Halle O’Conor, AMD’17, is traveling abroad with Jimmy Fallon, host of The Tonight Show.
Over the past five weeks, they have gone sightseeing in three countries, stopping in Italy, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.
One day, they visited the Einstein House in Bern, Switzerland. A week later, they enjoyed a gondola ride in Venice. Over the weekend, they showed up at the John Lennon Wall in Prague.
But how, you ask, can Fallon be in two far-flung places at once, hosting his TV show in New York while sightseeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Tuscany?
The answer is simple: O’Conor’s Fallon is but 8 inches tall, a cardboard cutout.
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When she’s not studying abroad at the Lorenzo de Medici School in Florence, O’Conor is taking quirky photos of “mini Fallon” and then posting them to her Instagram account @jimmyfallonstudiesabroad. All in all, she’s posted more than 40 photos of the paper doll in more than a dozen different costumes, from swim trunks to a priest’s robe.
O’Conor, a fourth-year communication studies major, is hoping that her creative stunt will help her land a co-op job as a production intern on The Tonight Show. So far, it seems to be working: Her international exploits have generated press; the talk show is following her Instagram account; and a few members of The Roots, the hip hop band, have even “liked” some of the photos.
“I have learned that it is important to do things to express your creativity and passion as an individual,” O’Conor said via email from Italy. “Putting yourself out there can be scary, but it can also pay off when people take notice and appreciate what you are doing.”
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A photo posted by @jimmyfallonstudiesabroad on
O’Conor got the “mini Fallon” idea from her mother, whose friends used to mail her paper cutouts of Flat Stanley, the hero of a popular children’s book who is flattened by a bulletin board in his sleep.
Overall, she said, the public reaction to her photo project has been positive. While some strangers have given her sideways looks, others have been more inquisitive, stopping her on the street to ask her why she’s carrying an 8-inch version of a celebrity. And a few of her peers at the Medici School have questioned her after class, incredulous: “Wait, you’re the Jimmy Fallon girl?” they ask her. “You’re so funny and he’s going to love the account when he sees it.”
The project will end in May, when O’Conor returns to campus with mini Fallon. Will she be jet-setting to New York shortly thereafter, looking to begin co-op with her favorite TV show? She hopes so. “Watching talk shows has always been an easy way for me to relieve stress from everyday life,” O’Conor explained. “Hearing about other people’s lives and the funny things that people go through is comforting, and no show makes me laugh as hard as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”