Some students participating in the rush process as part of Panhellenic Recruitment earlier this month were in for a surprise when they were joined by a unique potential new member.
LSA senior Daniel Markowitz donned a dress and wig, purporting to be Danielle, an over-eager freshman sorority recruit. He produced a video of his trials as a rushee, which has over 60,000 views on YouTube. It was also featured to websites popular within the Greek community, such as BroBible and Total Frat Move.
As Danielle, Markowitz chatted up other potential new members, discussing everything from fashion to parties.
“Did you guys go to splash bash?” Danielle said. “I went to splash bash and I woke up in the morning and I was all red and I call it the splash bash rash.”
Rho omegas, the sorority sisters who help facilitate rushing, told Danielle to leave the property during the rush process.
“I’ll call the police,” one said in the video.
“I’ll call my daddy,” Danielle retorted. “Do you know how wealthy he is? We are upper middle class.”
Markowitz came up with the idea after talking to friends in Greek life last semester.
“I always thought that guy rush is very relaxed and allows you to focus more on meeting the brothers and being yourself, but with girls, at least in the beginning, it’s almost like putting on a show and it seems very fake,” Markowitz said. “Maybe that’s not fair to say because it’s not completely like that, but that’s how it seems from an outside perspective.”
While many wondered if he was using this video as part of a larger social commentary regarding the Greek community, Markowitz said the only motivation behind this project was to have fun.
“I really just wanted to mess with people and have some fun with this whole idea,” he said. “When we went into this, I thought, ‘if no one likes this at least we’ll have fun doing it,’ but fortunately people have liked it.”
Nevertheless, his jokes about sex, socioeconomics and the dramatic antics of rush have drawn some controversy. In the video, people had mixed reactions, with taking offense to Markowitz’s comments, while others played along or fought back laughs.
“Some people flipped out and were going crazy about it, which I thought was funny because it shouldn’t be such a serious process,” he said. “It’s supposed to be about fun and meeting people and joining a sisterhood that’s going to last for the next four years, but people do and that’s where you get these funny reactions.”
Markowitz noted one comment in his video that pokes fun at the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, when he said he heard it was nicknamed “Visa Visa Mastercard.” He said it was written as part of Danielle’s character, who he portrayed as “an oblivious freshman girl who only knows the stereotypes.”
“I think some girls got mad at first because they thought I was attacking them or their sorority specifically or that I was only doing this to them,” he said. “By going to all the houses, I just wanted to get a reaction from everyone altogether, and not make any generalizations.”
Despite enjoying the process, Markowitz said there was a moment when he thought he might have gone too far.
“I had a breakdown before we got to the last house that no one knows about,” he said. “I was really afraid of making people mad, if people had been mad I would have felt really bad, and all my friends there (said) you have to finish this, so I’m really happy I did.”
It was Markowitz’s first video and first time using a body mic. Most jokes were improvisational, and others were collaborative. He credits his fellow ComCo members for a scene where he handcuffs himself to a sorority fence. After drawing much ire from rho omegas about his presence, he starts to chant “Let me rush!” while sitting on the ground handcuffed.
Markowitz said he plans to make more videos in the future, but is keeping his ideas to himself for now. Danielle, he said, will probably not be making any more appearances, though he cannot say for sure that she is done for good.
“I don’t plan on putting on a dress that many more times,” he said. “I knew that if this whole thing didn’t go well, then I would just be that weirdo in a dress.”