That time Oprah denied me – A walk through my musical history.
Look, I’m not claiming to be normal. Why would I feel the need to document these stories of my life if I thought I was? So it shouldn’t surprise you that in my teens I vigorously tried to meet the group of men that ignited my teenage hormones – the Backstreet Boys.
Now hang on, don’t hate on me yet. I wasn’t some follow-the-leader teen. I didn’t speak in baby talk. I wasn’t a cheerleader. And I didn’t pick a band just because all my friends were into them. But come on, me and BSB were a match made in heaven. I remember reading my future boyfriend, Brian Littrell’s, bio. The information was presented like a piece of meat at a butcher shop.
Aging since 1975
5'4 of muscle, no pockets of fat on this man
140lbs, 100% lean
Perfect date: A long walk along the beach during sunset, holding hands.
‘Ohhhh butcher! I’ll take two.’
Seriously though, at 12, I was 4’10, 110lbs, and couldn’t imagine anything more ris-KAY than holding hands along the beach. We were perfect for each other. He got me. Even with a kitten heel on, I’d fit perfectly into his arms. 5’4, 140lbs… what a man. He could protect me from all harm. What. A. Man.
You’re probably rolling your eyes, thinking what a basic B, but my music selection was much more eclectic, and continues to be today. I found a stack of my old concert tickets and the range of my palette even back then… wow.
I want to point out a couple things. First off, tickets were so cheap back then! I saw Tom Petty, TOM PETTY!!, for $20 back in 2002. And Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, and (in tiny print) Ms. C. Aguilera back when she was singing Genie in a Bottle for $14.94. Just the other day I was looking up tickets to see The Foo Fighters. Granted I was looking for best seats, but $654! Bitch please.
Second, were we all living in the Upside Down back then when Green Day opened for Blink 182? Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I was sitting next to a Demogorgon… because that just ain’t right.
And third, just look at my random taste in music. I jump from The Go-Go’s and B-52’s, to Fuel and Staind, to the Backstreet Boys in a matter of a year. I couldn’t locate my Nelly ticket, but trust me, it was in the same time frame. Not sure if it counted as a concert though… he showed up 2 hours late, the crowd was furious and started lighting all these lawn chairs on fire. I got sprayed with a fire extinguisher. But, I’ll count it.
Out of all bands, I wanted to meet the Backstreet Boys. Pretty much felt I was going to marry one of them. Brian was top choice, but I certainly wouldn’t turn AJ away, or even Kevin, the mute.
My room looked like a unicorn went to a rager and came home to spew a rainbow of neon green, hot pink, a new found teen hormones all over my walls. If the pillow cases weren’t $20 a pop, I’d be drooling all over Brian’s face every night.
I’d sit in my room facing my boombox, listening to the radio, fingers idly hovering over the Play and Record button just waiting for a Backstreet Boys song to come on the air so I could build my ‘I HEART BSB’ cassette collection. Can you picture this scene? If not, let me drive it home with the fact that I had short hair. Like… super short. It was my attempt at a pixie cut, but when you go to the equivalent of a SuperCuts, you get what you pay for. And now, I present:
BOOYAH! That’s me. No, that’s not a mop on my head, it’s my hair. No, a tree branch isn’t growing out of a shoe, it’s my ankle. And yes, I’m in a fucking cherry tree in Erie, PA. Can’t you just picture me and one of the Backstreet Boys walking down the isle? I considered myself a viable candidate.
If I could just get in front of them so they could just see me for me, we’d be forever connected like Khaleesi and her dragons, or Khaleesi and John Snow, or Khaleesi and… I don’t know, I’m lost in that show.
So what does any sensible person looking to accomplish something seemingly difficult and unobtainable do?
I wrote to Oprah.
I knew she typically selected candidates who had something traumatic happen in their life, fulfilling their wish to meet their favorite celebrity. But I wasn’t struggling. I didn’t have anything seriously wrong with me. My life was normal as defined by what she was looking for. So I needed an angle. And my angle was to explain to Oprah that I have a normal family, my household is put together (for the most part), I work hard at school to get good grades and I’m generally a good person. So why not reward someone who’s just doing good in life? Why does it have to be so grim? Well, Oprah received my letter, and she responded:
I hate you Oprah! Keep up the good grades?!?! That’s it! And I doubt that signature is real. In fact, I doubt you even got this letter, Ooooo-prah. I’m sure some poor intern gets the job of sifting through your hundreds of requests. Just hundreds, huh? This was definitely before social media.
Okay, let me just push my anger aside and hang on to the rebuttal letter I quickly drafted. She’s probably going to choose some struggling girl with one eye and a teddy bear who’s her best and only friend to meet the Backstreet Boys. And then, the episode airs:
(I’ll spare you the song and just go to the 2:30 mark.)
Those four sultry ladies in black are BFFFFFFFF’s to the nth degree. So why not have them on to meet the Backstreet Boys? What a great hook Oprah! The insane twist that four girls that dress alike are friends and five guys that dress alike are friends. That’s production magic! Hope that crew put this stroke of genius on their resumes.
I sat there, scanning for a missing eye, a hearing problem, shit, a limp! But no, just four beautiful girls meeting five beautiful guys.
And then Oprah adds insult to injury by cramming two girls behind them, the one best friend giving the best birthday gift to the other. Poor Yamilet, overshadowed by the four BFF’s. Literally, at 2:57 you see they are clearly pushed behind the sexy quarto of women, living the best moment of their lives. I would have given anything to be them…
But alas, Oprah denied me. Rosie never wrote back. MTV Fanatic never responded to my VHS video. And I never won any of the many many contests I entered to meet them. This craze of trying to meet artists I admired continued in my life, yet I can’t say I ever fulfilled one of them. The closest I got was scoring a backstage pass to hang with Cage the Elephant, but was so drunk I couldn’t figure out how to get backstage. Maybe one day I will write a blog on how I met someone famous… one day.