My name is Michael. I've PM'd mods for verification.

I posted this yesterday at /r/cringe, thinking I'd get some laughs/nostalgia regarding an awkward phase of my life. It ended up essentially becoming an IAmA, and I was encouraged to post a real thread here by a mod. So, here's the gist of it:

6 years ago I was on a reality television show. That should be cringe worthy enough... but I was also 14. The show was "Kid Nation" So, I had the dubious honor of having an awkward phase captured for all posterity and broadcast on CBS. So now, if you google my name, you are greeted with a plethora of videos like this, and this, and (dear god) this.

These videos are cringe worthy in their own right. Now, imagine being the subject, and having your 5'3'', 80 pound, 14 year old frame captured on 13 hours of digitally preserved video.

I'm leaving in about 15 minutes for a couple hours, but when I get back home I'll answer as many questions as I can. I'll sporadically keeping checking in and answering stuff. Ask me about the production process of reality TV/what "really" happened/anything!

For those interested, the entire show is on Youtube.

Here's a photo of the gold star I won

EDIT 3:26 PM EST: I'm back, and I'm ready to start firing out some answers

EDIT 4:55 PM EST: Answering these questions has been a blast, it's great to reminisce. I have to head to work now, but I'll be back later tonight and I will continue to fire off some responses.

Comments: 416 • Responses: 92  • Date: 

classic_rex60 karma

I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS AMA FOR YEARS. seriously, that show was my jam. i was always expecting the entire city to devolve into a Lord of the Flies situation with Taylor's head on a spike.

They positioned the show to seem like you guys had no idea where you were going when you were loaded onto the buses. Was that true? I would have expected more people to freak out if they got unexpectedly dropped out in the middle of the desert.

Was there any risk of going hungry for the kids? I noticed that the providing of meals was up to the kids on the show, so was there any point when adults stepped in to help to be sure that no one went hungry?

were there any hookups you can remember? not necessarily involving you, but in general? i remember 12-15 as quite an active age for me, hormonally.

YNWA_USA16 karma

Yes, that's true! And we weren't allowed to talk at first either. It was very strange and overall kind of shitty. Never a risk of going hungry. We had our shit together and good amount of pre-prepared food to eat (even though most of it was not that great. like jerky.) That being said, I bummed food off of the camera crew. I loved those guys! Yeah, there were hookups, but I'm not going to delve into that territory beyond saying it did happen.

EDIT: Also, thanks for enjoying the show!

JamesFBlake52 karma

So I saw your post in /r/cringe and proceeded to watch the entire show last night. I honestly have some question regardding specific events on the show, but seeing as it was so long ago I understand if you can't really answer them effectively.

  • At the beginning of the show you were portrayed as the level headed fuzzy haired child who had promise to be the best possible leader of the group. After you won your gold star your camera time was limited to short bursts of yelling when the other kids got rowdy, and snide comments. This lasted up until you were elected to the council. Did you just stop trying as hard after you got your star? Or were you just given bad camera spots?

  • How did you feel about Blaine and Gregg both being elected to the council? Is this something you were worried about when the team swaps happened and the new elections started, or was it just kind of an "oh shit that just happened" moment?

  • Do you really think Laurel's choice of maintaining a static district was in the best interest of the community?

  • Do you think Gregg actually improved after being elected to council? As one of the oldest kids it really seemed like Gregg felt out of place with everyone other than Blaine. He didn't have much respect for anyone, but after being elected to council he seemed to have a bit of responsibility injected into him. Morgan's father even remarked how he "had worse conversations with adults than with Gregg". Was this an actual change of heart, or did he just play it up for the camera's and his parents?

  • What are your thoughts on your inability to win one of the final gold stars due to you being on the council? Personally I feel like you could have been a contender, due to the one on that one white girl (her name escapes me, it wasn't morgan nor sophia) seemed kind of a stretch in my eyes.

Also, thank you for the AMA. I find it interesting that we're able to get an AMA from one of the more level headed children on the show. Even though you thought it was cringe I felt you portrayed yourself much better than any of the other kids on the show. You definitely weren't a Gregg or a Taylor.

YNWA_USA24 karma

Okay in sequence:

  1. I did work less. Not enormously less, only slightly less. As for the snide comments... as Sophia and I grew closer and hung out more we just amplified each other's sarcasm and general bitterness. We ended up mocking the show a lot and just having more fun in general.

  2. Blaine and Greg both reaching the council was pretty shocking. Blaine was actually a great guy - no problem with him. It was definitely an "oh shit" moment on the whole though.

