Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lachey brings laugh to small audience


Christopher Wells

Issue date: 4/1/09 Section: News
Drew Lachey addressed his career, family and goals Tuesday, March 24 in the Union Ballroom.

The event, which began at 9:15 p.m. and lasted until about 11:30, featured Lachey speaking about the pressures of life in the spotlight, including a question-and-answer session for the audience.

The talk was rich with jokes, and students appeared to be impressed with Lachey.

"I thought he was very engaging," Renee Ricci said. "He made jokes that were at the college level."

Lachey's talk centered on the challenges he overcame in his rise to fame. He outlined how he was able to become a member of the pop group 98 Degrees, a Broadway performer and the winner of the second season of the popular television show, "Dancing with the Stars." Throughout his speech, he encouraged students to remain open to the opportunities life offers.

"Be focused, plan, but don't put the blinders on," Lachey said.

Lachey also elaborated on his humble beginnings as a member of the U.S. Army and his first job as an ambulance driver in New York City. Lachey had a daughter shortly after the conclusion of "Dancing with the Stars," and spoke about his experience as a father. He expressed a deep passion for this aspect of his life.

"The love that you get from your family and friends; that is what will make your life fulfilling," Lachey said.

During the question-and-answer segment, Lachey fielded questions ranging from whether Ashlee Simpson is as unintelligent as the media portrays to his daughter's first words. Students simply enjoyed being in front of someone they idolized while growing up.

"All in all, I can tell you one thing, I never would have thought back in the sixth grade that I would be meeting him at 21," senior Ashley Skwirz said.

After the talk was over, students were encouraged to stay for a meet-and-greet session. Lachey signed autographs, and students had the opportunity to get their picture taken with the celebrity.

The event was sponsored by Brockport Student Government, who was satisfied with the outcome of the event, despite a lower attendance than expected.
"Though as an organization, we could have wished for higher attendance, all who attended roughly enjoyed the event," BSG Programming Director Evan Brengel said. "So though attendance was low, I am still extremely proud of the quality of this event."

The humble and good-humored nature Lachey brought to his speech was the highlight of the night for students.

"I definitely think that Drew Lachey was able to connect with all the students," Skwirz said. "He was funny and down-to-earth, and he had a lot of engaging stories to share."

Brengel said Lachey was chosen as a speaker based on high recommendations and lower costs than the average celebrity speaker sponsored by a BSG agency.

Members of BSG were equally as impressed with Lachey's ability to bring his stories to life, and Brengel thought the talk went a long way in understanding Hollywood celebrities.

"It helped students understand that behind the bright lights of Hollywood, there are real people with average beginnings like most of us," Brengel said.