A Grown-up Fangirl Meets Her Teen Idols, The Backstreet Boys

Everyone fantasizes about meeting his or her favorite band. What happens when you finally do?


I have a confession: I’m 25 years old and I’m obsessed with the Backstreet Boys.

Their eponymous 1996 album was the first CD I ever owned. I wrote several diaries worth of love letters to Kevin Richardson (and remained loyal to him even after he made the questionable decision to wear a skirt to an awards show). I tacked this poster above the bed in my freshman dorm. I paid an ungodly sum (and we’re talking ungodly) to see their reunion show with New Kids On The Block two years ago. It’s not an overstatement to say that I have spent more than half of my life dreaming of meeting them. The Backstreet Boys and me? It’s a lifelong love affair.

In honor of their 20th anniversary, the most successful boy band of all time (suck it, N’Sync) recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. On Saturday, a fans-only pre-celebration took place at the Fonda, where the guys premiered eight glorious clips from their ninth studio album (set for release this summer) and shared a segment from their forthcoming documentary film.

When I arrived for the press conference I found a line of people wrapped around the building several times—teens who had camped out the night before, mothers with young daughters outfitted in concert tees, but mostly women my age, dressed to the nines and lobster red from sitting for hours under the sun. Like me, they were eager to see their childhood dreamboats in an intimate setting. Unlike me, they didn’t get to coolly utter “I’m with the press” and skip to the front of the line.

I had told myself on the drive over that I would hold it together upon seeing them. I reminded myself that I was a reporter. It was my duty to maintain a modicum of professionalism. Easier said than done.

Babe Alert: Kevin Richardson

When I walked into the dark lobby of the Fonda, the guys were on stage being filmed by two separate camera crews. It was impossible not to notice Brian in a perfectly tailored coral blazer. Nick was perched on a plush velvet sofa, beatboxing into a mic. There was Howie in red suede wingtips answering one interviewer’s questions while AJ messed around with some of the crew. And then: Kevin appeared. He sauntered out from behind a curtain, his signature goatee trimmed to perfection and his statuesque frame outfitted in a sharp black jacket and gray pants. He looked effortlessly sexy and not a day over 25 (even though he’s 41).

That was the precise moment I lost my mind. In fact, that’s exactly what I texted to my mother: I’M LOSING MY MIND. She told me to pull it together — and I did. As the press conference began, I needled my way to the front and put on my best “I’m a reporter” face. When the emcee asked for questions, my hand shot into the air. “My name is Marielle, and I’m with Los Angeles magazine.” So far, so good. Then, before I could stop myself: “I’m trying really, really hard not to fangirl hardcore right now.” Annnnnnd you blew it.
“Fangirl?” Brian said. “What’s that?”
            “You know, like freak out because I’m so excited.”
            “Freak out all you want, we love that,” AJ said.
            “Ok, well, I’m freaking out. I love you guys.” They all laughed.


Yes. I managed to banter, however pathetically, with the Backstreet Boys before interviewing them. The Q&A went fine but engaging with them as a fan rather than a reporter? Far more satisfying.

I’ve been told that meeting our heroes in real life rarely ever lives up to meeting them in our dreams. This was the exception. I adored the Backstreet Boys, I met the Backstreet Boys, I still adore the Backstreet Boys. Perhaps the rarest feat of all: Although I’ve matured, the idols of my teenage years have become the idols of my mid-twenties.  




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  • Diego Sanches llauqS

    Amazing text!

    It’s like you’re still trying to pull it together while you were writing it, haha.

    I’m a big fan, since I was 13. Now I’m a man, 27 years old and I’m still listening to them every day. Going to their concerts every time they come to Brazil and not blaming on my girlfriend anymore! hahaha

    The point is: They were not only blessed with the talent. They were also blessed as human beings, otherwise they would not stand for so many great things until these days after so many years and so many changes in the music market.

    I’m glad to remind myself and as long as there will be music they’ll be coming back again.

    GOD bless them. Hope my kids like them because I’m sure I’ll do everything so they like them, haha.

  • michelle mitchell

    I loved your story:) I know how you feel..though alot older..I was in love with the Bay City Rollers..and to this day still feel the same way about them and still listen to their music. It’s a great feeling..and something to tak eyou away from the pressures of every day life:) Thanks for sharing.

  • sabrina franco

    the most successful boy band of all time (suck it, N’Sync) my favorite part! I love your post.

  • Deka

    1- this is awesome

    2- I’m jealous

    3- loved this line “In honor of their 20th anniversary, the most successful boy band of all time (suck it, N’Sync)” and indeed suck it Nsync !!!

  • mary

    i’m 25 and a fan as well since forever!! Love this article! I could totally relate to it! I was working at F1 as a part time job and when I heard them singing BACKSTREET’S BACK ALRIGHT! I totally lost my cool and teared a lil! It was like a dream come true! Way to go girl! :)

  • Lau Couto

    Marielle, your text is amazing. It was like a mirror to me. I’m a journalist too, but I’m 30 now. When I met BSB was so amazing and I only wanted to write every feeling, every sensation and every memory. Being a BSB’s fan is a proud of us. I wrote this report for “La Otra Realidad Magazine” in 2009 when they came back to Buenos Aires, 8 years later of Black and Blue Tour. It’s in spanish but I can send you the english version. Congratulations!!!


  • http://penarunzi.blogspot.com Ann

    Hi Marielle! This article made me laugh and smile. It must have been really hard for you to keep from being so excited. I remember in 2006 when they came here in Manila for a concert. I was so reserved while waiting for the start of the show. And when they did show up on stage, I totally lost my mind! I left the show with no voice because of shouting and singing at the same time. :) Cheers to the next years of BSB!

  • Nancy Ishikawa

    OMG … that’s so AWESOME … amazing text … Congratulations!

    I felt exactly what you had felt while reading each line of it and imagining myself in a similar ocasion (I’m not a reporter tho lol … but when Nick commented something about making massages somewhere … There I was dreaming) … My GOD … it would be a dream *.*

    The Backstreet Boys are part of my life since 1998, and I will always be in love with them! Eternally!