Teen Mom: 'They Treat Me Like I'm a Celebrity'


Corinna says she never idolized the girls on MTV or aspired to be a teen mom. But now that she's pregnant, her friends think it's is cute.

"They seem like excited. Saying, 'I want a baby,' and I'm like, not right now," Corinna said. "It is not as easy as you all think."

It's not easy, and it's not cheap. Corinna will likely need food stamps and welfare.

Although Rome is a small town, it has been touched by the media spotlight.

"Some people they just think it's so cool that I was on TV. They treat me like I'm a celebrity or something," said Whitney Purvis, a 19-year-old featured on "16 and Pregnant," the original MTV documentary show that launched the "Teen Mom" sensation.

Purvis said the movie "Juno" made pregnancy look "cute" so she wanted to participate with MTV to show teens the actual reality.

"You know you don't have to have sex," Purvis said. "If you do, be smart because this is what happens."

But Purvis wasn't the cautionary example she thought she'd be. She says the producers manipulated situations to heighten tension, drama and conflict.

"They would take you in separate rooms and then they would film me with my friends and my boyfriend with his friends and just get you to talk about the things you don't like about each other," she said.

"They want you to argue ... they want you to talk about each other, they want you to get where you want to break up with each other to go stay at separate places. .. .And ... I just didn't like that at all."

MTV said in a statement that producers "do not influence the stories in any way" and that their "cameras are there to capture real-life situations as they unfold."

In the end, Purvis says she was paid $5,000 for "16 and Pregnant" but did not go on to participate in the spin-off show, "Teen Mom." Now the program is one of MTV's biggest hits, second only to "Jersey Shore."

Girls on the show are rumored to make five- and even six-figure salaries, although MTV says it cannot disclose the financial terms of its contracts.

Teen-Mom Copycats?

Media critic Jessica Coen, editor-in-chief of Jezebel.com, says when a reality show becomes a popular hit series with multiple seasons, fame is inevitable.

"MTV can be as objective as they want about it, but once these women, these young women, are being followed by tabloids and on TMZ and on the cover of Us Weekly, it's hard to view them as documentary subjects. They're reality stars," she said.

Purvis of "16 and Pregnant," said, "Now I meet people who are wanting to get pregnant just to be on the show.

"That takes it to another level, because I know how it changes your life and then I meet people who are changing their life just for what I did.

"There's actually two girls who got pregnant just for that and they went to the same school and MTV had to wind up picking either one of them," Purvis added. "And so they picked one of them and then the other one, you know, is just sitting there."

Similar rumors of copy-cat teen moms captured headlines in recent weeks. Two pregnant girls who are friends with a current "Teen Mom" star said they got pregnant by accident.

"I think when you have a cluster of girls who are friends with one of the stars of the show and they all get pregnant by accident, there's something wrong," Coen of Jezebel.com said.

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