This week’s guest: Rachel Campos-Duffy
The 1994 season of Real World: San Francisco was memorable to fans for several reasons (namely, Pedro and Puck), but I remember it because Rachel Campos passionately stuck up for her beliefs on the show. She was cool, conservative, open-minded and liked “bad boys.” She was the role model I had been waiting for when I was 16.
Today she is the mother of nine children and wife to fellow Real World/Road Rules alum Sean Duffy. She is also the cohost of Fox & Friends Weekend and author of several books, including All American Christmas and the children’s book, Paloma Wants to Be Lady Freedom.
As a Gen Xer, I remember MTV when it had music videos and reality TV when it was a little closer to reality. The two most prominent young, female right-wing role models during that era were from MTV -- VJ Kennedy and Rachel Campos-Duffy. Now I'm happy to also call them friends. Who says pop culture doesn’t matter?
Pop Culture Warriors with Lisa De Pasquale is an interview column dedicated to the significant work of freedom lovers who chose the path of more resistance. Not only are these pop culture warriors fighting the predominant groupthink in entertainment, but also the predominant groupthink on the right side of politics that entertainment doesn’t matter or that the pop culture war is lost. The purpose of this column is to highlight their projects and contributions to expand freedom in new, exciting, and counterculture ways.
What do you think Andrew Breitbart meant by "politics is downstream from culture"?
Culture matters more. Change the culture and you change the politics. Politicians react to culture, and I would add technology to that. Conservatives rightly lament all of the cultural space they have ceded to the Left -- Hollywood, academia, sports, social media, etc. -- but they have their own story of winning culturally on the Life issue. Through years of patient and peaceful protest and especially by embracing and touting the technology and science that continues to bolster our position and prove the humanity of a fetus, politicians are being forced to react to the cultural shift with pro-life legislation such as heartbeat bills, infant pain bills and parental consent laws. Now Roe vs Wade looks like it will be overturned, and pro-lifers will be challenged like never before to make the moral and cultural case for life. Andrew Breitbart was a political prophet. I knew him and really loved him and miss him and wish he was alive because he would be having a ball right now and reminding us to be happy warriors as we fight to save America! He was right that conservatives should have bought a movie studio instead of pouring so much money into think tanks and super PACS.
Who inspires you?
Nancy Drew was my girlhood hero. Beautiful, smart, brave, independent and she drove a convertible which I’m pretty sure is the reason I insisted on my first car being one. I read Nancy Drew to my girls and they can never figure out why she can’t call someone when she’s trapped in the basement. No cell phones in Nancy’s days!
What was your childhood pop culture obsession?
My pop culture obsession was MTV and all the great 80s music icons - Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Bon Jovi etc. My Peloton rides are almost exclusively 80s rides.
How has reality TV changed over the years and what can we learn from that evolution?
The biggest change in reality TV is the singular obsession with race and the censorship cancel culture of today. The Real World San Francisco was interesting and culturally important because people could have real conversations without the fear of being mercilessly trolled online or canceled. You simply cannot have the Real World San Francisco today for that reason. Also, if you look at shows like The Bachelor everyone goes through a diversity training before the show starts. That is so absurd and distorts the experience. Sean and I met on an MTV reality show and never discussed our race or the fact that we were an interracial couple because there’s so many more interesting things to talk about. Today, everyone including the producers and cast members obsess over race. It’s boring.
Tell us about the last movie, TV show, book you consumed for entertainment.
I am currently finishing up season 6 of This is Us with my hubby. We love the show because it’s about family. I wish that a show like this could have had a faith storyline -- it was begging for it -- but when liberal Hollywood write all the best shows, it will never reflect our values. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful and well-written show that speaks to the primacy of family. That’s a powerful message. These are the kinds of projects conservatives should be writing and directing.
What would you say to readers who say they’ve opted out of the pop culture war?
Never cede the culture! Especially not now when so many normal people are fed up and repelled with the wacky, weird, and authoritarian turn that the Left has taken. There is a demand for something different, for alternatives. With streaming and so much demand for content, now is the time for conservatives and just plain normal Americans to step up and take back some of the territory we have lost. Elon Musk is doing the heavy lifting for us now. But we all must be engaged in this everyday - from school boards to making better decisions about where you spend your higher education dollars. We need to support businesses and schools who share our values, and we must encourage our kids to enter the creative and art communities. We need conservative writers and directors more than another politician.
What can readers do to support you and your efforts?
Follow me on Twitter/GETTR. Watch FOX & Friends Weekend, the number one cable morning show in the country!