My wife's birthday fell on a Friday last year, which gave me a great idea: Why not pay Rebecca Black, the singer whose music video "Friday" became a viral sensation a decade ago, to record a short message wishing my wife a happy birthday and singing a bit of the chorus from her most famous song? Using the site Cameo, which allows users to request customizable video messages from celebrities in fields like TV, film, sports, comedy, fashion and more, I made it happen.
To use the site, simply search for a celebrity, "book" him or her and then provide a bit of general information about what you'd like the person to say. The celebrity will then deliver the personalized clip to you by a set deadline, sometimes as quickly as within 24 hours. After that, you can share the video however you like. The price varies, depending on whether the clip is for personal use or for a business. As a general rule, the bigger the celebrity, the more expensive it will be.
If you're stumped on what to get someone for the holidays this year, here are some celebrities in or from the Sarasota area who you can reach via Cameo. (Others, like legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, have accounts on the site, but are not currently taking requests.)
Reubens, best known for his character Pee-wee Herman, is a Sarasota native. "I'm on Cameo now," he says, "so I hope you'll come and check me out." $350 for personal video/$5,000 for business video
Ask Springer to wish a loved one to "take care of yourself, and each other" this holiday season. "I'm real psyched to be a part of Cameo now," says Springer. $135/$945
Multiple MTV Siesta Key cast members have popped up on Cameo. "I have finally listened to my friends and I'm on Cameo," says Porter. $80/$490
"If you want to request me for a personalized video for yourself or a loved one, whether it's a birthday, anniversary, a congratulations on a new job offer, baby announcement... you name it, I got you," says Owens, another Siesta Key star. $55/$385
"I can't wait to talk to all of you guys, so don't hesitate and book me!" says Siesta Key's Cattaneo. $40/$175
Former Siesta Key cast member turned boxer promises to "turn that party up all the way" in his videos. $35/$150
The "king of the highwire" offers both traditional shout-outs on Cameo, as well as inspirational tips on how to overcome fear, which is the topic of a book that Wallenda says he is currently writing. $25/$175
"I cannot wait to give shout-outs to special people in your lives," says Quesenberry, also from Siesta Key. $25/$175
Sarasota's "comic daredevil" promises to deliver a "special message" to "that special someone" in your life. $25/$175
"I can't wait to get started," says Jenkins, also from Siesta Key. $25/$175
"I'm back on Cameo, looking forward to filling out your video requests for birthdays or whatever you got," says Mizell, another Siesta Key celeb. $25/$140
"Anything you guys want, you can go ahead and book me on cameo.com," says Siesta Key's Kelderman. $25/$100
This Siesta Key star and musician promises to "go above and beyond" with his videos. "I'm rapping, I'm showing you where I'm at, I'm bringing special guests in," he promises. $25/$40