I remember deliriously waking up to four missed calls. Without my brain fully turned on yet, I heard the news.
There had been a radio contest for Q102 Philadelphia to win special passes and a meet-and-greet opportunity as part of a promotion for Dylan O’Brien, one of the stars of “Teen Wolf,” and the front-runner of the soon-to-be hit movie, “The Maze Runner.”
And by just the right amount of appropriate spamming on Twitter, my best friend Tara had been named the winner.
I have put my entire life and all my responsibilities on hold to attend things like this, usually just for the chance of meeting some of my favorite celebrities. I have been extremely fortunate… almost too fortunate.
Was my luck finally going to run out, and was I not going to have a near-perfect experience this time? Did I again, put my entire life on hold and leave State College for something that wasn’t going to be worth it?
My bus left Penn State the night before the event last week, getting me back in Philadelphia at 1 a.m. The event started at 9 a.m. the following morning.
We arrived hastily at the radio station at exactly 9 a.m. due to Philadelphia traffic and me not being able to get out of bed. It was so weird walking into this building knowing that Dylan was here. The whole tranquility of the situation was absurd. I expected girls to be clawing one another in the face and growing third limbs.
Instead, what I entered was a gorgeous office setting, filled to the brim with 20 other contest winners and their guests. The demographic was mainly girls aged 16-20 somethings, two guys, and a very unenthusiastic dad.
One-by-one we were called to confirm our identities, and then lined up to enter the room where they would actually be interviewed. The room was seriously gorgeous. There were green and purple lights everywhere, cameras, a green room, and a very small stage with four chairs. We sat in the very back, but our view was still decent.
We received very little warning and mental preparation before the door burst open, and Dylan O’Brien literally sprinted and jumped on the stage, followed by his fellow “The Maze Runner” castmates Will Poulter, Dexter Darden, and Kaya Scodelario (whom I very much felt bad for in the grand scheme of things, as the entire audience was screaming Dylan/”Teen Wolf” fans.)
Coming from a journalism background, I thought the interview was absolutely awful. They talked about all things related to Wawa, Dylan at the VMA’s the previous week, Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” performance, and other irrelevant things. There were maybe two questions in total regarding the actual movie, and I was cringing in my seat out of secondhand embarrassment. The only thing that saved this from turning into a disaster was how absolutely adorable the cast acted together, from their side comments and giggling, and the fact that Dylan said he really loved the message of the song “All About That Bass.”
The interview lasted maybe 15 minutes. I thought that maybe they were going to take questions from the audience, and I had a repertoire of amazing ones prepared beforehand that I never got to use. My disappointment didn’t last long and was quickly overshadowed by sheer panic,though, as they immediately lined us up for our pictures.
“A picture of me, my best friend and Dylan O’Brien is going to exist,” I repeated in my head over and over again, as I prayed that the radio station employees wouldn’t be absolute idiots and have Dylan on the edge of the photo.
But people and their collective stupidity will surprise you.
Dylan was the selling point and the reason everyone was there. Yet, there he was, gorgeous as ever, standing on the edge. This forced one of your two guests to stand with the other actors. I was outraged.
I refused to give up my moment. I did not care how rude I looked, or how I dismissed the other actors. So I decided I was going to be the horrible person and walk over to the edge, and let my friend stand where you’re supposed to stand. Dylan would be in the middle of us.
“Absolutely no hugs,” one of the workers whispered in my ear when it was our turn next. I dismissed this entirely and probably didn’t even hear the rest of her warnings due to my heart physically beating out of my chest.
He was so hot. Ridiculously hot. And charming. And talented. And hilarious. And I love his character. And I love his show. And he’s ten feet away from me.
“Hi, so nice to meet you!” I said in my chipper, I-might-not-survive-this-encounter voice as I very much rebelled and hugged him immediately. He easily reciprocated.
We took the picture as he sung along random lyrics to “What Does The Fox Say?” and I tried not to absolutely melt and laugh myself into oblivion.
After the picture, I brought my other hand to rest on his beautiful and very toned abs and told him what an amazing actor he was, thanking him for all the hard work he does.
“Wow, I really appreciate that,” he said, giving me a second hug. “Seriously, thanks so much.”
Some things in life are worth putting your responsibilities on hold for, and if that makes me a terrible role model that’s okay. I will always remember and cherish this amazing experience.
I also may or may not still be screaming.
Photos provided by Kelly Gibson