Alexandra Neri, who works as a dubbing manager for Paramount’s Worldwide Distribution group, is the latest lucky Viacom employee to score free tickets to a tentpole awards show.
Below, she tells us what it’s like to win an employee sweepstakes, how impressed she was by the Nickelodeon’s “top notch” production, and why she’s proud to work for a company that let’s its employees engage in the magic of live events.
This interview has been condensed for clarity.
Facebook post courtesy of Alexandra Neri.
Congratulations on winning the employee sweepstakes. Is this your first time at the Kids’ Choice Awards?
Yes, this was my first opportunity to attend one of our shows live.
When you found out you won, who did you tell first?
My husband, Sal Neri.
And who did you bring as your guests?
My husband, along with my niece and nephew Jayden and Maya. They’re 6-year-old twins.
They must have been ecstatic. How did you break the news to them?
My husband and I picked up the twins and told them we were taking them for an outing. We kept it a surprise until we arrived at The Forum. That’s when Jayden and Maya saw all the other kids, and got really excited.
What did you like most about the pre-show experience?
I loved seeing the excitement on all the children’s’ faces as we entered the venue.
How did your niece and nephew react once the show began?
Since they’re 6, they were a bit too young to know the performers and award-winners. But they still had a blast. Their favorite part was watching the Orange Blimps circling the arena, and looking at the big screen to try and see if they were caught on camera. They loved the slime.
So, was there any particular celebrity who you enjoyed seeing perform or present?
Aside from seeing Cena host, I loved Heidi Klum’s appearance. And I enjoyed finding out about the YouTuber, JoJo Siwa. For someone so young, I found her to be amazing in every aspect.
I agree—I didn’t know much about her before the show, but she seemed so down-to-earth and grateful, like a regular kid. And I have to admit, I did go back after the show and watch some of her YouTube videos. I watched one where she showed off everything in her closet, from her backpack collection to her massive pile of Converse sneakers and I thought, wow, she’s got the best stuff!
She was amazing. My niece also loves tutus, so she adored JoJo’s rainbow-colored outfit.
Was there anything about the show that surprised you?
Well, I had no idea there were “Instagram Pets.” That category was pretty cool!
I was sort of impressed by all the things that go on social media, I typically only follow what I know. I didn’t even know there was a popular pet.
I ran into a longtime friend, as well – fashion blogger Lilia Aceves.
I definitely felt that the show did a good job of keeping up with today’s social media trends while staying true to the classic Nickelodeon motifs, like the slime-attacks and Cena’s uproarious antics. It was the same essential humor when I was watching as a kid. I think Nick is a timeless brand.
I grew up watching Nickelodeon! Back then, The Rugrats was my favorite cartoon. Currently, I mostly watch Nick Jr., since I have toddlers and they love Bubble Guppies and Paw Patrol.
That’s so cool. Nickelodeon is ideal for parents, I think, because the shows are entertaining regardless of age, as long as you’re into that kid-centric humor. Nicktoons still make me laugh. There’s just something very sentimental about Nickelodeon’s culture, and the KCAs are a perfect example of how it manifests for both kids and adults.
I know, there was a little girl behind me crying when somebody won. I didn’t even know who it was [who won].
I must have seen about 30 kids doing the same thing. In the recap I wrote for the Viacom blog, I compared the spirit at the KCAs to Beatlemania. I really felt the most exuberant energy; it was contagious.
So, overall, what was your takeaway from the whole experience—from winning the contest to the moment you left The Forum?
When I told my friends how I won these tickets in an employee sweepstakes, they couldn’t believe it. I felt it was really nice [of Viacom] to give people from every part of the company the opportunity to attend these shows.
And at the Kids’ Choice Awards, I was impressed by the production, the lighting and the sound. I was like…I work for them. This is top of the line.
Neri joins a parade of employees who have been able to attend brand tentpoles, including the MTV VMAs, VH1’s Hip-Hop Honors, The BET Awards, Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Sports, the CMT Music Awards, Logo’s Trailblazing Honors and even Ink Master, Live (the popular Spike show, which is now on the Paramount Network).