There's little doubt that 18-year-old Texas Tech freshman Alan Taylor is the star of The Real Cancun, the reality feature from the producers of MTV's The Real World. His progression from reserved, non-drinking outsider to fun-loving party animal over the course of the eight-day spring break free-for-all was almost as compelling as those wet T-shirt contests. After watching him complain about girl trouble and shyness, we were pretty shocked when the lapsed teetotaler told TV Guide Online all about his thespian past, not to mention that understanding girlfriend back home...
TV Guide Online: You seem so reserved in the movie, but I hear you're actually involved in theater at school.
Alan Taylor: That's the thing people don't understand about me. They say throughout the movie I find my confidence. But I've done theater since I was 15! People are asking what my aspirations will be now, and I kind of hate to say professional acting, but I want to do some kind of acting.
TVGO: So when you auditioned for the movie, was it an act?
Taylor: I thought of that. I tried to think of the Real Worlds and Road Rules that I've seen before, and I started thinking about who I could play. But I finally just gave up. I can't play anybody. Even the best actor, you could still see some holes with the 10 hours of auditioning we had to go through, so I didn't think I was playing a role at all. I said, "Listen, I've never drank before in my life. I'm not a big partyer. I study, and that's about it." I was completely honest. They tended to like that.
TVGO: But in Cancun, once you saw you were a little bit different from everyone else, did you feel you were cast in a particular role?
Taylor: No. Even after they cast me, I was trying to figure out what part I was, and it wasn't obvious to me. When I got into the cast of 16 people I wasn't going to try to change who I was to fit in. At first I was like, what am I supposed to do for eight days? Who am I supposed to hang out with?
TVGO: Were you lonely?
Taylor: I kind of forced myself to become known to the cast and to be talked to, because I knew that those first two days are imperative, so if I wasn't personable at first, then the rest of the week I would just be shunned.
TVGO: Are people at home going to be surprised by some of the things you did?
Taylor: I think some people will be surprised, and some people will be like, "Oh, that's just old Alan." Taking the drink surprised me. I didn't think I'd do that. Honestly, if you knew where I come from, going to college at Texas Tech, everybody drinks. If you don't drink, then you're not going to have fun at a party... So it's not like I wasn't around peer pressure before. [In Cancun] it wasn't the peer pressure that made me drink. It was really my own decision. I had decided a long time ago that I would at one point take a drink; it was just kind of finding the right time.
TVGO: What about your girlfriend back home? Did you go to Cancun planning to hook up?
Taylor: No. That's my biggest fear with my girlfriend. I'm thinking she's going to be, "How are you dating me, and then you go to Cancun planning to hook up?" I wanted a girl to like me. I wanted a girl to have a crush on me. I didn't want to actually hook up with a girl, which I really didn't. I made out with a couple of girls, but besides that...
TVGO: Did you ever feel like girls would come up to you because of the cameras?
Taylor: I thought that they might, but they really didn't. They'd come up to Jeremy or Matt. The camera was a deterrent for some girls. They didn't want to be seen in a movie that their parents would go see. They wanted what they did in Cancun to stay in Cancun. Nothing we did is going to stay in Cancun.
Taylor: Yeah. My mom's going to the premiere in L.A., against my will. She found my publicist's card, and she e-mailed her behind my back and got tickets.