Viewers of MTV will most likely recognize the names and faces of Whitney Port and Lauren Conrad hailing from the palm-tree-studded avenues of California. The newest cast member to join the drama is not so widely known, but has more in common with GW students than anyone else on the show.
Just four years ago, Freddie Fackelmayer was receiving his undergraduate degree from GW. Now, on Tuesday nights he can be seen as the new love interest of Whitney Port, the main character on MTV’s The City.
“To tell you the truth, a lot of the show is contrived,” Fackelmayer said. “It comes across slightly differently because they cut down hours and hours of footage to get across the story that they need to fit into a 20-minute segment.”
Fackelmayer said he became involved with the show after his younger brother met Port during filming in New York. Fackelmayer said producers approached his brother to get Freddie on the show as well.
“I was reluctant at first ’cause I was worried how it would affect work after being on one of these shows, but I gave it a shot,” Fackelmayer said.
The show is one of many MTV reality programs. It follows main character Whitney Port, who transitions from being Lauren Conrad’s sidekick on The Hills to taking center stage on The City as she tackles a move to New York City and attempts to build a career in fashion.
“[Whitney’s] got a lot to say and a lot on her mind,” Fackelmayer said. “She’s just been doing this a lot longer than any of us and she knows to keep her two worlds entirely different. There’s a Whitney and there’s a Whitney on The City.”
Fackelmayer, who grew up in Greenwich, Conn. and knew a couple of the cast members before filming began, went into filming prepared but said he still felt he was inaccurately portrayed.
“As we saw in this past season, they can basically take anything they want, even if you’re not falling off of tables wasted, they can still make you look however they want and in this case, they made me be this sort of womanizing jerk, which is not really who I am,” he said.
Fackelmayer said the producers of the show never asked the cast to say or do anything, but the editing that followed skewed what actually happens.
“We work hard to make it an organic, natural-looking show,” Fackelmayer said. “You know they cut it up [into] little bits and they pick what they want to make it as interesting as possible and it’s tough not to look like a jerk, I think.”
Fackelmayer has been working for a commercial real estate company since graduating in 2005, a job he landed after many internships in D.C. and a double major in finance and international business. He kept his career in mind and said one of his biggest concerns about appearing on the show would be the distraction from his job.
“You sort of watch your back and be yourself. You know it’s fun to look like a jerk on TV, it’s not good to be a sloppy mess when you’ve got a real job,” he said.
While at GW, Fackelmayer was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and on the crew team for two years. He also held multiple internships.
“I actually ended up staying down there all three summers. I just loved D.C. so much and got great internships during the school year and I ended up working down there. I never came home once,” Fackelmayer said.
Fackelmayer, who said he arrived to GW in his khakis and flip-flops from Connecticut, soon became accustomed to jeans, Georgetown and the lifestyle D.C. has to offer.
Sasa Nikolic, a good friend of Fackelmayer’s and a 2003 GW graduate, said it’s cool to see one of his friends on TV, but that the show doesn’t necessarily portray Fackelmayer correctly.
“It’s just that you can’t really find out who someone is through like 17 minutes, or however long it is,” said Nikolic, who was also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. “Girls love it, because girls love the show, and he’s good looking and things like that. But the great thing about Freddie is that he’s not one of those people that it’s going [to] get in his head. He’s still the same guy that works really hard.”
Soon Fackelmayer said he hopes to add another job to his resume as a writer. Before the show, he started writing a novel about two young boys growing up in Greenwich, and said appearing on MTV has opened a lot of doors.
“I’m speaking with agents, and that’s actually something that actually has been helpful, because agents, if you’re a first-time writer, its really difficult to get your foot in the door, but I sort of skipped those really difficult first steps because most of them had heard of me,” he said.
Other people have heard of Fackelmayer now too, due to his role on The City, and GW fans of the show are excited to see a fellow student appearing on the small screen.
“When I first saw him I thought he was a bit of an Adonis, tan, beautiful, he’s a real switch-up,” senior Carrie Wilkins said. “At first I was shocked to hear he was a GW student, but after I heard him talk and watched him for a while, it made a lot of sense. I feel he fits into what a GW student would be.”
But Fackelmayer said he has put his time on MTV behind him and has no qualms about his appearance on the show. He adds that although he and Port are no longer dating, they are still good friends.
“I’m not looking back on it, I don’t regret it. I’m just focusing on what I’ve got going on now,” Fackelmayer said. “And we got great ratings.”