Meeting Your Heroes

After eleven years of living in Malaysia, and being deprived of celebrities extending their “world tours” farther than the US and the UK, it’s safe to say I’ve been taking advantage of being in Boston. Just a few weeks ago I met my dance role models from The Millennium Dance Complex and now I can add David Dobrik and Jason Nash, both YouTubers, to my list.

                                                                                                              Courtesy of Cheyenne Tang

On November 12th, David and Jason had a live show for their podcast Views. Like their vlogs, their podcast is a whirlwind of chaos, arguments, and dirty teenage humor. David Dobrik made his name as a YouTuber after he gained a following on Vine (RIP), and he currently has 5.5 million subscribers. He isn’t your everyday makeup tutorial or video game vlogger though. Since he transferred platforms, he brought a new style of film to the playing game. While his vlogs seem very natural and unplanned, David actually spends time creating characters for his friends and maps out exactly how a scene is going to look. For example, Jason Nash is a 44 year old father and divorcee who cares very much about his family and makes a living along side David and the “Vlog Squad," but is portrayed as a deadbeat dad who doesn’t know his kids’ names. That being said, a good portion of David's videos are organic and he happens to be at the right place at the right time.

As a former fangirl myself, I was psyching myself out to be surrounded by 13 year old screaming girls ready to do anything for David and Jason. To my surprise, more members of the “Vlog Squad” were present which meant more screaming. Since none of my friends were crazy enough to pay $150 for V.I.P. front row tickets, I went alone. After lining up outside for about half an hour (which is already considered late in fangirl time), I got to my seat right at the edge of the stage and wedged myself in between a 13 year old and her mom. It felt like an eternity before the lights dimmed and the curtains opened. The podcast was the shortest 45 minutes I’ve ever experienced.

It was surreal to see the people I’ve been watching on a screen for over a year do the stupid things they always do, only this time they were 10 feet in front of me. Right before the show started, I was joking with the girls sitting next to me about how David always gets nasty animals involved in the vlogs. Little did I know Jason was going to blindfold his own mother and put a snake around her neck for our entertainment. Aside from the crazy stunts they pulled, the squad members shared never before heard stories, leaving the audience in stitches. There was even a Q&A session in which David shared his opinion about university—”don’t go.”

The events after the podcast were what really mattered. Since I paid my entire month’s allowance for these tickets, you bet I was going to make the most out of the 4 seconds I got with David and Jason. We were lined up in an orderly fashion backstage with Jason’s parents (who are still alive despite David’s insistence that they are too old to be). The employees were yelling “phones on and flash off.” Groups of girls surrounding me were preparing poses and swapping phones while I was there alone, hands clammy and shaking. Before every picture they would both introduce themselves as if we didn’t know who they were which surprised me. I guess they were just being polite, or they had been told by their managers to do so. After I introduced myself and said I was from Malaysia, David said, “Why’d you come all the way from Malaysia? We’re not Beyoncé.” By then, my 4 seconds were up and I didn’t have time to explain the rarity of a celebrity coming to Malaysia. I was escorted out the front door.

I was about to call a Lyft back to my dorm when I realized there was a mob of girls waiting outside the stage door. I had met David and Jason, but the rest of the “Vlog Squad” had yet to be seen. This is when the real chaos broke. After about 30 minutes of standing outside the entrance and (thankfully) running into someone else from Northeastern, there was finally a sighting of a few of the other members of the squad. I was suddenly trampled by teenaged girls and barely made it in time to get a selfie. The poor YouTubers ran across the street to seek refuge in a bar. These crazy fans (who I used to be) followed suit and sprinted across 4-lane traffic without looking. I get it, you’re meeting your idols, but even I’m not crazy enough to die for them. After I came to terms that they weren’t coming back out of the bar, I went to Panera Bread to get some dinner. I walked in and there he was, Jason Nash in the flesh… again. Since I already got a photo with him, I wasn’t going to be greedy and ask for another one. He was having dinner with his family, so I would have felt bad interrupting. Nevertheless, news got out that he was in Panera and before I plucked up the courage to go say hi, a line of fans formed. I couldn’t help but feel bad for his family for being interrupted, but they were in shock of how polite the fans were since most people felt the same way I did.

All in all, this experience is something I’ll remember forever, even if David and Jason have already forgotten who I am. To them I’m just one of the millions, but to me, they’re the ones who remind me everyday that there’s never just one way of doing something.