Television producers came to Lucas Joyce's door, showed him a picture of a beautiful woman and asked if he'd like to date her. That's not what most of us would describe as "reality," but it was this 27-year-old's ticket to reality television.
Joyce, who spent summers as a youth living at his family's cabin on Gull Lake and working at Cragun's resort, will appear on an episode of "Date My Ex: Jo & Slade" at 9 p.m. Monday on Bravo. The 2000 Wadena-Deer Creek High School graduate now lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he works in real estate and dabbles in acting and modeling.
"They were doing a casting call at a restaurant for young, successful bachelors in January 2007, and one of my buddies told me about it," Joyce said in a recent phone interview. "They didn't tell us what the show was about. They asked me 20 questions to find out what I'm all about.
Lucas Joyce, who spent summers as a youth on Gull Lake, will appear on Monday's episode of "Date My Ex: Jo & Slade."
"Three months later, a producer came out to talk to me, showed me picture of Jo De La Rosa (of 'The Real Housewives of Orange County') and said 'Do you want to date this woman?' I didn't follow 'Housewives' and had no clue who she was. She was beautiful, so I said absolutely based on the picture."
For the sake of preserving the surprise, Joyce can't say how he did in the reality competition. But his experience sounds like most folks' idea of fantasy.
"We were in a house in the Hollywood Hills with a pool table, a pool, a hot tub, a chef," he said. "It was a lot like going on vacation."
If you watch
What: Lucas Joyce's episode of "Date My Ex: Jo & Slade."
When: 9 p.m. Monday.
Web sites: www.lucas james.com, www.bravotv.com
Contestant on "Date My Ex"
Favorite TV show: "Entourage."
Favorite movie: "Wedding Crashers."
Favorite actor: George Clooney.
Favorite actress: Cameron Diaz.
Favorite musician: Elvis Presley.
Favorite sports team: Minnesota Vikings.
Favorite athlete: Michael Jordan.
Hobbies: Basketball, running, hiking, biking, rollerblading, boxing and yoga.
Except, of course, that he and his competitors were followed around by cameras.
"A lot of guys haven't been in front of the camera," Joyce said. "So on a one-on-one date, to have the cameras on you and the crew looking at you, a lot of guys felt uncomfortable."
Joyce had no problem with it, though. As a student at Bemidji State University, he hosted a radio show and ran a hip-hop dance studio in town. And in 2006, he hosted "Arizona Entertainment Weekly" for the Phoenix CBS affiliate.
He didn't get the hosting gig for his knowledge of Hollywood celebrities.
"They were looking for a certain personality," Joyce said. "I'm not a guy who reads gossip magazines. I just had to read up more. But yeah, they picked me because of my look. They were going for the Ryan Seacrest type."
Minnesotans have also seen Joyce's work, although we may not have realized it. He was the calf model for Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash in a Nike commercial.
"We had identical calves," said Joyce, who was working in marketing for the Suns and the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury at the time. "We're both 6-4, and we actually have similar calves. People ask me why they didn't just use Nash. During the season, he's got practice and games, so (Nike) only gets him for two hours for a shoot. The commercial takes two days."
While many aspiring actors see reality TV as a gateway to Hollywood, Joyce doesn't. For one thing, he lives in Arizona; for another, he loves his day job. For Joyce, acting and modeling are hobbies.
"I didn't go on ('Date My Ex') to become an overnight celebrity. I just went on to date a really neat girl. I think for people who want to get into (acting), it's an entry point. For me, I just had a lot of fun."
JOHN HANSEN may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5863.
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