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Published March 25, 2011, 12:00 AM

Morast: Goetz is Fargo-Moorhead's latest 'It Girl'

In a town so starved for stars that high school sports athletes are sometimes considered “celebrities,” Stephanie Goetz has become our latest “It Girl.” She’s not just everywhere; she’s everywhere with a loyal flock of fans watching her every move.

Is it just me or does it seem like Stephanie Goetz is everywhere?

For instance, turn on the local television news, and the broadcast journalist’s face is seemingly everywhere at 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts – mostly, because KVLY (NBC) and KXJB (CBS) simulcast the same news program.

Walk into area supermarkets. and her face stares from the covers of free local magazines – daring you not to gaze into her blue eyes. And just when you think you’re safe while watching a state high school basketball tournament game, she shows up as the smiley-but-smart-enough sideline reporter telling us about the people behind the people playing the games.

After anchoring the weekend reports at WDAY – the local ABC affiliate, which is owned by the company that pays me – the Red Wing, Minn., native moved to the competition, and they decided to feature her like she’s The Next Big Thing 2.0. Consequently, she’s now in a limelight few of us will ever understand.

In a town so starved for stars that high school sports athletes are sometimes considered “celebrities,” Goetz has become our latest “It Girl.” She’s not just everywhere; she’s everywhere with a loyal flock of fans watching her every move.

I don’t get it. But I don’t get a lot of things. So I’m trying to understand why this woman suddenly saw her Q rating increase at an exponential rate.

Part of this has to be that KVLY is treating her like a star, transmitting high doses of her face over the airwaves and online streams.

Part of her appeal has to be her friendly demeanor that has enough small-town folk appeal to keep the average Joes and Janes comfortable.

Part of it has to be she knows how to do her job – whether that’s scoring an “exclusive” interview with Perham’s Zach Gabbard or showing us how difficult it is to curl while wearing an outfit Nancy Grace would call “hotpants.”

And that brings us to, maybe, the most likely reason Goetz is so popular: She’s attractive enough to cause the guys I know to talk about her like she’s the Red River Valley’s Erin Andrews.

Steph – I like to call my celebrities by their first names – didn’t respond to an emailed interview request sent earlier this week. I don’t blame her. I wouldn’t talk to me either.

So I’ve studied her various online bios trying to construct an understanding of her appeal.

In them, Steph admits she’s a sports junkie and says things like she’s “not afraid to get her hands dirty” and “storytelling is in my blood.” I’ve never understood that saying. Literally, that would give you a stroke. Metaphorically, it suggests your blood values folk tales more than oxygen. I believe blood would disagree.

Regardless, charisma is probably in her blood – yeah, I went there. I actually grew up in and spent a lot of time traveling across western North Dakota with one of her cousins. He was a good-looking sports stud and the only high schooler I’ve ever known who had fan mail delivered to him in the middle of chemistry class – realize this was before email.

He also had that rare ability as a teenager to talk smack with our fellow miscreants and hold long, boring conversations about farm crops with people five decades his senior.

Ultimately, that’s Steph’s appeal; she has that mix of familiarity and exotic appeal that crosses more demographics than free cash.

That’s why she’s our It Girl of the moment. On to the next question: How long before we’re tired of her?


Readers can reach Forum Features Editor Robert Morast at (701) 241-5518

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