The untold truth of Siesta Key

First airing in July 2017, the MTV reality show Siesta Key follows a group of wealthy, attractive friends in their daily life as they date each other, fight, break up, then repeat. The show is set just outside of Sarasota, Fla. on the gorgeous little 8-mile-long strip known as Siesta Key Island. When it premiered, Siesta Key gave viewers just enough originality to differ itself from MTV’s eerily similar 2000-era reality show Laguna Beach. But, let’s be real, Siesta Key does way more than fill The Hills-sized hole that was left in our hearts when Lauren Conrad and friends went away.

For starters, most of the Siesta Key cast just finished college or are pursuing acting, singing or modeling. The cast ranges in age from 19 to 25, and includes resident rich boy Alex Kompothecras and his diverse group of friends who appear to be taking full advantage of their last days of carefree freedom before they move into adulthood. 

While MTV presents Siesta Key, Laguna Beach, The Hills, and The City as unscripted reality shows, producers and cast members from the Laguna Beach franchise later admitted the franchise was partly scripted. Do you ever wonder if Siesta Key is faux-reality too? We’ve attempted to sort that out and dig up a few lesser-known secrets about MTV’s newest gang of reality stars. Let’s dive into the untold truth of Siesta Key.

Alex Kompothecras' dad started it all

Siesta Key fans can thank Alex Kompothecras’ dad Gary Kompothecras for bringing the reality show to life. According to Sarasota’s Herald-Tribune, Gary knew his son and his friends could produce some good television. “I go, ‘You guys are really having a hell of a lifestyle,'” Gary told the newspaper, before adding, “Plus they’re good kids, so that was the main thing, they weren’t bad kids. I said this would be a good story because when I was growing up, you had Father Knows Best, you had My Three Sons, you had people with values and I didn’t see that in the TV of late.”

Gary, a chiropractor and founder of the medical and legal referral service 1800-ASK-GARY, clearly had deep enough pockets to fund his son’s reality television show pilot. For instance, look at the $12 plus million dollar mansion the Kompothecras family lives in — which by the way is ranked #10 on Sarasota Magazine’s list of ‘The 20 Most Expensive Homes’ in the city.

Gary hired a Jacksonville production team to shoot what would become the Siesta Key pilot and peddled it to several different networks. It wasn’t until about a year later that he heard back. “MTV called up out of the blue and said, ‘Listen, this is what we’ve been looking for,'” Gary told the Herald-TribuneSiesta Key premiered its third season in January 2020, so clearly Gary’s idea was on point.

Is Siesta Key real, fake, or something in between?

It’s hard to differentiate the real from the fake when it comes to reality television these days, and while none of the Siesta Key cast has gone on the record saying the show isn’t the real deal, random sources have suggested that it’s at least somewhat scripted. For instance, a Sarasota, Fla. resident named Katie, 28, told Cosmopolitan, “We have friends — reputable sources — that know siblings and have spoken with certain cast members, and … production has had to kind of twist some things.”

Siesta Key does share some producers with Laguna Beach, the similar reality show that was later revealed to be partly scripted. Mark Ford is one of those producers. In an interview with Reality Blurred, Ford admitted to some, shall we say, creative intervention on Siesta Key. “We came in creatively and added our ideas,” Ford said, which included “finding new members of Alex’s clique to include. According to Ford, producers didn’t want to “over-coreograph” Siesta Key though. “Our goal, in general, was to up the ante and go deeper into the stories,” the veteran reality TV producer said, adding, This cast is inherently interesting and dramatic; if the cameras weren’t there, they would be doing the exact same thing that they’re doing on camera. I think the cameras only amplify.”

Death threats cancelled Siesta Key's premiere party

According to Gary Kompothecras, part of the reason a Florida screening party for the Season 1 premiere of Siesta Key was canceled was because Alex Kompothecras started getting death threats. And no, it wasn’t for cheating on Juliette Porter. It had to do with a disturbing “video of a shark being dragged to death behind a speed boat,” according to People. Alex was originally connected to the animal cruelty claims, but he denied any involvement and condemned the act in a now-deleted social media post (per Rolling Stone). Investigators conducted a four-month investigation and arrested three people in connection with the shark’s death. Alex was not one of them, but his initial connection to the case caused him significant trouble.

Speaking with People, Alex said he received “horrific comments,” and claimed he “couldn’t even go outside to walk [his] dog” during the “hectic and scary” time. However, Alex did own up to his involvement with other shocking videos and images that he posted and subsequently deleted from social media. According to CBS News, one of the videos depicted a man, who looks like Alex and was wearing similar clothes that Alex was wearing in a photo he definitely posted — shooting a hammerhead shark to death off the side of a boat. Without identifying himself as the shooter, Alex did say to People, “There are images of me and I feel horrible. I am embarrassed and it won’t happen again.”

