Life After 'The Real World' (Nob Hill Gazette)
On his 24th birthday Judd Winick flew into Oakland International Airport, stepping foot in the Bay Area for the first time. Cameras were rolling, waiting to film the Long Island native’s reaction.
“Seeing San Francisco is like seeing Oz,” he said into one of them. “It felt like the land of opportunity, like I could really do something.”It was 1994 and Winick, as Gen Xers may recall, was starting his first day a castmate on the third and most important season(the only important season?) on MTV’s longest running reality show, the The Real World. Winick did indeed find opportunity — and his wife — in San Francisco.
In fact, that first day in front of the cameras also happened to be the day he met Pamela Ling, the Harvard grad/medical student and one of his six roommates at the cast’s home on Lombard Street. After the show stopped filming, the two started dating. They married in 2001 and have since had two children. Twenty-five years later, they’re still living in San Francisco.
On a recent rainy morning, I met Winick to chat about the reality TV stint that changed his life and what he’s been up to in the years since. Dressed in jeans, a T-shirt with a Japanese cartoon character and a pair of very ’90s-looking scuffed black combat boots, he says he still occasionally gets recognized out in public. I could see why. Now 49, he looks older than when you last saw him on TV, but he’s got the same general style and the chatty, boyish charm, with a middle-aged man’s hairline.