Alberni’s Jaeger Mah comes off as larger than life over the telephone. So it’s no surprise that he won the Live At YVR contest by a large voting margin.
Mah received 4,128 votes—more than half of the 8,000 votes cast.
Contestant Sarah Szloboda was a distant second with 1,916 votes.
“I cracked open a beer and took a great big breath,” Mah said about his initial reaction when given the official word he won.
“I didn’t even call my mom first—how bad is that?”
The self-proclaimed “Anderson Cooper of YVR” will spend 80 days living at the Vancouver International Airport. He starts work on Aug. 17. He won’t leave Sea Island, where the airport is located, until November.
The Vancouver Art Institute grad will be armed with a video camera, a computer and editing software and he’s to produce four 90-second videos each week as well as make social media postings.
Mah has been given a bicycle to get around the airport but he has an alternate form of transportation.
“I’ll have my skateboard with me. I used to skateboard in Port Alberni back in the day,” he said.
Mah was the leading vote getter early on in the contest but didn’t get over-confident because anything could happen, he said.
“I knew it was mine though when I saw my number of votes double.”
He has publicly credited the people of Port Alberni who voted for him every day with helping him win this contest.
Mah has been a cause celebre since his win was announced, and has been interviewed by newspaper, radio and television publications from across Canada and some in the U.S.
“I think my cellphone is going to blow up,” he said about the number of calls he’s had.
Mah’s first order of business when he starts filming is to show the public his new digs for the next 80 days.
“I want to show people my living room – actually, the whole airport is my living room now,” he said.
Afterward, his first documentary will be about the security area where items confiscated from passengers are kept.
He once had a pocketknife that his grandfather had given to him taken away at the security gate, and he’s always wanted to know what happened to it, he said in a TV interview.
“I want to show what happens to those items after they’re confiscated,” Mah said.
“Are they thrown away, recycled or incinerated?”
Everyone else will be transitioning from summer to fall while Mah is living at the airport—something he is cognizant that he will be missing.
“I won’t get to experience that, now that you mention it,” he said.
“I’ll be inside the airport in my Hawaiian shirt and board shorts.”
When he leaves, though, he will pocket $15,000—the final part of his winnings.
To follow Mah’s progress online, go to www.liveatyvr.ca or on Facebook at Live@YVR.