Ari Fitz is already being celebrated as the most compelling member of the latest Real World cast after just two episodes on air, and she promises there’s a lot more to come as the show unfolds.
Fitz, a Bay Area native who grew up in Vallejo and attended UC Berkeley as a Physics major before changing tracks and pursuing Information Technologies and entertainment, sold her first company at age 22, before becoming a model and horror movie filmmaker.
“Driven” would be putting it lightly.
Determined to start a career as a horror filmmaker, Fitz decided to audition for the cast of “Real World,” figuring it would be a great way to create exposure for herself and her work.
“I am a woman who works as a model who uses her money to create the creepy horror films, who is also queer, also black, also is on national television, and I think that’s fun,” she said in an interview with 429Magazine.
“Because I live on the outskirts of what you consider normal, it gives me even more power to be creative, to something totally different, and to have the freedom to say ‘and I’m going to go off and make horror films.’”
During the taping of “Real World,” Fitz worked on her second short film, “Open Call,” about an audition that takes a very different turn.
Inspired by challenging the expectations of her audience, Fitz’s work exploits the stereotypes in the horror genre in order to shock her viewer, and engage communities who have historically not had a presence within the work.
“The films I want to create have a lot to do with agency. ‘I have a right to take action’—it’s less about being gender specific, it’s about being active in your life,” said Fitz, who derives a lot of her inspiration from people who go after what they want, instead of waiting for something to happen.
“You’re never going to see a woman who is just sitting and screaming, and not taking any action in my work, and that’s very important to me.”
Fitz’s projects reflect her personality as well as her identity—showing characters veer from the norm.
“I’m one of the few black queer persons working in the horror film industry,” said Fitz. “In the two projects that will go live in the next 6 months, you will see different types of characters—you will see people of color, and people with different ways of loving each other.”
On “Real World,” Ari is the only black, openly queer person on the show—something she thought would cause conflict—but instead, she experienced acceptance and support from her fellow house members.
“It’s rare that I mute my personality for anyone,” said Fitz of her pronounced drive to achieve and equally strong personality.
“I was the person who was pushing my housemates to think about who they are, what they want to do, and who they want to be…I kind of became, or needed to become, the leader of the house.”
Next on Ari’s plate is the debut of two projects currently in the final production stages—“The Anniversary,” a very interesting take on long-term lesbian commitment, and “Open Call,” which she worked on during the production of the Real World.
Fitz is the favorite of this season’s “Real World,” being both calm in conflict, and strong in her self and her goals, which goes against audience’s expectations of queer people of color in the media, a role she enjoys.
“I like playing with expectations,” said Fitz.
“The Anniversary,” Fitz’ short film about the one year anniversary of a lesbian couple, is available to watch below. Featuring Fitz and her ex-girlfriend, Ashley, who will join the ‘Real World’ cast mid-season, the film showcases Fitz’s talent with surprise and plot twists, as well as her unapologetically queer identity.