The Daily Gamecock

Commencement Issue: 'Catfish' comes to Carolina


Dating in the 21st century is different. Students and adults alike are no longer meeting cute girls and boys in soda shops, asking them on dates and falling madly in love. Instead, this generation is creating online profiles and molding their dating lives into whatever they like. However, without this shift to cyber-dating, Nev Schulman would not be where he is today.

“It was not planned; I made mistakes,” Schulman said about past experiences.

The New York City native first gained fame with his 2010 film "Catfish," which documented his personal experience in an online relationship with an unexpected twist. Schulman is now the host and executive producer of the movie-turned-show on MTV. The show has become a television sensation, as Schulman and his friend and filmmaking partner Max Joseph, document the lives of those in online relationships as they discover hidden truths behind their virtual partner’s true identity.

During his 2013 show at the Koger Center, he shared his past experiences with friends, moments of low self-confidence, getting kicked out of school multiple times and how these experiences have resulted in a type of self-discovery. His multimedia approach incorporated the short films, favorite quotations and pictures of his life that helped him to explain to the audience what he has learned about the meaning of friendship and how unpredictable life is.

“You want to be friends with people completely honest with you,” Schulman said.

He described his first meeting with the woman he had an online “relationship” with in his documentary. Although he was astonished by the fact that this beautiful woman he had fallen for was a middle-aged married mother, he remembered a story her husband told. Her husband explained that when live bass and cod were shipped from Asia, the fish would arrive mushy and poor-tasting due to their inactivity, so fisherman put catfish in the tanks to keep the other fish moving. Schulman remembered him saying, “I thank God for the catfish,” and so the title came to be.

But for Schulman, the title “Catfish” has a very different meaning.

“A catfish to me is someone who thinks outside the box and goes against the norm,” Schulman said. “As you choose your friends, think of that, also. You don’t want to be all the same.”

Now an advocate of online dating sites, he thinks it’s amazing that people all over the world can connect, but staying true to yourself, surrounding yourself with the people you’d like to and staying cautious of the lies is the best advice he can give.

“You have to go and live and date and get your heart broken,” Schulman said.

Read the full version of this story, published in 2013.


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