Step 18 - Block Party: Get on the Boat Part 2 - Beta Sigma Blockhead, Melissa (Rock This Boat Season 2), and Maria (Rock This Boat Season 1)

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Beta Sigma Blockhead

How did you decide to start this group?  When did it happen, who founded it?

There is a group of 9 of us (Johanna, Josephine, Angela, Melissa, Michelle, Michele, Jodie, Lisa, Elizabeth) who met on the cruise. We had been going for a couple of years and having the time of our lives. We started to joke that being a Blockhead was kind of like being in a sorority and that the cruises and concerts were our conventions and meetings! One of the members of our group, Jodie, was talking with her husband one time about our group, and he jokingly used the name “Beta Sigma Blockhead” to refer to us. We loved that idea so much that the next year on the cruise (2014) we kind of made it into a “thing.” We made t-shirts, decorated our door, wrote a pledge and had wristbands made to give to new “pledges.” The idea took off and people really loved it!

At the heart of this concept (and the reason I think it became so popular) is that we are all about meeting new people and accepting everyone. The whole idea started because we loved the “sisterhood” feeling of being a Blockhead and we wanted to continue that idea. We have formed such amazing friendships through the New Kids and we figured this would be a great way to meet more. We always say that we love the band members themselves (obviously) but that it’s really about the friendships we’ve formed and the memories we’ve made. The guys are the “icing on the cake”!

How do you become a pledge of Beta Sigma Blockhead? Would someone just come up to you and say "Hey - I want to pledge!"?

Like I said before, we are all inclusive! If you are a Blockhead and you want in, you’re in! The main place we have met new people and gotten new “pledges” is on the cruise, but we love meeting new people at any New Kids event. If you are going on the next cruise, come by one of our cabins (we will tweet out the room numbers closer to cruise time) and come meet us! Get a wristband and agree to the pledge to make it “official” and you’re in! If you’re not going on the cruise, catch one of us at a concert or event!

(I feel like I should point out that it’s not actually a “real” sorority. It has the feeling of one and we like that attitude, but really it’s just a group of people having fun and making memories!)

How many members do you have? 

Well you essentially become a member when you get a wristband, and we’ve given out over 500 wristbands! It’s been neat to see on social media when people post pics of them in their wristbands from all over the country (and world!)

Our “pledge”

  1. First and foremost, I promise to love, honor, cherish, and obey our favorite 5 guys: Donnie, Danny, Jordan, Jon, and Joey.
  2. I promise to respect my fellow sisters and will be happy for them when they have their moment with one of the guys.
  3. I promise to accept each of my sisters as the unique individuals they are.
  4. I promise to “Rise and Grind” and live life to the fullest!

A couple of our “claims to fame”: ;)

Mr. Donnie Wahlberg himself has been spotted wearing a Beta Sigma wristband! (see pic)

In the last meet and greet on the cruise, Jordan saw our t-shirts and asked one of our group (Lisa) what they meant. She told him it was a sorority we made up and asked if he wanted to be a member. He told her he did, so she replied, “Well you’re in!!” So we now claim Jordan Knight as a member, ;)

Also, in a strange twist of the universe, attached is a picture of Jenny McCarthy's stuffed cat wearing one of our wristbands. ;)

Anyway, that is just some random info about us! We were so thrilled that you guys wanted to hear about us and are going to mention us on your podcast! Love what you ladies are doing! Can't wait to listen!


Melissa - "The Birthday Girl" -  Rock This Boat Season 2

Questions About You

What's your name, where are you from?

Melissa Newell aka #BirthdayGirl and I am from the Pacific Northwest, Oregon to be exact.

Which season of Rock This Boat Were you On? 2

How would we know you/remember you on the show?

I was the one who wore her birthday crown the whole time

How long have you been a fan of NKOTB? 

Since I was 14 years old, when my highschool BFF, Sarah, introduced me to NKOTB, God bless her!

Tell us all of your favorite New Kids things (if you want)

There are too many. I would say ALL my New Kids adventures are my favorite! Too hard and too many to list. But my favorite things? I would say I love how they (the guys) GENUINELY love their fans. I LOVE that they still tour and put on a better show than most artists. I love how they and their music can bring together complete strangers, all because of a common bond.

