- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Fifteen hundred screaming fans gave reality-TV star Evan Marriott a welcome he may never forget at the third anniversary of the District's Platinum nightclub Saturday night.
Though he certainly must be used to the attention by now, the faux-rich star of Fox television's top-rated "Joe Millionaire" series seemed a bit dazed when he finally turned up in the packed-to-the-rafters disco around midnight. Smiles, a wave or two and a bit of finger brushing of his wavy brown hair were all he could manage because the predominantly female audience shouted themselves hoarse every time he tried to utter a word.
Master of ceremonies K.T. Harris did her best to keep things lively, too. The WIHT-FM disc jockey paced back and forth waving a cigarette and blowing sm1oke at the crowd as she revved up the cheers by calling attention to the former construction worker and underwear model's hunky attributes. After a balloon drop and T-shirt toss that seemed very "Spring Break in Cancun," the spectacle ended with a dozen or more women jumping onstage to bump and grind with the 6-foot-4 guest of honor, who all but disappeared in the crush except for the bottle of mineral water he managed to hold over his head.
"He's so sexy, and I'd jump on him if I could," said Kim, a 21-year-old University of Maryland student who wouldn't give her last name because "my boyfriend would kill me."
Others admitted an attraction but said it wasn't anything serious.
"He's hot, but I wouldn't want to marry him," said Joni Stewart, 28, of Arlington.
"It's overwhelming. I didn't know celebrity was going to be like this," Mr. Marriott said later from his corner perch in the second-floor VIP Room, where beefy security guards kept giggling, camera-wielding females temporarily at bay.
"I really don't understand what the hype is," he shouted above the thumping house music "The world is in an uproar over the war but if I can help some people forget or make some people happy, I guess that's OK."
Mr. Marriott, now under private management, has about 30 personal-appearance gigs lined up before his proverbial 15 minutes of fame expire, "mostly in casinos and comedy clubs." With fees in the $10,000-and-up range, plus his $500,000 end-of-show bonus from Fox, he might end up a millionaire after all.
"He's a novelty act, and the timing was right," said Platinum owner Abdul Khanu, sounding pleased by his coup, not to mention a full house paying $15 at the door exclusive of drink tabs.
"If I bring him back three months from now, it wouldn't be the same."
Kevin Chaffee

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