Not everyone grew up dreaming of becoming an astronaut, the president, or...a beauty editor, but if you were alive between the years of 1981 and, oh, let’s say 2001, we’ll bet double or nothing that at one point you wanted to be an MTV VJ. You envisioned yourself in front of the camera but behind the music, best friends with all the boy bands, and the first and only source for world-shattering music videos. After all, who didn’t want to have screaming teenagers standing outside their “office” in Times Square begging to meet them (and, fine, their guests)? VJs could be a part of rock history in the making, without requiring an ounce of musical talent.
In the days before Teen Moms ruled the airwaves, there was a select group of people blessed with the hosting gigs that dictating our every move (what we listened to, how many nails we painted black, where we wanted to spend Spring Break…South Padre Island?!). Sure, MTV helped launch the stars of so many boldface names: Carmen Electra, Jenny McCarthy, Dr. Dre, Cindy Crawford, Vanessa Minnillo, and Pauly Shore. But it was with the real music-news wunderkinder that our professional aspirations lied. In the forms of Kennedy, Downtown Julie Brown, Duffy, Kurt Loder, John Norris, Serena Altschul, Ananda Lewis, and Tara Reid’s former fiancé, Carson Daly, MTV showed our younger selves just how much fun was to be had in journalism (we took notice, but changed the subject from music to makeup, so thanks, MTV!). While there are a few who survive on the limited music broadcasting left on the network (Josh Horowitz’s After Hours interviews are worth staying up for), we long for the days when VJs reigned. So take a look back at our favorite video jockeys in honor of MTV’s 32nd birthday, which launched on August 1, 1981 with “Video Killed The Radio Star.” Enjoy!
P.S. While we're on the subject: MTV, please bring back TRL (and Carson Daly and his painted black nails)!!!!!