By Lisa Henderson and Nicole Veenstra
The saying “size doesn’t matter” has been used since the beginning of time, but that does not mean it is not still relevant.
Ruthie Alcaide, former cast member of MTV’s The Real World: Hawaii and current advocate for alcohol awareness, is a real life example of the saying, measuring at less than five feet when standing up straight.
On Saturday, Rider’s Student Entertainment Council hosted a ‘90s Dance in the BLC’s Cavalla Room, where Alcaide made her second Rider appearance.
During the dance, Alcaide rapped original material and organized a “booty-drop dance contest,” during which students competed for the title of “best-booty dropper.” She spent most of the time dancing and interacting with students. At the end, five students were selected for a meet-and-greet with Alcaide, and were given half an hour to sit and talk with her privately.
Now, 12 years after The Real World, Alcaide is speaking about alcohol awareness and Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) rights.
Although the majority of Rider students may be too young to remember the tiny and wild 21-year-old girl when she first appeared on MTV, it did not take long for Alcaide to make an impression.
During the first episode of the season, she was found unconscious and was later hospitalized due to drinking. Her roommates offered her an ultimatum: spend time in rehab or never return to the show. Alcaide opted to take the chance to get sober, and came back to the house toward the end of the season.
“When people see you, they think that you’re still in the same era as you were when you were on TV,” Alcaide said. “If I had left at that point, my story, at least on TV, would not be finished. I wanted to finish it on a very positive note instead of just leaving and people saying, ‘What happened to her?’ When I came back, it took so much. Imagine coming back to a house where you don’t feel wanted. It just makes you stronger.”
Today, Alcaide has appeared in commercials for alcohol awareness on the Armed Forces Network and travels to college campuses to speak out against homophobia and hatred.
“I grew up in a foster home with so much adversity . . . with my own foster parents telling me I wasn’t even going to make it through college,” she said. “I never felt like I was the kind of person that people would hate, I just thought that I was misunderstood. So to come back into that environment and still prevail was something that I was proud of.”
Alcaide continues to live a sober life, speaking about issues she feels are important to whoever will listen, whether it is students or adults. Whoever it may be, her message remains the same.
“I think in life, you don’t have to just do one thing,” she said. “I just wanna tell everyone, do anything you wanna do, don’t limit yourself. Have fun and get paid.”