An Abbotsford teen who is a fan of American hip-hop artist Macklemore was thrilled when she was selected to interview him during the We Day youth empowerment event in Vancouver on Wednesday.
Anna Holota, a Grade 12 student of Yale Secondary, found out on Monday that she had been chosen for the opportunity, and the following day attended a rehearsal at Rogers Arena, where she met Macklemore for the first time.
“He’s so genuine … He feels so fulfilled by what he does,” she said.
The actual on-camera interview took place Wednesday as part of a We Day production to be televised on MTV and CTV in November.
Holota’s questions to Macklemore were scripted and addressed topics such as the initiatives the singer is involved in for youth around North America and how they can look beyond themselves to help others.
Holota said she has always admired Macklemore for his beliefs in providing service to others, and it was an exciting opportunity to speak with him in person.
“It was amazing, especially with all my fellow students around me,” she said.
We Day drew together 20,000 students from more than 1,000 schools with the goal of inspiring them to change the world.
In addition to Macklemore and his performing partner Ryan Lewis, celebrities attending the event included Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, Orlando Bloom and Nick Jonas.
We Day is an initiative of the Free the Children organization, and similar events have been taking place across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.
Doug Primrose, a teacher in the Yale Secondary leadership program, said the school applied for tickets to the event and was accepted based on its global and local initiatives.
This includes its support of Free the Children through an annual overnight event at the school which has raised almost $60,000 in the last three years.
Locally, the school has supported programs such as the Abbotsford Food Bank, Matthew’s House and Cyrus Centre.
Twenty leadership students and two teachers from Yale attended We Day on Wednesday, and Holota was selected for the Macklemore interview after organizers contacted the school and asked for recommendations.
“She’s always very prepared for those kinds of things,” said leadership teacher Soraya Rajabally.
This was Yale’s fourth year at We Day, and Primrose said participating students always come away inspired.
“It’s like a five-hour pep rally in trying to get the kids involved in making change,” he said.