Students sleep to their way to fame

In Arts & Life /

By Erin Silver

Ryerson students jumped into bed with U8TV.com Lofters stars Jennifer Hedger and Tre Smith last week during on-camera auditions, hoping to snag a spot on the reality show’s second season.

In exchange for their privacy, eight people chosen during the Canada-wide auditions will get a chance to become instant celebrities. The auditions for Toronto-area candidates were held at HMV’s Yonge Street store last Tuesday.

The hopefuls had to answer questions like, What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done? What are your greatest fears? and What do you do on the weekends for fun?

The winners will live in a downtown Toronto loft for one year, receive $30,000 each and have the opportunity to travel and interview celebrities. They’ll get the exposure needed to kick-start broadcasting careers by hosting 14 live shows on the Internet, including The Lofters, Love Shack, SoGayTV and U8 on Film – all of which are in syndication.

Being part of The Lofters is “an opportunity to share what’s unique about me in a fun setting,” said Sarah Clements, a 21-year-old image arts student.

“I’m pagan [and] there are a lot of misconceptions about it. I want to get rid of those misconceptions,” she said just minutes before her audition.

Marlene Marchall, 22, can relate. “I’m a big Lofters fan,” said the early childhood education student. “It’s the first show that’s a piece of reality – it shows how 20-something-year-olds really are. We have a lot of drive and goals we want to accomplish.

She said she wants to live as a Lofter so she can express a woman’s point of view on various issues.

Two of U8TV’s shows, The Lofters and Love Shack, air on the Life Network, and have become the channel’s top-rated shows. The U8TV Web site gets 30 million hits a month.

“They’re recognized on the street and can get into clubs for free,” says Jody Scotchmer,  U8TV’s spokesperson. “It’s a fabulous foothold into celebrity and hosting.”

Toronto auditions will be held on Oct. 31 at 332 Richmond St. W., beginning at 8 a.m. Callbacks for 20 Toronto finalists will occur the day after the audition. Applications are available at HMV stores across Canada, and online at HMV.com and at U8TV.com

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