Viacommunity, Viacom’s umbrella for the company’s social commitment, held a Twitter contest this summer, canvassing its following for responses to how they amplify impact in their communities, in order to encourage acts of goodwill, and for fun. The winning tweet came from Parth Bhansali:
Parth was then given a chance to attend MTV’s already-legendary 2013 Video Music Awards (out of which came an unsurpassed number of twerking references and jokes thanks to Miley Cyrus’s performance, an historic reunion of *NSYNC and more), as well as correspond on the red carpet at the show in Brooklyn. Parth wrote about his experience, below, and we’ve included footage of his interviews above. Thanks so much to Parth for coming out, and for caring about making a difference.
Yes, that was me, brushing shoulders with Justin Timberlake, TLC and Vampire Weekend a few weeks at the VMAs. Pretty big deal. It all came to pass through Viacommunity’s #AmpImpact #VMAred contest, and its lucky winner — me!
The Viacommunity contest invited followers to tweet how they give back to their community for the chance to be a correspondent on the 2013 MTV VMA red carpet. I am grateful to say that my tweet was chosen as the winning entry.
As a first generation Indian American, who grew up watching unforgettable VMA moments, Britney & Madonna in 2003, Kanye & Taylor Swift in 2009, and Beyonce’s BIG announcement in 2011, I never imagined that I would have the chance to be a part of that excitement in person.
On the afternoon of the VMAs, I met up with Team Viacommunity. From the beginning, they were encouraging and just as excited as I was, helping me prep for my celebrity interview questions on our way to Brooklyn. Thankfully, I had rehearsed most of them in front of the mirror beforehand. We quickly arrived at Barclay’s Center and I had to pinch myself that this was really happening.
After checking in at the Press Tent, the real fun began. Before we hit the red carpet, I was prepped again by the awesome MTV Production crew, who taught me basic camera etiquette and rules. My biggest fear at that point was messing up. Fortunately, I had the chance to rehearse my introduction in front of the camera, so most of my nerves were gone before the celebrities joined us.
What most people don’t realize is that since the Red Carpet is live, interviewers don’t get a chance to make mistakes. Despite my rehearsing, my first interview had its fair share. Thankfully, MTV’s Nikki and Sarah covered up my blunders with their quick jokes and wit. After that, I had the fortune to interview Miriam and Olivia Nervo, New Politics, and a number of other celebrities. That was exhausting work, and afterwards we took a break and enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere around us. The Red Carpet was one of the most surreal moments in my life: full of screaming fans, flashing cameras, glistening smiles and, of course, celebrities.
Now it was time for the most exciting part of the evening; the backstage interviews! I’m amazed to say that by the end of the show, I had the opportunity to interview Vanessa Bayer, Nile Rodgers, Vampire Weekend, Austin Mahone, and TLC. I was able to watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt present Justin Timberlake the award for ‘Best Video’ followed by Katy Perry’s videocast of her performance to ‘Roar’ by the Brooklyn Bridge. Appropriately, the 2013 VMAs ended with a roar of applause.
On our way back to the hotel, my brother and I talked feverishly about the fun we had and the eye opening experience of seeing the work behind the scenes. I knew once I got out of the car, my fifteen minutes of fame was over. Even though the night was over, the memories of this once-in-a-lifetime experience will never be forgotten.