Catfish brought to WCU

Nev Schulman, the host of MTV’s reality show, Catfish: The TV Show, brought inspiring advice to hundreds of fans packed into the UC Grand Room on Monday, Sept. 23, hosted by Last Minute Productions.

An hour after the doors opened, Schulman made his way up the center aisle, videoing fans, shaking hands, and even kissing a baby named Constance, his youngest audience member to date. He began his presentation amidst enthusiastic applause and screams from a wide berth of audience members.

Schulman started his presentation by frankly confessing to multiple mistakes that he made as a young adult, such as getting kicked out of elementary, middle, and high school, as well getting kicked out of college, getting arrested and numerous other offenses.

“I don’t normally introduce myself to people so candidly. Yes, I did get kicked out of a number of schools. It’s not something I’m proud about, but it happened. I wouldn’t normally lead a conversation with that, but it’s part of who I am. I think a big part of my success and a lot of what made me the right person to host this crazy TV show, is that I have a knack for just sort of being honest and saying what I think,” said Schulman.

Nev Schulman

Nev Schulman was as excited to see the audience as the audience was to see him. Photo by: Hope Quinn

Schulman started with a tale about him and his friend, Josh, who, after getting caught flooding urinals and throwing paper wads at the ceiling in their elementary bathroom, became inseparable best friends since Kindergarten. The tale leads to their college days and a time when he and Josh were working with the Neistat brothers on a documentary film. The day was early, and after about four days of being cooped up in a hotel room together, patience was running short. Around day five, Nev and Josh were in a Radio Shack waiting to film and Josh was playing around with a bull horn. He accidently set off the alarm in Nev’s face. This led to an altercation between the two.

“I was so mad that he had pushed me and I was just so frustrated and annoyed with the situation and, it’s not an excuse, but I definitely blacked out and I threw one punch. As hard as I guess I could because I hit him right in the face and broke his nose and… basically his face. I sent him to the hospital and in that moment, in that two or three seconds it took for me to forget who I was and why we had had that stupid fight and to throw that punch, I basically erased 13 years of friendship,” said Schulman.

What he had not realized was that he had been acting a certain way for a long time. He says that he had been a bit of an unintentional bully in the way that he acted and he took people for granted. About a week after the fight with Josh, he sat down with his brother, someone he wholeheartedly looks up to. His brother told him that he loved him, but he did not like him.

From his brother’s brutally honest words, Schulman realized that he needed to make a change in his life. It was the spark he needed to realize that he was totally lost and needed to find who he truly wanted to be. Schulman offered his advice to the audience about the importance of surrounding themselves with honest people.

“Be brutally honest with yourself and find people who are willing to do the same. As honest as you are with yourself the people you surround yourself with are the people whom you make your life. If you just hang out with people who tell you what you want to hear, you probably won’t grow that much.”

Carrie Prevette was beyond ecstatic to meet Nev Schulman. Photo by: Hope Quinn

On his way to discovering himself, Schulman began photographing ballet. He wound up taking a shot that was published in the New York Sun.

“It wound up on the front stoop of a woman in Michigan named Angela, who saw it and loved it and reached out to me. I fell in love with her even though I had never actually met her.”

This was the beginning of what would become the documentary film Catfish and eventually the reality show Catfish: The TV Show on MTV.

There is a quote that Schulman has hanging over his desk in his office that reads “If you work really hard and are kind, amazing things will happen”.

“The hard part, for me at least, was the kindness. That kind of gets lost in the second half of that sentence, but I cannot stress to you enough how important it is. You need to appreciate how important [people] are even if, in that moment, you don’t think that they are.”

Shulman’s presentation lasted a little over an hour but the audience never lost interest in what he had to say. There were murmurs of approval, rumbling laughter, and shouts of affirmation for the advice he offered.

“It was life changing and inspirational. He was down to earth just like I expected,” said Alison Orlikoff, a WCU sophomore.

He closed out his presentation with one last word of advice, to not judge your worth or value by the number of friends or followers, likes or comments that you receive on social media. He urged the audience to find a set of friends that you can be yourself around.

“Invest time in your real friends, you really can’t predict how important it’s going to be to have those people to count on,” he said.