Earlier this spring, Charlie Sheen, the infamous former star of TV’s “Two and a Half Men,” tweeted that he was on the hunt for an intern with “Tiger’s blood,” and over 70,000 answered the call. One of them was CCNY Ad/PR major Rumi Syed, 21, and he’s outlasted tens of thousands of potential interns to handle Sheen’s social media needs for $10 an hour. As of this writing, he’s made it to round three.
Says MCA social media professor Alicia Evans about Syed: “Rumi was an exceptional student who was always prepared. His writing skills are excellent and his ability to quickly grasp concepts and apply them to ‘real world’ applications are great. I think it is a marvelous opportunity and will certainly look good on his resume. Rumi will be an asset!”
Here, Reporting and Writing student Candice Green talks to Syed, who lives in Brooklyn, about why he wants to work for the ferocious star and what he plans to do if he gets the internship.
Q: Charlie Sheen is known for being angry, abusive and some might add, psychotic. What encouraged you to still want to intern for him?
Syed: To be honest, it is less about Charlie Sheen and more about crisis management. I feel like his PR team isn’t doing enough to prepare him for the media. Also, I’m hoping this is my one-way ticket to Hollywood; not acting but to become a publicist for other celebrities. I mean who wouldn’t hire me after working for Charlie Sheen?
Q: With all the damage Sheen has placed upon himself, do you honestly feel his PR team could have saved him?
Syed: Yes, his PR team failed to create a strategic crisis management campaign. For example, Sheen is involved in a lot of charity work. He donated to Haiti and now he is donating to the tsunami relief effort in Japan through his talk show tour. How many people know about that? Very few.
Q: What were you looking to get out of this internship?
Syed: Experience, just like every other internship. But I know this one will be different than any other internship. It will be intense, and I doubt I’m prepared enough to take on Charlie Sheen. But I’m pretty confident thanks to CCNY MCA professors, especially Professor [Lynne] Scott-Jackson. She actually helped me prepare for the third round of the internship.
Q: Were you a fan of his prior to his new behavior?
Syed: Definitely, “Platoon” is one of my favorite movies, and that’s way before “Two and a Half Men” came out. And, yes, “Two and a Half Men” just happens to be one of my favorite TV shows.
Q: If you were to meet him, what’s the first thing you would talk with him about?
Syed: Well first, I would get his autograph like a fan. Then maybe ask him what is it that he wants? Maybe he doesn’t want the good guy image but still wants a huge fan base.
Q: How does it feel to make it this far?
Syed: It feels great, and I’m really excited. I mean to be considered good enough out of 74,000 applicants is huge for me! I guess now I am pretty sure that I’m in the right major.
Q: How did your family and close friends feel about you applying for this internship and getting so far?
Syed: Friends were jealous but very supportive, and my mother called all of her co-workers–embarrassing!