Celebrity News

Maori student proud to gain internship on Ellen DeGeneres show

The 21-year-old from Murupara is about to start work with the talk show host – who just won the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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Ellen DeGeneres was granted the highest civilian honour on Tuesday, after being given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

But a Kiwi boy from Murupara feels like the honour is all his – after being accepted for an internship on the prestigious US show.

Fabian Anderson, who describes himself as “100% Maori”, moved to Los Angeles last year to complete his business and cinema studies course at the University of Southern California.

Realising that an internship was an important step in his industry, the 21-year-old wrote a passionate letter to Ellen as to why she should take him on. And he thinks that being Kiwi is what gave him the edge.

“I didn’t shine out because I was me, I shone because I was a Kiwi,” he told Stuff.

“We take risks, we are not shy and we are not calculated, we are open with a can do attitude.”

Ellen attended the White House on Tuesday to be one of 21 high profile stars who President Obama felt had touched him in a “powerful, personal way.” The talk show host was handed her medal for leading the way for LGBTQ equality.

“At a pivotal moment, her courage and candour helped change the hearts and minds of millions of Americans, accelerating our nation’s constant drive toward equality and acceptance for all,” a White House aide said while introducing Ellen.

“Ellen DeGeneres has showed us that a single individual can make the world a more fun, more open, more loving place, so long as we just keep swimming,” he added, referencing DeGeneres’s role as Dory in Finding Nemo.

President Obama embraced the talk show host, who came out 20 years ago despite the huge stigma surrounding homosexuality at that time. As a result, she suffered a career meltdown, which she didn’t come back from for almost a decade, and also suffered with depression.

Obama got choked up as he recalled how, despite homosexuality now being widely accepted (let alone legal) in the US, Ellen paid a price for her honesty back in 1997.

He commended her for the personal sacrifice she made, risking her own career to “push our country in the direction of justice.”

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