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Frankie Abernathy

Frankie from The Real World: San Diego
Born December 21, 1981
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Died June 9, 2007 (aged 25)
Shorewood, Wisconsin, USA
Occupation Purse designer

Frankie Jo Abernathy (December 21, 1981 – June 9, 2007) was a castmate on MTV's The Real World: San Diego which as filmed in late 2003 and aired in from January to June 2004. Hailing from Kansas City, Abernathy was the elder daughter of Abbie Hunter and Joe Abernathy. She had a younger sister named Mamie, and a stepfather, Perry Hunter. She attended Blue Springs High School in Blue Springs, Missouri.

The Real World: San Diego

MTV's promotional materials described Abernathy as someone who "likes to shock people with her appearance, date bad boys, party all night and dreams of being an artist." She was known for her taste in punk rock music, and her fondness for Hello Kitty.

The first housemate Abernathy greeted was Jacquese Smith, with whom she first entered the Real World house, and with whom MTV believes she may have been the closest during their stay there.[1]

Abernathy had cystic fibrosis, which she was diagnosed with at the age of three. During her time on The Real World, she showed many symptoms of the genetic disorder, such as difficulty breathing and immune-system impairment. Her disease was a significant part of her storyline on the show. Of those living with cystic fibrosis, less than 50% live to the age of 37. One of Abernathy's sayings was, "Tomorrow is a privilege, so live today like tomorrow isn't happening."

Abernathy left the show before the end of the season, due to conflict with her roommates and the strain of separation from her boyfriend at the time, tattoo artist and musician Dave Duly.

The Marilyn Manson interlude "F*ck Frankie", featured on the 1995 album Smells Like Children, was reportedly written about her, after a pre-fame Abernathy lost her virginity to Manson on a tour stop during Manson's 1994-95 "Portrait of An American Family" tour, when she was 13 years old. The album title is also reportedly a reference to Abernathy. Another story holds that the interlude refers to Frankie Proia, Manson's former tour manager who embezzled $20,000 from him.

In a 2005 interview, Abernathy confirmed the encounter, adding "I am who I am today because of that experience. Brian (Warner, Marilyn Manson's birth name) changed my life forever."

After The Real World

After leaving the show in early 2004, Abernathy spent her time working at numerous retail outlets in Kansas City, working tattoo conventions with the Art Intensity Network, getting more tattoos, and spending time with her loved ones. She also appeared on the cover of the May 2005 issue of Prick, a tattoo magazine.[2]

Abernathy moved to Shorewood, Wisconsin with her family in the fall of 2006. She began designing purses forged from old vinyl records, though she did not work full time. According to her mother, winter is a difficult time for people with the chronic lung disease, but the 2006 winter had been particularly problematic for Abernathy. Her illness had been worse than in prior winters, and the family considered trying to get Abernathy qualified to appear on a lung transplant list.

Abernathy died June 9, 2007, in Shorewood, Wisconsin, from complications of cystic fibrosis. She was 25 years old. She is the second alumnus of the The Real World to die, Pedro Zamora being the first. As with Zamora's struggle with AIDS, Abernathy is credited by MTV.com with helping to raise national awareness of cystic fibrosis and putting a face on the disease. Abernathy's housemates Jacquese Smith and Jamie Chung were particularly devastated by her passing.[1] Abernathy's mother, Abbie Hunter, said about her time on the show:

Her experience on The Real World taught her about what she needed to do, and it helped other people as well. I know several people weren't aware of the cutting epidemic at the time…and I know several people wrote Frankie and thanked her. She was a different person for The Real World realm, and I think she touched a lot of people and made an impact on a lot of people's lives. That's what you want when you have a child — you hope they do that. I wish it had been in a different way, but I am proud of her, and as I said, she got a lot of personal growth out of her experience, and she was very fortunate to have had the experiences she did.

A scholarship was set up in her name at her alma mater, Blue Springs High School.[3][4]

References

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