Question: How long have you known Candice?
Answer: I have known Candice for about 5 years.
Q: What do you like best about her?
A: What I like best about Candice is her genuine spirit. What viewers see on TV is Candice Glover. She has such a kind, loving heart. When I was in Hollywood, we talked about my interest in anti-bullying research and she lit up talking about how she hopes to one day help bullied youth and girls with low self-esteem. The statistics associated with “bully culture” don’t seem to be waning. I know Candice will quickly rise to the ranks of Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, and Lady Gaga as a celebrity anti-bullying activist.
Q: What is one of your favorite stories about time you spent together that is an example of Candice’s personality?
A: In February, just about a week after her life-changing audition aired, I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Candice. It was so endearing to watch her blush as people did a double take while we ate at Panini’s. At one point, she astonishingly said, “Oh my gosh … that little girl just looked down from upstairs, pointed and took a picture of me! Why did she do that?”
I said something like, “Honey, you’re a rock star now; you better get used to it.” In reading an Idol interview with her a few weeks ago, she commented about how strange it feels to be shopping with the other girls and have people stare, want photos, and ask for autographs. She is still that same humble girl who left South Carolina three months ago.
Q: When did you first decide that you were going to see American Idol live? Who did you go with?
A: I mentioned to Candice that I really wanted to go see her in Hollywood. She said she would make sure that I had tickets for the studio-audience. I went to Hollywood with one of my closest friends, Susan Mullikin from Camden, South Carolina. We were joined by family and friends (Susan Webb and Jamie Cheshire) who live in California for the Idol performances.
Susan and I started talking about it as early as February. As Candice made it through more and more rounds, then to the top ten, we started planning and booked our trip about three weeks out. We were asked, time and again, “What will you do if she has been voted off before you leave?” I think our responses were essentially the same, “First of all she’s not going anywhere; I mean, have you heard the girl sing?” Secondly we replied, “Poor us, I guess we have to spend four days together in Hollywood, California.”
Q: Describe what it was like to be in the audience, and also to see your friend on stage.
A: Candice’s mom (Carole) said to me before I left, “Shana, it looks so different being in the audience. It’s really hard to explain…its so different watching it live!” Carole could not have been more correct. We were all shocked by a number of things: the studio looks so much smaller than it does on TV; a woman with a plastic cup roams the audience making people get rid of their gum, and admittedly, there is a certain proclivity to look over your shoulder to see which stars are in the audience. Ryan Seacrest announced, Sir Anthony Hopkins on Wednesday and Kevin Bacon on Thursday, but also tucked away that night was Salon Takeover’s Tabatha Cofey.
We were there for one of the most talked about performances (to date)! Seeing Candice perform live, and knowing millions were watching at home … wow, it was unreal. I am still not sure the whole experience has quite set in.
It was difficult to be so close to her, and unable to run up, throw my arms her and tell her how amazing she was. So at the end of the show, just like any other Wednesday, I fangirled and gushed — via text message.
Q: What has been your favorite Candice performance on the show so far?
A: I really, truly have loved them all, but my default answer always goes back to her Top 10 performance: “I Who Have Nothing.”
Q: If she wins, what do you hope for her future?
A: You mean, when she wins…I hope her future is filled with all she has ever wanted. After some pretty harsh criticism from past tries on Idol, she never gave up. Actually, in true Candice style, she would not take “No” for an answer. She “Straight Up” has shown that she deserves to be crowned the 2013 American Idol.
Q: How do you feel about the outpouring of support from the Beaufort community?
A: “Akeelah and The Bee” is one of my favorite movies. It is a heartwarming story of how a tight-knit community bands together to help Akeelah learn 5,000 words for the National Spelling Bee. It’s essentially the same thing we do, but Beaufort’s version is Candice and American Idol. We talk, we watch, we vote, we threaten our friends if they don’t vote … it is so gratifying to see the various ways in which this community has mobilized for both Candice and her family. I have shared the largesse of our community with Susan (Mullikin); she recently said, “it’s just like a Cinderella story.” Yes it is! But, in order for this fairy tale to continue, we need to keep momentum strong and “Come Together” (with hundreds of our closest friends far and wide). Beaufort needs to see this thing through, and the only way to do that is to vote, vote, vote.