Ode to Mandy Moore

My Mandy Moore obsession was out of control from the years 2001–2003. I knew Mandy’s full name: Amanda Leigh Moore. I knew her birthday: April 10, 1984 (only four years and one month before mine). I knew Mandy was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, but grew up in Orlando, Florida. I knew that she was the greatest person who ever lived.

Mandy was my ideal female celebrity. I firmly believed in her complete superiority over Britney and Christina. She seemed nicer and more real, not too polished. Mandy was a much better role model, I used to tell people. Everyone. Anyone.

I implored my friends and relatives to listen to her music, to read her interviews, so they would know as much as I did about her and be equally enlightened.

What I didn’t tell people was how often I visited her fan page and read the message forums (it was daily). Sometimes I contributed, usually in defense of Mandy if I felt people were getting a little too intrusive. The irony was lost on me. I didn’t tell people that I would wait as the website loaded, my hand on the speaker’s volume, to lower the blast of whatever Mandy’s current single was because I didn’t want my parents to know how often I browsed the site.

I tried to hide my complete and utter obsession, but it shone through brightly. I knew every public fact there was to know about her. I had her DVD Mandy Moore: The Real Story, which topped all of my other Christmas presents that year. I knew all of her music (duh). I watched her movies. I had weekly dreams that we were friends. I just knew that one day we would meet, and I would get to tell her how much I admired her. I had a special frame that I set aside for the photo evidence of that moment (still waiting, Mandy).

And oh yeah, I created a massive collage of her when I was 13. My aunt walked into my room when I was sitting on my floor, cutting out Mandy heads from various magazines and placing them just so. She looked at the magazines, the cutouts, and then at me.

“Uh, whatcha doing there, Jen?”

I told her.

“Oh. That’s…weird.”

She walked away. I panicked. Was I weird? Was this collage not a normal thing to do? I agonized as I painstakingly glued on the last picture. I held it up. It was beautiful. Just like Mandy.

My obsession with Mandy abated as I got older. Nothing personal, Mandy. I just had some high school stuff to deal with. I felt as though my fan-ship with Mandy was like a friendship that drifted apart organically. You know the type. You mean the other person well, and you cheer them on when you hear about something positive that happened in their lives, but you’re not actually friends anymore. I no longer religiously followed Mandy’s updates. I didn’t see every single movie of hers when it was released. Occasionally, I would put on her rendition of “Only Hope” and sing along at top volume. When something about her would pop up in the news, I might read the article and smile.

Now, years later, as the premiere of Mandy’s latest show “This is Us” approaches, I’m feeling reflective and a little bit like it’s time to check in with my old friend.* When “This is Us” premieres, I’ll be tuning in.

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*Note: I do not in any way believe that I am actually friends with Mandy Moore. I have no intentions to actually contact her. No need to be alarmed. K, thanks.