Soldier of the Month: Summer 2020 – Meet Michelle
Ever thought about what you would do if you could invite one of the Backstreet Boys over for dinner? For Michelle Popiel of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, it wasn’t a hard decision on what she would make for Nick Carter, her favorite boy.
“I would make mushroom risotto since it’s one of the only things I know how to cook and it tastes good every time,” Michelle said. “(Nick) is the one I would like to sit down and talk with. I would tell him thank you and explain how much he has helped me throughout my life, but mostly with my art. How he pushes me to challenge myself with each new project I make.”
But if her mushroom risotto doesn’t turn out good, she has a backup plan – her fiancée is a chef.
“(He) knows how to cook anything, but I would like to at least try first.”
But if she had to pick another boy to enjoy a meal with? It would be Kevin.
“I think he would be a very good dinner company, as well, I think he be the most likely to pretend to like (the dinner) if it wasn’t very good,” Michelle said. “I think he would try to find a positive spin on it.”
Meet Michelle, the Summer 2020 Soldier of the Month!
Fan Club Username: Michelle P
Where are you from? Victoria, B.C.
What do you do for a living? (job, etc.) I am an early childhood educator. I work in a daycare and take care of children. Currently, I am one of the infant teachers at our center. I love looking after babies, they are so much fun and I love how everything is so new and exciting for them.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am 33 years old. I love music and art. I am an artist, I have won second place in one art contest Nick had on his site and Tied for First on the second art contest (the prize was that he used it as his Facebook profile photo).
I went to school for animation in 2007 and fell in love with Photoshop, unfortunately, I had to drop out due to health reasons. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was leave art school and give up my dream of working for Disney. The positive side of it though is that it led me to my current career path which I now know I was always meant to do. I love working with children It’s one of the most rewarding jobs. I am enjoying being an Auntie at the moment and someday in the future may have kids of my own. I am lucky enough to be getting married to the love of my life in September. We had some rocky points with our wedding plans but decided to keep the day and go forward with it.
How long have you been a BSB fan?
I have been a Backstreet Boys fan since I was 10 in 1997. I discovered their music and immediately fell in love with the song anywhere for you.
How did you become a fan?
I became a Backstreet Boys fan when I was 10. We were having some of our family friends come to visit us. My friend Josie asked me if I had heard of this new band called the Backstreet Boys. When I told her, I had not she put on the Cassette tape of Backstreet Boys (red album). I fell in love with the song “Anywhere for you,” and was hooked. She taught me all their names and gushed over how amazing Kevin was. She taught me everything she knew about them and gave me a copy of the cassette tape.
When was the first time you saw BSB in concert?
The first time I saw the backstreet was October 1, 2001, at the black and Blue tour in Vancouver. It was supposed to be in the summer but got postponed. I loved it so much. We had bought better tickets when we got there and we ended up being in the thirteenth row. I could not see anything because I am so short. But I was able to watch it on the big screens and listening to them perform Live. The bridge over the crowd was the first time I got to see them perform not on the screens. It was amazing.
What is your favorite BSB memory?
I have two favorite Backstreet Boys' memories. The first one was when I placed in Nick’s first art contest. I was nervous about submitting it to the contest. It was the first thing I created since leaving art school. I was so nervous, I thought it was good, but I was scared to enter it. I was afraid my art was not as good as it had been before, and I was nervous sharing it with one of my idols. But I had a good friend stay up all night with me and make sure I kept it in the contest until the deadline passed. When I got the email about placing second, I was shocked. It was crazy to me that it had really happened, and I thought maybe it was a mistake. So, when I went to meet Nick the first time, I brought a framed photo of my art. I had it flipped so he could not see the picture in the frame, I wanted to surprise him. I was doing fine until I got to show it to him in my meet and greet. I got to see the surprise and recognition in his face and that’s when I knew it was real, of course, it started to sink in and I was unable to speak. But that is still one of my favorite memories.
The other was when I met all the guys in my platinum meet and greet for in a world like this. I was so nervous about meeting them and not being able to speak. I was so focused that I didn’t realize it was my turn until Brian was pretty much bouncing in front of me and hugged me. He asked how I was and I replied that I was good and asked him how he was. I was so shocked I was able to talk I said to him “look I can talk”. It was so much fun and I got to give Kevin my art. Aj told me he liked it and When I asked where to stand for the photo Nick did a little dance to show me. I totally melted at that moment. It was one of the best meet and greet I have had.