Who’s your favorite? 

Ummm my Twitter handle says it all @JordansGirl84 :) Jordan Knight, all the way. LOVE him... Then Danny & Jon & Donnie (depending on my mood) and last, but NOT least, Joe. LOVE them all but I will always be a Jordan girl!

Do you have a NKOTB non-cruise related story to share?

Once again, too many! I actually didn't see them in concert till I think it was 2013? I was 39 years old. My parents weren't big on me going to concerts as a teenager, so I never attended one in my younger years. Then I got married, still LOVED and listened to their music, but life happened. I would ALWAYS say I was going to go to their concert, but something would come up. In 2013 a friend had tickets and I went to The Package Tour. And the rest is history. Since that, I have been to Vegas to see them, 2 cruises, met Jordan at the Nick and Knight Tour and more concerts. The last 4 years have been a whirlwind of ups and downs and whole lot of wonderful memories and I am looking forward to more!

Rock This Boat Questions

What made you want to join the cast of Rock This Boat?  

Nothing really made me "want" to join it. I applied on a whim, no expectations of anything, the night of my moms funeral. I told no one I was doing it when Donnie sent out an email on Sept 2 or 3rd (one of those days). I just typed up "my story" full of tears and cuss words in the wee hours of the morning and sent it off. 

How did you get on the show (how does the process work?

I honestly don't know "how" or "why" I got on the show, I am just blessed I did. There were phone interviews, emails, Skype interviews, more phone calls and more emails. Until "they" the producers and whomeever else decided on a cast I guess.

Before you were on the show, had you been on the NKOTB cruise before? 

Nope, I was booked for this cruise as a gift from my parents for my 40th birthday, but no. This was my virgin year.

Do you feel that there was any backlash from the BH community after you were on the show?  Did you receive any negative feedback?  How about positive feedback?

Most BH's are nothing but supportive, happy and want to hear all about the experience and talk about anything NKOTB related. Its mostly been positive and as always there is gonna be a few haters, it comes with the territory. Thats been a hard one for me to learn, but I slowly have... I've learned to ignore it and focus on the positive BH feedback, new and old friendships/ experiences. All of that and everything else FAR outweigh anything negative.

How often are people trying to get close to you because they think you might have a connection to the group?

I really don't know. It was all such a surreal experience, the RTB2 cruise and the 2016 cruise. I was enjoying myself way to much to even notice. And trust me, I have no connection to the group. Only amazing memories!

How much input did you have on how things went down, like was the way we saw it really the way it all happened?

Yes, I WAS REALLY that surprised and shocked with the party, the cake, Jordan, and Danny :) no acting there! And no, I did not have any input. Other than asking them to film from better angles .

How much access does a typical cruiser get to the guys?

Everyone has access, as long as you have no expectations, you will pretty much see the guys on the boat.

How much of your access was producer arranged?

I have truly no idea, other than they did have a show to produce. I had no script, no timeline, nothing. Just someone (the best camera operator ever) following me around most of the time.

There was even an unexpected moment out there on Jenny McCarthys SiriusXM show where I got to "sing" shower karaoke and Jenny declared me "The Winner".... , the best part? Me running from Jordan on the stage! It wasn't filmed for RTB but a fan did post on YouTube

What was your relationship to NKOTB prior to the cruise?

I didn't have one, just a BH fan, who LOVED Jordan. I met him at the Nick & Night Tour in 2014, one of my favorite moments of my life. I got my first speeding ticket EVER that night up to meet him! And he signed it!

How about now? 

Probably the same, I don't have a "relationship" with them, directly. Other than they do know OF me (not claiming they know me) now and recognize me on the cruise and on tour. That was cool, being recognized by them from stage on both 2016 cruise and this past tour in June. A few follow me on Twitter and occasionally comment on my IG, but they do that with tons of other BH's too.

Are you friends with any of the other cast members?

Yep!

If you could do it all again (being a cast member) would you do it? 

