Review: The Daily Illini

MTV opens up a ‘Hole’ new world to students
by Amanda Criner, February 24, 1999

University students win ‘Celebrity Skin’ contest, taste the high life courtesy of MTV.

While most students endured flurries, bar raids and studying for exams, Josh Kessler and his girlfriend Katie Hennessy lived up the celebrity life as winners of MTV’s Celebrity Skin contest.

Last Thursday MTV cameras visited the Champaign-Urbana area to capture Kessler’s reaction upon learning that he would be treated to the high life for a weekend. Kessler was surprised by a phone call from Courtney Love after his boss and friends lured him away from Hennessy’s apartment. As Love talked to Kessler a camera crew stormed into the apartment.

“I don’t think he believed what happened,” said Hennessy, a junior in ACES.

Kessler and Hennessy flew first class to Los Angeles. They stayed at L’Ermitege Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Friday, Kessler interviewed the band Hole for the MTV program Fanatic.

“They were real laid back and more down to earth than I suspected,” said Kessler.

Next, Kessler and Hennessy had lunch with the band. Both Kessler and Hennessy said the lunch with Hole was one of the highlights of their trip.

Saturday, after shopping at Fred Segal where MTV bought Kessler clothes, they attended Drew Barrymore’s birthday party. At the party, they saw celebrities like Ben Affleck, Paul Rudd and Andy Dick.

“I still can’t believe it happened. I was standing next to Ben Affleck and I was like “what?'” said Hennessy. “It was just like a normal party except they wore expensive clothes and there were famous people there.”

The next day Kessler took a limousine to a Hole concert put on just for him.

“There was a star on the sidewalk with my name, when I got out of the limo everyone took pictures,” said Kessler.

He stood up on stage and introduced the band to the crowd of celebrities, record executives and fans.

At one point after the first set of songs, Kessler said Love stormed off stage. Kessler said Love expected more fans in the crowd, and was angry to see so many record executives.

“I got to talk to the crowd and they started chanting ‘Josh,’ ‘Josh.'”

MTV followed Kessler and Hennessy around during their entire trip as they shopped, partied and watched the concert. Stardom will continue for Kessler. As winner of the contest he will appear in Rolling Stone magazine and on Entertainment Tonight, attend another Hole concert and have a part in a movie. The episode of MTV’s Fanatic will air March 10.

Throughout the entire trip, camera people followed Hennessy and Kessler, capturing just about every moment on tape.

“I wasn’t a big fan of the cameras,” said Hennessy. “But the lifestyle? I can definitely live with that.”

But now it’s back to normal in Champaign-Urbana for Kessler and Hennessy. They have to take tests, walk to class in the frigid Illinois weather and find their lost luggage.

“I’m so upset, I have two exams tomorrow,” said Hennessy. “But it’s nice to come back to reality.”

“It sucks to come back here. It was 75 degrees every day there,” said Kessler. “I’m going to go back and be a celebrity some more.”