  3. Yes. Green was the archstone of the town: disrupt it and the whole thing would have fallen apart. Our cohesiveness allow us to help maintain the sanity of others.

  4. No. I think he became aware of how his portrayal on the show would look. He had a tenuous grasp on the concept of respect, in my book. For him it seemed to be a one-way street.

  5. Giving it to Migle (that was her name) was so dumb. My choices were Sophia, Anjay, and Pharaoh. Pharaoh was fucking awesome, he deserved more time in the light. We actually could have given the star to one of us, we just agreed that was a shitty idea. Also, CBS stepped in and limited our choices to only 1. people that already won gold stars and 2. former council members. The third was allowed to be our choice, and Greg, Blaine, and DK all pushed for Migle whereas I wanted Pharaoh.

JamesFBlake8 karma

I did work less. Not enormously less, only slightly less. As for the snide comments... as Sophia and I grew closer and hung out more we just amplified each other's sarcasm and general bitterness. We ended up mocking the show a lot and just having more fun in general.

I can respect that. If I had just won $20,000 I'd slack off a bit. Even then you weren't necessarily the hardest working in terms of physical labor, but you were definitely a big boost to the community mentally. I noticed how you and Sophia (and the rest of the green team), played off of each other, especially when it was you vs the world.

Blaine and Greg both reaching the council was pretty shocking. Blaine was actually a great guy - no problem with him. It was definitely an "oh shit" moment on the whole though.

I feel like Blaine and Greg just happened to stick together due to being similar age and personality, and then Blaine showed himself to be, as Zach put it, "a moderately intelligent human being". He really came into his own at the end of the series.

Yes. Green was the archstone of the town: disrupt it and the whole thing would have fallen apart. Our cohesiveness allow us to help maintain the sanity of others

Here I both agree and disagree. I don't want to argue it with you because hell it was so long ago and it doesn't matter at this point. However, I really felt like the other teams all became stronger (well except blue wtf they gained Emilie and lost Blane). I feel like if Green had been able to convince people to work together fully, ergo forget the classes, you could have been more successful. Now granted I understand you're kids, but you guys all showed a mental age well above your physical age. I don't even see that kind of determination in full grown adults. But I think that if you guys had had basic people in charge of each activity (merchant, cooks, stuff like that), and then everyone pitched in and helped everywhere regardless, it would have worked out better, but that's just me. Green was a powerful division mentally, you weren't the strongest physically, but you were a powerhouse in terms of friendship and mental capacity.

Giving it to Migle (that was her name) was so dumb. My choices were Sophia, Anjay, and Pharaoh. Pharaoh was fucking awesome, he deserved more time in the light. We actually could have given the star to one of us, we just agreed that was a shitty idea. Also, CBS stepped in and limited our choices to only 1. people that already won gold stars and 2. former council members. The third was allowed to be our choice, and Greg, Blaine, and DK all pushed for Migle whereas I wanted Pharaoh.

Sad the hear that CBS kind of limited your choices of who to give the big money to. But I'm still glad Sophia won one. She was honestly the hardest worker in the entire town, albeit a bit strange at times, but she really seemed to find her love in cooking at the beginning of the show, and that kept her motivated.

But like I said thanks for the ama mate!

YNWA_USA12 karma

Sophia's work ethic continues to be incredible from what I hear. She's a fantastic person.

Here's the thing with the green district splitting:

It was mostly about self preservation, to be honest. At that point there was no way the entire town was going to fall apart, and most of us were a little disillusioned with the whole show at that point. I mean, at the end of the day, we were on a fucking reality show. how absurd is that?! Sophia and I begged the executive producer to let us secede from the town and form a splinter meritocracy. It would have been hilarious and fun.

smellyfishie40 karma

"Just deal with it!"

YNWA_USA39 karma

Never again.

Nonsenseinabag36 karma

I rather enjoyed the concept of the show, even if the execution was a bit too much like a game show. How "alone" were you in reality? Obviously there were cameras, but did you feel like you were out on your own, or was it apparent you were on a TV show the whole time?

YNWA_USA31 karma

It was very apparent that we were involved in a production process. There were 12 camera crews. Each had a cameraman, an assistant to the cameraman, a sound technician with a boom mic, and an associate producer to direct what they should be capturing. In reality, we weren't that "alone" at all. That being said, they offered very little guidance or scripting. Our actions were dictated by us alone for the most part.

desertprism11 karma

Were the adults in the camera crew allowed to communicate to you guys?

YNWA_USA22 karma

Yes. They discouraged it, but the camera crew didn't really care that much when exec producers weren't present. They were awesome people.