Depends on the situation, but most likely yes. I would want to do it again, to take it all in. I am SO grateful to everyone involved and to NKOTB for the whole experience. It was truly a once in a lifetime gift.

Is there anything you would like to say to “set the record straight” about your experience? 

Jordan still doesn't know my name AND THAT IS FINE BY ME! However a chance encounter with him near the elevators, made my whole cruise in 2016 memorable and during photo op and I am so glad I had a girlfriend there to witness it!

General Cruise Related Questions:

Top five things to pack for the cruise:

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Phone charger
  • Dramamine
  • Energy shots 
  • Extension cords

Top three no-nos on the cruise:

  • High Expecations
  • Stalking the guys (just let things happen)
  • Camping out on the lido deck all day

What is your favorite event? 

Sail Away, goodness I love Sail Away! And random encounters with the guys. But the game show too!

What would you say to convince someone who thinks the cruise isn't her jam to go on it? 

It is like nothing you could EVER imagine! And worth EVERY penny!

It looks like a blast! Is it really that much fun? 

Then some and more! See my above answer (to the previous question) Its what you make of it too. You can choose to be miserable because something didn't happen the way you imagined (i.e. expectations) or choose to have the time of your life.

How often do you spot a New Kid? 

EVERY DAY. At LEAST twice a day. If not more. Between parties, shows, game shows, photo op and lido deck, EVERY CRUISER is guaranteed to see them! And you NEVER KNOW, one may jump out of a cake for your birthday or end up in your cabin!


Maria's Story

Questions About You

How long have you been a fan of NKOTB?  Tell us all of your favorite New Kids things (if you want)

I have been a New Kid fan since as long as I can remember which is probably 8 or 9 yrs old. Jordan Knight was the first "boy" that brought upon all those funny feelings that weren't my normal disgust I usually felt for boys. Ever since his fancy dance moves from You Got It (The Right Stuff) appeared on my MTV (when MTV was actually Music Television).Those dimples and vampire smile had me down for the count for what may seem like to eternity.

Who’s your favorite?

Jordan Knight is my fave, although as my adolescent mind tried to rationalize and weigh out the probabilities of actually marrying a New Kid and my chances would be better with Joey Mac since we are closer in age. It didn't work cause till today I always gravitate towards that Knight. 

Do you have a NKOTB non-cruise related story to share?

yes, I have 2

My Remember Betty Story. 

If you don't know Remember Betty is the breast cancer charity that Danny Wood started in memory of his mother Betty Wood, who also passed away from breast cancer in 1999.  

Warning this may be long but touching.

My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014. She went through treatment but unfortunately her cancer was so aggressive that she passed away on November 17, 2015. 

During her treatments Remember Betty really helped her out. They sent her care packages, they helped her with resources, and they paid for some her insurance premiums and even paid for her cremation  

Abbie, the Director of Remember Betty continued to check in on me and continuously check in on my sister and me. She really cared, which meant that Danny also really cared; since he is the driving force of the charity.

When she passed away Danny sent his condolences to me via a private message. That meant a lot.

During her transition my sister was worried about the loved ones that she would leave behind. She was truly worried about me and who would be strong for me. When I told her that although no one would replace her, I had Remember Betty and all the Blockheads who have expressed their concern and love for us. She had some comfort in knowing that the love that poured in from Remember Betty and all of the Blockheads that contribute will help me get through. It was a very sweet moment. 

Kathy, my sister is even on The Remember Betty web page as a testimonial of where the contributions and donations go to and how they assist.

 If there is ever a charity you want to donate, please look into Remember Betty, they are truly great.  

Then there’s the time that I straight out balled my eyes out on Donnie Wahlberg’s coat.

It took me about a year to really feel the loss of my sister. I have been taking care of my daughter and my mom that I was still numb. When the 1 yr anniversary of her death came it hit me. I was a total mess, I was sent home from work cause I thought I could make it through and was just like I said before; I was a total mess. 

My friend who I met through the cruise knew I was not feeling well and decided to take me along on her adventure to visit Donnie on set. It was 3 of us, my friend, her friend who had never met Donnie and me. 

