Boston University Grad Appears in Target Commercial With Justin Timberlake

Mandi Mellen was shocked when Timberlake showed up at the shoot in Los Angeles.

Photo via Target

Photo via Target

There’s no doubt that 2013 is the year of Justin Timberlake.

Besides his fifth appearance on Saturday Night Live as a host, Timberlake was recently a featured guest for an entire week on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and of course, he put out his first album in six years, The 20/20 Experience. The former N*Sync singer has also scooped up several big endorsements, including support from Bud Light, and recently, Target.

But perhaps no one has appreciated Timberlake’s on-screen appearances more than Boston University graduate Mandi Mellen. After being picked to be part of a new Justin Timberlake Target commercial where fans sing songs from his latest album, Mellen and the rest of the cast appearing in the TV spot were taken by surprise when Timberlake showed up during filming.

“The whole concept of the commercial, or what we were told, was we were his 20 biggest fans and this was a Target commercial for his new CD. So they did a lot of shots of us singing his new song ‘Mirrors,’ then they separated us into groups to sing the song,” says Mellen. “[The] extra part that none of us knew about was that Justin was going to be there, and he surprised us all while we were singing. The funny part was, he just walked out on stage clapping when we were all singing.”

Out of the 20 featured singers, Mellen was one of eight to be picked to stand in the front row to sing with Timberlake, too.

Here is what the aspiring actress had to say about the shoot in Los Angeles:

How did this whole thing come about?

I saw a casting call looking for Justin Timberlake “superfans.” I’ve been a big fan of JT’s for years, and my fiance actually submitted both of us to go in and audition. So we initially auditioned together, but I got called back in for the project and subsequently booked on it.

What was Timberlake like?

Justin was so great! He was so nice! He stayed around and talked to us all. We could all tell that he was having so much fun and he was just as excited to meet all of us as we were him.

Anything funny happen while on set?

Something funny [did happen at] his album release party; 20 of us got invited to his party. Then they chose eight of us to be in the front row for filming purposes. I was one of those people. The album release party was filmed and televised on the CW. It had a whole interview section with Ryan Seacrest, and in between the interview and JT doing a song, he looked down at all of us in the front row and mouths “did you guys see the commercial?” It was way cool! All of us were so excited that he knew we were there in front and was excited about the commercial.

Were you nervous around him?

I was more in shock. When he came out to my group during when we were singing, the guy in my group and I continued to sing the song and then once we realized it was Justin we both said “oh [expletive].”

Is Timberlake as charming in person as he comes across on his records and TV appearances?

He really is! He was super nice. They surprised us all in stages. So after we were done, we were outside on the lot chatting with Justin. He was just so nice and so charismatic.

What is it about Timberlake that is so appealing to a general audience, do you think?

He’s extremely genuine and he’s talented. And he, of course, knows he’s talented, but he’s not arrogant about it. He appears to be so grateful. And honestly, he seems like he’d be an awesome guy to be friends with.

I understand you have Boston ties. Did you go to school here?

I grew up in Dedham. I also went to Boston University and majored in film. I’ve been acting since I was a child. So once I was in college, I knew that if I wanted to pursue acting as I career that I needed to move to Los Angeles.

Do you have any other projects in the works?

Right now, I’m just auditioning for a lot of different projects. Something good will come up soon in that end.

Would you ever consider coming back to Boston?

I love Boston. And I’d love to be bicoastal, but right now I need to be in LA for my career. I know Boston is becoming a hub for filming, so I’d love to film a movie there. Besides acting and singing, I am a writer. I’m writing a screenplay (but of course who isn’t in LA), I also produce my own web-series and write a blog for a site called I have a writing section on there and a video blog called “The World According to Mandi.”