The Alex, Juliette, and Madisson love triangle was real

No #fakenews in this storyline! Siesta’s Key’s Madisson Hausburg says the love triangle you saw on Season 1 between herself, Alex Kompothecras, and Juliette Porter was the real deal. In a 2017 interview with MTV Australia, Hausburg said she didn’t know Kompothecras was seeing Porter when she hooked up with him. “I had met Juliette the summer before, when I had come home from college and hooked up with Alex not knowing she and Alex were together,” Hausburg told the outlet, adding, “Neither of us were happy about it. Of course, I felt terrible about it, but I then knew that she did not like me,” she said.

In the same interview, Hausburg said she and Porter were obviously not “great friends” when they first met, and her initial thoughts on her ex’s new lady was that she came off “very young.” However, Porter wasn’t the only castmate for which Hasuburg had some shade. Here’s how she really feels about the rest of the Siesta Key gang: “This isn’t the crew I’d necessarily hang out with these days … but Alex really is the centerpiece of the whole crew,” Hausburg told the same source, adding, “We have so much history together, like 8 years now, and while the others are great people, you’re right I wouldn’t necessarily find myself hanging out with them if it weren’t for Alex bringing us all together.”

This Siesta Key star is apparently a grade A kisser

Juliette Porter gives other reality star ladies a run for their money — in the kissing department that is. At least, that’s apparently what Bachelor Nation’s Robby Hayes thinks, and he’s kissed his fair share of reality star ladies. Porter introduced Hayes as her new love interest on Season 3 of Siesta Key. Prior to that, you may recall Hayes vying for the heart of JoJo Fletcher on The Bachelorette (Season 12). While Fletcher wound up giving her final rose to Jordan Rodgers, the brother of Super Bowl-winning quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Hayes did make it to the final two. Hayes also made an appearance on Bachelor in Paradise (Season 4) and has been linked to reality star Scheana Shay (Vanderpump Rules) and Lindsie Chrisley (Chrisley Knows Best). There was plenty of drama surrounding Hayes courtship with Chrisley, like extortion claims and a sex tape (per TMZ),  but that’s a whole different story.

When Us Weekly’s Candelight Confessions asked Hayes to rank his top three reality star kisses, Hayes ranked Porter as number one, Fletcher as two, and Shay as number three. It doesn’t look like Hayes will be getting any more of Porter’s kisses though. The pair split in June 2019, according to E! News. A source told the magazine, “They lived different lifestyles and are both always traveling and in different places. …Geographically, the relationship didn’t make sense. They decided to split because it just wasn’t fun anymore.”

If drama counts – Alex's cousin Pauly should be the real star of Siesta Key

You may recall Alex Kompothecras’ dad Gary Kompothecras telling nephew Paul “Pauly Paul” Apostolides he needed to get his crap together on Siesta Key because he wasn’t going to keep bailing his nephew out (no pun intended). That advice obviously fell on deaf ears.

Apostolides was arrested in Sarasota in June 2018. “Paul, who is an aspiring rapper, had failed to show up in court for a drinking in public charge, so a cop was conducting surveillance,” TMZ reported. The same outlet said police found 27.6 grams of marijuana on Apostolides, which wasn’t good news for the reality star since anything over 20 grams is categorized as a felony in Florida. We should probably add that the reality star/wannabe musician was also driving on a suspended license with expired vehicle tags when police arrested him. But the drama didn’t end there. 

The reality star was arrested again in September 2019 for violating probation. According to a separate TMZ story, Apostolides left Florida to attend the MTV Video Music Awards but didn’t ask for permission to skip town, which is a probation no-go. Maybe it’s time for another Uncle Gary lecture? Sadly, this seems to be a pattern for the reality star. Apostolides was charged with contempt of court for failing to appear in court for a totally different marijuana charge in 2017, according to Tampa’s News Channel 8

Is Pauly Paul rubbing off on Alex's dad?

Gary Kompothecras has made a few cameos on Siesta Key to offer life advice to his son Alex Kompothecras and his nephew, Paul Apostolides. However, Gary may not have been heeding his own advice when he added his own arrest to the family’s rap sheet. According to the Tampa Bay Times, it all went down in February 2018 when the 1-800-ASK-GARY chiropractor was pulled over for speeding after being caught on radar, cruising in his Porsche at over 100 mph around 1:40 a.m. 

The arrest record said Gary had a little wine at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa, Fla. that night and was “having some type of issue with his wife.” After refusing to do a one-leg test due to “an issue with his feet that affected his balance,” failing to properly recite the alphabet, and refusing a breathalyzer, Gary was booked into county jail on a DUI charge, and released on $500 bail, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Gary eventually beat the rap when the state dismissed its case against him. Speaking with the Palm Beach Daily News, Gary’s attorney Derek Byrd contended that a nurse at the jail “stated in a deposition that he was alert and not intoxicated or drug impaired,” and that surveillance footage from the casino verified that he’d only consumed “consumed two to three glasses of wine over a four-hour period after a full dinner.” More like 1-800-NOT-GUILTY. 

