Experience of a Lifetime
By Asha Alexandria Wills, an Ambassador Girl Scout from Troop 2203
I recently had the unique opportunity to go on a press junket – which is an event where reporters interview stars from a new movie. After travelling to Los Angeles for six hours on Thursday morning, my mom and I arrived safely at our hotel. We hardly got a moment’s rest. Within an hour, we were travelling to the AMC Theater for the screening of the movie “Fun Size.”
Upon arrival, we found ourselves surrounded by journalists and reporters talking excitedly with each other. I introduced myself to a number of people and made some great contacts, got tips about press junkets in general and listened as people talked shop. The information I received was invaluable for me, as I was completely new to such an experience.
The movie was wonderful. Although it focused primarily on adolescents’ preoccupation with humor, friends, and parties, it also explored loss of family and loved ones.
The interviews with both cast members and director took place the next day, October 12. This was the truly exciting part for me – the part I had been preparing for and incessantly tweeting about for days. I soon discovered that people were just as excited about my Girl Scout uniform and all the badges on it as I was to be taking part in my first press junket. My uniform broke down barriers and made it easier for me to speak to people and for people to approach me. No one really knew of a Girl Scout my age. Only little girls with trolleys of cookies came to mind when they thought of Girl Scouting, so to see a 17-year-old-girl — an Ambassador Girl Scout whose dedication and commitment was evident by the badges on her vest — was truly an eye-opening experience for some. In fact, in both interviews, the cast and the director were just as interested in my achievements as I was in theirs.
I first sat down with Josh Schwartz, the director of the movie. The interview began with some basic questions from me, and as he was talking, I began to settle into my role, getting more comfortable and feeling like we were having a real conversation. As quickly as I was swept into the room I was swept back out again, for each journalist was allotted only five minutes per interview. We shook hands and I exited the room with twice as much confidence as I had had when we started.
In between interviews, I chatted with more journalists and with other employees, all of whom had valuable advice to offer in the way of the college application process, choosing careers, press junkets, and life in general. At some point during my wait I began to realize that everybody, including the talent I was about to meet, were just regular people, each of them with their unique story to tell. Rather than getting nervous about the stars I was about to meet, I became excited about the stories I was about to hear.
The interview with Victoria Justice and five other members of the cast flew by even more quickly than the first. This was due in part to the fact that this group got even more excited about my uniform and all that it meant. From the moment I stepped into the room, I entered into a conversation that, weirdly enough, was centered on me. They were more interested in what I had to say about Girl Scouting than in the questions I had for them. We ended up having a really good conversation.
Most of all, this opportunity reinforced for me what the Girl Scouts teaches us all along: leadership opportunities exist everywhere; you need not be afraid or nervous, as long as you prepare and jump in with both feet.