You can notch a #1 Billboard single, score an Olympic gold medal or win a Golden Globe — it still won’t erase those awkward moments from your teenage years. That’s what we learned on this week’s episode of “When I Was 17,” when Drake, Jennie Finch and Queen Latifah shared memories of their lives back in the day.
“When I was 17, I used to have this terrible afro,” Drake laughed. “You know, an afro is supposed to be big. It’s supposed to be a nice sphere and then it’s supposed to end. My joint never really ended. It was like a neck afro. It made me look like I had the biggest head in the world.”
It got so bad that Drake’s friend pretty much demanded he find a new barber. The “Best I Ever Had” MC followed that advice, got a new ’do, and his life has never been the same. “I was a whole new person,” he said. “I was, like, reborn.”
His wardrobe, however, was an entirely different problem. Drake confessed he used to be an eBay addict. He’d spend hours online picking out jerseys and velour track suits. “I look back now and it’s all hideous,” he said.
Two-time Olympic medal winner Jennie Finch, meanwhile, was 6’1″ when she was 17, and she admits that getting a date was anything but easy. But she had a tight group of friends called the Bomb Squad — “Because we thought we were the bomb,” a friend recalled — and some serious athletic ability.
“I was that super softball chick,” Finch said. “I was all about athletics.”
During her senior year, she ended up pitching a perfect game — no hits, no walks, no errors, a truly amazing feat. “I remember driving home and being like, ’Mom, can I get that Guess watch if I pitch another perfect game?’ It was a mix of gold and silver, so it would go with anything I wore.”
Her mom told her if she could pitch another perfect game — and do it during her very next start — the watch would be hers. Sure enough, she went out and threw another perfect game. “You better believe I rocked that Guess watch,” Finch laughed.
When Queen Latifah was 17, she had her eye on a record contract. Her mom introduced her to a local DJ named Mark James, otherwise known as the 45 King. Together they laid down a demo.
“I did, like, two songs,” she explained. “I was just spittin’ my rhymes. ’Wrath of My Madness’ was the A side. ’Princess of the Posse’ was the B side. Mark gave the tape to this guy named Fab 5 Freddy, who was known around. I knew he was circulating this music around, but I was kind of on pins and needles. You never know, it’s a one-in-a-million shot. And Mark calls me one day. He’s like, ’Yo, I think we got a record deal!’
“It was a very exciting time for me,” she added. “I was 17 years old and I was off to the races.”
“When I Was 17″ airs Saturdays at 11 a.m. on MTV.