Busted (My Run In With Eminem)

Ok, so I naively thought this day would never come, but I have been busted. I mistakenly believed that I could get through my adult life without The Most Embarrassing Thing Ever being brought up 13 years later, but people are smart and the internet is wide. So after more than a few “Who me? I don’t know what you’re talking about, haha” comment denials, I’m coming clean. My name is Sherry $herdog, and I was on MTV when I was 17. And it was easily the most embarrassing compilation of moments that could ever be edited together.

I’m an over-sharer, so some folks might wonder why I’d try to hide from this video. And to you I’d say: it’s one thing to invite people into your home and share a video that accidentally features your bra laying out on a bedroom chair or an interview where you flail around jerkily and generally look crazy or admit that you walk around covered in dog fur and cream cheese smears, but it’s a whole different ballgame to say “Let’s take a time machine back to my most awkward moments as a seventeen year old girl being surprised while life-guarding and told she’ll get to interview Eminem for a show called FANatic on MTV – oh look, I have the whole thing on video for you, let’s all sit down and watch it together.” Now excuse me while I giggle uncontrollably for ten minutes. I do that when I’m nervous.

Allow me to spill a few secrets: shows like this are a smidge set up. It’s not to say that I wasn’t completely Marshall Mathers obsessed (I was) but there are certain things you’re highly encouraged to mention so that you come across as the most deserving fan. Things like “I aspire to be a rapper someday.” I’ll pause while you snort whatever you’re drinking out of your nose. It’s true that I did what I like to call “ironic rapping” with my best friend Mariam at high school talent shows (we once donned orange puffy vests and belly shirts and parodied the Eminem/Dre duet Forgot About Dre) but it’s a Jersey thing. You had to be there to understand that it was not meant to be taken seriously. It was our version of Weird Al-ing someone. So no, I didn’t actually hope I’d be touring the country as a famous female rapper when I grew up.

Of course the show sets up situations too, like us going to the old burger joint where Eminem used to work before the interview…

… but it was pretty cool as a teenager to see some random restaurant and think “he really worked here just a few years ago flipping burgers?” Fun fact: the people I’m serving at that table in the restaurant are the limo driver and one of the production people who carted us around.

A few other things about the show were “orchestrated.” For example, I hardly knew the girl who surprised me at the pool and came with me on the entire adventure. See, MTV required that the “friend” of the person being featured was 18 or a parent would have to accompany the fan and the friend (which I’m guessing cramped the crew’s style). So when I was going through the whole “you might be a finalist” phase of the process, they asked me about my friends and I gave a list of all my best 17 year old buddies and they sort of heavily suggested that I list someone over the age of 18. So the girl who worked at the front desk at the Marriott (where I was a lifeguard for years, represent) got listed – and she was the friend they picked to surprise me. And yes, it’s still really cool to be in a limo when you’re 17. Especially if you flash the peace sign with your sleeves rolled up.

Here’s where it gets extra embarrassing. At some point in the interview the word “phat” inexplicably slips out of my mouth. I never said that word before and have never said it since. I can only blame temporary insanity at the thought of sitting next to a hip-hop star and somehow thinking $herdog could pull off a term like that. And I couldn’t. It rung in my ears for the rest of the interview while I continued to grin like a crazy person and giggle nervously. Although a lot of this experience is what I like to call “retroactively embarrassing” (since at the time it was really cool and I felt really lucky to be chosen), the moment I realized I said “phat” on national television was the moment that I wanted to punch myself in the face.

Then they asked me to rap. Repeatedly. It’s bad. Very very bad. Oh and about the pigtails, I wanted to wear a ponytail and an arm band (yes, an arm band) but the crew gently suggested the pigtails and no arm band. I’m thankful they nixed the arm band but still a little weirded out by the pigtails. So without further ado…

As for how I even got on the show, my friends dared me to send in a tape since I really was a hardcore fan and they thought I had a shot at being chosen. Meanwhile I believed I had zero chance, hence me doing all sorts of ridiculous things that I thought would never be on TV/YouTube (like sitting in a tub full of M&M’s) because I truly believed with every fiber of my being that I would never make the cut.

MTV does a really cruel thing to make you think you weren’t chosen (at least it felt cruel at the time) in order to get that completely surprised ‘surprise shot’ when they sneak up on you. They’re in pretty constant contact with you for a while to collect things like “what you would ask if you were chosen” and “who you would bring as a friend if you were chosen” and then they say you’re a semi-finalist but it’s not a done deal, and then they cut off communication for a few weeks. Total radio silence. So you go from being hopeful that you might get picked to completely and utterly bummed out that you didn’t make the cut after thinking “dude, I might actually get flown to Detroit to meet Eminem.” Which is a pretty cool concept as a 17 year old.

