Photo Courtesy of Wireimage Rick Kern
Just beyond the Child Development Center, in a field near the BK5 student parking lot, the color pink became synonymous with UTSA’s signature navy blue and orange, as Victoria’s Secret PINK Nation Game On! Bash visited the UTSA campus last Wednesday.
Beating out 98 other schools in various challenges through social media, nearly 15,000 students attended the PINK party, which featured appearances from Victoria’s Secret models Jessica Strother and Rachel Hilbert, as well as musical guests DJ Irie and multi-platinum, Grammy-winning artist/producer Zedd.
Surrounding the grounds were a plethora of Victoria’s Secret PINK-branded attractions, including a pink and white spotted bus selling various exclusive UTSA-branded Victoria’s Secret clothing and lingerie, a heart-shaped bouncy house and a temporary tattoo parlor.
At the far end of the grounds, a giant stage had been erected, with blinding PINK colored digital screens displaying pictures of Strother, Hilbert and the occasional party goer, many whom had tagged their photos with #UTSAGameOn. The hashtag was inscribed on many of the festival’s fliers and signs, making you wonder: Was the Victoria’s Secret Game On! Bash a party to be experienced or just one big ad?
Students had lined up early outside the party grounds on the parking lot blacktop like an anaconda in heat, snaking around from the entrance all the way to the University Oaks apartments.
So perhaps it didn’t matter to attendees of the party—plenty dressed in their own Victoria’s Secret/UTSA garb and festival-chic gear—that the event was overwhelmingly barren of anything resembling a true party, especially for an audience of college students. The PINK-emblazoned, inflated obstacle course, bounce house and field goal felt like an 8 year-old’s ideal birthday party attractions, with a pair of bean bag toss stations gathering dust in the corner of the field.
The models, who paraded around the festival in their UTSA-branded Victoria’s Secret gear, were elusive, seen only in fleeting glances, posing for press photos or pumping up the crowd from the stage, throwing various PINK-related toys and goodies out to a sea of hot and sweaty students packed together like sardines in a can.
Inside the speckled PINK bus, both models were taking turns fielding questions from reporters. When asked about the hardest part of her job, Hilbert responded almost instantly, “Missing your family, probably. I try to, as much as possible, see my family. I talk to my parents every day!”
Strother remained in a similar state of home sickness as Hilbert. “I Skype with my mom and dad every day,” stated Strother. “I text my dad every morning, and I try to go home as much as possible, just to try to keep a close connection.”
Though conversation was pleasant with the two, turbulence did arise when a question about the lack of racial diversity in the fashion industry was asked to Strother. The model’s PR representative turned down the opportunity to answer the question before leading the models back outside to the grounds.
Back outside the bus, party’s host DJ Irie, who can be usually found spinning music as the official Miami Heat DJ and was recently recognized as NBA DJ of the Year, found a way to almost ruin the party before it could even build up with his emphatic monologue about UTSA beating 98 other colleges for the exclusive PINK party that bordered on self-parody.
“Ya’ll so turnt right now,” screamed party-host DJ Irie to the crowd of students during the PINK party. “I love ya’ll!”
Despite his many years of experience as a DJ, you wouldn’t know it from the amount of talking the host did during his two-hour set, often yelling over songs or switching up tempos at the most inopportune times instead of letting the music move the party itself. Sure, pumping up the crowd was his job, but interrupting a massive bass drop is a major party foul.
Zedd’s arrival to the stage came at around 7:20 p.m., just as the sun began to retreat behind the stage. The electronic artist’s stage show, consisting of two matching screens displaying brain-melting visuals and a laser show worthy of a sci-fi space battle, seemed to jolt the party suddenly to life from it’s zombie-like existence.
The sugar rush of red and blue glow sticks, along with the artist’s thunderous music that played to both extreme ends of the EDM and pop spectrums, was strangely the party’s only true grown-up moment.
Sweat got in the hair, in the eyes, in all available pores and crevices of each student’s body. Rachel Hilbert, looking almost unreasonably cleaner than anyone in her vicinity, took a selfie above the sea of students from the front stage. Found on her Instagram account, the hashtag #UTSAGameOn is posted in the description box, showing just what Victoria’s Secret really intended: just another advertisement.