and told him, “So you’re applying for this.” Everyone in the admissions office where the two work agreed, and within 10 minutes, the new supportive Facebook group had 150 people “liking” it.
The casting call for season 26, rumored to be the last season, stopped in Des Moines yesterday.
“I have no idea what the process is like,” Crawford said. “It’s like, so scary. I don’t know if there’s multiple stages. If I make it past this first stage, it means it wasn’t a complete waste of time and I stand for something.”
Finkenauer volunteered to drive him there and stand with him in line to hold his hand before the audition.
“People have said I have a very strong personality. You don’t have a choice but to love me,” he said. “I will definitely tell the creative director, ‘You save the best for last, don’t eff it up.’”
Even though he said he’s seen maybe one episode in his life, his friends have told him they’d watch the show if he were on it.
“I always thought he’d be great,” Finkenauer said. “He is a likable guy with a whole lot of personality that makes anyone that meets him twice, a fast friend. I would be so proud to have him represent the Midwest and the Drake community if he ended up getting casted. Which honestly, I think he will. He is a casting director’s dream.”
Crawford’s main hopes for the audition are to make it on the show and use the publicity as a platform for social issues to better the world.
“I know this is a little far-reaching for ‘The Real World,’ but I think he could change lives and help America see past some of the awful prejudices that still remain in society,” Finkenauer said. “I think when people meet Lawrence, they see past racial and sexual stereotypes and fall in love with the great, driven, quirky guy behind his black-rimmed glasses. He is a unique individual with a heart of gold, and a bright future that would be, to be honest, a hell of a lot of fun to watch on TV.”
Crawford’s friend Crystal Nance agrees with Finkenauer that Crawford would be great on the cast.
“I think this audition fits right into what Lawrence is all about,” Nance said. “While he does enjoy attention and the spotlight, I believe he would use a position on ‘The Real World’ to bring awareness to a number of causes, including equality and civil rights for all.”
He’s got the backing of friends, his mom’s OK and his own personality to take him through the auditions. Now it’s up to MTV to decide if he’s casted.
“I want to see how my life changes,” Crawford said. “I hope that wherever this goes, that I’m not going to be changing the Lawrence that people love.”