This is of course when you forget about the footage of yourself in a tub of M&Ms and it sounds like it could be The Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Done and not The Most Embarrassing Thing Ever a decade or so later. But I have to admit that as a teenager it was a pretty fun time. I got to fly somewhere with a camera crew and without my parents, they put us up in a cool hotel, and Marshall was actually a really nice genuine guy (now I’m going to get weird and tell you that he had the best looking hands I’ve ever seen in my life). And he did kiss my neck, which at the time made me believe we would soon be married and we’d go on to have three bouncing babies named Slim, Shady, and Stan (kidding). Dude, I took a picture of my neck after it happened. I’m that girl (can you believe I managed to bag a guy like John? I still can’t).

So I’m not ungrateful for the experience. In fact, it was kind of amazing (it made “the morning announcements” at my high school – haha). But the fact that the footage from a defunct show from over 13 years ago is now somehow on YouTube is something I never imagined. Haha. Oh well. The cat phat is out of the bag.

Now you tell me your most embarrassing secrets so we’re even. Go.


  1. Jenna says

    I’m thinking if you still have your slim shady apron, that should be framed!! Now that the cats out of the bag. This was great, totally made my morning.

  2. Jessica says

    Omg, that’s freaking hilarious. Sherry, you have to be dying over there!!! How did it get leaked? Is John so proud to be married to a fanatic?

    • says

      Haha, someone on a message board apparently found it and spread it around. I just heard it was on Facebook too. Ack. I’m dying. John knows how mortified this subject makes me (I get red, I stutter, etc) so he just walked into the room and kissed me and said “you’re a good sport” – such a sweet hubs. Of course I said “I’m dead from embarrassment” and slumped over on the desk.


  3. Nikki Kelly says

    Wowza. As a “girl” that is the same age as you, I totally get the Eminem obsession! And you were no where near as awkward as most 17 year old girls would have been. (This reminds me that I used to bring my video camera and record hanging out with friends and I must find those tapes and destroy them!) Lol I think I actually remember seeing this on MTV! I was also thinking how much the camera loves you. You are simple adorkable! And this is coming from a huge Zooey Descanel fan. Rap on Sherdog. Just leave out the word phat. =)

  4. says

    Hey, we all did embarrassing things way back when. That is hilarious, but no worries. We all think it is so funny and you have nothing to be embarrassed about. We’ve all been there…theoretically at least. :)

  5. says

    Oh. Wow. That’s amazing.

    If it makes you feel any better, I totally called in to request a Hanson video on TRL (remember that show?) approximately the same number of years ago. Carson Daly read my request and I nearly died.

    At least our teenage years aren’t completely digitized…poor teens growing up today will have nowhere to hide.

  6. says

    Ha! That was great, you were a natural. Thank god no one has video of me auditioning for the Mickey Mouse Club with my rendition of Debbie Gibson’s “Out of the Blue” and my dance to MC Hammer’s “Pray.” Now that would be embarrassing!

  7. Katy says

    This is amazing! I totally remember that show! As for embarrassing moments go, I think 17 must be a bad age. When I was a painfully shy, awkward 17 year old, Bill Clinton (in his final year of presidency) came to my high school to give a speech and while taking a picture with him, I accidentally goosed him. I’m talking full on booty grabbing, totally unintentionally. Now, I can accept that this is fairly awesome, but at the time it was utterly mortifying.

    • says

      Haha, I think it’s amazingly awesome and extra hilarious. Might be my favorite story today. You goosed the President Of The United States Of America.


  8. Sinthya Freeman says

    Sherry I remember it ALL! The orange vest to the morning announcements! I’m cracking up.

  9. says

    That was one of my favorite shows on MTV! I think it is awesome that you were on it and I watched that on Youtube the other day with my mouth wide open thinking “Did she just say she wanted to be a female rapper???” Glad you have a sense of humor about it!

  10. Beth says

    It’s a Jerzee thing! In middle school a bunch of friends and I went to a taping of ‘Steampipe Alley” (with Mario Cantone) with NKOTB. Too funny watching in now with all our crazy hair and clothes. I don’t talk, but I’m right there behind the boys dancing my dorky self crazy! Gotta love it!

  11. says

    “Noo…not M&M the candy…Eminem the rapper!” Classic. So so 90s classic.

    You’re awesome, Sherry…it takes guts to look at that stuff yourself, let alone share it with your whole blog community! I still cringe about my LiveJournal…

  12. says

    LOVE IT and the jersey accent!! Did you keep the signed apron?? If so, is it still stowed away in a box somewhere?