Monday, February 16, 2009

More Than the “Bear” Minimum, One Fan’s Dedication Stands Above the Rest

By Stephen Yoon

Meeting a famous celebrity is something that most people can only fantasize about, much less meeting your favorite celebrity. People often do crazy and outlandish things to try to meet a famous person, but Tiffany Hsia of Edison, New Jersey took a much more creative approach to getting her favorite celebrity’s attention. Hsia, a 25 year old journalism and media studies major with already completed bachelor’s degrees in history, political science, and geography, has a hobby of making personalized teddy bears for friends and family, and decided to extend that hobby to one of her favorite people—Josh Groban.

It is a common tactic to get to talk show studios early in order to catch a glimpse of the visiting celebrity of the day, which Hsia employed when Josh Groban appeared on ABC’s popular daytime show, The View on May 29, 2002. Even though she got to the studio where the taping was being held at 5 AM to wait in line to see him, Tiffany felt that she needed something else to separate herself from the rest of the pack. Luckily for her, she had come prepared. In a stroke of inspiration she had prepared a personalized teddy bear of Josh Groban, using felt to create the pants and turtleneck sweater and doll's hair to emulate Groban’s curly black hear. Indeed, she even went as far as to make a miniature version of a microphone Groban would use out of pipe cleaners.

When asked why she went through so much effort to get someone to simply notice her in the big crowd, she replied that she was a “huge Josh Groban fan, and I wanted to do something to get his attention.”

Luckily for Hsia, it worked as Groban’s publicist Liz Rosenberg noticed the very familiar looking bear and commented on how much he would love it. These words rang true as Groban immediately spotted the bear and gushed over how much he loved it. Tiffany immediately gave him the prized bear as he was rushed into the studio, and she was later approached by Rosenberg in the audience, who mentioned that Groban wanted to meet Tiffany for her efforts. I asked Tiffany how meeting Groban lived up to her expectations and she replied that, “In person Josh was a lot more attractive, but he was very witty, funny, and nice.” Despite the humorous reply she was clearly very excited, and became even more enthralled when Groban brought the bear out on stage and the camera focused on her to highlight the bear and the effort she put in.

After the show Tiffany and her friends went to meet Groban, who thanked her again for the bear and the support which he said helped him throughout his performance on the show. Indeed, her bear became so popular that she was later on asked to remake the bear for the Josh Groban foundation. Hsia has not stopped her hobby of personalized bears, and has in fact gone on to make bears for other celebrities like Michael Buble, Jane Monheit, and Matthew Morrison.

Tiffany Hsia has taken that stereotypical children’s fantasy of meeting a celebrity and made it a reality through her creativity and determination. She commented that, “These bears gave me the ability to meet my favorite celebrities so it was worth the time and effort in the end.” Tiffany demonstrated that with a novel approach that makes one stand out of the pack, people can perhaps get closer to their aspirations of meeting their favorite celebrity.

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