JMU Celebs: Tanthony


Name: Anthony Duggan

Major: Media Arts and Design, Concentration: Journalism

Hometown: Massapequa, NY

Q: When did you start tanning?

A: I started tanning at the end of high school, my senior year. My ex-girlfriend got me into it. From there, I was addicted.

Q: How often do you tan?

A: I tan one to two times a week. I don’t even tan that much. Since I’m Italian, it’s easy for me to tan quickly. It really doesn’t need to be everyday.

Q: Where do you go to tan at JMU?

A: I go to Beach Bum.

Q: Do they know you there?

A: Yeah they do, they all know me. The girls are very friendly there, they don’t really care [and]  they’re nice to me.

Q: How do you like being famous at JMU?

A: I like it sometimes, and other times I don’t like it. Only because I can’t do anything without people knowing what I’m doing. I can’t eat in peace; I can’t walk around campus. I get attacked constantly, especially when people are drunk. I like it to a degree because people recognize me and I think it’s pretty cool, but at the same time, it has its downfalls.

Q: How do you like the name Tanthony?

A: I think whoever made it is creative. I would never think to put that together, to put the T in front of Anthony because it spells out tan. If my mom didn’t name me Anthony, none of this would have ever happened.

Q: So you don’t know who started it?

A: I don’t. I think it began on Yik Yak, from Yik Yak and took off and then people actually started calling me that in public.

Q: Coming to JMU, did you know that you would become so well known?

A: No. I knew I was different than a lot of people coming here; being from New York and the north, we have a different culture. I wear earrings, I have a chain, I’m Italian and we are really into what we look like.  A lot of people here are more laid back and [with] southerners it’s different. I didn’t think that I would become so well known. And the whole stereotype of lifting and being tan, they all think I’m from the Jersey Shore, even though I’m not from there. Its funny. And then they go GTL (gym tan laundry). It’s funny, but it’s true, though.

Q: What might people be surprised to know about you?

A: I’m actually a good guy. I have resting b—- face, but when people actually meet me they really like me and they say that I’m one of the nicest guys they’ve met. I’m really down to earth and I care about people a lot. I’m very easy to approach; I may not look like it because I’m big and I lift a lot. My mom raised me well. I’m really close to her. I’m really good guy deep down.

Q: A lot of people say you are a douchebag, any comment to that?

A: A lot of people say I’m a douchebag from the way I look or that I use girls, [but] I don’t. I’m really a good guy.

Q: Do people ask a lot of questions or stare at you a lot?

A: Oh yeah. People look at me, they stare at me all over campus. When they’re drunk, they try to talk to me. I’m humble about it. I introduce myself as Anthony, because that’s what my name is. I’ll never add the T when I introduce myself.

Q: Do you get a lot of girls because of your persona?

A: It’s funny. I do get a lot of girls, but then again, I don’t. A lot of them think they’re too good for me or I’m too good for them. Or they’re afraid to approach me because of the name, but whomever I meet I’m just down to earth. They get to know me for who I am and then when they find out I’m Tanthony, that they don’t even see me as Tanthony anymore. They know me for who I am and my personality, not who I am at JMU.

Q: What’s the craziest encounter you’ve had with someone because of being Tanthony?

A: I’ve actually had a girl ask for my autograph in Carrier.

JMU Celebs: Tanthony

JMU Celebs: JMU Mermaid

12002298_10153319882927886_7658526664223177382_nName: Hannah Burgess

Major: Media Arts and Design, Concentration: Converged Media

Hometown: Charlottesville, Virginia

Q: Have you always loved mermaids?

A: Oh yeah, definitely! I was way too obsessed with mermaids as a kid. I had a million different dolls, movies and stuff like that. I would go swimming with both of my legs in one pant leg with flippers on and pretend I was a mermaid.

Q: What got you into dressing as a mermaid?

A: There is an entire community of people around the world who dress up as mermaids. They are on this website called the MerNetwork and it’s a Reddit type website, where there are threads and different conversations about topics. I didn’t know this existed until my freshman year at JMU. I discovered it and I was like, “Oh my God wait, this is an actual career that people do and they make money and they get to dress up like a mermaid. This is the coolest thing ever.”

Q: When did you start being the JMU Mermaid?

A: January of 2014, right after I went to my first mermaid convention.

Q: What is your best memory as a mermaid?

A: I went to the Florida Keys over winter break last year. I had never been to any tropical place. I went with some other mermaids and other photographers who have boats. We went out to the coral reef. We took pictures underwater with the coral reefs. It was so stereotypical mermaid.

Q: Do people recognize you outside of being the mermaid?

A: Yeah.  A lot of times it’s at parties. People say, “Oh, you’re the mermaid girl!” They don’t usually stop me, but if they have a reason to, they will. One time someone stopped me in Dukes and said, “Hey, are you the JMU mermaid? Can I take a selfie with you? It’s on my JMU bucket list to take a picture with you.”

Q: How do you like being well known?

A: I like it. A lot of people who are mermaids, if they didn’t want the type of publicity from dressing up like something weird like a mermaid, they wouldn’t do it.

Q: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

A: I was never on a swim team.

Q: So, how did you learn how to do all the tricks you learned how to do?