As usual Donnie loves his fans and immediately asks to take your phone to capture some selfies. When it came to me he asked me for my phone and I said no, he was surprised and asked why. I told him that I have been crying my eyes out all day and I looked like a mess. His face went from giving that warm smile to genuine concern. 

I told him what today was and why I was so sad. As I was telling him I broke down again and he just hugged me. He told me he had loss a sister as well and he knew my pain. I snapped out of this and was like “oh my God, I’m slobbering all over Donnie’s coat”. I must have said that out loud because he said he didn’t care and hugged me even tighter. I was a total mess. It felt like a real friend was holding me and sharing my pain. I mean that man is so amazing; he empathizes with all of us. 

Rock This Boat Questions

What made you want to join the cast of Rock This Boat?  How did you get on the show (how does the process work?)

I found out about this show through social media and it was relatively late for entries. It asked to send in videos with cabin mates and our story.

I sent in an email, (pretty long one cause I can just ramble on and one- if you haven't noticed). I sent pics along with my story about my friend Kim, whom I met the year before in the "roommate match program"; and despite both of us saying the NKOTB cruise would be a "once in an lifetime experience". Here we were about to embark on my 3rd cruise and her 2nd in October. Pallavi is a friend I met at work. 

You know how it's awkward meeting the new kid in town, but we both clicked immediately when she asked me what I was listening to and I told her New Kids on the Block. Her big beautiful eyes lit up and she told me all about her adventures as a kid. She told me all about how she would follow them on tour and she would sleep on friend's family member's couches in distant cities just to be in the nose bleed sections of any arena. 

Pallavi could not believe about the New Kids cruise and immediately was on board to join the fun. 

We were all single moms and that's what my submission was about.

The struggles and at times torture of being both parents in one body for our children. I talked about how we sacrifice some of ourselves and sometimes we can lose our identity being a parent. But when we listen to NKOTB and go to their events, the inner child and individual comes back out, and it’s amazing. 

I sent some pics of Kim and I from the year before and how we let loose on that cruise. 

Did you receive compensation for being on the show? Did you get a discount on the cruise?

We didn't get paid much. No discounts for the cruise or anything special 

Before you were on the show, had you been on the NKOTB cruise before?

Yes, my first time on the cruise was on 2012. 

I thought I had worked a ton of overtime as a server at the Cheesecake Factory at that time, to pay for this trip. It was definitely going to be a one-time deal. I was sooo wrong, I’m going this year and this will be my 6th cruise. 

Funny story:

To get myself to truly enjoy this cruise I had to assure my daughter was well taken care of. My very overbearing mother was my only babysitting option that I was comfortable with. Knowing my mother and her lack of understanding for my love of NKOTB, I knew she would not agree to babysit for 4 days while I was on this cruise. 

  1. It’s very expensive and a single mom on a waitress salary was not going to afford it.  
  2. According to my mother, it was very irresponsible.

As you can see my dilemma, my only choice was to come up with an elaborate lie. 

I kinda feel horrible but it's hilarious.

My lie needed to consist of work and a trip that is being totally paid for. 

It took time to plan the perfect lie, but I did it. 

I had just gotten a new job at a hospital which made it worse because my mother would never agree to have me go on a vacation right after acquiring a new job. She thought my employer wouldn’t understand and decide to choose another candidate for the position. 

I decided to make up a medical conference in Miami, and that eventually I was chosen to attend, all expenses paid of course. I was going to be very busy meeting during the day and networking at night, that I wouldn’t have much time to call her. I had to think about the time I would not have cell service. 

My daughter knew as well and I called her whenever I could. She was totally fine with it, she told me to have a good time because I totally deserve it. 

 I also told a colleague of mine, ya know in case something tragic happens. I heard the Bahamas is known for their disappearing acts. 

Oh the shame!!! The things we do for the love of NKOTB!  

 

Do you feel that there was any backlash from the BH community after you were on the show?  Did you receive any negative feedback?  How about positive feedback?

There was some backlash, especially after the cruise and before the show aired. It was very difficult being on social media because people who weren't in the know would make these horrible assumptions about the cast. By then I have gotten to know a bit more, all are lovely people who I still keep in touch with till today. 

