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Pittsburgh's MTV vets find love

Monday, June 21, 1999

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

She went from fan to fiancée in one short year. There's got to be a Hollywood movie in the works about this love story.

A year ago, Susie Meister of Ross shot to fame among the 18-to-24-year-old demographic with her appearance on MTV's "Road Rules." Cast as the naive church-goer, Meister got interested in "Road Rules" after Pittsburgher Timmy Beggy starred in the show's second season as the designated class clown.

She'd met him at the Three Rivers Regatta and again when he appeared in an episode of her season of "Road Rules," filmed in Australia.

They stayed in touch as friends, and then Susie went to visit him for a week in Los Angeles last December.

"We were just friends when I got there, and by the time I was leaving, I was engaged," Meister said. "It just happened very fast. We didn't get a ring, we didn't set a date, we just know we're meant to be together."

Meister said the two connected as friends because of their shared hometown and TV experience, but it grew into something more.

"This isn't really about 'Road Rules,' " Meister said.

"We fell in love like any other couple. Something happens and it's love."

Beggy, 27, is living in the 'Burgh and is on summer hiatus from hosting duties on the Fox Sports Net show "The Slant," which covers college football and basketball. Meister, 19, is a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh studying political science and English literature.

She said her adventures in television proved enlightening, especially when it came to the editing of the show.

"I was put into this little box and portrayed as the naive innocent who had some sort of huge transformation," Meister said. "I know the editors have a job to do trying to make a storyline, and the trip was a lot more interesting on television than in real life. It's a limited perspective, but I think they did a great job."

And no, she hasn't changed that much, despite getting a tattoo on the show (Meister said the other cast members also got tattoos, but MTV only showed her getting one). She still attends church services, and said that will never change.

Meister said she learned more from the after-effects of stardom than being on the show itself.

"You're not famous, but you're not normal either," she said. "People feel like they know you and want to be your friend.

"You come into a relationship not knowing the other person and they come into it having an opinion about you already. It can work to your advantage, it can work against you."

Meister said she and Beggy try to stay away from places where they might be recognized by peers. And there are rewards.

On a trip back from California, Meister and Beggy stopped at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., to visit with victims of the shooting.

It wasn't an MTV-concocted stunt; they did it on their own.

"We just wanted to talk to kids in the hospital," Meister said. "When you get through all the superficial crap of MTV and do something good, it's so rad. The kids had bandages and wounds, but they just wanted to talk. It was kind of humbling though.

"They said Aerosmith had just been there, and we're just MTV scrubs."

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