A: I always liked to swim under the water and not on top of the water. When people tried to teach me how to do freestyle, I was like “screw this.” There are a lot of videos and conversations on the MerNetwork that teach you different tricks. I go to UREC once, sometimes multiple times, a week.

Q: How many costumes do you have?

A: I currently have one mermaid tail. I’m getting another one. I have six different tops and different hair accessories, necklaces and earrings.

Q: Do you plan to continue dressing as a mermaid after you leave JMU?

A: Probably, yeah. I don’t know what I want to do yet. I really want to have a career that allows me to incorporate being a mermaid into it. Kids will always have birthday parties where they want a mermaid there, regardless of what I’m doing. It’s an easy way to make money over the summer and when it’s warm outside.

Q: Do you make money off of this?

A: Yes I do. It’s profitable, but it’s not like I’m a millionaire rolling in dough.

JMU Celebs: JMU Mermaid

JMU Celebs: Mia B.

Name: Mia Brabham

Hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Major: Media Art and Design  Concentration: Digital Video Cinema

Minor: Creative Writing

Q: Why did you start your videos on YouTube?

A: It’s a funny story. It was actually an accident. It was seventh grade. I was a dancer all my childhood and I used to love choreographing things. So I choreographed this dance with my friend and we recorded it with this crappy, pink digital camera. And then we put it on YouTube. YouTube was in its infant age. No one knew what YouTube was. We uploaded and it went viral. It has over 126,000 views, probably more now. For then, it was absolutely insane. After that, I was addicted.

Q: Do you have a favorite video?

A: That’s really hard. I’ve been doing it so long. I have a favorite old one and a favorite new one, but I don’t have an absolute favorite one.

Q: What has been something positive that has come from making these videos?

A: Definitely the chance to engage and talk with people and hear people’s ideas is so cool and what they think. It’s amazing to touch people’s lives I would get so many comments and emails, people talking about how much they loved my videos and how it inspired them. I had a girl tell me I saved her life. That was the moment I realized I could touch people’s lives.

Q: How do you like being known around JMU?

A: It’s really cool to know people from all different backgrounds, organizations and majors. It can be frustrating, especially when I’m trying to get somewhere and I stop and see people. I don’t want to be rude. I literally have to find corners to get work done.

Q: Did you think you would become popular at JMU?

A: Oh my gosh, no.

Q: What is one fan memory that sticks out in your mind?

A: I had a lot of people stop me after I made my college advice series. I met this girl in Dukes and she said, “Oh my god! I know you, I watch your videos!”

Q: Do you have a craziest fan experience?

A: I was walking down the beach with my friends and this girl was staring really hard at me, not even smiling at me. Five minutes later, this girl came running behind me screaming my name.  She said, “I watch your YouTube videos. I’m on vacation and I wasn’t sure it was you, but I came back.”

Q: Do you have one video that has the most views?

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Q: What might be something that surprises people about you?

A: I really like being alone; I’m an introverted extrovert. I love alone time. I hate talking in front of people.

JMU Celebs: Mia B.

JMU Celeb: Thor


Name: Matt Brennessel

Hometown: Phelps, New York

Major: International Business | Concentration: Finance

Minor: Spanish and Chinese Business

Q: Did you know coming into JMU that it was going to be such a big deal that you looked like Thor?

A: No, not at all. It just kind of happened really I guess. I was born this way. I don’t like to shave, I’m just lazy. And I haven’t cut my hair because I want to donate it, so I’m going to do that at the end of this month.

Q:  All the hair is going to be gone?

A: Yeah. I won’t even be able to fill this role anymore.

Q: Are you recognized just at JMU or everywhere?

A: I get it everywhere. I mean everywhere. When I was abroad two summers ago, everywhere I went, then all summer back home at my job. It’s an everyday occurrence.

Q: How does it feel? Do you like it, not like it?

A: I’m kind of indifferent. You don’t want it to go to your head because then you’re just an asshole and I don’t want that to happen. I definitely take it as a compliment.

Q: What’s the craziest thing that has happened from being involved in this?

A: People like to take pictures of me a lot. Not so much here at JMU because obviously they would see me around. In Ireland, there were a bunch of Brazilians who thought it was hilarious that I looked like Thor. They were taking pictures with me all night they were buying me drinks. I can’t really complain about it, but I don’t want to lie. They ask me if I’m related and I’m like ‘No. I’m quite American.’

Q: Do you ever see people trying to sneak pictures of you?

A: Yeah like under the arm, yeah.

Q: Do you say something or let it go?

A: I just let it go. Talk about an ego boost. I try not to let it get to my head. There’s a lot of cameras pointing at me, it’s probably someone on the bus taking a picture of me. Friends send me their Snapchat story [and say]  ‘In my friend’s Snapchat story you were sitting over there doing whatever.’

Q: Do you get more girls because of it?

A: I’m dating a girl right now; I have been for about eight months, almost nine months. Prior, yeah, definitely it may have helped.

Q: Does she care that girls are all over you?

A: She gets jealous, yeah, I think it’s funny a little bit. She thought it was cool I was getting interviewed for looking like I do.

Q: What might be something about you that surprises people?

A: I’m just a pretty normal guy. I wake up, go to class and work just like everyone else.

JMU Celeb: Thor