After being away from campus for three weeks as I enjoyed a vacation in Vancouver, Canada and its vicinity with my family, my absence seemed to have been much longer than that. Amongst my friends catching me up on what I had missed, what amused me the most was their insistence that I realised that Miley Cyrus had been on campus while I was gone, filming for her new movie, So Undercover. None of us were especially big fans of Miley Cyrus; in fact, a couple of us shy away from her music unless it is forced upon us. Yet, the news was exciting because it was an example of yet another celebrity appearance at UCLA as Hollywood takes advantage of such a beautiful campus in beautiful weather, full of young and eager extras, only a few dozen miles from its studios.
This is one of my favorite things about UCLA; only a week before my departure for Canada, Real Madrid (the Royal Madrid Football Club of Spain) had graced our North Athletic Field with their presence. I was in the middle of giving a campus tour when I crossed paths with the celebrity team, and as I was walking backwards at the time, I suddenly found it curious that my audience stopped listening, began to talk amongst each other loudly and point at something behind me that was evidently more interesting than my fun facts about Wilson Plaza. A quick look behind me luckily brought me to a halt as I was about to walk into a snake-like link of fences marking a red-carpet-esque walkway for someone important enough to be separated from the general public. The walkway made its way from the north entrance of Student Activities Center (SAC), through Wilson Plaza, straight to the North Athletic Field. Suddenly, a caucus of screams near the north entrance of SAC brought our attention to a group of lean and athletically dressed young men boarding golf carts whizzing through the plaza to transport them onto the North Athletic Field. As they drove past, I recognized Cristiano Ronaldo, the most expensive football player in the world, better known to avid female fans for his dashing good looks. My friend in Britain who dreams of someday meeting Ronaldo would have been hysterical to know that I got a fleeting close encounter with him.
Only last night, as I looked through the bloopers of one of my favorite television shows How I Met Your Mother, I recognized Royce’s beautiful pillars behind a running Josh Radnor as he played Professor Mosby rushing past a busy corridor of an unnamed East Coast university. The truth is, many of Hollywood’s university scenes are filmed at UCLA; our popularity with filmmakers is not limited to television shows and movies but stretches to commercials and advertisements as well. If you ask me, I would love to take my actors and crew to film at a set that is naturally beautiful, brimming with young people eager to be extras, and easily accessible from their studio. I can only say that we are so lucky at UCLA with our average 300 days a year of sunshine to be in the perfect spot to share with famous celebrities and directors who obviously think so too. Go Bruins!