TheRebornOne33 karma

I've heard that the show was cancelled due to abunch of kids burning there hands in the kitchen and they threatened to sue. Do you have any idea if this is true or not.

Edit: Apparently it was Divad who burnt herself cooking at her snack shack and her parents threatened to sue.

YNWA_USA30 karma

Yeah, she burned herself. BUT - they got her on camera saying "Oh, this isn't a big deal, this happens all the time." Funnily enough, this is her longest line the entire show, I think. Coincidence? Far from it. They wanted to cover their ass and show what was really going, which was that the lawsuit was solely about seeing an opportunity to make bank in an overly litigious legal system.

Gumby_Hitler15 karma

I heard that one of the kids drank bleach. True?

YNWA_USA47 karma

True, but it was his fault. You typically don't want to drink bleach out of something marked "BLEACH"

guns_n_beer28 karma

Michael, big fan. I just watched this show for the first time last year and I must say you were one of the only kids who wasn't a complete asshole.

Now for my question- Did they actually give you star made of two pounds of gold, or did they just give you a check for the value?

What did you use your star money on?

YNWA_USA41 karma

I had a choice to get a check or a real gold star. I went with the check, simply because I don't know where you sell 2 pounds of gold... Cash4Gold maybe?

My parents have always planned on paying for my college education, so I gave them the $20,000 to invest in a college fund. It helped me feel like less of a leech on them, and it was a nice way to say "thanks" for the privilege I have been given.

Tokbirn20 karma

That's one of the best things you could have done with that money.

Personally, I would of kept $5k of it for funsies, but I'm clearly not as good of a son as you are. RL Karma will come back for you.

YNWA_USA8 karma

Thanks!

guns_n_beer11 karma

Thank you for answering. Two more questions if you have time. Do you keep in touch with anyone? And lastly, in retrospect do you regret not choosing the go-karts? Those go-karts, despite being a huge liability would have been rad.

YNWA_USA36 karma

I keep in contact with Sophia. Dude, those go-karts would have been a death trap. The fights they would produced would have been immense. In retrospect, I kind of wish it would have happened. It would have tipped the show into Lord of the Flies territory.

NeonChameleon8 karma

Should have taken the gold. Lots of inflation on that shit

YNWA_USA9 karma

Yeah. But where do you sell 2 pounds of solid gold in the shape of a star?

ReginaGeorge017 karma

Which college did you go to? What major?

YNWA_USA46 karma

American University. I'm double majored in journalism and philosophy. Basically setting myself up for a life of unemployment, I guess.

BountyHunterIce24 karma

I have to know: after the kids washed the dishes, did adults come in and re-clean them?

YNWA_USA51 karma

Oh god, I wish...

TimothyDRiel22 karma

I really enjoyed this show and you in it. I was disappointed in it's cancellation because I felt it proved that kids were way more capable than they were given credit for.

Did you feel you were in over your head?

Do you feel differently today?

Also, do you feel the show was a good idea or a bad idea?

YNWA_USA20 karma

In the first couple of days I felt in well over my head. It seemed ridiculous.

I feel very different today. Not due to the Kid Nation experience, but as a natural personal development has taken place.

The show was a great idea. The production company had a very different idea than what materialized, I think. CBS wanted to execution to be far more Hollywood-ish than the executive producer wanted. he wanted a genuine society experiment.

PoleyBear22 karma

Was Alex the Asian as awesome as everyone thought?

YNWA_USA46 karma

Waaaaaay cooler. He was honestly the smartest child I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Beyond that, he was nice and mature. Smarts you're born with, but the level of kindness and consideration he displayed was indicative of true character if you ask me.

freestylesail21 karma

How accurate was portrayal of events that viewers saw? And what surprised you most about the overall experience?

YNWA_USA24 karma

Pretty accurate. Some of the chronology is falsely constructed, but that is to be expected, honestly. Each week's pioneer journal reading introduced a new problem and event that were clearly scripted, but everyone's reaction to those events were organic.

I was most surprised by how awesome many people are on the production side of television. Honestly, the producers were very cool, open, and well intentioned with this project. The broadcasters, CBS, were far more willing to fuck with the formula and limit our agency.

oreopimpsta20 karma

Was Jared just as nutty in real life.

YNWA_USA22 karma

Absolutely.

Deathhaze19 karma

How much of the dialogue was scripted?

YNWA_USA23 karma

None. Sometimes they would ask you to repeat a phrase if it wasn't captured on camera or was muffled. This isn't perfectly organic, but it definitely is not scripting either. Obviously they prompt you with questions in front of the camera, but you could choose not to respond.

ec_on_wc18 karma

We'd have massive viewing parties to Kid Nation. It was a show that was taken from us too soon.

