When you tweet upon a star, makes no difference who you are — like maybe a senior at Orestimba High. Anything your heart desires — like perhaps that a “Stranger Things” star pose in your yearbook photos — will come true.
And, indeed, it did for Newman 17-year-old Damaris E. Fregoso. In late October the senior at Orestimba and bona fide fan of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things” sent a late-night tweet to her favorite actor on the series, David Harbour. It read: “@DavidKHarbour how many retweets for you take my senior photos with me.”
To her surprise, the actor responded about 15 minutes later, “25k. And I get to wear the school sweatshirt and hold a trombone.”
Then, the Internet did what the Internet does and the request and response went viral. In less than 24 hours Fregoso and Harbour’s posts were reteweeted more than 25,000 times each. Now, less than three months later, Harbour has kept his promise and posed with the teenager for her senior pictures.
“Literally I still can’t believe it. I never thought that David would have ever tweeted me back,” Fregoso said in an interview from her Newman home. “I’m still shocked for the most part. It’s crazy to think this happened because of retweets.”
On Friday photos from Fregoso and Harbour’s yearbook photoshoot together was released online, via their Instagram and Twitter feeds. The Internet, again, promptly took notice — garnering hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets. True to his word, in the shots Harbour is wearing an Orestimba Warriors sweatshirt and holding a trombone. And pom-poms. And bunny ears. And so on, and so fun.
Fregoso said the whole experience was amazing and called Harbour, who plays Chief of Police Jim Hopper in the supernatural series set in small-town Indiana in the 1980s, “such a down-to-Earth guy.”
After her initial tweet went viral, Fregoso said Harbour direct messaged back and forth on Twitter and set up the meeting. He was filming the new “Hellboy” reboot in Bulgaria at the time, so there was some initial concern they wouldn’t be able to schedule it in time for her yearbook deadline of Feb. 10.
But then last Tuesday Fregoso and six members of her family — including her mother and three siblings — drove down to Los Angeles. Harbour put them up in the luxurious The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. Then the next day on Wednesday they met in the Netflix offices on Sunset Boulevard.
Fregoso said when the actor walked in all she could say was “Hi,” for the first 10 seconds. But he put her at ease quickly. He had a trombone, which he used to play in high school and even played a little to prove it, and she brought him some Orestimba Warriors sweatshirts to wear.
Once the photoshoot started, the varsity basketball player said she wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Then she heard laughter.
“I didn’t really see him because he was behind me, but everyone was laughing so I was like what the heck is going on back there? Then I saw the photos and it was so funny,” she said.
Harbour alternately posed for classic, wistful yearbook photos staring into the distance and then silly, wacky shots where he’s giving her bunny ears or waving pom-poms or flashing the thumbs up sign.
“He was just so funny. It didn’t seem forced, he seemed really genuine. I was nervous but he made it flow,” she said. “The way he was acting, I was like, ‘He is a cool dude, so don’t be too crazy,’ you know.”
They spent about an hour on the photoshoot, and afterward Harbour also posed for personal pictures with her whole family including her 9-year-old little sister. That night they drove back to Newman so Fergoso could be in school Thursday to play in the big rivalry basketball game against Gustine. She made it and they won.
Her newfound Internet fame — the story has been reported by Entertainment Weekly, E! News, Esquire magazine and many more outlets — has made her the talk of school and beyond. When she first tweeted Harbour, she had about 400 Twitter and Instagram followers each. Now she has more than 2,000 on both.
And it is all because of a 1 a.m. decision some random Sunday night before hopping into the shower to tweet Harbour, whose character she loves because of his evolution on the screen. But before she got into the shower the alert that he tweeted back came in, and then her phone exploded with everyone else’s notifications.
“What if I wouldn’t have stated up at 1 a.m. that night? What if I never stayed up and took a shower later instead? So many other things that could have happened,” she said. “I’m so thankful for everyone who retweeted. You’re the ones who made this happen.”
Now, with some 199 professional shots to go through, she has to narrow it down to one to go in as her official yearbook photo. Though she hopes to save enough money to buy a yearbook ad as well and include other outtakes. But even she said she watches the video of their meeting every day, just to prove to herself it really happened.
“People ask me, ‘How’d you do it?’ I don’t even know, I just tweeted,” she said.