I’m Katherine Webb. I’m an Alabama native, an Auburn alum, and a tall white lady. Just like Katherine Webb.
But I am not the Katherine Webb.
I am not the 23-year-old Miss Alabama USA whose relationship with University of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron has frenzied those of us in the States who fawn over glossy celebrity-types.
While the 13-letter name went viral Monday night, spawning a swarm of Twitterings, I was boarding a plane in Budapest to fly home to Birmingham, which is to say, I was oblivious to the goings-on of the BCS National Championship game.
My guess is Brent Musburger—who has received serious flack for his commentary on Webb’s attractiveness—was oblivious that at 73, he would become a major trendsetter.
I boarded that jet as a name nobody. Twenty hours later, when I turned on my cell phone, I had this text message:
“Hey Katherine! My name is karly I work for tmz… wanting to talk to u abt last nights game and the announcers comments abt u! Can u call me when u get a chance!”
My initial reaction was to respond to poor Karly with copyediting remarks. But unsolicited grammar advice is as irritating as TMZ itself. Instead, I asked how she acquired my private number and received no response.
My friends say I should have run with it, giving them a quick interview and instructions on how I prefer to be paid. Hey! Yep, this is Katherine Webb. What do I think about Brent Musburger’s comments and the resulting oodles of oglers? I’m pretty into it.
Dedicated reporter Karly must have tracked down the “real” Katherine Webb as TMZ ran an article with this quote from my name doppelgänger, “I’ve been reading on Twitter that Musburger had backlash that he’s ‘Creepy’ … if I were to see him I would say, ‘I don’t think you’re creepy at all!'”
Maybe Musburger isn’t creepy. But one guy who emailed me (as in, this 28-year-old English nerd) is a tad creepy. His email read both as love note and sympathy card, as if my feelings might be hurt over all the attention Miss Alabama USA is receiving. (My writing this article might prove such a notion right.)
The highlight of his note occurred when he compared the discovery of my online bio with Neo’s discovery of the Matrix. As a cue for the level of intimacy exposed in the bio, if he’s referring to the bio I use for Weld, there’s reference to the former planet Pluto—twice. A true excavation must have occurred for him to discover me. I searched “Katherine Webb Alabama” on Google and clicked through nearly a dozen pages, never finding the bio.
Other weird notes and messages were in both my phone and email inboxes. Most of them were from friends, delighted by the situation’s irony.
See, this Katherine Webb is no pageant gal.
Admittedly, I remember getting misty eyed in 1995 when Miss Alabama Heather Whitestone danced her way to the top of the Miss America pageant. Plus, there’s this video on YouTube called Star Wars Trumpet Stacy Hedger of a poor pageanteer spitting out a flat and spotty rendition of John Williams’ theme music—of which I am a devoted fan.
But Miss Universe, the title the other Katherine Webb competed for, requires no talent. The rundown is evening gown, swimsuit, and interview—straight modeling with a little chat to boot.
And so comes the confession. I, too, modeled. My first (and last) modeling gig was in fourth grade, the same year Whitestone took the prize.
Through a series of unfortunate events involving my super-sized Baptist church and the Limited Too, I was drafted for a runway. The 90s clothing store supplied pre-adolescents with occasionally suggestive clothing. Luckily, I got to pick my digs: blue jean shorts and a too-big red hoodie. Somewhere in The Huntsville Times archives is a shot of me, on the brink of puberty with all its unforgiving awkwardness, mid-spin.
I wish not any such indignities on the Katherine Webbs of the world.