Eighteen-year-old Tamika Tallio is a first-year student here at TRU in the sports management program. Before coming to TRU she attended South Kamloops Secondary School (SKSS), where she spent the last four months of her Grade 12 year being followed around by CBC production crews filming the documentary series This is High School.
The show delves into the lives of eight students who volunteered to be mic’d up, followed and filmed everyday for four months – which Tallio says, at least for her, was not always easy or comfortable.
At times, she said it felt like the TV show that it was, noting that before the production began the school was repainted and that the environment of the school changed slightly with the presence of the production crew.
There was one time in particular when she was crying, Tallio said, “that the camera crew got right up close and wanted to film everything, and interview me after.” Which, she said, was too much and had to ask them to leave her alone.
Since the contract stipulated she could only decline to do an interview, all the uncomfortable moments like that one were still fair game. But Tallio found ways to get around the constant peering of the camera and escape to recover what private moments she could have.
“Sometimes I’d go to rooms where there were no camera people, and get a group of friends together to just hang out,” she said.
When the cameras were rolling, there were little things that were evidently different in the way some people would interact with her, Tallio explained. She started to notice that teachers would pay more attention to her and provide more care than they had ever done in the past.
During the filming Tallio says that her counselor, whom she hadn’t really interacted with in the last four years, all of a sudden started calling her into the office for meetings to discuss school work and look at possible university options for her. And, of course, the cameras were rolling.
“It was frustrating having to do things twice,” Tallio said. Because the cameras weren’t always ready, there were times that she would have to re-enact a conversation (in one case, it was three times) with a teacher or a peer, just to get the shot right.
Before the show, Tallio described herself as a normal teenager and couldn’t have expected this kind of fame in her last four months of high school life. She’s now being contacted by individuals across the country who are reaching out to her after hearing her story through This is High School.
“My friend is in Toronto right now. He was out for dinner and sent me a message saying, ‘everyone in here is talking about you,’” Tallio said.
Since she’s been out of SKSS, Tallio has been busy doing interviews and interacting with fans from across the country and here at TRU. Just last week, Tallio said some people came up to her while she was studying in HOL and said they knew her from the show.
“It’s a little strange, at times,” she said, since she doesn’t know them personally but she thinks it’s kind of neat to have that fame.
So far here at TRU, she said she’s had a great experience, joking that the schoolwork she has now doesn’t even feel like work at all since it’s what she wants to do.
With her degree, Tallio hopes to found a new program that would facilitate more sports programs in aboriginal communities throughout B.C. and Canada.