DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A University of Dayton student recently had a brush with fame, appearing on American Idol. But it wasn’t for her singing abilities; it was all because of her name.
“S-E-C-R-E-S-T–So there is no ‘A’ in my last name like the celebrity,” spells out Ryan Secrest, who shares her name with the media personality.
Ryan is from Columbus and is a senior at UD studying industrial engineering.
“I would get on my parents like, ‘why did you do this to me? Why’d you name me a guy’s name? And then on top of that, a celebrity name? Because everywhere I go there’s humiliation,” laughs Ryan.
That humiliation turned into some newfound fame when she got to meet her namesake.
“Overall–coolest experience of my life,” beams Ryan.
It all happened after a producer, who works on American Idol, sent her a message on LinkedIn, asking if she wanted to appear on the show and do a meet-and-greet with Ryan Seacrest.
At first, Ryan thought it was a scam, but after calling the producer, she realized the offer was legitimate.
“They found people with the same names as the cast of American Idol. So, another Ryan Seacrest, Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry,” states Ryan.
They originally flew her out to the auditions in New Orleans and paid for her hotel, but the Idol host came down with COVID, so her meeting with her namesake had to be rescheduled. About a month later, they flew her to the Nashville auditions to try again.
“It just didn’t feel like real life at all,” smiles Ryan.
When the two Ryans met, they took a selfie and some pictures and then did a short bit for the show.
“We were just kind of making jokes back and forth about our name and just how my life has revolved around him and all this stuff,” laughs Ryan.
When that episode aired, the American Idol host took to Twitter, tweeting about his name double.
“He posted his first tweet ‘Crazy that we’re both Ryan Elizabeth Seacrest,'” says Ryan. “I ended up saying back, ‘Coming for your job. Let me know when you retire.’ And then he said ‘You’ve got the qualification for it.'”
“I wasn’t expecting to get the kind of responses that I did. Just walking places, people would be like, ‘Ryan Seacrest! That’s so cool’,” exclaims Ryan.
Ryan says when the two talked, they discussed what other similarities they share.
“We were like what else do we have in common? And he was like, ‘Well I had COVID the other week,’ and I was like, ‘I had COVID last year’,” she laughs.
All jokes aside, as for what’s next: “He said, don’t be surprised if this is not the last time that I reach out to you,” says Ryan.
A segment of Ryan’s appearance also aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! when he had Katy Perry and Lionel Richie on his show to promote this season of American Idol.