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He was still anything but a star there, he told another New York Times writer, Hilary De Vries.
"I wore braces and glasses and was fat and got teased about it," Seacrest said, "but I was always very ambitious." He eventually lost weight by cutting out nearly everything in his school lunch except for the oranges his mother had packed for him.
In 1991, the year he became a junior at Dunwoody High, he landed a hard-to-get internship at Atlanta pop music station WSTR-FM.
One night the regular DJ called in sick and asked Seacrest to take his shift.
His career began to flourish in 2004 with the debut of his daily daytime television show, On-Air with Ryan Seacrest.
Born in 1974, Seacrest grew up in Dunwoody, Georgia, where his father, Gary, was a lawyer.
He was a weekend anchor on the entertainment-news show Extra, and hosted series like Gladiators, Sci-Fi Channel's The New Edge, and The Click, a teen quiz show.
Assuming he would be fired, he went to see his boss the next day in order to apologize. If he had a tail, he'd wag it." Simon Cowell, New York Times Magazine, May 23, 2004.
When he was nineteen, he quit the Atlanta radio station and moved to Los Angeles, enrolling at Santa Monica College.
He had a hard time finding work in the highly competitive radio market in southern California, but he did land some television jobs.
Instead, the station owner told Seacrest that, though he was not a professional, his stint of the night before hadn't been too bad. Ryan Seacrest has hosted American Idol since its debut in 2002, but the show is a remake of a British hit that premiered in the fall of 2001.
The boss offered to start training him, and soon Seacrest was given the weekend overnight shift at WSTR. The ITV Network's Pop Idol also featured Simon Cowell as a judge, but it was hosted by a pair of English comedians named Ant and Dec.