TBHR speaks with the Michigan “Derp Face” Girl

Posted on Posted in Michigan Football

Do you remember this shot from the Michigan game last weekend? It probably will be a game to remember for one Michigan student.

Janine Huelsman, a student at the University of Michigan, was a victim of “wrong face at the wrong time.” Only up by two points and driving towards the endzone, Devin Gardner turned the ball over with a fumble. What could’ve been a crucial mistake in the game.

After the fumble occurred, the cameras panned over to a dumbfounded student in the stands. The look will forever go down in infamy.

Huelsman was a good sport and took some time to answer a few of my questions.

TBHR:  I know how much of a cave Michigan Stadium can be in terms of cell phone service. So, what was the initial reaction from friends and family when they first noticed you on TV? More importantly, what was your reaction when you first saw the image?

HUELSMAN: I didn’t know even know it happened at first. Since that face wasn’t shown on the big screen at the game and service is terrible when in the stadium. But somehow 18 text messages managed to come through before I even left. My best friend and roommate was also in the image when it happened (she’s the one I look over to) and she had gotten some text messages as well telling us that we were on TV. Generally, though, a lot of it was just people I knew from around school telling me they saw me, but some were from people I hadn’t talked to since high school, so it was really surprising.  My friends and family mostly thought it was funny. My mom, who worries a lot, was nervous because she thought I wouldn’t be able to handle the bashing from rude people that you get when something like that goes onto the internet. When I first saw the image, I was pretty upset about it because I knew people were going to refer to me as “drunk Michigan girl” and stuff like that, even though I wasn’t even drunk, but I definitely didn’t think that it was going to become as popular as it did.

TBHR: I know this occurred right after the Devin Gardner fumble, but describe what was going on in your head at the time you made that face? 

HUELSMAN: The face that I made is a pretty common look for me. It happens any time something baffling happens. However, all I could think about was the fact that we were only up by two at the time and we were so ready to score and then “BAM” Gardner fumbles the ball AGAIN. I was furious.

TBHR: It’s midweek now, how many times have you been stopped on campus or asked to recreate your expression? 

HUELSMAN:  Its happened at least a couple times usually per class and then every so often when I’m walking around. Mostly I hear people talking about me, though. I also work in one of the oncampus dining halls and that’s actually where I get the most attention. 

TBHR: I’m sure this was a pretty embarrassing moment for you, how have you learned to accept it and move on from it?

HUELSMAN: I’m not really embarrassed about it anymore. I got over it pretty fast and think it’s actually pretty funny. Let’s be honest, a lot of people have made that kind of face or something similar to it. I’ve made faces like that all my life, it’s something that my friends know me for. It also helps that my parents raised me to laugh at myself. I mean, if it was anybody else that had been caught making that face I would have found it hysterical, so why wouldn’t I laugh at myself?

TBHR: Have you coined a term for your facial expression? I’ve heard some variations of it, now is your chance to tell the world what you want to be called.

On Twitter, because of how many people called me it, I have referred to myself as a “Professional Derp Face Maker.” But I mean, it’s really just a Janine face. It doesn’t matter to me what it’s called.

What does the future of the facial expression hold for you? Will it be making an appearance at future Michigan games? 

I’m not one for missing a football game, so I’ll most definitely be at all of them until I graduate. I’m really hoping that I can get back down to the front again. It’s a really hard task and I would like to redeem myself. Possibly get on TV smiling this time? Maybe enough people will recognize me and let me get down there, because it’s not very likely that I’ll be lucky enough to get that close again. I doubt anyone could really make that happen. But, if I did, it would definitely be amazing and hopefully (we don’t want a repeat) a solid redemption! 

Derek Devine
Institutional voice of Alma College during the day, Michigan fanatic at night. Taking TBHR to the next level one post at a time.