During embarking when the cameras were around us, I heard some people making remarks and I was bothered by it, but after a while I was too involved in the fun and excitement that is the NKOTB cruise that I totally blocked it out. 

I have heard horror stories about cast members being hit and pushed. It’s horrible what jealousy can do. 

How often are people trying to get close to you because they think you might have a connection to the group?

To be honest, I’m not quite sure. I know I’m supposed to be a witty New Yorker, but when I am in the New Kid environment I feel safe and anyone that approaches me I feel they are genuine.
And sadly they will realize I have no connections with any of them. I’m just a fan like the rest of us.  

I think they filter themselves out. Hehehehe 

How much input did you have on how things went down, like was the way we saw it really the way it all happened?

During the interview process we were asked what we were planning on doing and if there were any shenanigans being planned. We didn't have any shenanigans planned but we did have outfits and costumes that were featured. We weren't asked to do anything that we weren't planning on doing already.  

With the exception of the fly boarding, me being a Marine vet I am always down for some adventure. I was not thinking when I agreed to do that because I was still drunk from Donnie’s After Party he hosts on the cruise. 

I believe Kim and I got back to our room close to 6:30-7am and we had to get up to go on this adventure by 9 or 10am. 

I was mortified to think that Jordan Knight was going to see me in this unflattering wet suit and totally fail at this water event

.How much access does a typical cruiser get to the guys? How much of your access was producer arranged? 

Our producer did not arrange anything for us with the guys at all. NOTHING

What was your relationship to NKOTB prior to the cruise? How about now?

Prior to the show NKOTB saw me as a fan that would show up to NY events. After the show I feel that they do recognize us a bit more. I go to visit Donnie on set of Blue Bloods when he is near and I can see him.

I do feel that my Sweet Baboo aka Jordan Knight does remember me as being part of the show and acknowledges that I'm a Jordan girl. He may not know my name but he recalls me from the show and that's fine by me for now, lol.

Because he might recall who I am, he may give me a wave here, a wink, a hug, or even dance for me and by that making my dreams come true. ahhhhh  

Are you friends with any of the other cast members?

Absolutely, I have a friend Jackie, who has been so amazing to me. She totally has been my surrogate Big Sister. She doesn’t live too far away from me and we chat daily. 

Kim- is so amazing; we chat every now and then and always touch base with our NK adventures. 

I love the sisters from Ohio, Natalie, Jamee and Deanna are the sweetest. The whole bridal party are amazing and so much fun. The Seattle Sister, Sarah and Telley- the most fun and sweet, caring girls you will ever meet. I see the Scotts every cruise and some concerts, they are so funny and nice, I feel they got a bad rap on the show. 

We follow each other through social media and truly excited during our big life moments, such as babies, our children graduations. We also hurt when one of us lose a loved one as many of us have. 

If you could do it all again (being a cast member) would you do it?

absolutely  

Is there anything you would like to say to “set the record straight” about your experience?

1) It wasn’t a scripted show, if anyone saw us do a “retake” of a scene its cause they didn’t catch the initial moment or other technical issues remember this is a show with cameras and they aren’t always capturing the important moments. 

2)The Scottish guys are super sweet and aren’t bad guys at all

3) I don’t have any perks or connections with NKOTB, I WISH!

General Cruise Related Questions:

Top five things to pack for the cruise:

  • alcohol! LOL kidding 
  • A fun attitude and carefree spirit
  • Leave all expectations at home.
  • Some quality end girlfriends 

Top three no-nos on the cruise:

  • Don’t push people
  • Don’t miss out on scheduled events to stand post on the lido deck for the night parties. 
  • Don’t go on the cruise and criticize it, stay home. I’m sure another Blockhead would have loved to stand where you’re standing. 

What is your favorite event?

The whole thing. 

The sail away party – because it’s official. The fun is about to begin and all that hard work and long countdown is finally here. The time our life is about to begin again, and I’m always ready. 

What would you say to convince someone who thinks the cruise isn't her jam to go on it?

I've shown people the promo videos of the cruise and even my non-NKOTB fan friends want to come along.  

My So-Called WhateverComment