PHotoOp – A Rose by Any Other Name
Let’s all give a rose to Meredith “MJ” Snyder. Reality TV is not real. Not for one minute. The laughs and tears come at a great price for the entertainment of others. But make no mistake, MJ’s a real winner in my book. What an amazing life experience to be on “ABC’s The Bachelor.” We were all rooting for her. We still are. Let’s hope that bachelor Matt James finds his true love.
And perhaps, thanks to Meredith, Put-in-Bay was a winner too. I think she did much for us, sharing positive feelings about growing up on our island in her bio and during the show banter. If you saw the show you can certainly relate to her “Angry Birds” story. Those dastardly red wing black birds return every year, swooping and pecking the unsuspecting heads of innocent children and tourists.
I am personally very impressed at how MJ handled herself on ABC’s “The Bachelor.” Let’s talk TV for a minute. As a TV producer for most of my career, I can tell you that one simple two-minute edited scene may literally take a dozen hours to shoot. That’s when you start to understand the physical and emotional stress/toll on the contestants that a show like this generates. According to the blogs and Hollywood buzz agents, some of the “Rose” scenes took literally all afternoon and well into the night to finish. Most Rose Ceremonies finished shooting at 4 a.m.! It’s no wonder we see most of these girls weepy and tired at the end of most episodes.
The good news is that for a contestant like Meredith there’s so much more to the “Bachelor” than what you see in the edited show. Her mom Denise told me that despite the edited “narrative” of the show, the 32 contestants and crew became friends. I believe that for MJ this experience may include some amazing career opportunities, connections, even long-term friendships too. She did an admirable job, a stand out among the 32 multi-ethnic bachelorette cast members. She showed great poise, camera presence, character, and her professionalism will be recognized by the Hollywood community. So stay tuned.
What you may not know is that MJ’s family tree goes back six generations on South Bass. Her family home on the West Shore was built in 1910 and remains her family’s summer residence. MJ’s parents Denise and Steve Snyder met on PIB in the summer of 1983. Steve was working for the village of PIB as Harold Wilhelm’s assistant. Denise was an original Boardwalk employee. Their love for the island has been lovingly instilled in all their children. MJ spent all her childhood summers on the island. She could always be found with her sister Ellen and best friends Audrey and Josie Sheehan riding bikes to PIB Community Swimming and Sailing lessons.
As a teenager, MJ was the head swimming instructor for Put-in-Bay Community Swim and Sail and on the PIBYC youth sailing team too. Sara Booker explained it this way, “Experiencing summers on the Lake Erie Islands is unequaled when raising children! Our family, like the Snyder family, has been blessed with the opportunity to (fully) experience South Bass Island.” Put-in-Bay Village Administrator and great Aunt Anne Hildebrant Auger exclaimed, “Put-in-Bay has been a wonderful part of our family’s history, I love that Meredith was able to use her island influence to help navigate her latest adventure.”
It’s clear to me that much of what shaped MJ originated from her experiences with friends, family and the Put-in-Bay community. As the saying goes, “there is no substitute for a wonderful childhood,” and the people here that makeup our island community have delivered a wealth of unique and magical experiences for her to draw upon during her incredible “Bachelor” journey.
Now that the show has aired, the Snyder family wants us to know that MJ has enjoyed receiving the love and support of our island community and she looks forward to coming back soon to her beautiful island home. Meanwhile, we all get to bask in the glow of her success for a Hollywood minute. The next big thing for MJ is just ahead and it’s definitely all roses from here.
The previous piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please click here.
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