By John Katsilometes
Las Vegas Sun.
The greatest risk of appearing on a reality TV show, it seems, is confronted at the start: Are you trusting enough to turn over your image to a cartel of directors and producers who want to stage a series based on your life?
It is a risky proposition. Some reality show subjects have bemoaned the dreaded Final Edit, remarking that what appears on TV is not real, but is actually a manufactured form of twisted reality.
The surgical process of video editing can make even a priest look like a drug addict. But when the final product suits the subject, producers and (most important) viewing public, reality TV can turn a what might be no more than a unique personality into an international superstar.
Just ask Austin “Chumlee” Russell. We did. The gruff-but-lovable cast member of the reality TV phenomenon “Pawn Stars,” who just five years ago was a nondescript employee at Gold & Silver Pawn who worked the counter and examined items offered for sale or pawn, is among the array of Las Vegas personalities who have become famous on TV.
But what is real? What airs on TV is not always reality; the subjects are performing a role that happens to be themselves.
A look at some of the more famous Vegas reality show subjects, beginning with an increasingly svelte Mr. Russell.
Austin ‘Chumlee’ Russell of ‘Pawn Stars’
During a photo shoot in the back of the Gold & Silver shop, Chumlee peels off his black T-shirt in favor of an official “Pawn Stars” T. “No pictures! Please!” he half-jokes. “TMZ had photos of me without my shirt when I was in Maui. We don’t want that. Lemme lose some more weight first.”
In fact, he already has lost 100 pounds (and counting), to a walking-around weight of 220.