Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Ellen gets De-Generous

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Even though Brooke Hogenmiller is not married she felt like she experienced a day just like a wedding day on Oct. 16.

After eight years of waiting and writing in almost every day she was able to see someone she truly loves, Ellen DeGeneres.

Photo submitted by Brooke Hogenmiller

Her love for Ellen DeGeneres started when she watched an episode of her show just to see former Cardinals baseball player David. After that one episode she began to watch religiously and soon she started to write into the show almost every day hoping to meet Ellen.

“I just submit for every [category] and hope for the best,” she said.

Hogenmiller had written in every day and slowly progressed to submitting to the newest contest categories around 20 times per day. At the end of September she wrote in on behalf of her and her “squad” and within two hours she received a response.

“Trust me, I’ve submitted for multiple writing-ins, and that’s never happened where they loved it so much,” she said.

She did not win an all-inclusive package, which would have covered the cost of flight and hotel, however, the Ellen show gave her six tickets for a show in October.

While in clinic for the dental hygiene program, Hogenmiller was browsing her phone when she was without any patients and discovered the email.

“I was freaking out,” she said. “I dropped to the floor.”

Photo submitted by Brooke Hogenmiller

Hogenmiller asked her mother, Diane Hogenmiller, and four of her Delta Delta Delta sisters, Megan Kremer, Melanie Grasso, Leah Sutterer and McKenzie Doyle, to join her for the show.

“They’re just my best friends and I really wanted people who would enjoy it,” Hogenmiller said.

Each of the girls has written in to nominate Hogenmiller for a sweepstakes before, which is just one of the many ways they have offered their support.

“I was really happy to have the opportunity to go, but also for Brooke to be able to experience this with her friends by her side,” Grasso said.

Hogenmiller ended up ordering five dresses for the trip in the little amount of time they were given to prepare. According to Kremer, the “squad” began shopping online for outfits as soon as they were told they would be able to go to the show.

The girls were given outfit requirements as far as what they were allowed to wear to the show. They were informed by different online articles that it would be best to wear bright colors.

Photo submitted by Brooke Hogenmiller

Waking up three hours early, Hogenmiller said she was very quiet and anxious, which is not normal for her.

“Everyone kept texting me, like, ‘Congratulations, today's the day,’” she said. “[I felt like] it was my wedding day.”

While getting ready they had a knock on their hotel room door — Hogenmiller’s father had sent two bottles of champagne on ice.

“We popped that,” Hogenmiller said. “That was a really good start to the trip.”

Before the show they took a tour of the Warner Brothers studio. According to Grasso their group was “pretty dressed up compared to the rest of the tour.” People even asked if they were a wedding party.

After the tour they grabbed lunch, did last-minute touch ups in the restaurant bathroom and headed to the show.

Once at the show they took their second row seats and got ready for DeGeneres to emerge from backstage.

“As soon as she walked out I was crying,” Hogenmiller said.

Photo submitted by Brooke Hogenmiller

Hogenmiller and her “squad” decided to get Ellen’s attention by jumping up and down and waving during a commercial break. Hogenmiller describes the moment Ellen saw them and waved as the best moment of the whole experience.

“She was kind of laughing like ‘Oh, my gosh, I have to wave to these poor girls,’” Doyle said.

After the taping of the show Ellen was shooting promotional videos for the Rhode Island area. In the midst of her promoting “12 Days of Giveaways” she paused while reading a script and the audience thought they had just all won tickets to a 12 days show. The audience was cheering and Ellen told everyone they were mistaken.

“I knew, in the back of my mind, that she was still going to give us the tickets, because I watch the show and I like to think I know who she is,” Hogenmiller said.

Later Ellen announced that she felt bad about the confusion and would be giving everyone tickets to a 12 days show, according to Hogenmiller.

The 12 days show taping could be happening during finals week. Hogenmiller and her “squad” are looking forward to going back even though they do not know how they will make it work with school.

“If we have to fly out the day before, go to the show and fly back, we’ll do it,” Doyle said.

Even with winning the show tickets and the 12 days of giveaway tickets, Hogenmiller said she will still keep writing in. She still is hoping to meet Ellen one day.