The one part of the show that seemed horribly scripted was the portion where the kids would call their parents after they won a gold star. Was that just because they'd re-shoot the parents' end of the conversation later?

YNWA_USA23 karma

Shockingly, both ends were recorded live. The cost of that was mind boggling. They actually flew a crew to Seattle to film my parents. Anyway, the reason it seemed scripted is just the presence of the cameras. It feels odd knowing you're under observation, and even weirder when you're talking to your parents.

ac9118 karma

My dad and I still joke about Jimmy, the youngest kid.

Was Taylor really as reprehensible as she seemed?

YNWA_USA23 karma

Even more so than the camera captured.

ac9114 karma

Jesus Christ. Any stories?

YNWA_USA52 karma

She said fat people should belong in zoos. "Make-up can fix your face but not your weight."

thecynicalwallaby17 karma

What were your relationships like with the other children? Did you become very close with anyone? Did you not like anyone in particular? And the big question, did everyone have crushes on each other?

YNWA_USA39 karma

Of course people had crushes. This was basically like summer camp on TV. I'm not close with the other kids, really. I haven't gone to any reunions. Although, I do keep sporadic contact with Sophia, and we hung out last year. I am pretty close with her when we do hang out. She's awesome!

I hated Greg.

dsnit285 karma

was the there a general hate for greg in the town? Also, was Blaine just Greg's bitch or was he somewhat different?

YNWA_USA11 karma

Blaine was much, much nicer. A lot of people actually really liked Greg.

KingwithouthisKrown16 karma

Ever get caught fapping?

YNWA_USA52 karma

Pfff, no. If by 14 you haven't developed stealth skills there's something wrong with you.

MrGreenBeanz10 karma

You actually had enough alone time for yourself to jack off?

YNWA_USA17 karma

It's easy to find 3 minutes in a day.

MrGreenBeanz6 karma

Haha I guess, but I would be scared with all the cameras around. How often did you do it?

YNWA_USA13 karma

This is getting absurdly specific. Plus, I don't exactly have a eidetic memory for my wanking habits.

ZeXzY15 karma

Can we see a picture of you now? and compare? :D

discobolus12 karma

years later & still cool hair

YNWA_USA11 karma

Takes practice. Shit ain't easy.

ButteryLou15 karma

So where there any hook-ups one the show?!?!

YNWA_USA20 karma

haha yeah....

Gumby_Hitler28 karma

Dish please. I need to know if my fan fiction is accurate.

YNWA_USA52 karma

You know, there's something in me that feels like it's more appropriate withhold information about how much mack was exchanged between a load of 12, 13, and 14 year olds.

AlexDeLarge4515 karma

[deleted]

YNWA_USA35 karma

These topical conflicts were absolutely constructed. It's a running joke between Sophia and I that we were operating all too well in the start up of the show.

For example, there was an episode about trash disposal. We had been disposing of trash ourselves efficiently up to that point. They bought trash and dumped it in the town, then told us we had to take care of our "massive trash problem."

Now, all that being said, our reaction to these constructed events and the conflicts they produced were organic.

xAbaddon15 karma

What was the strangest thing that one of the kids did while there?

YNWA_USA36 karma

Whew. This is a hard one. I'm going to come back to this after brainstorming a bit.

Ohhh I've got one. Sophia stole a phone and called her parents. That was awesome but they were pissed off about it. I guess that's more badass than strange... I'm going to keep thinking about this one.

xAbaddon10 karma

I'm talking /r/wtf levels of strange. Give or take a few levels considering age...

YNWA_USA60 karma

Ohhhh I've got one for you. There was a fap contest in one of the bunks. Wasn't really my jam. Group masturbation has never been something I feel the need to be involved with.

Noobcube6424 karma

what the fuck, like, first to orgasm wins? Oh god, I don't even want to think about this.

... was it like a literal circlejerk?

YNWA_USA38 karma

I think it was speed oriented. Like I said: not my thing! I've always been a classy gent when it comes to "me time"

santa_cloud8 karma

Who won?

YNWA_USA13 karma

Couldn't tell you.

ActionPriest6 karma

Couldn't as in you never found out, couldn't the result was unclear, or couldn't you feel you should protect confidence?

YNWA_USA48 karma

I think the overall winner was shame and repression for these guys.

dogunderwater14 karma

My friends and I were obsessed with this show in college and did a rewatch last summer and it's still bizarro-land, so uh. I guess that might be weird but thanks! Two questions -- did the production team ever try to help y'all out, like passing along illicit water bottles or chapstick (y'all acquired a lot of mouthsores)? And why was there never an uprising against tyrant Jonathan Karsh?

