Toppenish grad's senior project story a nationwide hit
Gaby Rodriguez, whose fake-pregnancy senior project went viral through news media last year, is preparing for the release of a book and TV movie based on her experience. While her social experiment aimed to show other students the impact of stereotypes and rumors, it generated controversy because it meant lying to classmates and family members to keep her true condition a secret.
YAKIMA — Less than nine months after the story of Gaby Rodriguez and her fake-pregnancy senior project went viral through news media, the Toppenish High School grad is getting ready for the release of a book and TV movie based on her experience.
Rodriguez pretended to be pregnant and took notes, recording how people responded to her. She started out with baggy clothes and later fashioned a fake belly.
To promote the Lifetime movie, "The Pregnancy Project," which will air Jan. 28, Rodriguez will be taping an episode of the "Dr. Phil" show this week. The program will show clips from the movie, and host Phil McGraw will interview Rodriguez and her high school principal Trevor Greene about what they learned from her social experiment.
It's unclear when that episode will air.
Rodriguez' senior project aimed to show students the impact of stereotypes and rumors, but as a social experiment, it also meant lying to her classmates and family members to keep the fake pregnancy a secret. The Lifetime movie highlights the tension her project created, which will be showcased in the clips set to air on the "Dr. Phil" episode.
Rodriguez has been inundated with media requests since she revealed her fake pregnancy in April. Her literary agent, Sharlene Martin of Mercer Island, came on board to manage her affairs soon after the reveal. All the attention led to a book deal with Simon & Schuster, as well as a made-for-TV movie from Lifetime.
The book will be released Jan. 17, and Rodriguez is flying to New York City that week for a radio satellite tour to promote it, her Simon & Schuster publicist Paul Crichton wrote in an email.
Rodriguez wrote the memoir, also titled "The Pregnancy Project," with co-author Jenna Glatzer.
On the East Coast, Crichton said, she'll also appear at a New York Public Library event and on PBS's "To the Contrary" program in Washington, D.C., later in the week. She's scheduled to do an interview with the New York Post and will be featured in the Jan. 22 issue of People Magazine, as well as in a four-page spread in February's issue of Seventeen magazine.
Besides New York and D.C., the book tour will also include a stop in Philadelphia.
The money Rodriguez is receiving from the book and movie deals is going toward her education, Martin said. She's also helping to support her mother.
The agent would not disclose how much her client is making.
Rodriguez is currently a student at Columbia Basin College in Pasco and plans to transfer to a four-year state university in 2013.
She's arranged with instructors to take a week off from classes for the book tour the week of Jan. 16, as well as a single day for the Dr. Phil taping on Tuesday.
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