What is your favorite BSB song and why?
I have two. It was just too hard to pick just one. They are “I want it that way” and “Madeleine.” I love the song “I Want It That Way.” It brings me back to my younger self and how emotional I used to get when it came on the radio. I love that everyone knows the lyrics to it. It has been my favorite song since it came out. I also love the song “Madeleine.” I love the lyrics, and how it talks about being in the darkest moments and how you need to hold on and rise up. As someone who has battled depression most of my life this song has helped me so much. I listen to it when I need it. In times when things get too much and my mind goes into dark places it is a song that can pull me out and make me want to keep going. I was lucky enough to be on stage when they performed it, which meant the world to me.
What is your favorite BSB video and why?
My favorite music Video is “I want it that way.” It gets me so excited every time I see it. It reminds me of being young, hormonal, and emotional. I used to get so worked up whenever it came on the TV. I love the white outfits and Nick’s haircut.
Who is your favorite Backstreet Boy and why?
I love all the Backstreet Boys for many different reasons. But if I had to pick one it would be Nick. I am a big fan. When I was younger it was because of his hair, and the fact that he was the closest to my age. But as I get older, I realize that I admire him for what he has been able to overcome, his music style, his kind heart, and the fact that he is just a normal person who seems down to earth. Also, I have a special place for him because he was able to give me back my confidence with my art. With him liking it twice, I came to the conclusion that even if no one else likes it I do and he does (made for him) and that’s really what matters. After my car accident, I believed that I would never do art again, but by having him like my designs it gave me confidence that I thought I would never get back. I am currently working on another project that I plan to give him when I see him in 2021.
How has BSB impacted your life?
The Backstreet Boys have impacted my life in a big way. Their music saved my life. When I was thirteen, I was diagnosed with clinical depression that got worse as I got older. I believed that I would be better off not being alive anymore. The one thing that kept me going was my connection with their music, knowing that not all the lyrics were happy and it was okay to have dark days but to remember that they will eventually pass. Every good and bad day their music was able to help me through it. I am still alive today in part because I could connect with the lyrics and pull myself out of my depression with the help of medication. I never dreamed that I would get a chance to meet them and say thank you in person but in November 2016 I was finally able to utter those two words to Nick at a meet and greet. Also, Nick has helped me gain confidence in my art and myself and that was something I never expected but am grateful for.
I can never thank them enough or get into words how much their music has affected my life.
What is your favorite thing about being a BSB fan?
My favorite thing about being a fan is meeting and getting to know other fans. I love hearing other people’s stories, how they helped so many people in so many different ways. I love being on these sites because there is a sense of community and respect. I have made so many good friends from the sites and the concerts that I have been to. I met one of my good friends Jen Plank, IIze, and Barbra, on this site and they have helped me so much through this pandemic and other hard times. The constant connection to others by having this in common has let me meet so many wonderful friends.
What has been your favorite BSB moment over the past 27 years?
I think my favorite Backstreet Boys moment was when Kevin came back. I feel like there was something missing and not the same dynamic without him. I loved the albums and thought they were great, but I missed his voice. I am glad that he is back with the band. Another thing moment I am happy about is that they are all sober or trying to get sober. I think that this is not an easy thing to do or admit and takes a lot for people to overcome. Watching them overcome these struggles has been so inspiring to watch.
What do you think about how popular the boys have gotten again? And a whole new generation of BSB fans?
I think it is great how popular the boys have gotten again. I think that it is great that a whole new generation of fans is interested in the boys. I think that this is a wonderful thing to have happen again. I am so proud of them and seeing all their hard work paying off is amazing. I am so glad to be part of it and happy they are still doing meet and greets.
What's one thing you are most looking forward to with the future of the Backstreet Boys?
One thing that I am looking forward to is new music. There is nothing as exciting as hearing new songs for the first time. Knowing how much hard work and passion has gone into them, especially now that they are writing their own songs. I am also looking forward to the DNA tour when it comes here, I know that the videos and reviews I have seen say it is an amazing experience and I cannot wait to see it myself. I am also really looking forward to getting a meet and greet with them if they decide to do them in 2021.