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. says

    Oh how I wish my most embarrassing moments were from years ago. No, mine was on the news this winter. I was asked, in a coffee shop by a reporter, about technology and etiquette in business. I had 2 cell phones, a laptop, a camera (was working on projects). Will spare you the boring stuff. All that ended up on the air was my quip that texting makes it easy for men to be lazy when dating!! It was a joke! I talked about how tech made business easier (insert intelligent examples) and often can be a hindrance in our personal life (insert intelligent examples). But nooooo all they did was qoute the one joke, which sounded so weird out of context that my friend texted me wanted to know if I was drunk or something. Ya, I wanted to DIE. At least you were young??? :)

  2. Debbie C says

    Wow Sherry! Does your brother still say, “Adam and Eminem”? Hopefully John gets his name in there somewhere now… ;D

    • Emily says

      I don’t remember you ever mentioning your brother Adam before….how many siblings do you have?

    • says

      He’s my half-brother (my dad remarried and had him with his wife Nina). I also have a brother and we were raised with two of our cousins who were like brothers to us (we all lived together because their mom has MS so she can’t walk). Yup, it was me in a house full of boys!


    • says

      Never knew about your family :)

      I love how those set-up two men you served were wearing suits and bowties in that obviously fancy shmancy pizza joint! Hahaha.

      And when is that apron going to get featured in a frame?! Haha.

      p.s. You were in my dream last night – we were really good friends and I had been to your house lots of times, but never had you come to mine b/c I didn’t want you to see how un-designed it was! Haha. Can this count as an embarrasing moment – me telling you this?

  3. Lindsay says

    I’m glad to know that some of it was scripted. I always figured stuff like that was.

    Isn’t it crazy to look back at how MTV used to be? I miss TRL and all the fun shows they had before reality tv set in.

  4. says

    Oh my god. I just died a thousand deaths of embarrassment for you, while laughing uncontrollably at my desk. Holy sh•t, that’s good stuff. Because of you, I am now forever grateful I didn’t get selected for the nearly million contests I entered in the 90s. NO ONE could have predicted what YouTube would do to that decade. LOL.

    Thank you SO much for that good laugh. I’ll be beet red for you all day.

  5. Courtney says

    Ahhhhmazing!!! This totally made my day. I’m surprised I don’t remember it because I used to watch that show all the time!

  6. says

    i love this. probably more than i should. it’s hilarious…and what’s better is that i’m certain i watched it and was jealous of you…fo sho. so i guess i’m also a nerdy rap enthusiast…way to go $herdog!


  7. Bree says

    OMG! I SAW THAT EPISODE! lol Actually one of the girls in my HS was on that show and met Sarah Michelle Gellar.

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