I meant to post this last month, and I don't really know what stopped me... Exactly a decade ago February 15, I met the man who many deem as simply the "star crush" for the majority of my adolescent-into-adult life. I think ten years is a lot of time and effort to invest in someone who is not so much more than that, though. This man is not simply exceptionally attractive (both inside and out), he is also a very gifted young actor who deserves all of the recognition, success, and fame he is finally starting to achieve (and then some!)
Jensen Ackles was on Days of our Lives at the time (no big shocker there, huh?), and he was visiting the luscious? green? state of New Jersey for a Post-Valentine's Day event. Tickets weren't cheap, but my mother was indulgent, so naturally I got mine months ahead of time.
Leading up to the event, I was convinced something would go wrong to prevent me from attending after all. That's just the kind of kid I was: not necessarily doom-and-gloom, but always imagining the worst possible scenario and preparing for it so nothing I actually experienced would be a disappointment in comparison. Color me shocked on the morning of 2/15/98 when I awoke with no physical ailments to stop me from meeting the love of my (albeit so far very short) life.
I dressed in a slimming back outfit, peppered with my then-favorite jewelry. I loaded my camera and stuffed at least half a dozen extra rolls of film into my purse. I set out for the industrial state across the river with only slight butterflies in my stomach and arrived at the small banquet room excited about the possibilities of the event. It was my first such one (though far from my last!), and it was my first real celebrity encounter in general.
Since my mother raised me to be perpetually early in general (and I didn't want to miss a second of this day), we arrived with plenty of time to peruse the merchandise table where 8x10 headshots were being sold for Jensen to sign, alongside general DOOL items like tee shirts, mugs, and books. As I was debating between two particular images, I felt a shadow behind me, and a face bent down to peer over my shoulder and ask what I was looking at. That was Jensen. That was his entrance. He was low-key, down-to-Earth, smelled of Drakaar Noir, and I loved him immediately.
From Soap Opera Digest, that's a thirteen year-old me just a few people away from my beloved Jensen.
I admit there were times through the years we didn't see all that much of each other. After he left DOOL for bigger stardom and turned up on Dark Angel-- and though he shined in the program-- the subject matter just wasn't for me, so we lived in two separate worlds for a while. Without being able to talk about his work, we drifted apart further when he went onto the equally-soapy-but-hiding-behind-the-guise-of-primetime-quality Dawson's Creek. Again, he breathed new life into the ridiculously superficial program, proving that he is an extremely dedicated, versatile actor who will stop at nothing to give a job his all, even if the job doesn't really deserve such hard work in the first place. Needless to say, we had our ups and downs because though I supported his decision to take what he could get to stay a working actor, I always knew he could do better, and I wanted to push him towards roles in which he could be taken more seriously for his talent and not just his hazel bedroom eyes and adorable chin-dimple.
Is it wrong that I find this photo totally hot?
Despite it all, though, I stood in the wings like the loyal, non-famous girlfriend I was, as hoards of screaming teenagers tried to stake their own, very similar claims in him years after I already had. I smiled silently, knowing I had them all beat: they were newcomers, but I knew and loved him when he was a simple Soap Opera Digest heartthrob pin-up (and I had such articles to prove it!). Needless to say, recently we have been on a high note, riding the wave that is the pleasantly-surprisingly snarky Supernatural, and though it's still not a program that can garner Jensen his first non-daytime Emmy nomination, it's at least a giant leap in the right direction.
Two weeks after our "anniversary," Jensen turned the big 3-0, and I realized that this-- a time of two great milestones in a person's life-- is the perfect time to renew the magical connection we once had, if for nothing else than to at least get an updated picture taken together because in the last one, I have strawberry blonde hair and had just survived a harsh east coast winter-- neither of which is a particularly flattering look on me, and then when you put them together... let's just say that despite my undying affection for this man, I'm not so gung-ho to display that in a frame. So, Comic Con San Diego '08 be warned: Jensen, here I come!!!