When Angie Johnson and Angie Kennard were students at Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville, they dreamt of someday meeting members of their favorite musical group, the 1980s boy band New Kids on the Block.
Now as adults, they have not only met the stars that made them swoon, but have been cast in a reality TV show that features the band, one of the best-selling music artists of all time, on a four-day cruise with their fans.
"I never thought when I was 16, with a picture of Joey McIntyre under my pillow, that I'd be almost 40 and going on cruises with him," said Johnson, 39, a Catonsville real estate agent and mother of two. "It's pretty cool."
The women make their debut as part of one of seven groups of fans featured in the new show, "Rock this Boat: New Kids on the Block,' which premieres Wednesday, Jan. 14 with back-to-back episodes at 8 p.m. on Pop TV, the former TV Guide Network. They are featured alongside pop stars: Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood, in a series of nine episodes.
Johnson and Kennard, who began their friendship in high school, bonded over their infatuation with NKOTB. When Kennard moved to South Carolina to attend college at Clemson University, they lost touch.
But when the group announced they were getting back together in 2008 on the Today Show, the friends reconnected through a NKOTB online chat forum, they said.
"Angie found me on the chat board and said, 'Hey, let's go [to New York City] and see the New Kids together'," Johnson said. "We've been on countless adventures since then."
The friends have traveled across the Eastern Seaboard to see the group perform and have been going on cruises with the five-man band for the past six years.
"The cruises are just the most fun vacation. It's just time to get away from ... all the stress that goes along with the day-to-day," said Angie Kennard, 40, the senior vice president of an investment firm and mother of four. "It's girl time. It's a boat full of girls with New Kids on the Block. It's just a time to have a big slumber party."
Both women, who have collectively gone on close to 100 of the band's concerts, said attending the group's performances and cruises are a way to revisit their high school days.
"We go there to enjoy ourselves and relive some of our childhood dreams," Johnson said.
Kennard and Johnson planned to attend a cruise that set sail in November, 2013, with a group of friends.
"As soon as they announced the cruise, we knew our friend Dannyelle [Zywan] was getting married," Johnson said. "Angie and I were just joking around about how we should get her on the boat."
After discussing the idea with Zywan, they thought it was plausible.
Shortly after, producers of the show put out a casting call for fans who wanted to be on the show, Johnson said.
"I submitted an email on behalf on my group of friends and just mentioned something briefly about a possible wedding and we got a call that day," Johnson said.
Kennard said they were taken by surprise.
"Of all the hundreds of thousands of girls, they selected us, and I think it was because we had a fun desire to get our friend married on the boat," Kennard said.
They started filming a month later in Nov. 2013. Both women were part of Zywan's wedding party on the cruise.
"The reality of being on TV kind of struck. That is something that is new for all of us," Kennard said. "It was a little stressful at times, because we didn't get to enjoy our vacation like we normally do because of the cameras in our face the entire time."
But in the end, they forgot about the cameras following them around, Kennard said.
"It was a surreal experience and I do think we are really blessed to be part of something that, to me, was very special," Johnson said. "I think it's good for people who aren't New Kids fans who have all these questions about why we do all these things and they catch a glimpse of what we do for four days."
As far as future goes, the women are planning to go on a cruise again this year in October, which sets sail from Miami, and sails to Grand Turk Island.