Personal Lives

See the Viral Bar Mitzvah Video in Which a Future Chicago Attorney Dances to Madonna's Vogue

Nobody knew Shaun D. Sperling was a lawyer when his 20-year-old bar mitzvah video went almost instantly viral on YouTube, with help from Perez Hilton.

Family and friends cheer and whistle as the then-13-year-old doffs his suit jacket, revealing a white shirt with an image of Madonna’s face on the back, and lets his tie fly as he confidently struts his stuff to Madonna’s “Vogue” at the suburban Chicago event. The nearly 6-minute YouTube video quickly accumulated over a million hits after it was posted a little over two months ago and made the 33-year-old attorney something of a household name.

The Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa commercial litigation associate has since appeared on Today (YouTube has a clip), Jimmy Kimmel Live! and, on Oct. 29, is scheduled to be a guest on Ellen. As the show was taped earlier this month, Sperling actually met Madonna, who agreed at the last minute to be a guest.

“That was amazing,” he tells the ABA Journal. And there was more: Handed a mike during a break in the filming of the show, for a commercial, Sperling didn’t hold back. “Someone gives you a mike when you’re talking to Madonna, you sing and you dance,” he said. Although he doesn’t expect these memorable moments to be included in the show, he is hopeful that someone may have made a video clip of him dancing and singing with the pop icon.

Sperling says he thinks his bar mitzvah dance video struck a chord with viewers because it shows someone a bit outside the mainstream can be himself and be a hit with friends and family, in what Sperling describes as “an incredibly supportive environment.” While his performance “is just, like, a funny, ridiculous video,” he says, “I think it really has been making a strong statement about being an individual and about young kids being themselves and being confident.”

Openly gay, Sperling says he came out soon after his bar mitzvah—“some say, soon after I performed that dance.” The John Marshall Law School graduate hopes the fame that has resulted from the viral video will help him develop a career focus that includes his artistic side—one of his avocations is creative writing and storytelling—and will serve as a platform for public speaking and writing to promote diversity and inclusiveness in business settings.

He praises his law firm for being “incredibly supportive” and helpful concerning his sudden prominence in pop culture and says that he believes “being completely confident with who I am and 100-percent authentic” is both good for him personally and good for business.

“I’m a perfect example of how being yourself really produces a successful career,” he said.

Related coverage:

Huffington Post: “Jimmy Kimmel Interviews Bar Mitzvah Vogue Dancer Shaun Sperling (VIDEO)”

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