Maci Bookout, 20, of MTV’s reality show was at the school Thursday night, answering questions from students about the struggles of raising a child as a teenage mom.
A standing-room-only crowd of more than 500 students attended her talk, which was sponsored by KSU’s Kennesaw Activities Board. The group is financed with student fees. Bookout recently wrapped up filming her fourth season on the show and said this season would probably be her last.
“I really just wanted to show girls how hard it was to be a teen parent,” she said of her first three seasons on the show. “I wanted girls who might get pregnant to see there are options out there to move forward with your life and still have goals.”
She is enrolled in 19 hours of coursework at an unnamed community college in Tennessee where she is majoring in media and technology and minoring in creative writing — although she did joke that she was skipping class to speak at KSU.
Bookout also talked about her high school experience, relationship struggles and the hardships of raising a child, and then took questions.
The predominantly female audience asked her advice to other young mothers who were also in school, as well as the behind-the-scenes details of what it was like to spend three years of her life on camera.
Many audience members later spoke highly of Bookout, saying they look up to her and admire how she always does what is best for her 3-year-old son, Bentley.
Brandi Dolan, a 20-year-old marketing major, said Bookout was her favorite of all the MTV teen moms because she is “real” and “down to earth.” Brenna Heaver, 19, agreed, saying that Bookout is the best mom because she always has her son’s best interests in mind.
After the Q&A session, Chantelle King-Munroe, lectures coordinator for KAB, asked the audience trivia questions about “Teen Mom” and Bookout’s life. Those who answered correctly received a lecture promo poster autographed by Bookout.
Bookout did not disclose how much she’s paid by MTV. Leaders of KSU’s activity board also refused to disclose how much student money was spent to bring Bookout to KSU. Her talk was free to attend.
This Thursday, Feb. 2, Jody Williams, a 1997 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on banning landmines, will speak as part of the “Pathways to Peace” lecture series at the university.
Williams’ talks will be at 2 p.m. at Prillaman Hall, Room 1000, and then at 7 p.m. at the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center on the KSU campus, 1000 Chastain Road, Kennesaw, 30144.
Admission is free but tickets are required. Tickets are available at https://epay.kennesaw.edu/C20923_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=1078
According to a university news release, Williams is an outspoken peace activist who since 2006 has chaired the Nobel Women’s Initiative with Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi of Iran. The initiative uses the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize to magnify the power of women working in countries around the word for peace, justice and equality. In 2007, Williams led a high-level mission to Darfur for the United Nations’ Human Rights Council.