YNWA_USA41 karma

Absolutely. This was my favorite part of the show. The crew members really liked me, so they would drop off food in my sleeping bag. One of the sound technicians dropped off her iPod for the night once so I could listen to the new Shins album.

Jonathan was fucking great, that's why we didn't revolt. Admittedly, sometimes when he would say stuff like "30 seconds until you lose the reward, Green you're struggling" it would be tempting to say stuff like "Fuck you Jonathan. How about you try and get in this vat of beans and fight pigs?"

dogunderwater5 karma

The pigs/bean challenge is a highlight, man. It appears you're in DC so just know there's a group of people out here ready to buy you drinks in honor of your tenure on this show.

YNWA_USA8 karma

Let's make this happen. Ever been to the classy establishment of Dan's Cafe?

EDIT: Just so we're clear, I'm not one to turn down free drinks for any reason, and this is serious business now.

Noobcube6414 karma

I loved the show, you weren't an asshole. No real question.

YNWA_USA31 karma

That's all I can ask for in life.

llofdddddt513 karma

I just spent the last 10 hours of my life watching this obscure one season reality show. Worth it.

YNWA_USA11 karma

Damn right it was

Elswedishfish12 karma

THOT! Haha awesome I stumbled onto your ama buddy, I hope you're still lovin' it over there on the east coast. Only question, how did your instantaneous fame affect the rest of your high school career?

btw I would imagine you can figure out who this is due to the username edit: btw that question is meant sarcastically, miss ya bud

YNWA_USA7 karma

How did I miss this?! Who is this?

grinr12 karma

Why didn't you or Sophia go on to MOVIE STARDOM???

YNWA_USA15 karma

Haha neither of us wanted that. She's a stage actor at heart.

mikeytron12 karma

On a scale of one to Rick James how bad did you want to smack taylor?

YNWA_USA101 karma

Super Freak.

BenROFLisberger12 karma

I loved when the host pointed out every time that your star is "worth its weight in gold....literally!" When and how do you plan to spend the money that can come from that star?

YNWA_USA3 karma

Answered this above.

hoopera11 karma

Did you enjoy anything about the show?

Sounds to me like it would have sucked.

YNWA_USA23 karma

I enjoyed the money, that's for sure. And it did garner me a lot of positive attention. I think it's just unrealistic to go on TV and say that it wasn't a tad bit self-aggrandizing or ego boosting. People that say they don't like positive attention are full of shit. Yes, humility is important, and I recognize that I didn't do any beneficial for society really, but it helped me become a bit more comfortable with myself seeing a lot of people enjoying my appearance.

illide10 karma

Three questions - did they just truck in all the large prize items every few days and take them back if you didn't choose them? Where did the camera crews sleep and did they eat their own food? How far into the desert were you really? I used to watch the show and I still love it!!

Edit: Fantastic, thanks so much for your response. Marry me?

YNWA_USA5 karma

Yup, they did have to truck all that crap in and out every challenge. The crew slept in a tent city about 3 miles away. 200 people in total. That includes the catering that was set up for producers/camera crew. We were not very far into the desert. Certain angles were unfilmable due to Sante Fe's lights.

Dagos10 karma

Hey I actually really enjoyed that show! Sophia had to have been my favorite (sorry!) and the little asian kid with the tooth was really adorable!

Was Taylor really like how she was portrayed on the show? What about Greg?

What kind of things did not appear on the show?

YNWA_USA11 karma

Taylor and Greg were accurate. Although, Greg was a bit meaner off camera. Sophia was my best pal, so I agree with you! Alex was amazing, he was an incredible kid.

LeakproofPrune10 karma

OH MAN I LOVED that show when I was younger, can you tell us about your life during the show? Were you guys pampered behind the scenes like crazy or anything?

YNWA_USA9 karma

The only pampering was showers. If a challenge required us to get really nasty, we were allowed access to mobile showers.

bewareofzombiesadele9 karma

Do you think it should not have been cancelled? Would you want other kids to experience it?

YNWA_USA10 karma

I really didn't care that much. When I was done, I was done. The second season had nothing to do with me. I kind of like the idea of being on a reality show that ended up so ignominious that it only had a solitary season.

correctyouregrammer8 karma

Omg I remember this show! I used to love it! I actually asked my parents if I could apply to be on it but then it got cancelled and I got too old. Always liked the premise though.

Was Greg as big of a dick as he seemed? I mean for real.

YNWA_USA7 karma

yeah, he was a dick.

wafflebuster8 karma

Do you think you or any of the other members would have acted differently if it wasnt on TV? Like, if you went to the place, but you just went there without any cameras in your face or nobody told any of you it was on TV?

