When asked why he was chosen as one of a handful of potential cast members for MTV’s hit show “The Real World,” Andrew Kowal just laughed and said, “I’m ridiculously good-looking.”

Kowal, a manager at the local bar and restaurant Sharkeez, showed up to work Saturday morning not expecting to participate in the open casting call taking place there that day, but filled out an application nonetheless. He was joined by over 100 other potential housemates, all jockeying for a spot on the 24th season of MTV’s long running reality show.

Casting director Woody Woodbeck said Santa Barbara is a perfect place to look for next season’s roommates.

“Santa Barbara is a good college town with good-looking and quality people,” Woodbeck said. “We’re looking for people who aren’t afraid to be themselves, who are outgoing, decent, the whole package.”

While many of those seeking to display said qualities drove from Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego to attend the casting call, roughly half of the applicants were either UCSB or Santa Barbara City College students.

One such student, second-year UCSB communication major Simone Spilka, said being a roommate on “The Real World” had long been a dream of hers.

“I have wanted to be on ‘The Real World’ forever, and I’m outgoing and crazy but I know how to accommodate other people’s values and respect their wishes,” Spilka said.

For many, a place on the show translates into success later on. Several former cast members have found success in acting, modeling and motivational speaking careers, most notably HIV/AIDS advocate Pedro Zamora.

“We want activists and people with an interest in a specific cause or even have potential disabilities to try to switch up the house dynamic,” Woodbeck said.

Jay Derrick, a production assistant for the casting call, said he saw some potential in the crowd of hopefuls.

“There is a certain look to those called back, they stand out because they are unique and original,” Derrick said.

Other hopefuls, such as Zach Nwabudike, a UCSB chemical engineering major, said he was invited through MySpace to attend the casting call as a “VIP.” Nwabudike, however, said he was hesitant to apply.

“It’s scary; I read the disclaimer, and it basically says they can defame me and I can’t do anything about it,” Nwabudike said prior to offering any audition. “I just came to have a few drinks and weigh my options.”

According to Woodbeck, once an applicant is called back, he or she must attend a longer interview this week. If the applicant impresses the casting directors, he or she could be asked to attend the semifinals and finals of the casting calls.

Woodbeck also said they interviewed a few women who were called back for production company Bumin/Murray’s other reality TV show about roommates, “The Bad Girls Club.”

The production company held 26 casting calls nationwide this year to search for next season’s cast, of which Santa Barbara was the last.

“The Real World” has been MTV’s longest-running television series and has led to several spin-off shows, such as “Road Rules,” “The Challenge” and “The Inferno.”