December 1 is World AIDS Day. One person with AIDS that made a tremendous mark on me was Pedro Zamora. He is one of the casts of MTV’s The Real World San Francisco shown in 1994. This was before all more popular reality shows were created like Big Brother, Survivor, Fear Factor, America’s Next Top Model, Biggest Looser, etc. The movie Reality Bites which starred Winona Ryder was actually based on this ’90s TV show.
I remember one weekend in 1994 when MTV cable channel made a marathon feature of the said show. All episodes were shown without commercial. It took me at least 6 hours to be glued in front of the television to watch the interesting blow by blow events that happened.
One interesting character was Pedro Zamora, a PWA (person with AIDS) who lived with 6 other strangers in one house in San Francisco to try to develop an interesting housemate relationship in front of the camera – a breakthrough social experiment and controversial TV show without-script-concept back then. Being a PWA, Pedro was able to reach more people with his message and touched more people with his life than anyone could have imagined.
I’d never personally seen the face of AIDS and hopefully never will. I’d never known it in such a personal way until I watched Pedro. I felt like he was walking me through the disease, the way a close friend might take your hand for a stroll. It gave me a totally different level of awareness than anything I might have ever experience as a person regarding the disease.
Pedro being a typical youth in the ’90s taught so much about what it’s like to live with the disease. He taught how to stand up for what he believed and was not afraid of what others might think.
He did not die in the show but according to news, he passed away in November 11, 1994 hours after the last episode was aired. He did a great job about HIV/AIDS awareness and was so inpiring among the youth that even former US President Bill Clinton named a street after him in Miami Florida called “Pedro Zamora Way”.
Ako kaya? May mag pangalan kaya ng eskinita sa ngalan ko? Why not? Peklat.