Tinoco le gusta Wendy Williams


Juan Tinoco making one of his signature reaction faces while holding his Wendy Williams mug.

Sarah Strubbe, Editor

In the audience of “The Wendy Williams Show,” there is a man wearing a multi-colored polka-dotted dog shirt. His facial expressions in reaction to the current drama being told are so exaggerated that the cameras cannot pull away. This man is Juan Tinoco, a Spanish teacher at Riverside Brookfield High School.

Tinoco first learned about Wendy Williams in college when his friends introduced him to her radio show. They would all gather in the Gender and Sexuality Center at UIC in-between classes to listen to her, Tinoco said.

“One of the biggest reasons why I watch her is she’s really entertaining and she is doing something that many people aspire to do,” Tinoco said. “She gets paid a lot of money to just sit down, talk about anything she likes, and people hear her and watch her.”

Wendy Williams is radio and television host most famous for her daytime talk show “The Wendy Williams Show,” a program where she gives her input on pop culture and entertainment news. The show first aired in 2008.

Despite the show being on at 10 a.m. CST, during the school day, Tinoco watches The Wendy Williams Show religiously. If he misses an episode the day it airs, he is sure to catch up during his downtime.

“That’s my break time,” Tinoco said. “I am constantly reading things about my profession and having to update myself on practices and how to be a better teacher, or when I am listening to the news and I’m informing myself. I just need my time to relax and wind down and listen.”

Tinoco attended his first live taping of the show on May 30, 2019 after winning the tickets in a lottery. He and his friends won tickets a few years ago as well, but they were not able to go. The show is filmed in New York City, so he had to wait until after the end of the school year to see it.

After a thorough check-in process, the cameras started rolling and Williams entered the studio.

“It’s surreal,” Tinoco said. “I started, as they call, ‘fanning’ at the beginning. I think it’s the fastest hour that I’ve ever experienced.”

One thing Tinoco was not expecting from his experience was the amount of screen time that he received. In the background of many shots of Williams, his face was perfectly framed to catch his reactions. The most notable segment was during Ask Wendy, a part of the show where Williams gives advice to audience members who ask her questions.

“They tell you where to sit, but I think it’s just by the draw of luck that I got that seat right there,” Tinoco said. “But also I think it’s because of the faces I was making as well, why they constantly kept on shooting.”

Williams has a team of cameramen for the show, and a few of them are nicknamed her “shady cameramen.” They are responsible for scanning the audience and cutting to people with over-the-top facial expressions or looks.

“Usually during ‘Ask Wendy’ they like to get people’s faces in reactions, so sometimes they will take a quick shot over at somebody else,” Tinoco said. “I think it’s because they saw me doing those faces all the time. As I was listening to it, I was like ‘Oh my goodness, no she did not just say that. How could she say that on live television?’”

While he enjoyed his moment of fame listening to the advice, Tinoco has no interest in “putting out his business to the world,” he said. However, he would participate in one of the games played on the show.

Williams has had a great impact on Tinoco’s life. He follows her beauty and self-care tips and often quotes her in conversation. This includes in the classroom, where he has nicknamed her “Auntie Wendy.” One aspect of hers he admires is her authenticity.

“She gives her opinion, but she is also very blunt about things,” Tinoco said. “I found myself agreeing with her on things. We all have opinions, but what drew me to her is how she delivered her opinions with humor in it as well.”

Tinoco plans to make his appearance on The Wendy Williams Show an annual tradition. He already has his tickets to see her immediately after the 2020 school year ends.

“You can expect to see me again on another TV,” Tinoco said. “With technology nowadays, I’m just waiting for that moment that I become a meme with just me making my shady faces.”