Students make top 20 video jockey finalists for MTV2

Daily Sundial

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Time Warner Cable and MTV Networks held auditions at CSUN and other college campuses on Sept. 22 in search of new video jockeys, and three journalism students were chosen as top 20 VJ finalists.

The two companies were in search of the next Southern California MTV2 VJ. More than 100 aspiring VJs auditioned at CSUN throughout the day.

John Borack, spokesperson for TWC, said his company is looking for a VJ to locally host MTV2 in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.

He said viewers would get a chance to select their favorite local VJ through video on demand from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31.

The three students selected as finalists were Edita Varela, Connie Smith and Sanaz Bakhtiari, a former Daily Sundial staff writer.

Varela, senior journalism major with an emphasis in broadcasting, said she did not hear about the MTV auditions until she went to the KCSN radio station newsroom in the University Park Apartments that morning.

She works at the station, and was at the newsroom at around 4:30 a.m. in her pajamas. Varela said she decided to head back home after her class to make sure she looked decent for the audition.

“So random-fate has (something) to do with it; I was just checking out the (news) budget, just to check out what I miss in Hollywood,” she said. “This is what every broadcasting major wants, even any person our age-it’s a cool job.”

Varela said she applied for a hosting job in Hollywood prior to MTV coming to campus, and was checking the wire services to find out what was going on in Los Angeles.

“Honestly, it means a lot-particularly for a broadcasting major,” she said. “It could start out my career.”

Varela said she went to the audition early, and was the first to try out. The finalists were selected based on one audition.

Varela said that she is excited and ecstatic about the whole experience.

“It’s an incredible experience-just because I was chosen as one of the top 20 finalists,” she said. “I appreciate the small things-they are blessings.”

Varela said this is considered her first audition, despite having prior experience in broadcasting. She also did some hosting in an internship.

Smith, senior journalism major, had a similarly random opportunity to audition, and both Varela and Smith qualified as top 20 VJ finalists.

Smith, who was named after brodadcast journalist, Connie Chung by her mother, said she is still in a state of shock after getting the call that she is one of the top 20 VJ finalists.

“Even if I do not get it, I am proud of myself for being the top 20 finalist without any broadcasting (experience),” Smith said.

Smith who was working at the Journalism Department office on Sept. 22 spontaneously auditioned. She said she did not even know that MTV and TWC were on campus that day until a student came by and had asked her to check it out.

“Being one of the top 20 finalists is surprising to me,” she said, adding that gives credit to fellow journalism major Darren Dickerson and office staff member Susie Torres for prompting her to do it.

Smith, who has an emphasis in general journalism, and said that she is passionate about public relations, had never auditioned before, especially in broadcasting.

She said she took a broadcasting writing class before, but she had never been in front of the camera.

“Personally, before I wanted to do a little bit of broadcasting, but (movies and broadcasting) (were) not my scene,” Smith said.

Smith said she came by the MTV and TWC booths that day and inquired about how to audition, and when she was getting ready to walk away, a woman from one of the booths asked her, “What do you have to lose?”

She said at that point, she was challenged to just try it out, and contemplated briefly “Why not?” and just went through with it.

Smith said no matter the outcome, she appreciates the whole experience. She said she believes she was there at the right place at the right time.

“I believe in taking the opportunity when it’s there, and (with an) open door, walk through them,” Smith said.

Unlike Varela, Smith said she felt unprepared during the auditions. She said everyone else in line was dressed up and appeared to be ready for an audition. She said there were no panels of judges, basically just a camera operator and the woman who was holding a poster board with the script.

“(Being in front of the camera), I was nervous-as more and more people were crowding by the booth, I just had to blank out the noise,” Smith said.

Sanaz Bakhtiari, who had recently changed her emphasis to general journalism, said she also just walked by the stand where the auditions were. She said that the experience of auditioning was scary despite loving the camera and wanting to be the center of attention.

“I think it’s exciting to be part of the finalist-I love to be on T.V.,” said Bakhtiari.

Bakhtiari said when she was younger she use to model, which is just based on a pictures. In comparison, being an MTV2 VJ is totally different. She said she knows a lot of people who auditioned and she is shock whenever she watches her audition.

“I am so excited-more than I could ask for,” added Bakhtiari.

Borack said the winner would be contacted by either telephone or e-mail after the voting process at the end of the month.

He said the audition and the search was not exclusively for students, as they also held auditions at Huntington Beach Pier. He said despite the other auditions, it looked like mostly students ended up as finalists. The chosen Southern California MTV2 VJ will be working as an VJ for an entire year.

Joanne Angeles can be reached at ane@sundial.csun.edu.