In college and grad school, due to my participation in the student government association and my ex-husband’s role as a graduate assistant, I got to meet and interact with a lot of lower-level celebrities whom the university brought in to perform or speak.
It was frequently our job to pick them up from the airport (two hours away from the college town we lived in), get them settled at their hotel, take them for dinner, make sure their dressing rooms were acceptable, and then get them back to the airport the following day.
I think name-dropping is pretty obnoxious, but meeting these people gave me plenty of fodder for those ice-breaker games you have to play at parties or team-building functions: the “two truths and a lie” or “name a random fact about yourself” sorts of things. For instance:
- I once spent a Valentine’s Day with Bruce Campbell. (Just driving him back to the St. Louis airport from Columbia, but it was Feb. 14.)
- I’ve seen Mo Rocca in his underwear. (Because he was trying to get my opinion on whether the overalls he’d brought worked or whether they’d be offensive to mid-Missourians because it might come across as if he thought they were all farmers.) (We nixed the overalls.)
- I’ve had dinner with Ron Jeremy. (He picked food off of my plate with his bare hands, which does not endear anyone to me.)
But by far the most impressive celebrity I’ve met – and certainly the cutest – has been international Instagram star My Best Friend Hank.
Hank will serve as the Hambassador of the Krewe of Barkus, which rolls this Sunday in the French Quarter.
I was lucky enough to sit down with Hank and his best friends, Will and Ashley Glass, to discuss his Carnival plans.
What have you learned from your first Carnival season with Hank that you might do differently this year?
Ashley: For the most part, the stroller really kept Hank safe and people were very accommodating about letting us move around. Hank was also ecstatic about the amount of snacks that we brought, so we’ll do that again. What we’ll do differently is read the route and stick to places that are family-friendly. While most people are very excited to meet a mini-pig on the route, there are some people who get jealous that he “hogs” all the throws.
What are you most excited about re: the Krewe of Barkus?
Will: This will be the first parade I’ve ever been in, which is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. So it’s cool that Hank got my foot in the door. I’m pretty excited for Hank’s signature throws: He’s going to be throwing little bags of Cheerios, little squeaky pigs, and some Hank stickers.
Is Hank allowed to eat king cake? Does he have a favorite kind – has he bought into the Dong Phuong mania?
Will: He is definitely allowed to eat it. It’s actually one of his favorite foods of all time. He goes nuts every time we give it to him. He swears by Winn-Dixie king cake, just the plain old kind. I don’t know if Winn-Dixie changed its recipe or what, but it’s actually the most underrated king cake in the city.
I know he loves blueberries. Has he had blueberry-filled king cake?
Will: That’s actually a good idea. We might let him try blueberry this year; he’s never had it.
What throws is he trying to get this year?
Ashley: Last year, he got a Muses shoe — he wanted it, and they were happy to give it to him. This year, we don’t know for sure which parades we’re going to, but he definitely wants a Nyx purse.
Will: He also really likes to chew on the toilet brush at home if we don’t keep the bathroom door shut, so he would probably love a Tucks toilet brush.
Is he dressing up?
Will: For Barkus, we’re trying to keep his costume under wraps. But for most of the other parades, last year, he had a Mardi Gras feather boa that he looked pretty fabulous in, so he’ll probably just wear that again. This is Hank’s favorite season, and he’s pumped to meet a lot of friends along the route. You could say he’s pretty much built for Fat Tuesday.
Please come see Hank and the rest of the Krewe of Barkus on Sunday, Feb. 4, at 2 p.m. The parade begins at Armstrong Park. Happy first weekend of Carnival season, y’all!