Friends get behind campaign to bring Kylie and a super fan together
How a social media campaign helped make the dreams of one Kylie super fan come true. Reg Domingo reports.
Andrew Bryson is one of Kylie Minogue’s biggest fans. The 37-year-old from Sydney, who has Down Syndrome, listens to her music and watches her DVDs every day and, thanks to his sister, has amassed an impressive collection of Kylie merchandise and memorabilia.
Nicky Bryson, who writes a monthly column for SX, says it’s a fascination that has been cultivated from a very young age.
“Andrew has been a fan of Kylie since we were really small children, since she was ‘Charlene’ in Neighbours. He never missed an episode. No matter where we were, we had to find a TV and get Neighbours on, he loved her so much. And as he grew up and Kylie started releasing music, he just became more and more obsessed with her.”
Nicky was a late Kylie bloomer, only getting into her music in the early 2000s. But when she did, it was a passion she could finally share with her brother.
“I had a really hard childhood – my mum died quite young, we had a lot of difficulty.
“But Kylie was just always there for him.
“When Kylie released ‘Spinning Around’, that was when I realised, ‘Oh my god, I love this girl’.
“I rang Andrew and told him and we just had a love for her together. So I started taking him to concerts and getting him merchandise.”
“Just before Christmas, I realised I had bought him every piece of Kylie merchandise available on the planet, so I had an oil painting made of him and Kylie on the red carpet together.”
But t-shirts and portraits only go so far. Knowing how much Kylie meant to his brother, Nicky embarked on a campaign to get him with an audience with pop princess. Indeed, there was no better time than now, given Kylie was in Sydney for her commitments as a judge on The Voice Australia.
“I thought, I just have to use this one time to try and make it happen,” Nicky says. “Even if it never does, at least I’d make some beautiful connections and people would have a really nice time on Facebook.”
And that’s where it all began.
Above: Kylie and Andrew
Nicky created a Facebook event page – ‘Can we hook Andrew up with Kylie Minogue’ – and invited people from her contacts list who might know someone, who might know someone, who might know someone. And the response, Nicky says, was overwhelming.
“I know how hard it is for ‘industry people’ to press their contact for this kind of thing because people ask for these things all the time, so I was really impressed by how many people came back to me and said, ‘Oh I know Kylie’s promoter’, ‘I’ve been in contact with Kylie’s publicist’, ‘I’ve put this through to Channel Nine’ or ‘I’ve put this through to The Voice’ – the response was just amazing.
“The people who would normally not do this thing really reached out and pressed their contact in ways that doesn’t often happen.”
But it did happen and, two weeks later, Nicky received an email from the Kylie camp with an invitation for Andrew to attend a rehearsal of The Voice.
“So we got to a rehearsal of The Voice and watched Team Kylie rehearse.”
“I was a little bit worried that he might freeze up because sometimes when Andrew gets really nervous, he reverts back to sign language he used when he was a child and he looks to me and I have to translate for him, so I was a little bit nervous that would happen.
“But when he saw that Kylie was actually coming over to talk to him, he just turned on the charm.
“He stood up and hugged her and spoke to her and I was really welling up with tears.
“I was just shaking and watching, thinking this is changing his life.
“It was just the most magic moment I have every experienced with my brother.”
Nicky said she was touched by the generosity and kindness of everyone involved and expressed her gratitude for making her brother’s dream come true.
“I think I’ve learned how many wonderful people I have around me,” she says. “Sometimes you think that the world is sort of small and that you’re struggling by yourself and then something like this happens in such a short amount of time. I realised that, I may not have a lot of family, but I’m not alone, and it’s not just my brother I have to get me through.
“I have the most incredible circle of people who are willing to go to lengths for me that I could never have imagined.”
BELOW: Kylie shares her meeting with Andrew to 2.8 million followers on Facebook.