Angelique Jordan started out as a fan, surfing the Internet looking for information on when her favorite show Law & Order: SVU was going to begin its new season.
Now the 18-year-old Augusta State University freshman from Hephzibah has written a public service announcement that one of the popular television series' stars has recorded for NBC's The More You Know segment.
Her contest-winning spot about self-esteem airs tonight on NBC (WAGT-Channel 26) during the broadcast of It's a Wonderful Life. Ms. Jordan will be a guest on this morning's Today Show, where she'll see the debut of her announcement, which is read by Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay.
Things have taken a surprising turn, Ms. Jordan admits.
"I was actually on Mariska Hargitay's official site finding out info about SVU. I'm a big SVU fan, and I saw on the side there was a flashing advertisement that said 'screenwriters wanted,' or something like that. It caught my attention," she said.
Minutes later, she was reading about a contest from NBC and CosmoGIRL! magazine asking teens to write a public service announcement about self-esteem for the chance to have the television spot produced, recorded and aired on NBC as well as a possible visit to the Law & Order set.
"I didn't think I was going to win it," the biology/pre-med major said. "I'm not really a good writer, but I thought 'Why not enter it; there's no harm in entering it.'"
Ms. Jordan said she spent hours thinking, writing and modifying her words on the importance of self-esteem.
"The underlying message, from my point of view, is that self-esteem isn't something you're born with, it's something you have to develop," she said. "And, no matter how long you have to take to get it, eventually you will get it, and will value yourself, take pride in yourself and overall care for yourself as a whole."
On Sept. 6 she heard she was a finalist and that her spot would be voted on online by readers of CosmoGIRL!.
Five days later she learned she had won.
"I was shocked," she said. "I was, I don't know, so surprised. ... I was screaming in the phone, very loud."
Susan Haspel, the executive producer and one of the co-creators of The More You Know campaign, said NBC wanted to include more youths in the process.
"It's a brand that's been very well recognized. People, they know the music when they hear it and people remember spots with Bill Cosby and other personalities over the years," she said. "The messages are a real call to action. I just thought this contest was a creative way to provide young people with an opportunity to write something that will be meaningful to them."
Ms. Jordan said her words really do have special relevance.
"I think a lot of people, especially in high school, don't have self-esteem, and maybe when they hear it from somebody they look up to or admire then maybe they can think more about how they look at themselves or of how they value themselves," she said. "I don't know if celebrities realize that people watch them and look up to them, and when they say 'Don't drink and drive' or something like that, their fans are listening to them.
"It feels great that I wrote one of them for Mariska Hargitay to say, nonetheless."
Reach Kamille Bostick at (706) 823-3223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE MORE YOU KNOW
What: Hephzibah resident Angelique Jordan's The More You Know segment on self-esteem
When: Premieres tonight during It's a Wonderful Life (8 p.m. EST) on NBC (WAGT-TV Channel 26). Ms. Jordan also is a guest on this morning's Today Show, where she'll see her spot for the first time at 7:45 a.m.
If you miss it: Ms. Jordan's public service announcement read by Law & Order: SVU's Mariska Hargitay will be in regular rotation. Visit the site www.the moreyouknow.com to see it.