YNWA_USA19 karma

Absolutely. Everyone would have. I'll refer you to this longer comment I posted on the other thread:

"This show was billed as a "social experiment", as though it was engineered to produce meaningful insight into society and children. But, I will tell you right now, there is nothing that disrupts natural behavior more than putting a camera in front of someone. The presence of a camera alone, and that in all likelihood the cast member volunteered for this show specifically for the opportunity to be on camera, affects everyone's portrayal of themselves. It's like if you chose a subject for a documentary by asking for volunteers that specifically wanted a chance to be filmed and have everyone judge their personality strictly by that footage. Ultimately, reality shows are about characters, and people engineer their own character to look like what they want people to think they are.

If you look at the cast, obviously they are cast to fill roles. They went cherry picking in specific states for specific reality show cliches. You have Greg - asshole farm boy from Nevada. Alex - smart Asian. Sophia - over-educated, charming neurotic. Me - kid with long hair that likes to say hippie-ish things from Seattle.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the people that cast these shows, and the cast members themselves, are exploiting specific imagery and archetypes. In this manner, I think that reality TV says an enormous amount about what we want to look like, and how we want other people to act for our entertainment. But it isn't a very accurate portrayal of real life in any sense. It's kind of like the abstract ideals of materialism and vanity coalescing into a concrete narrative. Anyway, that's my rant about reality TV. Closing note: most of it blows. But I'm down with Project Runway. Tim Gunn is awesome."

ParthS7 karma

In hindsight, do you regret being a part of the show?

YNWA_USA8 karma

Of course not!

AgilityHobo7 karma

Do you know how the town council was originally chosen?

Are there any kids from the show that you're still in contact with?

Is that gold star really worth 20k?

YNWA_USA8 karma

I think they were chosen to fairly represent sex and geography. I stay in contact with Sophia somewhat. Yeah, the gold star was worth 20k, but I chose a check instead.

Jaayp237 karma

[deleted]

YNWA_USA20 karma

Nooooo. He was a drama queen. Very much oriented around getting himself on camera.

Bobosgenitals21 karma

"AWW MY KNEES, GO ON WITHOUT ME!"

YNWA_USA4 karma

One of my favorite lines in the show was regarding his knee "condition": "It's got something to do with tendons." Very astute, DK.

lizelly7 karma

How did you get involved in the first place? You said your parent weren't stage parents... did you audition, or were you discovered at a mall by some guy that said "he's perfect for my children's reality show!"? And btw, you and Sophia were my favorites with Jared getting an honorable mention.

YNWA_USA13 karma

I auditioned, but I was invited directly to participate in the closed audition. They contacted the Seattle music camp I used to intent in an effort to find the long-haired-hippie-kid-from-the-NW kid. I guess I fit that role exceedingly well. I kept telling them I didn't care if I got on the show, and they should give it to someone that cared me, but they said that attitude is exactly why they chose me. I was soooo close to skipping the show and going to Coachella that year. I already had tickets.

Bobosgenitals5 karma

I just want to say before your post on /r/cringe i had no idea that Kid Nation existed and who you were. But i watched the entire series since then and i found it really interestng.

You say that they hired you for the show because had a care-free attitude towards it and you were a long-haired hippie musician type. However, when you were on the show you were hardworking, motivating and very responsible. Do you think they wanted you on the show to be slacker and stir up drama?

YNWA_USA6 karma

Hmmm, I don't really know. I think they wanted me to act as the laid back peacemaker.

InkedLeo7 karma

Was there ever any physical violence between kids on the show? I probably would've beat the shit out of Greg.

YNWA_USA14 karma

Yes, but only the younger kids. A couple playground style fights.

lsg557 karma

[deleted]

YNWA_USA7 karma

Sophia.

KungFooRobot6 karma

Do you ever get recognized on the street for your "work"?

YNWA_USA9 karma

I used to before I cut my hair. Such a surreal experience.

atomicheartmother6 karma

[deleted]

YNWA_USA4 karma

You went to Sultan? Awesome! Who is this?

  1. Yes, that's true. Obviously they couldn't film him when he did this, so it was his way of getting the cameras away from him.

  2. Yes, that's definitely true.

Last but definitely not least, I'm sad about the knowledge bowl team. Hot damn, those were good times.

enterthechodezone6 karma

Hey bro, likes so many other people I was and still am a huge kid nation fan. I actually ended up buying it and re-watch it every year or so.

