'Real World' Alum Jamie Chung Sounds Off on 'Bachelor' Nick Viall's Transition to Acting (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
A successful career in film and TV didn't come easily for Jamie Chung.
The 34-year-old fought tooth and nail to become respected as an actress after starring in one of the first modern reality shows, MTV's The Real World, in 2004 -- but that doesn't mean she doesn't think others can do the same.
ET spoke with The Gifted star over the phone last week, where amid her holiday preparations with her actor husband, Bryan Greenberg -- the two have partnered with Braun this season, and plan to give out several Series 9 and Series 7 this year as gifts -- she opened up about her "unconventional" rise to fame, and gave advice to other reality stars with acting ambitions, like former Bachelor Nick Viall.
"I think, at the time, it was a very unconventional avenue, but I look at it as if it's totally unrelated," Chung said of her time on The Real World: San Diego. "I had this amazing experience in my early 20s, being on a reality show, which, to me at the time, was like, a really interesting social experiment."
"It was seven different kids from the U.S. with all different socioeconomic backgrounds, with different religions, all living under one roof. So, to me, it was a once in a lifetime learning experience, living with people that I usually would not have worked with," she continued. "I'm very grateful for that, but I don't think it's helped me at all, nor do I put it in the same field of acting."
Reality TV might have been a completely separate world for Chung, but it wasn't for those in the industry she was trying to break into.
"It was certainly an uphill battle. I do think that I was scrutinized a bit from casting directors when they discovered that I was on the Real World. It certainly was something that I kept off of my resume," she admitted. "But in terms of other people trying to make that jump, I'm all for it. I don't think it's impossible. It just requires a lot of resilience."
"There's a lot of no's before you get your first yes. But, you know, if it's something that makes you happy, certainly go for it. It really is so rewarding, and it's work that I love doing, and I couldn't imagine my life without doing it."
As for Viall specifically -- "Bryan just looked at me like, 'Who?' I'm like, 'the Bachelor!'" Chung said with a laugh. "He doesn't watch [the show], but I do." -- she thinks it's great that he's found a new passion.
"Good for him. I think if it's something that you're really passionate about, and you you have these great opportunities, I wish him all the best," she offered, noting that she saw an ad for his new movie, A Christmas Cruise. "It certainly is a time for you to make that transition if you want to."
"It really is the time for the actor, and there's plenty of work to go around," she added.