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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Who’s Your Claim to Fame?

An interview with Jada Star, niece of Dolly Parton
Dolly with a young Star, provided by Star

If you relish a game of pop-culture trivia, this one’s for you! ‘Claim to Fame’ is a new reality show hosted by Kevin and Franklin Jonas. Relatives of pop-culture icons and A-list celebrities live together in a house, compete in challenges, and fight to win $100,000. The catch, however, is that they must keep the identity of their celebrity relatives a secret. With each challenge, clues are revealed about each player and they must put their pop-culture knowledge to the test in order to remain in the game. Viewers from home also are able to participate through the weekly airing of episodes. 

The Captain’s Log had the opportunity to interview Jada Star, niece of country icon Dolly Parton, about her experience on the second season of the show. Parton’s sister, Frieda, is Star’s mother, and Star has had a close relationship with her aunt for her entire life. 

Star, also known as “Mama Jane,” referred to the show as “one of the best experiences of my life,” despite it being emotionally harder than she had anticipated.

“You don’t know how something’s really going to change your life until you just go for it,” said Star, reflecting on her experience.

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When ‘Claim to Fame’ initially reached out to Star, asking if she was interested in being a contestant, she thought it was a scam. After realizing it was legit, Star had a big decision to make. She was nervous about accepting the offer because it was an unknown situation and she did not know if she was making the right choice. In a conversation with her teenager, Star asked them if they were okay with her going on the show. 

“I was like, ‘Are you okay? Should I do this? Maybe I shouldn’t do this,’ and my kid was like, ‘I will never forgive you if you don’t do this,’” said Star.

According to Star, ‘Claim to Fame’ carefully curates a group of individuals who are bound to be great friends. 

When producers were confused why the contestants were not competing hard enough against each other, Star told them, “What do you expect, though? You picked a bunch of people that have this one main experience that they all share.”

Throughout the course of filming, Star said the production team kept a good amount of control – keeping the players in the moment. 

“We weren’t allowed to know what time it was,” Star said, explaining that there were no clocks in the house and they never knew what times the competitions would be. 

I thought that their methods of directing us and moving the story along was really smart and nice and allowed it to be organic,” she said. 

Although the first night was a lot of “unhinged fun and chaos,” Star said it did not last long. “As soon as the competition started to build up over the first two or three days, I was a nervous wreck the whole time.”

Star explained that when the time came for her to be the guesser, she was glad she was incorrect. 

“I felt all this pressure relieved in my body because I was like, ‘okay, I have not sent Chris home.’ I didn’t really want to,” she said. “Also, I’m ready to be done because it was so much pressure for me, more than I expected.”

The days following elimination seemed long and endless for Star. “ I spent two and a half weeks in the hotel room.” she said.

After about two or three days, time felt like it was dragging. Although they were still sequestered, the eliminated contestants weren’t completely trapped in the confines of their hotel rooms. 

“If I wanted to go out or go to a movie I could call whoever the PAs were that day and they were like our babysitters, bless their hearts,” said Star.

 She grew close with one PA named Brian, who accompanied her to see ‘Magic Mike’s Last Dance’ during the sequestration,“Brian and I were tight.” 

In the last week of filming, the production team got back in touch with the sequestered contestants to let them know finale stuff was about to happen. “We were really excited again.” During the finale, all housemates were back together to help the final three players to the finish line. 

“I didn’t have to pretend to not be who I am anymore, and then on top of that, I’ve been sequestered from everyone for like two and a half weeks. All of us were at the hotel, but the pool party was the first time in weeks we had all gotten to see each other,” said Star, recalling how happy everyone was to be together again. 

After spending the first part of her life wanting to have control over everything and missing out on experiences, Star now makes it a point to do the things that make her afraid. “Now I have a teenager that I don’t want to hold themselves back ever. Mom does all the scary stuff now,” she said.

Although Star was scared of the new experience and of the pressure to represent her aunt well, she was comforted in knowing that Parton was supportive, “I was really nervous when I told her, but she said that she was really proud of me. She said she felt like I would be a good representation.” 

Star explained that her aunt has always encouraged her to try the hard things because ‘what’s the worst that will happen?’

 “She’s like, just be yourself, keep your own counsel, and if you get homesick I’ll come get you,” Star said.

‘Claim to Fame’ gave Star new friendships that will last a lifetime, as well as an opportunity to represent her family along with promoting her own music career. All in all, Star believes that everyone should try the scary things in life because you never know what opportunities they will bring. 

You can find Jada Star’s new album, “Tell Me I’m Your Angel,” on all music streaming platforms and you can stream ‘Claim to Fame’ on Hulu to learn more about Star and her fellow contestants. 

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Savannah Dunn, News Editor
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    Carole WilliamsSep 5, 2023 at 7:40 pm

    Wow! Anybody who is connected to this fabulous person deserves to be published and quoted. Dolly Parton is an icon. She has opened up a whole new world to her people and yet she has stayed one of them. Her family including Star are all a part of her “Coat of Many Colors”. Thanks Savannah Dunn for including this in the Captain’s Log Picks.