Growing up with a "hypo and mischievous" personality made it hard for Murupara-bred Fabian Anderson to find a place where he fit in.
Now, half way across the world, the ex-Rotorua Boys' High School student has used his unique persona to land himself an internship on one of the most popular talk shows in the world - Ellen, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.
"Growing up I had trouble knowing where my hypo and mischievous personality would fit best within an industry. High school was the point when I discovered that my mouth would suit being a talk show host so that became my dream," the 21-year-old told the Rotorua Daily Post.
After finishing high school in 2014 Mr Anderson moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California.
He said the decision to apply for the Ellen internship came after realising all his friends were applying.
"I learnt here in America it's the modern thing to do for students to apply for internships. I felt like I needed to follow the norm and apply for an internship along with my college friends. I'm a fan of Ellen so I thought go big or go home."
He said he was one of thousands of applicants so when he was picked he was both happy and nervous.
"I think it still hasn't hit me that I have it so hopefully it's going to hit me so I go through the high and low emotion before I start in January.
"Initially I only told a select few important people and they couldn't have been more proud. Now the news is out they are getting stopped on the street with congratulations."
He said much of his success could be attributed to his late nan Ora Anderson.
"She was there for me my whole life when my parents couldn't be. I wasn't naughty but I was mischievous and she was the only one that understood me. She was my biggest fan. She was like my mum and I wouldn't exchange anything for those memories."
He said the Ellen studio ran a "tight ship" when it came to releasing information about what he would be doing.
"They did mention that my personality will be good use in some of the skits they re-shoot like music videos and movie trailers but nothing is assigned and won't be until the week before I start. I could be doing the lowest of low jobs for all I know. But I'll still happy with what I get."
Mr Anderson said he hoped local youth would take his story as inspiration to challenge themselves.
"I'm not saying that I'm this big star, I'm humbled for this opportunity but you've got nothing to lose being young. No debt, no kids. Even if you end up with 50c in your account after paying for what you plan on doing, it's important to get up and go chase your dream."