Putting on a fake front on social media?

You can’t really say the cast of Siesta Key is putting on too much of a fake front since the show is bursting at the seams with drama. Viewers have already seen a fight ending in a nose job, fat-shaming, cheating lovers, and run-ins with the law. However, one media outlet suggested the cast that the reality is actually worse than the… reality show. During the week the show premiered in 2017 Orlando Weekly‘s Colin Wolf observed that “the cast of Siesta Key have already purged their social media accounts of just about anything remotely controversial.” He continued, “The main character, Alex Kompothecras, scorched his Instagram so hard that if you scroll down just a few posts you’d think he was a 12-year-old kid last week.”

Wolf was allegedly able to reproduce a few of the casts now-deleted social media posts though thanks to the anti-Siesta Key Facebook page BoycottSiestaKeyMTV. One post they allegedly dug up from Alex Kompothecras Instagram showed Kompothecras and a friend pouring beer on a young girl with the hashtag #onceyougoblackyourneverWELCOMEback. Another post, allegedly compliments of Paul Apostilides, showed a restaurant receipt picture where he left his waitress a free guest pass to a gym instead of a tip. The caption? “The waiter was fat an lazy so this is the tip I left with hashtags like #loseweight and #fatty.” Yikes. 

Locals have a love hate relationship with Siesta Key

The locals who call Siesta Key, Fla. have a unique perspective on MTV’s “reality” version of their hometown. Cosmopolitan rounded up some of Alex Kompothecras and friends’ neighbors to ask their opinion of the show, and … the results were pretty mixed. 33-year-old Sarasota resident Melissa felt that while the local scenery was nicely complimented, “no amount of clear blue water can hide how absolutely transparent and shallow these kids are.” She went so far as to call them “shallower than the Gulf of Mexico, which is really, really shallow.” On the other hand, Lee, 36, told the magazine that he’s “in the pro-show corner” and thinks they did a great job highlighting his town’s beauty. “…I see more positivity than harm from the show. These kids are living life to the fullest and you can’t knock them living while they’re young,” Lee said.

Kelli, 35, told Cosmopolitan, “I think the show is just fine for Sarasota. It could certainly drum up more tourism and stimulate our economy. How can that be bad? My hope, as the show progresses, is that MTV continues to highlight all of the really positive things this town has to offer: the art scene, the beautiful landscape, and the incredible philanthropic side of our wealthy residents.”

While locals have varying opinions, Orlando Weekly‘s Colin Wolf dubbed the show “cringeworthy,” and said producers “failed to adequately vet any of the cast members before printing a contract.” Ouch. 

Once a cheater, always a cheater?

Siesta Key offered up plenty of love drama right out of the gate. You may recall Alex Kompothecras cheating on girlfriend Juliette Porter with his childhood ex-girlfriend Madisson Hausburg when we first met him. But, like the old saying says — a tiger never changes its stripes. Fast forward to Season 3 of Siesta Key where Kompothecras introduced viewers to his new love interest, a hairstylist and childhood friend Alyssa Salerno. According to Us Weekly, Salerno is a Siesta Key, Fla. native who attended middle school with Kompothecras. Porter became part of that love triangle, telling friends on the show that they had talked on the phone for six hours and Kompothecras told her he still loves her, despite the fact that he was seeing Salerno. It doesn’t look like Kompothecras has changed much since Season 3 was filmed though.

Kompothecras announced that Salerno was pregnant with his first child on social media on December 15, 2019. “Little princess on the way,” Alex wrote, holding his hand on Alyssa’s baby bump, to which Porter responded (in a now-deleted) social media post, “Weird how he cheated on her with me several months ago but ok” (per E News). Porter also told ET it was “definitely hard” hearing the news that her ex was having a baby with Salerno. She told the tab, “He basically knocked up his rebound and I think it was too soon for me.” 

Chloe Trautman says Siesta Key doesn't always give the full picture

If you paid attention to Chloe Trautman’s life on Siesta Key, you’d think the girl is pursuing a career in real estate and bartends on the side. However, the show seems to leave things out from time to time. In a 2017 interview with Cosmopolitan, Trautman said her real passion isn’t beer and houses, it’s actually makeup. At the time of the interview, Trautman was in the process of finishing up her studies at cosmetology school. Did we miss that part of her life on air? Because that’s the first we’ve heard about Trautman pursuing a career in beauty. Anyway, Alex Kompothecras’ girl bestie told the magazine, “I love it. I’m really big into makeup. You don’t see it, but I do all the girls’ makeup, all the girls’ hair, all the time. I would love to be a traveling artist for a modeling company or for somebody personally.”

A passion for makeup isn’t the only secret fans may have missed. Trautman also says that fight you may remember between her and co-star Amanda Miller also had some behind-the-scenes details that weren’t shown. For one, Trautman told the magazine she had “just flew back into town from [her] grandma’s funeral,” so emotions were already high. In addition, “We were drinking very heavily,” Trautman said.

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