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As both a pop hitmaker and now a country music chart-topper, Darius Rucker has hunkered down with more than his share of interviewers over the years. It’s unlikely, though, he’s given many interviews like the one conducted by young Pavlina Osta just prior to an appearance at the Coke Zero 400 at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway.
His recent interviewer is something of a celebrity herself. The 12-year-old, from Port Orange, Fla., is a singer, musician and dancer who performs around the Daytona Beach area and also hosts the Saturday morning radio show Pavlina’s Kidz Place on local community station WAPN. Pavlina, who has been recognized for her community service work, often interviews kids who are working locally to make a difference. But when she has the opportunity to do so, she also interviews celebrities for her weekly 30-minute show.
You might say that Pavlina’s meeting with Darius was a perfect match, given that both of them are entertainers, both care about helping empower kids (Darius’ service work includes initiatives for helping handicapped youngsters and preventing childhood obesity), and both know that it takes determination to make dreams come true. That subject, in fact, was among those addressed during Pavlina’s brief session with Darius.
“Darius Rucker was really nice,” she says. “We started the interview with how he liked Daytona Beach, and he said he really liked it here. I asked him about four or five more questions,” she adds, “including if he was ever told he couldn’t do something, and did it discourage him or make him more determined to succeed. He said that he was told he couldn’t be a country music singer but he just worked harder and was more determined to do it.” Admirably, Darius was also determined to give Pavlina the same consideration he would to any other interviewer, regardless of her age. “Mr. Rucker didn’t hurry me up, which was really nice because I’m just a kid and he had a whole bunch of people waiting to hear him sing. He took his time talking to me while the announcer was throwing out NASCAR caps to the crowd. My mom told me later that’s what they were doing when I was doing my interview,” she explains. “I think someone must have said he’s doing an interview and to do something [to stall for time].”
Darius also helped the budding young entertainer understand that it’s normal to have a case of the butterflies, no matter how famous you become. “I asked if he ever got nervous and he said that he does, that he’s going to be nervous now before he goes on[stage]. I don’t know why I felt better when he said that,” confesses Pavlina, “but I did.”