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‘Rolling’ with Ellen

One lucky Bear and the winter-break tale of a lifetime

Story Series
News Feature

When it comes to answering the question, “What did you do over winter break?” you’d be hard pressed to find someone with a better story than Giavanna Giorgio, ’20. 

On Jan. 9, the Bridgewater State University student unexpectedly became part of a viral video featuring Ellen DeGeneres. 

“The video began going viral on my flight home. I got off the plane to so many texts and notifications from social media about the video. I was overwhelmed with the attention but wouldn’t change it for the world,” Giavanna said. 

During the taping of that day’s Ellen Show, Giavanna, who was in the audience that day, heard her name called by the famous comedienne and talk show host and was invited to the stage. [See the clip here.]

After hugging DeGeneres, the visibly excited Giavanna proclaimed for millions of viewers that she was a “student at Bridgewater State University studying speech pathology.” 

Gia Giorgio,'20,on Ellen

Next, she stood by as DeGeneres successfully rolled a small ball across the entire set and through what resembled nothing so much as a mousehole during the show’s popular “Holey Roller” segment. 

“I was amazed. I have seen attempts of this game on previous episodes so I knew it was hard, but she made it look so effortless,” Giavanna said. “I could tell by her reaction it really wasn’t as easy as she made it look. I think she was the most surprised that she got it in.”

Obtaining tickets to the Ellen Show was a dream come true. But being suddenly called to the stage to participate in the Holy Roller game seen by thousands of viewers worldwide was something else entirely. 

“I was totally shocked. When I ran down to hug her it hadn’t really hit me I was being filmed. I was so nervous and so excited,” the Marshfield resident said. “I had never come close to doing anything like that before. Along with the nerves I had a lot of excitement and adrenaline, but it was still so much fun.”

When it was Giavanna’s turn to roll the ball for a chance to win $3,000, she wasn’t as successful as DeGeneres. 

Losing the game didn’t matter. 

“Just the experience of being able to see the show, never mind being on it, meant so much more to me than winning the game,” Giavanna said. 

Getting to the Ellen Show was a lifelong dream, she said. For as long as she can remember she has watched the show daily with her mother. For three years she’d applied for tickets. 

When her best friend and fellow Bear Jessica Perry-Gore, ’19, finally scored tickets, the two women knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and planned their trip to California where the show is taped. 

“I don’t get caught up in celebrities too much, but I have always said if I could meet one I would want it to be Ellen. I admire her so much because of the way she changes people’s lives. Her catchphrase, ‘Be kind to one another’ says a lot about her personality,” Giavanna said. “She makes viewers like myself constantly question how they can be a better person and make a difference in their community.”

As far as the trip and experience being the highlight of her winter break, Giavanna said hands-down this is the best thing she’s ever been able to cross off her bucket list. 

“I had an amazing time in Los Angeles. I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to go to the show. It still doesn’t feel real to me,” she said.

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