Three University of Minnesota students are competing to prove they are more than mere “trolls” — and that they are worthy of interning for a celebrity with “tiger blood.”
For the past month, more than 75,000 Charlie Sheen fanatics worldwide have applied to become his social media intern. After three rounds, three University students are still in the running, alongside an estimated 250 to 500 people.
The full-time eight-week paid internship, operated through Internships.com, called for a “hard-working, self-motivated, creative, resourceful and social media savvy individual to work closely with Charlie Sheen in leveraging his social network.”
For the first round, the competitors submitted a form on Internships.com explaining why they should be chosen to intern for him in less than 75 characters.
“I will keep the Sheeniacs salivating for more day to day controversy,” read Shannah Henderson’s submission, which she sent in early March.
Henderson, a strategic communications junior, said the internship would be “a professional opportunity of a lifetime.”
“I like to promote brands, and Charlie Sheen is a brand,” she said.
Henderson said the media’s obsession with Sheen comes from his apathy toward abiding by social norms.
“The public loves the fact that he’s so controversial,” she said.
Josh Schreiner, a political science junior and also in the third round, said he thinks the contest is a “big hoax.”
“I want to know the end game,” Schreiner said. “He’s got some goal in mind.”
The second round required “Sheeniacs” to submit an application with relevant work experience.
For the third round, applicants submitted a YouTube video where they could address three different prompts relating to promoting social media.
Using one of the prompts, Schreiner applied a political spin to his YouTube video — a fitting move, as he is currently interning as a legislative assistant at the state Capitol.
“Remember, at the end of the day, I can weather any storm as your social media director,” he said in his video.
Schreiner said landing the internship would be a “surreal” experience.
“I did it as a joke,” Schreiner said. “I enjoy listening to Charlie Sheen rant — I think he’s a genius with how he uses social media.”
However, his parents told him if he won the internship, it would be “very stupid” to take the job and it would “ruin any chances at any job in life.”
Instead of starting at zero, Sheen’s more than 3 million Twitter followers would provide him a base for launching his career.
“It would be like going from high school to the NBA,” he said.
Andrew Wagner, a political science senior and another contestant in the third round, said he started paying attention to Sheen after his interview with ABC News’ Andrea Canning on March 1.
In the interview, Sheen said he “probably took more [drugs] than anybody could survive.”
“I’m different. I just have a different constitution. I have a different brand. I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man,” Sheen said.
Wagner applied impulsively.
“I threw my hat in the ring on a whim, and at this point, the hat’s still going,” Wagner said.
Wagner said the media loves Sheen because he’s entertaining, although he acknowledges that he “obviously has some issues going on.”
“[The internship] would be a chance to rehabilitate his image from an esteemed actor to a crazy guy who has spun out of control.”
When put into the context of yin and yang, Wagner said he could balance Sheen’s crazy side.
“I’m not about the flash and flare … or partying like a rockstar in Hollywood,” Wagner said. “I consider myself apt in social media and they want someone to build and harness his publicity.”
All three contestants were informed they made it past the third round on March 21. They are still waiting to hear whether they will make it into the top 50 for the fourth and final round.
As the field of applicants narrows, Sheen strives to keep “winning” the public’s attention. His new live variety show, “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option,” opened Saturday in Detroit. The debut show ended abruptly when the audience booed him off stage.
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