-So, at various times in the show it showed kids hanging out with members of other districts but they also portrayed the green district as being very cliquey. Was there a lot of clique-ness and exclusion or did everyone generally get along?

-Were there any on going feuds that went on throughout the show, even off camera, or who were people who really did not like each other?

-What did you do for fun other than just talking, drinking root beer and jerking off?

-You said many times that you only really keep in contact with Sophia but do you know where anyone else ended up? i.e Is Alex going to get a Nobel Prize?

-Lastly, I know you don't really want to answer these questions but did Natasha and Greg hook up or date or whatever cause my cousin and I bet on it in like sixth grade?

Thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to do this because I have been very curious about these questions for like six years.

YNWA_USA8 karma

Hey, sorry I'm late to this.

  1. Everyone got along for the most part. The older kids were nice to just about everyone. The little kids would be bratty and mean to each other, just as little kids are wont to do.

  2. Oh yeah, definitely. I didn't really like Greg and he didn't really like me. Nathan and Greg hated each other. Sophia and I made fun of everyone.

  3. Pffff... I don't even remember. I hauled water mostly. It was a never ending task. But remember those extra pumps that we lost as a reward? Those had to be installed prior to them offering it to us, so I used to go flip over the barrels that hid them and stock up on water during the night.

  4. I don't really know. Anjay goes to school in Houston. That's about it.

  5. She didn't hook up with Greg. (Someone else hooked up with her though)

lebanezer6 karma

What do you think would have happened if there was no staged storyline and adult-imposed order? Do you think it would have turned into Lord of the Flies? Would Greg have set up a dictatorship?

YNWA_USA16 karma

Sophia and I would have succeeded and kicked off our own meritocracy. We should have ran that town! Between my love for attention and her Shakespearean vocabulary, we could have created some rousing speeches. We pressured the producers to let the Green District abandon the town (let's be honest, we kicked so much more ass), but CBS didn't like the notion.

londonbeckett5 karma

Would you say it's more flattering or embarrassing having little tribute videos dedicated to yourself?

YNWA_USA19 karma

Definitely embarrassing.

AgilityHobo5 karma

Was the town built specifically for the show? Or was it an actual town?

YNWA_USA28 karma

It's a movie set. It's been used for Cowboys & Aliens as well as 3:10 to Yuma.

onlyhereforfantasy5 karma

That show was honestly amazing. I don't really remember who was who or who you were but I remember one little girl was a huge bitch, one of the older boys had his head on straight and just seemed out of place. How the fuck did you parents let you do that show?

YNWA_USA12 karma

I don't know, honestly. They left the decision totally up to me. Some other kids definitely had stage parents that pressured them, but mine just said "If you really want to take them up on this offer to do a reality show.... good luck."

MrArtless5 karma

I watched that show when it aired and I always thought it was unfair that the nce Jewish boy (can't remember his name) who ended up leading the little kids' house never got a star. What do you think?

YNWA_USA2 karma

Hmmmm... which nice Jewish kid? There were a couple haha

Zippy02238 karma

I think your talking about "Zach". (Oh God, Why do I know this.)

YNWA_USA10 karma

OH that makes sense. He did end up getting a star.

hawkeyexp4 karma

You a Liverpool Fan Mate?

YNWA_USA6 karma

Absolutely!

Talrynf4 karma

Do you keep in contact with any of the people you were on the show with?

YNWA_USA6 karma

Sophia.

kidnat3 karma

What's Sophia up to these days? She and you seemed like the most mature two

YNWA_USA12 karma

haven't heard from her in a while. Last I heard she was doing writing/directing with plays and going to Smith College.

Mdcastle8 karma

I always thought she'd be President someday.

YNWA_USA19 karma

She'd be a benevolent dictator.

Talrynf1 karma

Who was the worst there?

YNWA_USA4 karma

Taylor, unequivocally. But she was also 11, to be fair.

thehumangenome4 karma

Hi, Michael. My strongest memory from Kid Nation is the week that the council gave the gold star to Mallory. She was very sad because she missed home (and maybe it was her birthday?), but the show had been profiling some other kid the same week who was a really hard worker and mature but ended up missing out on this opportunity for a star.

Were you a part of that decision? What did you think about giving $20,000 to an 8-year-old just because she missed her parents and she did not seem to contribute much to your civilization?

YNWA_USA8 karma

I would have given the star to someone else. We could have just bought her a load of candy or something. $20,000 is a lot for a birthday gift...

PoleyBear4 karma

How annoying was Jared?

YNWA_USA14 karma

Annoying? He was the shit. So funny and entertaining.

KingwithouthisKrown6 karma

You mentioned he was getting brawls, did he have sweet karate moves?

