As a freshman I covered the diplomacy beat for The Setonian’s news section. One of my articles included interviewing the former ambassador to Turkey concerning his thoughts about the recession and the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
I profiled a student who was joining the Peace Corps in Mauritania Africa and planned on working with small business owners to kick start the economy.
Then I met Tim Gunn.
A loyal watcher of “Project Runway” since season one, I jumped at the chance to cover the Stillman School of Business’ event, which featured the popular Liz Claiborne executive. Now, I write articles about the Jonas Brothers.
My recent article about Rob Hoffman, the Jonas Brother’s photographer created quite a stir on fan sites. I discovered this after sifting through a inbox of messages from pre-teens across the country, some expressing their dream of becoming journalists and others asking for the photographer’s phone number. In two years I’ve gone from National Geographic to Tiger Beat. I’ll admit it; I’m in it for the bragging rights.
Mr. Gunn kick-started a fascination with celebrity within me, and I’ve been collecting encounters ever since. My connection with the media has made this possible whether it’s through The Setonian or my current internship. Whether I’m interviewing an indie rock band from California or talking to David Hasselhoff while he eats an Inand- Out burger in an elevator, someone is dying to hear the story. I get a rush from relating these experiences.
Call it low self-esteem, call it selfishness, I call it being opportunistic, even if that opportunity is a complete accident. For example, I hit Constantine Maroulis last Sunday. Don’t get too caught up in the logistics – I was working an event and accidently opened a curtain that nailed him in the face. His main response to my apology was rapid blinking and an uneasy smile.
While he was regaining his composure, I was debating whether this little run-in should be my next Facebook status or Twitter update.
(I decided neither, maybe I do have some level of professionalism left. Then again, I am writing this column.)
Or maybe Mr. Gunn isn’t responsible for this celebrity predator mentality, maybe it was the Commander-in-Chief. Two years ago when I was on my way to work at a local car wash in Ohio (my resume is almost as unbelievable as my celebrity encounters), I was walking past a local fitness club and noticed two large, rather noticeable SUVs parked outside of a fitness club.
I thought I vaguely recognized the woman standing outside, but it wasn’t until Barack Obama emerged with blue basketball shorts and a white T-shirt on did everything connect. I frantically waved and warbled something that was somewhere between “hey” and “Obama.” He gave a polite wave and smile while being rushed along by two bulky men with black sunglasses.
I felt like I had just been knighted.
This encounter does make the transition from diplomacy reporting to entertainment reporting make a bit more sense, but when it comes down to it I just like the attention. Knock Perez all you want, but I see a little bit of myself behind his sassy pink hair.
Why be a celebrity when you can have a myriad of other celebrities to draw from to make yourself more interesting? I’ll ask Hasselhoff what he thinks.
Meghan Dixon is a junior English major from Warren, Ohio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.