A school receptionist found herself on a real Friends episode after spotting her face on a billboard at a bus stop warning of an STI – just like Joey did on the hit TV show.
Rachel O’Connor joined the campaign last February through a talent agency that highlighted the importance of cervical screening. However, due to the COVID pandemic, the advertisements were delayed by more than a year.
However, the 26-year-old suddenly received messages asking if she had a “twin” after friends and relatives discovered her face next to ads warning of human papillomavirus, or HPV – the most common sexually transmitted infection.
In the iconic ’90s sitcom, Matt Leblanc’s character Joey Tribbiani is embarrassed after seeing his face on billboards with the slogan “VD (STD) – you never know who might have it”.
However, Rachel claims she was delighted to have her “joey moment” and rushed to a nearby bus stop where her brother spotted the ad so she could pose next to it.
Rachel attended the photo shoot for CervicalCheck, Ireland’s national screening program, to encourage women to have a smear that detects cancerous processes in the cervix and is often caused by HPV.
A funny photo shows Rachel mocking Joey’s humiliated face when she spots herself in the ad while standing next to the bus stop, which she shared alongside a picture of the sinister womanizer Tribbiani in the same pose.
The tweet quickly went viral with nearly 7,000 likes and shares when Rachel titled her picture: “I had my joey moment !!!! (Except that I’m not embarrassed about women having to cut corners) . “
Rachel from Dublin said: “I first got a message from a friend’s sister asking if it was me or a twin or something [in the adverts].
“Then, that same day, my brother saw the ad at the bus stop. It’s actually only twenty minutes from my house.
“So me and my mom went there the next day and got a chance to take a picture. I just had to jump on it, you know.
“I only saw this episode the day before, so it was definitely on my mind.
“I’ve seen the show since I was 11, so it’s one of my all time favorites. When I saw the ad run in real life, it was one of the first things that came to mind.
“You always want to relate your life to a television show, especially one that’s set in New York with a group of people in their twenties.”
Unlike Joey, who was very embarrassed about his report, Rachel accepted hers wholeheartedly.
Rachel said: “In the last two or three years there has been a scandal in Ireland with the government sending tests to Germany and many women drawing wrong conclusions.
“So a couple of women died because they didn’t know they had cervical cancer.
“Since then, there has been great hope that women will be screened sooner rather than later.
“I’ve had so many messages from girls my age saying, ‘Oh my god, I haven’t got mine, but I saw the ad and she reminded me to make the call.'”
CervicalCheck was asked for a comment.