I Ran a Backstreet Boys Website for Superfans

The Atlantic - 05-18


In the spring of 1999, I was in the exact target demographic for the Backstreet Boys: 15 years old, female, and very susceptible to intense celebrity crushes. At the time, the group—made up of A. J. McLean, Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, and Nick Carter—was everywhere. Their second U.S. release, Millennium, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this month, set a number of records, including becoming the best-selling album of 1999. These accolades merely confirmed what I already knew on a visceral, spiritual, and hormonal level: that the Backstreet Boys were the greatest boy band ever (again, I was 15). I was, in every sense of the word, a committed fan. I played their music on repeat, I screamed at their concerts, and I had torn-out magazine photos taped to my bedroom wall.