The man with the panda hat

Feb 102010
Authors: Matt Minich

Before Dec. 30, the only fame Andrew Woods enjoyed on the CSU campus was as the creator of the Collegian comic “Repeat/Delete.”

Despite a loyal base of readers, the comic, which was inspired by Woods’s own sexual exploits (and, just as often, his shortcomings) was cancelled after dozens of complaints from readers that it was offensive to women.

While his collegiate cartooning career may have been cut short, “Repeat/Delete” did help Woods land a spot on MTV’s “The Real World: Washington D.C.”

“Without ‘Repeat/Delete,’ I never would have made it on the Real World,” he said, explaining that it was his offbeat humor that netted him the reality show position.

Part of the unique personality that has made Woods a household name (among “Real World” viewers, at least) is his trademark hat. The hat, which looks like the head of a panda bear with earflaps, was part of a collection his father maintained while Woods was growing up. In addition to the panda bear, the collection contained raccoon, skunk, moose and kitten hats.

“Growing up, I was always embarrassed of them,” he said. After leaving for college, however, he embraced the hat, which he wears regularly on the show (though, he said, not as often as it appears on the show) and at his job at Washington’s, as an element of his persona.

“I’m an outgoing guy,” he said. “I like to be the life of the party.”

Drinking, fighting and trying to hook up

For those few unfamiliar with the “Real World” legacy, the 23-year-old show follows a simple formula: stick 10 college-aged people together in a posh house for three months and film the inevitable carnage.

“We just drink and drink and fight and try to hook up,” Woods said. “You can’t complain about that. That’s like the best lifestyle ever.”

Despite the high-decibel drama seen on the show, Woods said he forged a number of long-lasting relationships on the show.

“Even though all the girls wouldn’t hook up with me, I still love ‘em,” he said.

Since the airing of the show, he has spent time with co-stars Mike Manning and Ty Ruff. Manning, who lives in Thornton, recently visited Woods for a public party at Washington’s Bar and Grill.

Comic books and action figures

Those who knew Woods before his appearance on the show described him as an unusual selection, but none were entirely surprised.

“I can see why they put him on there,” said junior biology major Stefan Genet, who knew Woods before the show through his roommate.

“I think people have a natural filter socially as far as what to do and what not to do, and I’m not saying that it’s completely absent (in Woods), but it doesn’t work as much,” he said.

Parker Anthony, a recent CSU graduate and a close friend of Woods’s since their time as suitemates in Parmelee Hall, described him as a “funny, goofy kid.”

“He liked to sing a lot in the shower,” Anthony said. “He was a great shower singer.”

After leaving the dorms, Anthony and Woods shared a house a few blocks west of campus, where Anthony said he watched Woods “evolve into his sexual prime”.

“His method to pick up girls was to show off his comic book collection and action figure collection,” he said.

Woods admitted to having problems with women before going on the show, and said he hit the weights in anticipation of his television debut.

“I really wanted to get laid in D.C.,” he said.

Love on the Potomac

Despite the way he has been portrayed on the show, those close to Woods say his wishes of D.C. romance were granted.

In addition to a number of one-night stands, Woods met 23-year-old club promoter and model Andrea Leigh on an unfilmed venture outside the house –– for which we was fined $50.

Neither Woods nor Leigh could tell the specifics of their first meeting because of confidentiality agreements with MTV –– the episodes featuring Leigh have not yet aired. However, both confirmed that the couple’s romance began on the show and survives today.

“There’s just a lot of similarities between us,” Leigh said, referencing their first names –– Andrea and Andrew –– and state of origin, Illinois.

After the show stopped shooting and Woods left D.C., the couple tried their hands at a long-distance relationship before Leigh packed up and moved to Fort Collins to study for her laser aesthetics certificate.

Despite an offensive and often misogynistic persona, Leigh described Andrew as a caring and compassionate person.

“He has a sensitive side that a lot of people don’t get to see because he puts up guards,” she said. She cautioned that she didn’t mean to imply that Woods puts on a façade, adding, “What you see with Andrew is what you get.”

Woods echoed his girlfriend’s sentiments, and said that while he had always been on the prowl for women’s affections, he has become a one-woman man.

“She’s everything I could want in a woman,” Woods said. “She’s wonderful. She’s gorgeous.”

“Before the show I was begging for any sort of female attention. But now that I have it, I don’t really want it.”

News Editor Matt Minich can be reached at

Andrew Woods on:

  • Co-star Ty Ruff: “can take a black joke better than anyone I know.”
  • Being on a reality show: “It ruins your life.”
  • How he was portrayed on “The Real World: D.C.”: “Like I can’t get laid or something, which is not true.”
  • Co-star Ashley Lindley: “looks like a mega-c**t but isn’t.”
  • Sarah Palin: “I don’t want to make love to her. I would just want to pound her out.”
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