Farragut native Tara Bowlin had never been in a bar fight until she was cast in the CMT reality show "Southern Nights."
And now, millions of viewers will see Bowlin get pounded in the face by a stranger looking to tussle during an upcoming episode of the series, described by Bowlin as the country music channel's version of "Jersey Shore."
Though the cast consists of past participants in CMT's reality competition "Sweet Home Alabama," Bowlin says "Nights" (10 p.m. Saturdays) isn't its "Bachelor Pad" equivalent. Ten former players from "Alabama" share a Savannah, Ga., house and cameras follow them as they hit on each other and go bar hopping, making "Nights" more like "Real World."
Producers called Bowlin, who was in season two of "Alabama," to visit "Nights" and see how she mixed it up.
"We don't do anything other 20-year olds wouldn't do," says Bowlin, who works now for a doctor in Knoxville. "The cameras just follow us as we go out to bars and restaurants and tours of the city."
She filmed the show in February and March. "I always thought I didn't want to do another reality show," Bowlin says. "But this was going to be a different experience than a dating (competition).
"I was nervous. It was hard for me to leave my life here."
A free spirit, Bowlin had a job at the Rush fitness complex and a boyfriend. When she decided to do "Nights," she quit her job, and she and her boyfriend went their separate ways.
"He had a hard time with it," Bowlin says of her decision to do "Nights."
Bowlin likes the response she's getting from the web, though not everyone is in her camp.
She ends up kissing one of her roommates and then there's the matter of the whole bar fighting, which she says was unprovoked.
"I know people are going to watch and say, 'Oh, she's wild.' Honestly, though, if you took a camera to (Cumberland Avenue) and followed any of the people there, you'd get a lot of the same thing," she says.
Bowlin's father said he'd watch the show if Bowlin gave him the thumbs up on individual episodes. So far he's seen one. "This was awkward for my dad to watch," she says.
Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or email@example.com.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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