Christopher Rim has spent about $2,000 in concert and meet-and-greet tickets, all in an unsuccessful effort to meet Lady Gaga.
The Paramus resident isn't some crazed fan, but a high school student on a mission to promote his anti-bullying non-profit, and now he's got a personal invitation from the pop singer — along with 99 other students from across the country — to discuss that very issue.
"I'm really excited and really happy," Rim said.
Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, are launching their non-profit, the Born This Way Foundation, with Oprah Winfrey on Wednesday and they've invited policymakers, other non-profits and students to the event at Harvard.
The Born This Way Foundation, in partnership with the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the California Endowment and the Berkman Center at Harvard, aims to explore the best way to empower youth and promote kindness, bravery and acceptance, according to a news release.
When Rim, a junior at the Academies@Englewood at Dwight Morrow High School, first learned of the foundation in August, he immediately began researching it online — even before its Web page went live — in hopes of sharing information about his non-profit, It Ends Today Inc., which aims to combat bullying and encourage victims to come together and get help instead of keeping quiet about what they are going through.
"There's so many anti-bullying organizations out there. If we could partner it would make us stronger," Rim said.
Through some sleuthing, Rim was able to find the website design company for Gaga's foundation and through Facebook reached out to the owner, who refused to divulge any details.
Then he heard about the Harvard connection and said he spoke with about 15 people, all of whom were dead ends. So about two months ago, he gave up.
Then he got an email.
The subject line said it was an invitation from Lady Gaga, and Rim thought it must have been spam, so he hit delete.
Then he paused and decided to look at it one more time. When he saw the sender had a Harvard email address, he opened it and said he was stunned.
"I was really shocked," he said.
His goal was never to get on the guest list for the kickoff, it was to get information to Lady Gaga.
"It came as a huge, huge, huge surprise when they invited me," he said.
He hopes that he will have the chance to tell Lady Gaga about his efforts and enlist her help in ending bullying.
"I know if she says something, it would be the No. 1 trending thing on Twitter," he said. "Whatever she does, she has this huge platform."
Lady Gaga is not the first celebrity Rim has tried to approach. He attended Perez Hilton's book signing at Bookends in Ridgewood to pass along his folder of information about It Ends Today. Hilton, a blogger and television personality, ended up shooting a video for It Ends Today, which is on its website, itendstoday.org, and Youtube.