ZYRUP: First things first. How did you manage to score the opportunity to meet Britney Spears?
Joel: I was in an Uber and it happened to be tuned in to Kiss92, which was the official radio station for the concert. The DJ spoke about a competition they were organizing and how the winner gets to win some pretty outrageous prizes, including a meet-and-greet with Britney herself. When I heard that, my heart skipped a beat and before you can say “Radar horse porn!” I was sending in my application. I guess you can say it’s meant to be, because look where we are now, right?
What did you do to win the competition?
I had to perform in front of a crowd in Orchard, which was absolutely terrifying! But I really, really wanted to win so there was no time to be paiseh lah! I did a performance of ‘Circus’ and referenced some of her iconic moments. I probably will never do anything like that ever again, but I had fun!
Tell us how you got ready on the day of the concert.
One of the prizes was actually a staycation at The Quincy Hotel on the day of the show, so my friend Valerie and I had a little Britney-themed pre-game session. Oh, and we were driven to the concert venue in a limousine as well, which was pretty you know, cool, as Britney would say. We were blasting her greatest hits in the ride, of course. It was just perfect.
We’ve heard how Britney’s security team is pretty hardcore. Is that true?
No s**t! It’s Britney freaking Spears we’re talking about here! She’s a living legend, so it’s understandable. Two members from Britney’s security team gave us a briefing when we were first brought backstage. They were rather intimidating. They told us that Britney is a really shy person–as if we fans didn’t already know that. We were also told to try our best to appear calm, and to keep the interaction brief.
You actually appeared on Britney’s Instagram! How did you react when you found out?
This was at 4am and out of nowhere my phone started going crazy. I was like, oh crap, what happened?! Then I found out that she posted a video of our interaction on Instagram. I started making this really weird noise and jumping around the room. In hindsight, it was not my most glamorous moment.
You seemed pretty chill in the video when actually meeting her, though.
Looks can be deceiving, man. The video makes the whole situation look a lot less intimidating than it was. When I walked in and saw a massive group of people that probably included her managers, assistants and bodyguards, I was shookt. Everyone had cameras and portable lights pointed at us. You don’t get to see what’s behind the camera, but it was a circus. I was so, so nervous.
Britney said you made her nervous!
I know. It was mutual. She did also say we were nice. I’m going to add that to my Instagram bio!
You hugged Britney Spears. There must be a lot of fans out there who probably hate you for that.
The fans have actually been really nice about it! Britney fans are great. However, I do need to clarify something about the hug. In the video you can see that I had a slight moment of hesitation. Her security team specifically said to not “go at her” during the briefing, and of course they were standing right there keeping a watchful eye on us. I didn’t want any trouble for me, you know? Kiasi, mah! So I made sure to ask her first if I could give her a hug, and thankfully she said “Yes!”, which you can hear in the video. The interaction was not awkward at all. In fact, she was really sweet. It sucks that people think the contrary. I hope this clears up the air!
What was the experience like?
There was a lot of waiting at first. We had to turn in our phones and belongings at a holding room. We spoke to one of the security team members for a little bit during the wait. He revealed that the fans from the Philippines were the most enthusiastic, while the Thai fans were the most awestruck.
There was this massive curtain at the end of the hallway and I knew right away that Britney was behind it, judging from the number of security personnel stationed there. Once Britney was ready, they gave me my cue. I walked behind it, and there she was waiting in the corner!
She was so much taller than I thought she would be, especially since people have been talking about how tiny she was in person. She looked really good, like straight out of 2001. I’m talking peak-Britney. The make-up, the long blonde hair, the midriff-baring top, the jeans (which are very, very cool because they’re faded) and the abs. The abs! She was drop dead beautiful (feat. Sabi)!
What did you say to her?
Dude, I’m such a loser because I was rehearsing all these things I was going to say to her. Release a third single from Glory! Do the Super Bowl! The fans want a men’s fragrance! But once I was right there in front of the real Britney Spears, I just blanked out. Didn’t know what to say except “Hello!” At least I got the hug. Sorry, Britney Army, my bad!
Speaking of perfumes, Britney has a billion-dollar perfume empire, so we have to ask – which perfume did she wear?
Oh, she smelled so good! I wasn’t able to recognize the perfume, but I would describe it as a sweet, floral scent. In fact, long after meeting her, I could still catch a whiff of her perfume on my shirt. I was like, yesssss Brit, mark your territory! You know, like in the song.
It is said that we should never meet our heroes in person. Do you think meeting Britney has changed the way you perceive her?
Are you kidding me? You have to understand how Britney fans are. We have been through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I really think that there’s no other fan base that is more loyal. If anything, I’m an even bigger fan now. So yeah, good question, but the only thing that will be changing is my profile picture on Facebook.