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February 27, 2012  | by: Emily Longeretta

Ashley Kelsey

When it comes to staying classy on television, Real World 26: San Diego star Ashley Kelsey showed us all that just because you fall in love on MTV, the whole world doesn’t have to see the dirty details. While the other roommates felt upset that she seemed to keep to herself, Ashley tells us how she kept it classy on TV, fell in love, and made the best of a summer in sunny San Diego.

Real World: San Diego

While most Real World contestants go through audition after audition, that’s not how it worked for the 25-year-old Connecticut native. “It fell into my lap,” Kelsey tells me.

She explains that she met a casting director years ago who wanted her on the show. At the time, she was in school and not interested. However, when she met him again, she decided to give it a shot and was able to skip the weeks of auditions. “Basically, it was week one auditions, then finals, then I was on the show,” she says.

Heading into the Real World house, Kelsey was definitely a little nervous.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “I was cautious because I thought, ‘oh no they’re gonna do whatever they want to me and make me look however they want.’ But, I wanted a break, and I wanted to go to California. It’s beautiful there, and the weather is so nice. It’s a perfect place to spend a summer.”

Day one, entering the house, after seeing Ashley and soon-to-be lover, Zach Nichols, the roommates automatically dub them as “Barbie” and “Ken” and pretty much beg the two to be together. However, later on in the season when the two cozied up as a couple, the cast mates were not happy about it.

“At the Reunion, they all kept saying we were always together. I was like ‘you guys put us together! I thought you guys all wanted this.’ It was kind of funny. That was all you had to focus on. When you’re in a house for three and a half months and you have nothing to do, then the smallest things make drama that would never happen outside the house.”

Another thing the cast mates focused on when it came to the couple, was their sex life. They even got a box of sex-inspired gifts from the roommates. However, Ashley and Zach, unlike most other Real World couples, kept their intimate side to themselves.

“We had a conversation about it day one. I told him I would never hook up with someone on TV, and he said he wouldn’t either. I was surprised and I didn’t believe him at first! But, he really respected that I said that. It was nice that we got to hang out, it developed through a friendship first….[Hooking up on TV] is not a tasteful thing to do.”

The University of Connecticut graduate is also a model, which gets some criticism after her strict views on the show.

Ashley Kelsey, Model Mayhem

“You know what, when you’re paid to do something, as long as it’s in your comfort zone, it’s a job. When I go home, I don’t walk around in a bikini– it’s a job. I have limitations, I won’t do certain things, and I won’t pose naked. But, I work hard to keep my body. Women should know that being healthy, loving yourself and who you are is okay. You can be sexy. People tie sexy in with sex, but that’s not true. You can be a woman without being skanky– for lack of better word. You can be proud of yourself.”

When the cameras stopped filming, and the cast awaited the season to air, Kelsey explained that, of course, she was nervous. “Oh yeah, I was nervous only because I’m so boring. The dynamic in the house was a little off, and I kept thinking ‘I’m gonna look so boring!’ However, when it aired, I wasn’t too upset.”

However, what they did show of Kelsey she considered as a bit of “a blessing in disguise.”

“I felt a little like my personality didn’t get to show because it was all one sided. With Zach, he’s sarcastic and blunt. A lot of the time that got taken out of context, because he’s sarcastic almost all of the time. So, that has put him in a category. Now everyone has this idea of who he is. For me, its okay because I was quiet. When people meet me, they don’t know what to do expect. Then they’re surprised. I get to chose what people see and think about me.”

Another ongoing controversy between Zach and Ashley and the rest of the cast was their personal beliefs.

“They made us look homophobic, so that was disappointing,” Kelsey says. “We are just more traditional. I’m not one way — I’m not Republican, I’m not Democratic — I’m just me. No one ever should be judged for what they believe. It’s funny, because the ones that are all about ‘living a free life’ are the ones doing the judging.

“In general, the world is more liberal, and I’m still kinda conservative, just in my views. I’m a fun girl, I go out and have fun but I think like that and people shun us for it. But America was built in the ways that I believe in.” She sums it all up saying, “It’s just the way you were raised.”

While the cameras change some people, Kelsey explains that for her, it is extremely important to stay true to yourself. For other young girls going on TV, she shares some advice.

“I think you have to number one, not think about what other people are gonna think of you. Remember, you don’t have to be the girl to make a scene. Everyone thinks that to go in the show, you have to do ‘this’ and ‘that,’ but you can be you. I know how I do and don’t want to act. No, I didn’t plan it, but I thought about it. No, I’m not gonna go out and get wasted, because that’s not what I do.

“You have to think about your morals and your family. Zach and I kept thinking about what our families would think if they saw this. Think about the people who really matter in your life, like family and friends.”

People have been tweeting like crazy to Zach and Ashley about the famous MTV Challenges, and if the couple will go on. While Ashley explains that Zach “was really amp’d about it,” Ashley isn’t sure that the challenges are for her. “It’s a great show. I love the physical challenges, but I’m not really into the dynamic inside the house, how dramatic it is, different things like that.”

Overall, the country girl is proud of who she is. Although some things got twisted on camera and some people may have acted a little differently off camera, Kelsey is happy she had the experience, and still keeps in touch with roommates Sam and Priscilla. As for the other roommates, well not so much. “All season they didn’t have a problem with me, but then with the cameras, they all had a problem with me. I had a great summer with you people and we’ll leave it at that.”

Was Ashley at all mad when seeing the way the cameramen edited the show? Not so much, she says. “You can’t get mad when you spend time falling in love.” Well put.

The couple, her in Connecticut, him in Michigan, are making long distance work. Though both with busy schedules, they make a lot of time to fly back and forth to see each other.

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