Students who have bought meet and greet tickets explain the benefits and downsides

May 25, 2018 — by Shreya Katkere and Esha Lakhotia

It took two hours of waiting last fall, but sophomore Katie Lam had finally made it to the front of of the line at Full Screen, an entertainment company in Cupertino. In front of her stood YouTube stars Alicia Marie and Mia Stammer. Within seconds Lam greeted and took photos with them.

Though many people dream about meeting their favorite singers, movie stars or YouTubers, some students have made this dream a reality by attending meet and greet events, sometimes paying hundreds or thousands for the privilege.

In Lam’s case, the event was free. She learned about it from Instagram and Snapchat stories the day before and was able to meet Marie and Stammer, who run their own beauty channels.

Because there were hundreds of people waiting in line, time with the stars with limited, Lam said, but she felt that the experience was worth the time spent.

“I see them online all the time, and it was cool to be able to meet them in person,” Lam said. “I have been watching videos from Alicia Marie and Mia Stammer for at least a year now and am a big fan. It was cool to have them come to Cupertino since it’s so close.”

Like Lam, sophomore Chloe Lahijanian also met one of her celebrity idols, Justin Bieber, in March of 2016 on his Purpose World Tour. The concert was at the SAP center at San Jose and her concert tickets came with a meet and greet pass and cost around $1,000. According to Lahijanian, the tickets would have been half the price without the meet and greet pass.

“I was a huge fan, and my friend and I wanted to go,” Lahijanian said. “The experience was pretty cool and the tickets were actually a birthday gift from my parents.”

The meet and greet took place in a large room with food, games and movies. After waiting for about 30 minutes, Lahijanian’s group, consisting of herself and two of her friends, was called to meet Bieber.

“We went into the room he was in, and we only got to see him for five seconds and take a picture,” Lahijanian said.

Though the interaction was brief, Lahijanian was thrilled with it at the time. Now, two years later and more mature, she said she isn’t such a avid Justin Bieber fan and doesn’t follow celebrities as closely.

Meet and greets vary in size and type depending on the celebrity. For example, since Lahijanian visited mainstream artist Bieber, the meet and greet was more crowded than Lam’s meet and greet because Bieber has a larger following. Bieber’s event was also part of a concert, while Marie’s and Stammer’s was announced last minute.

Celebrities who host meet and greets gain not only money but also the chance to meet fans. For the big stars such as Beyonce and Britney Spears, tickets average around $2,000 — a cost that is shocking to some but worthwhile to others.

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