Many freshmen struggle with things like homesickness or fitting all of their clothes in their closets when they move in. Lindy Goodson, however, was juggling interviews and social media appearances with national news publications and magazines.
In the fall of 2016, pictures of her dorm room went viral on Twitter. The lush decorating and extreme contrast from the before picture got a lot of attention from people on the internet.
After getting so much attention on social media, she began getting calls from Buzzfeed, Southern Living, and the Rachel Ray Show asking for more information. She became a local celebrity at the University of Mississippi.
“Flocks of students started coming to my floor and knocking on my door asking if they could see the room,” said Goodson, who is majoring in integrated marketing communications. She got plenty of experience dealing with the media that year.
The original Tweet of the picture began gaining attention pretty soon after it was posted. “I had just said goodbye to my parents, so it was kind of nice, because it distracted me from the fact that my parents had just dropped me off in Mississippi where I didn’t know anyone and was six hours away from home,” Goodson said.
At the beginning, it was just her friends and followers that were spreading the picture via social media, but once strangers started seeing it, some responses to it were negative.
“Comments ranged from people calling us spoiled to more violent and kind of scary messages,” Goodson said.
She and her roommate at the time accepted some of the offers, such as their Snapchat takeover for Buzzfeed and their video with Southern Living posted on Facebook, and turned down other opportunities like an appearance on the Rachel Ray Show.
“We were trying to balance all of this while still adjusting to college and keeping up with our classwork,” she said. “It was a lot to handle all at once.”
Goodson and her roommate were not the only people affected by this sudden attention. Anna Caitlyn Johnson, who lived on the same floor as Goodson, recalls the commotion it caused in their dorm.
“At first, we were all a little jealous that her room was getting so much attention because pretty much everyone’s room looked like that,” said Johnson. “People from other schools didn’t know that though and thought it was amazing.”
After getting to know Goodson, Johnson gained more of an appreciation for her style and thought it was neat that her room was getting so much attention. “I was kind of proud that someone I knew who was the subject of national attention,” said Johnson. “I would show it to all my friends from home.”
Goodson and Johnson bonded over their love for interior design and decided to live together their sophomore year. They spent this past summer designing and planning décor for their current cottage located off of Old Taylor Road.
Goodson’s dorm room fame did not end after her freshman year. As a sophomore, she has received offers from companies to work together for promotions and giveaways. At the beginning of the year, she worked with Living Fresh to do a bedding giveaway to the college freshman who decorated the best dorm.
Command Strips sponsored her with their products and sent two representatives down from New York to shoot a video of their current cottage. In addition to these opportunities, some companies that sponsored her dorm continued to support her, such as Keurig, which gave her a new coffee maker that was pink to match the kitchen.
Goodson and Johnson have enjoyed getting so much attention for their work, but they didn’t not do it for the fame. “Design and decorating is something I genuinely enjoy,” Johnson said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it to come home to something you’re proud of at the end of each day.”
Despite the criticism they have received, both girls say they plan to design their rooms next year in a similar fashion. “I want to reuse a lot of the things from our house this year in the future,” said Goodson. “For me, it made sense to invest in the things I was buying for our house because I have a vision for what I want in the future as well.”
Goodson said she does not plan to go viral again anytime soon, but she enjoys being creative and sharing her work on the internet.
“I would never do it again on purpose, but it was a fun experience and really made my first experience at Ole Miss something I will remember for a long time,” said Goodson.
Her video continues to circulate on the internet and has historically gained popularity around the beginning of each school year. Only time will tell what the next year will bring for incoming freshmen as they move into their dorms.