YNWA_USA13 karma

100% yes.

ChloeNoelle4 karma

If given the chance to have a "reunion" show, with all the "kids", just like how Kid Nation was, would you do it?

YNWA_USA9 karma

Hell yes.

locustsla3r3 karma

Do you keep in touch which anybody from the show? If so who?

YNWA_USA5 karma

Yeah - Sophia

phyllodactylus3 karma

Were the kids who were the "main characters" of the show treated different than all the ones who seemed to just be in the background? Sorry if my memory if off, it's been a while since I watched the show

YNWA_USA4 karma

Nope. The background ones were just nervous and shy. The people that were more involved did have to do more 1v1 interviews with the producers. Those are the "confessional" style segments.

Hagortheviking3 karma

Never heard of the show but just started watching. I love it.

-Fuck Taylor and fuck Greg. They can go to hell.

Anyway, Was the food any good? Were the yellow team as lazy as it seems? What was the coolest thing you could buy in the general store?

Also, how does it feel when your team finishes at 7th place in BPL? -A Chelsea fan.

YNWA_USA4 karma

The food was usually pretty bad. It depended on the level of involvement Sophia was allowed. She ran that kitchen beautifully! About 2 weeks in I just started doing my own thing food wise. I lived on oatmeal and jerky, basically.

I never went in the general store too much. Maybe long johns with butt flaps, that was pretty cool.

As for the soccer banter... I feel alright! I knew it was a bit of a developing year. Hell, we got rid of Joe Cole and Andy "The Horse" Carroll at least. I like our summer signings, so I'm optimistic for the future.

Hagortheviking1 karma

I felt like you all enjoyed the food :P at least when yellow got to be the cooks at first. Buuuuut on the other hand the food doesnt look all that good...

Also got another question; Did you and Sophia hook up or just friends?

Football/soccer talk:

at least you got a goal machine. We got Torres or Ba upfront. Not really world class. Hopefully Chelsea will be in the top next year since Mourinho is coming back. ;)

YNWA_USA4 karma

Just friends.

CarlitaMcLucas3 karma

Hey Michael, I've got to tell you that Kid Nation was actually one of the brightest parts of my childhood (and I had a great childhood!). I was also 14 when it came out and my friends and I would watch the show together, have marathons, had a finale party, even had a sign (leftover from the viewing party) hung in my basement for the following 7 years. Getting together to watch the show gave us amazing memories. You were one of our favorite people on it! I want to say good job on being a stand up guy, even as a kid. My question is, do you have any fun stories surrounding Jared? He was hilarious.

YNWA_USA4 karma

Can't express how great this is to hear. I really mock Kid Nation - it's the only way to talk about without sounding like a dick in person, it seems to me. But because of that, sometimes it seems goofy or shameful. Hearing from people that enjoyed makes me a little bit proud.

Jared used to start brawls all the time! He whacked a couple kids in the face.

tquiz3 karma

Who was your least favorite person on the show?

YNWA_USA5 karma

Probably Taylor or maybe Greg

oskiii2 karma

Holy crap Kid Nation was one of my favorite shows as a kid! Now I have to think of a question...

If you were invited, would you do it again? Perhaps in a Kid Nation All Stars show? I don't know how that would work though...

YNWA_USA4 karma

I would absolutely do it again.

ReginaGeorge012 karma

If you had the chance, would you go on another reality show?

YNWA_USA4 karma

Eh, probably not. It was fun while it lasted, but I'm not keen on television work. I didn't even go to them, they offered me the audition. After th show, I had agents calling me and asking that I move to LA, but I didn't want to do that.

ziggle432 karma

I think 14 years was the oldest person on the show... were you the one who was able to butcher the chicken on one of the first few episodes, I remember that he was on the blue team.

YNWA_USA4 karma

Nope. I didn't take part in that.

irobot3352 karma

This might be a weird one, but were the toilets left dirty, by that I mean did only the kids clean them, and what did you do about keeping yourselves clean? Did you get to shower ect?

YNWA_USA2 karma

They were disgusting. We got sporadic showers if the challenges required us to get dirty.

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

YNWA_USA7 karma

Absolutely not. It was incredibly safe. My middle school was more dangerous than Kid Nation.

Zenkas1 karma

I was absolutely obsessed with this show when it was on, thank you for doing this! Do you still keep in contact with anyone that was on the show with you?

YNWA_USA2 karma

I keep in touch with Sophia.

lebanezer1 karma

What was the selection process like? How did they pick the contestants?

YNWA_USA1 karma

A mixture of open auditions and contacting camps/institutions that may have the type of kids they were looking for.