Last April, 17-year-old Gaby Rodriguez at last removed her fake baby belly and revealed to her shocked classmates at Toppenish High School that it was all a ruse, a grand social experiment designed to force her community to examine how they treat pregnant teens.
You may recall that for six months, Rodriguez, as part of her over-the-top senior year project, pretended that she was pregnant. The only people she let in on the elaborate hoax was her principal, her mother, her boyfriend and best friend.
She started with baggy clothes, and later rigged a fake protruding stomach out of wire mesh and cotton quilt batting. All the while, the aspiring social worker took copious notes on what people were saying about her and reacting to her -- all of this skullduggery to show the kind of psychological impact stereotypes and rumors can do to a pregnant teen and the community.
Finally, Rodriguez let the fake baby out of the bag, so to speak, at a jaw-dropping assembly before the entire school.
Now, the great pretender's story has became a nationwide hit. Rodriguez is getting primed for the release of a book and a made-for-TV movie based on her experience. To promote the Lifetime movie, The Pregnancy Project, which airs Jan. 28. Rodriguez this week will be taping an episode of the Dr. Phil show.
The book, in essence, Rodriguez's memoir, is also titled The Pregnancy Project and will be released by Simon & Schuster on Jan. 17.
It doesn't end here. The New York Post is interviewing her soon and she'll be featured in the Jan. 22 issue of People Magazine, not to mention getting a four-page spread in February's issue of Seventeen magazine.