There is usually a defining moment connecting a fan to an artist – the makings of a fangirl.
My fangirl status started in 1996 when the Backstreet Boys voices flooded from the school bus speakers and straight through my heart. Get it? That was THE moment. It was practically over night that my walls were covered with their faces. It amazed my Mom how much I struggled in class with the periodic table but I could memorize Nick Carter’s entire bio after reading it only once in BOP magazine. Not long after I jumped head first into the fandom, my BFF Christina followed. To put it simply, those boys were our world.
Fast forward to 2004 at the celebratory dinner of my high school graduation. Christina handed me a card that she addressed to Mrs. Carter and signed it Mrs. Richardson. (Yes, we knew better. It was our joke.) As she was leaving, she laughed and said “Hey Lacy! KTBPA!” That was the last time I spoke to my best friend. She was killed in a car accident shortly after. Christina is not psychically here today but I will always have a piece of her through the Backstreet Boys.
Years later my husband surprised me with a VIP upgrade to meet BSB at a Jingle Jam concert in Atlanta. Those men had no clue what they meant to me or the impact they had on my life. Not sure what possessed me with the courage to answer Nick when he asked me how I wanted to pose the photo but there was no doubt that it was meant to be when Kevin leaned in for that kiss too. They didn’t know my name or recognize my face (and I don’t ever expect them to) but they were undeniably sincere when they each hugged me and thanked me.
Fandoms are made up of a diverse group of people (fangirls/fanboys) connecting to artist for many different reasons. They play a pivotal role in history of pop culture. Some fandoms hold only a short period of that history while others are iconic, lasting decades. I believe the BSB fandom has remained strong for over 20 years because Kevin, Nick, AJ, Howie, and Brian genuinely love their fans. That mutual love is what makes the Backstreet Boys (and their fandom) iconic.