The New Number One Guy in the Group

West Wilson never thought he’d be spending the summer in a house in the Hamptons, let alone as part of a reality television show. The unemployed former football player from Missouri was about to run out of money following a three-week boys’ trip when he got a call that would change his life.

“My severance ended that weekend,” Mr. Wilson, 27, recalled. “I came home and it was like the most depressing Monday of all time.”

Mr. Wilson decided to check his voice mail to see if there was something — anything — in there to cheer him up. To his shock, a Bravo producer had left a message. She was interested in possibly casting him on Season 8 of “Summer House,” an unscripted show that follows the lives of a group of New York media workers, influencers and entrepreneurs who share a house in the Hamptons — the last few seasons have been filmed at a mansion in Water Mill — each summer.

Though he had never seen “Summer House”andwasn’t a fan of reality TV (except for the occasional “Bachelor” binge), Mr. Wilson had an intuition that it might be right for him. “I just had something in me that was like, just see what this is and call back,” he said. He had recently met a “Summer House” cast member named Lindsay Hubbard at the bar of Lamia’s Fish Market in the East Village. Mr. Wilson was so unprepared to be cast that he didn’t initially make the connection between having met Ms. Hubbard and receiving the call from Bravo.

“I was like, ‘Oh I actually know someone on that show’ and they were like, ‘That’s how we found you, you idiot,’” Mr. Wilson said.

The son of an OB-GYN and a cattle rancher has been an unlikely hit with viewers. As Joel Kim Booster wrote: “Haven’t liked a straight white guy this much since friggin Bernie Sanders.”Credit…Marissa Alper for The New York Times

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