In it for the fame

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Christian Allaire talks to Ryerson students vying for your attention

Since getting the nod of approval at Muchmusic’s Disband competition last year, music group DUBBS has

received national attention. The group features former Ryerson business management student Alex Van Den Hoef who left school last year to tour with the likes of Steve Aoki, LMFAO and Girlicious.

“I was trying to juggle [music] and the business program at the same time. I guess I was more interested in the music.”

Ryerson has long been a platform for Canadian celebrities. From seasoned stars like Eric McCormick, who just received his star on Canada’s Walk of Fame this past weekend, to new up-and-comers like Nina

Dobrev who stars in television’s cult-hit Vampire Diaries. Fame is something that some Ryerson students hunger for.

“I’m not going to lie, I love the fame. I’m like Lady Gaga about it, you know,” said second-year radio and television arts student Nikki Yee.

Yee who began as a child model when she was ten, finished her first film last year, a piece she wrote, produced and starred in.

Becoming a household name is easier said than done. Natalie Ast, a second-year journalism student who acts and models on the side, has been to several auditions with varying results.

When she was 16 she tried out for the CBC program Triple Sensation, where she struggled with the music portion.

“I don’t have a great voice and I forgot the words to my song. I learned from it though, I learned that you have to be prepared, you can’t just wing it and do it the night before.”

Radio and television arts professor Marion Coomey believes students longing for attention may be a result of modern pop culture.

“Your generation has grown up on reality TV and seen many shows about regular folks becoming well known, that I think it’s just part of student’s psyche to want to be noticed. I look at the way young people use Facebook and see that same interest in being observed and known by others,“ she said.

Another site used to generate attention is YouTube. Adam Leroux,

a first-year business management student knows first-hand the following you can build on this site. His ‘vlogging’ (video blogging) began as a hobby, but his popularity got him a position as a paid YouTube partner with over 3,000 subscribers.

“With YouTube, they give me my demographics and what kind of

topics are making me the most money. Then I can look at that and figure out what I should be doing more of [in my videos].”

And from there the video generates views, a poll of likes and dislikes and a list of comments.

“Nothing really offends me anymore. At first [reading bad comments] I thought, ‘these people are being really mean.’ But the way I think of it now is, even if they don’t like me they are watching my videos and making me money,” Leroux said.

Second-year journalism student Theresa Do has been critiqued in a different way. She previously competed in the Miss Teen Canada World pageant and learnt that ultimately it was a competition for attention.

“Many girls did it for the fame, always making themselves available for the camera,” she said.

Van Den Hoef is already familiar with questions about chasing fame.

“People ask us ‘So are you in this to be famous, to get all the girls?’ But we wouldn’t sign a contract that would sell our souls just to get our faces out there.

He admits though that it’s the earning potential of DUBBS that keeps him motivated.

“We love all our fans and love signing autographs. But if we were

getting no rewards out of it, it would be kind of depressing.”

Do said work can be more influential if you are well known.

“You can be average Joe and be an advocate for children’s rights or you can be Angelina Jolie and advocate for children’s rights. Who are you going to listen to more? “ said Do.

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