The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Former UI student wins BeReal’s ‘Realest Person on Earth’ competition

Alexandra Fenton snapped the award-winning photo while receiving a checkup at UI Student Health.
Photo+contributed+by+Alexandra+Fenton
Photo contributed by Alexandra Fenton

University of Iowa alum Alexandra Fenton was recently dubbed the “Realest Person on Earth” after winning a global competition on the social media platform BeReal.

BeReal is a photo-sharing app, and its users take a photo of what they are doing within two minutes at a random time every day.

Fenton won the app’s competition on Nov. 30 after her BeReal photo submission garnered the most votes from users around the world. The winning picture can be seen on the Realest Person on Earth Instagram page.

Fenton, known as “Alexandra from Iowa” in the competition, shared her experiences with this competition in an interview with The Daily Iowan.

The Daily Iowan: Where are you from, and when did you graduate from the UI?

I am from a suburb of Des Moines called Urbandale. I graduated in 2022, and I got my degrees in social work, education studies, and human relations.

What have you been up to after undergraduate school?

On Saturday I’m getting my master’s degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis.

How did you become aware of the “Realest Person on Earth” competition?

So I was at my internship, and it was a really slow day. The BeReal notification went off, and so I took my BeReal for the day. And then I saw, advertised in the app, this competition, and I was like, I know what I need to submit. I just knew immediately I have to submit this picture. And so I read the rules and stuff, and I did the submission, and I originally posted the BeReal on Twitter.

What’s going on in the BeReal that you submitted?

I was at Student Health at the University of Iowa and it was mid-pap smear. So I was basically laying down on the bed, and then my legs were up in the stirrups, they were spread, and the doctor was giving me the exam.

What was going through your head when you took it?

It happened really fast because obviously during a pap smear exam, you don’t want to focus on what’s going on whatsoever because it’s so deeply uncomfortable. I got the notification while the speculum was inside of me and the exam was going on. I was like, “You know what, this is never going to happen again. I’m not going to explain this at all. I’m just going to take the picture.” So I just quickly snapped the photo, and then worried about the consequences later.

The competition took place over a span of a few weeks where a handful of submissions were posted and voted on, then finalists were announced and voted on again to choose the winner. What happened the day the winner was announced and you realized you won?

I knew that I had a good shot. I knew it was between me and two of the other grand finalists, but I was at my internship when I found out, and my supervisor was in a Zoom meeting, and I was just kind of internally freaking out and didn’t want to make a big deal while she was on this meeting. And so she gets off the meeting, and I’m just like, “Oh, by the way, I won this,” and she starts screaming.

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The winner of this competition also receives some additional prizes on top of the recognition. What prizes did you get?

I get a $15,000 vacation to anywhere in the world whenever I want, I get to choose the BeReal notification time for one day in my life, and I get to receive a bunch of BeReal merchandise.

What has been the immediate aftermath of winning this competition?

I gained 600 followers on Instagram which has been really weird. And a lot of the people that have been following me are middle schoolers and teenagers, so that’s been a little interesting. I’ve also had plenty of people just DM me, comment on random posts that I’ve made like, “Congratulations!” I’ve also had people from high school kind of like appear and be like, “Oh, yeah, I knew you, you won that,” and I’m like, “Yeah, I did.”

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About the Contributor
Isabelle Foland, News Editor
(she/her)
Isabelle Foland is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Spanish. She is a second-year news reporter at The Daily Iowan, reporting mainly on Iowa City City Council. She is from Missouri Valley, Iowa and has reported for her hometown paper prior to her time at The DI.