While some students left the country for spring break last week, plenty of others stayed to volunteer or enjoy free events during the annual South by Southwest conference in downtown Austin. From film world premieres with big name actors like Amy Schumer and Ryan Gosling, to official and unofficial SXSW live music performances by Wiz Khalifa and Miley Cyrus, this year’s festival was swimming with celebrities. Throughout the week, ORANGE Magazine staff found themselves surrounded by stars and couldn’t help but run into — or hunt down — these famous folks.
I got to see my favorite band, Dry the River, live at the IFC stage, but chickened out of asking for a photo because they’re too hip for me, and I wanted to look cool and nonchalant. I awkwardly waved at them and spoke with one of the members before stalking away and regretting my choices. Luckily the cosmos were totally looking out for me, because when I went to see The Vaccines at The Parish that night, I ended up running into Dry the River’s lead singer, Pete Liddle, who was there to watch the show. I was, of course, super embarrassing and said a bunch of lame things. But after letting him go a second time without a picture, I finally went and asked. He had to teach me how Snapchat flash works because I was super star struck, but now I have this cute selfie with him. Worth it.
– Emily Gibson, Buzz editor
I saw a panel on the evolution of audio at SXSWSports, headlined by renowned ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd and outspoken sports personality Stephen A. Smith. Stephen A. dipped before he had the honor of taking a photo with me, but I got to speak a bit with Colin Cowherd. “You’re a good-looking guy,” Cowherd says as he simultaneously gives me advice on tackling the broadcast journalism and compliments my looks. Later in the day, I ran into Victor Cruz, King of the salsa.
– Rahul Naik, Sports editor
It may seem quiet on the first Sunday morning of SXSW, but I stumbled upon a meet and greet with Youtube star Tyler Oakley. It was part of BeatyCon’s SXSW Meet Up, and Meredith Foster and Bethany Mota were also present. Young fans and college students alike waited in line to meet to the Internet personality. When it was my turn to meet Tyler, he immediately opened his arms for a hug. We took several selfies together, serious and silly, and chatted for a little while. Before we said goodbye, he said, “If I don’t see you later, I’ll see you on the Internet!” He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and you could tell he loves meeting his fans and interacting with them IRL and via URL. He greeted each fan with a huge smile and a hug, and spent time genuinely talking to everyone.
– Jenna Million, Music writer
A few friends and I decided to head down to Bangers on the first Saturday of SXSW, where Geek and Sundry was hosting a party. I was standing off to the side, leaning against a cocktail table, taking in the spectacle of a couple hundred drunk, sweaty Austinites dancing around with free Slurpies in hand, when a felt a tap on my shoulder. The shoulder-tapper in question wound up being none other than actress Felicia Day. She had a giraffe mask pushed back on her head and politely asked me if I wouldn’t mind moving out of the way so that she and her animal mask-wearing friends could get a picture in front of a sign I happened to be standing in front of. Armed with only a vague knowledge of her work, I had but one question:
“Are you Felicia Day?” She said yes. I quickly scooted away from the sign. While I didn’t manage to get a photo with her, if you look closely at the photo she tweeted that night, you can see my boyfriend’s shirt sleeve to the far left. #Famous.
– Catherine Alvarado, Social media director
I spent most of my SXSW slightly confused, slightly disappointed and slightly faded — okay, let’s be real, pretty faded. While I wasn’t on the look out for any super famous faces, it’s SXSW, and the magic is that those famous-ish people could be anywhere. My favorite sort-of run in with a sort-of famous person was meeting Ian Connor outside of Illmore. After driving all the way to the secret location and parking directly in a ditch, I was summoned by the short rapper and his crew. Literally summoned. “Jazz, I have summoned you,” were the words out that came of his mouth as he laid on the hood of a car surrounded by 20 of his closest bros. I was asked a series of questions — “Do you want a fat ass?” or "Do you do squats?” amongst other things too explicit to mention here — while his crew giggled along. When it became clear I was not down, the rapper hopped off the hood of the car — revealing just how short he really is — and ran over to chase a girl walking past me, putting his arm around her and no doubt whispering similarly charming things into her ear.
– Sarah Jasmine Montgomery, co-Editor-in-Chief
And lastly, The Jack Antonoff
I was well aware that Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff was on the MTVU Woodies grounds. Even in the cold and rain, I made it a mission to find him. After my friends and I tried to get into the front pit unsuccessfully, I lost all hope. It was painful to see Jack MCing the Woodies on a stage I was only 20 feet away from. Right before Fall Out Boy came out, I saw Jack being rushed to a backstage area behind the crowds. With a kick in my step, I fast-walked — yes, in a trash bag — to Jack and some security guards. I tried to walk up the steps to speak to Jack, but some evil woman with a walkie talkie made sure I didn't. I stood as close to the barricade as possible before yelling, "JACK! SMILE FOR ME!" He laughed, gave a thumbs up and stuck out his tongue for a quick photo. Five minutes later, I somehow found myself dumbfounded and smiling like an idiot as I stood right behind Jack on live television. Though we never touched, I smelled him, and that's good enough.
– Dahlia Dandashi, Style editor
Even though I met a wide variety of A-list actors like Ryan Gosling and Adrien Brody, the celebrity encounter I cherish the most was meeting Jack Antonoff. I was so starstruck, the only words that came out of my mouth were, “You’re my fucking idol.” He laughed a big goofy laugh and said, “Thank you so much.” Later that same day, I posted the picture I took of us on Instagram with a cheesy caption and went to bed. In the morning, I was surprised to find out that Mr. Antonoff himself liked my picture. I could not find my chill. Two days later, I attended the MTVU Woodie Awards, which Antonoff hosted. During a commercial break, Jack started talking to the crowd. I started jumping up and down and waving to catch his attention. He looked my way, pointed at me and said, “We took a picture together, right?” while doing a hand gesture that resembled taking a picture on a camera. Meeting one of your biggest idols and them being just as nice as you thought they would be is definitely a great feeling.
– Jesus Acosta, Marketing promotions director