The Real World: Key West

The Real World: Key West (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The Real World: Key West is the seventeenth season of MTV's reality television series The Real World, which focuses on a group of diverse strangers living together for several months in a different city each season, as cameras follow their lives and interpersonal relationships. This season was shot in the Key Haven neighborhood of Key West, Florida in From August to December 2005, and debuted February 28, 2006. It is the second season of The Real World to be filmed in southern Florida, as The Real World: Miami was filmed 10 years prior in 1996. It is also the fourth season to be filmed in the southern United States, after Miami in 1996, The Real World: New Orleans in 2000, and The Real World: Austin in 2005. The season premiere was viewed by 3.33 million people.


The cast lived in a nearly Spanish Mediterranean-style, five bedroom, four and a half bathroom house at 32 Driftwood Drive in Key Haven, just north of the Key West city limits. The property spans of waterfront property, and includes a tennis court, indoor racquetball court, gym, and an open dock. The house, which, along with two adjacent lots, was leased from June 28 to December 30, 2005, also included a x indoor pool that was converted into a sunken lounge area for filming. The house also included an outdoor pool. The house sustained some damage from Hurricane Wilma.

The production faced a lawsuit by tourism mogul Ed Swift, a neighbor to the Driftwood Drive house, who sought to stop filming at the location, on the grounds that the production's floodlights, commercial-sized air conditioners, and outdoor cameras capable of rotating towards his house were a nuisance, and that local zoning laws prohibit commercial use of Key Haven homes. After MTV threatened to cancel production in response to the lawsuit, a judge threw out the lawsuit and allowed Bunim-Murray Productions to continue filming the season, with some minor production restrictions put in place.

During filming, Hurricane Rita made landfall, forcing the cast to evacuate to West Palm Beach. Subsequently, Wilma hit the area, forcing them to evacuate again, first to Ft. Lauderdale, and then to Orlando.


Almost every season of The Real World, beginning with its fifth season, has included the assignment of a season-long group job or task to the housemates, continued participation in which has been mandatory to remain part of the cast since the Back to New York season. The Key West cast was assigned to assist in starting a Mystic Tan franchise at the Pineapple Gallery. It closed briefly after Hurricane Wilma had devastated the store, and later reopened.


Cast Member Age Hometown Biography
Zach Mann 22 Vashon Island, Washington A communications grad from Lewis and Clark College, Zach comes from a Jewish family. Zach was at one time overweight, but has since transformed himself and emerged as an energetic, confident young man. He angers Svetlana when he informs her that he would also like to apply for team leader of Mystic Tan. At the reunion show, all of the castmates laughingly point to Zach when asked who "got the most booty."
Jose Tapia 20 Brooklyn, New York Known to his friends as "The Don." He was raised in Brooklyn surrounded by drugs, violence and the influence of "the wrong crowd". During the season, viewers learn that while living in Key West he is in the process of moving out of an apartment he shares with his former girlfriend. He attended Florida State University, and is the owner of multiple rental properties and the holder of a real estate broker license.
Paula Meronek 23 Meriden, Connecticut Since her graduation from Quinnipiac University, Paula is a corporate employee by day, and parties at night. Paula is still experiencing problems with an abusive ex-boyfriend, and with her body image.
Johnny Devenanzio 22 Fullerton, California A recent graduate of Pennsylvania State University, his casting made headlines in the Daily Collegian, PSU's student newspaper. He initially flirts with Svetlana but she remains faithful to her boyfriend at home. At one point during the season, he jokingly removes Janelle's bikini top in the ocean. Concerned about being asked to leave the house, he apologizes to Janelle and she accepts but not without reprimand. He and Tyler share a relationship characterized by numerous practical jokes they play on one another.
Janelle Casanave 23 San Jose, California Friends describe her as "independent." She was accepted to the University of San Francisco School of Law, but before becoming a lawyer, is launching a career as a makeup artist. . Janelle would later appear in The Real World: Hollywood, in which she dates cast member William Gilbert.
Tyler Duckworth 23 Minneapolis, Minnesota A gay gymnastics and figure skating enthusiast who describes himself as "manipulative" and "mischievous". At one time, he was on track to becoming a world-class swimming champion, until a freak accident that nearly took away his ability to walk shattered his Olympic dreams. A recent graduate of Tufts University, he must decide what to do with his life. In the show, he admits to feeling the closest to Jose in the house.
Svetlana Shusterman 19 Richboro, Pennsylvania Svetlana is a pre-med student at Temple University who was born to a Jewish family in Odessa, Ukraine. A first generation immigrant with a reputation for being the "crazy Russian chick," she is torn between her dependency on her family, and the need to venture out and experience life. In 2007, her 21st birthday was featured on MTV's My Super Sweet 16.
^: Age at the time of filming.

After filming

The entire cast attended the Reunion, which was broadcast as The Real World: Key West Reunion.

In 2006, Paula Meronek was arrested for assault for allegedly biting boyfriend John Alyward.

Svetlana Shusterman became an aspiring actress and model who appeared in FHM as one of the "Girls of FHM". In 2007 she was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Real World/Road Rules Challenges

Challenge in bold indicates that the contestant was a finalist on The Challenge, but lost in the final race.

Cast Member RW/RR Challenges Challenges Won Total Money Earned
Zach Mann The Gauntlet III None $0
Jose Tapia - - -
Paula Meronek The Duel, The Inferno 3, The Gauntlet III, The Island, The Duel II, Fresh Meat II, Cutthroat, Rivals, Battle of the Exes Rivals $62,000
Johnny Devenanzio The Duel, The Inferno 3, The Gauntlet III, The Island, The Ruins, Cutthroat, Rivals, Battle of the Exes The Island, The Ruins, Rivals, Battle of the Exes $266,543
Janelle Casanave The Inferno 3, The Gauntlet III The Inferno 3 $40,000
Svetlana Shusterman The Duel None $0
Tyler Duckworth The Duel, The Gauntlet III, Cutthroat, Rivals Cutthroat, Rivals $90,000

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