Celebrity advice, cheesy portrait backgrounds and a really good playlist await you

To be a high school student in America right now means organizing more than 10,000 people in your city to protest against racism. It means skipping school to strike for action on climate change. It means that instead of a traditional graduation, you get a virtual commencement speech from Michelle Obama where she reminds you not to “ever let anyone tell you that you're too angry or that you should keep your mouth shut.” And it means you didn’t get something you really deserve: a prom.

Enter the L.A. Times Virtual Prom — the somewhat strange page you find yourself on now. It’s not a real prom. But it has cheesy portrait backgrounds just like a real prom. And it has better music than most proms, because the playlist has been made by one of your own — 17-year-old Nhandi Craig of Los Angeles, a.k.a. DJ Young 1. And this prom has celebrities. Actor Maitreyi Ramakrishnan of “Never Have I Ever” is here. That’s pretty cool. We've also made a game for you to experience the full prom experience, from beginning to end.

To the students who submitted photos: We're so happy to have you as our guests. To high school students everywhere: We thank you for fighting for justice and our future, and we hope you enjoy this prom.

show us your prom looks!

Erick Moreno and Vanessa Sanchez

Mark Keppel High School, 12th grade

Nayeli Pinela

Gardena High, 12th grade

the celebs are here

Some of our favorite TV stars are here at virtual prom with advice on missing prom in real life.

Paulina Chávez
"The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia"

We are going through crazy times right now. It’s important to stay positive. I know most seniors look forward to prom, but there are going to be so many other opportunities to hang out with friends and make beautiful memories!

Darren Barnet
"Never Have I Ever"

If there is that special someone that you’ve had a crush on and wanted to ask them to prom, go for it and tell them how you feel. You may not be able to go to prom but you can still ask them out and plan a date after quarantine.

Destiny Garcia

Elizabeth Learning Center, 12th grade

Christine Castellano

Gardena Senior High School, 12th grade

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan
"Never Have I Ever"

If you ever find someone who says prom is the best night of their lives, run. Prom is super over-hyped, and honestly there are more exciting things to come in your life. And to anyone who already bought an awesome outfit for prom, wear it. You don’t need a reason to look fancy.

Nicole Maines

Have a big Zoom call with your friends and classmates and spend the evening together. It’s about making special memories with people you care about and got through the past four years with. It’s a celebration of you all. So celebrate together.

our ultimate prom playlist

Nhandi Craig, aka DJ Young 1, was born and raised in Los Angeles. She served as iHeart Radio’s first female celebrity DJ for REAL 92.3 FM. She has performed for sold out stadium crowds in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and around the world.

Nhandi's self titled EP will be released in June 2020.

Stacy Martinez

Charter Oak High School, 12th grade

Andrew Jones

Bell Gardens High School, 12th grade

Jaren Lewison
"Never Have I Ever"

Prom is a time to experience being close to the people who mean the most to you. Even in this crazy time, you can still make meaningful memories with your friends. Have a friend DJ and Zoom! The possibilities are endless.

Elizabeth Grullón
"Party of Five"

You’re not missing anything. Prom is just one fun night amongst hundreds of fun nights you will have in your adult life. Take this completely unique time as an opportunity to connect with yourself so when quarantine lifts you can party in peace!

Irma Sanchez

Paramount High School, 12th grade

Joseph Roman

Paramount High School, 12th grade

Xochitl Benitez and Miguel Estrada

El Rancho High School, 12th grade

Roxi Garcia

West Chicago Community High School, 12th grade

We wanted to know: what song do you wish you could have danced to at prom?

  • Most common responses
  • “Thank U, Next” - Ariana Grande
  • “Photograph” - Ed Sheeran
  • “Crazy” - Gnarls Barkley
  • Oldest throwbacks
  • “September” - Earth, Wind and Fire
  • “Don't Stop Believin’” - Journey
  • “Africa” - Toto

Esmeralda Martinez and Erick Menjivar

Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, 12th grade

Joseph Rivas

Julian Charter Schools, 12th grade

Christina Karchtner
"Never Have I Ever"

Just assume that it was a “Carrie” situation and you narrowly escaped death. You’re welcome.

Lana Condor
"To All The Boys I've Loved Before"

It completely stinks you couldn’t go to your senior prom, but look at the bright side: You didn’t have to get embarrassed by your parents in front of your date! You saved money! You didn’t have to be awkwardly watched by faculty! You didn’t have to listen to a DJ that didn’t play your favorite songs!

Jailyn Torres

El Rancho High School, 11th grade

Jay Dugar, Joyce Kim and Gwen Ma

From left: Oak Park High School (11th grade), La Cañada High School (10th grade), Orange Lutheran High School (12th grade)

Carlos Vargas

El Rancho High School, 12th grade

Natalie Salem

Malibu High School, 12th grade

Leslie Martinez, Anoushka Gupta and Macy Kwon

From left: Inglewood High School (12th), West High School (12th), Cleveland Charter High School (11th)

Claire Judson, Sarah Nachimson and Atussa Kian

From left: Claremont High School (11th), YULA Girls High School (11th), Arcadia High School (12th)

Benjamin Norris
"Never Have I Ever"

Prom is all about celebrating the relationships and unforgettable experiences of high school. So don't let this roadblock get in the way of your well-earned trip down memory lane, and make sure you still take the time to FaceTime, Zoom, Snapchat or whatever to reminisce and laugh with each other before your next great adventure awaits.

Daisy Edgar-Jones
"Normal People"

To be honest, my favorite memory was getting ready with my pals. That’s the best bit, being with your mates. Do a massive Zoom call with your best friends and get ready together, have a natter [chat] and a boogie. It’s way more fun than the actual prom bit, or at least it was for me. Then when you’re allowed to, meet up and go out for a dance!

Celeste Ceja

El Rancho High School, 12th grade

Viviana Villasenor

John Muir High School, 12th grade

Alyssa Diaz

El Rancho High School, 12th grade

Nicky Bo Clark, Rani Chor, Renee Wang and Sarah Axelrod

Wilson High School, 10th grade

Michael Leija

Charter Oak High School, 12th grade

Justin Reyes, Jennifer Morales, Denise Jimenez and Max Parker

The School of Arts and Enterprise, 12th grade

Austin Nguyen, Riona Shiek and Yiyi Ouyang

From left: San Marino High School (12th), Whitney High School (12th), Webb School of California (11th)

Isaac Figueroa

Anaheim High School, 12th grade

Katalina Lopez

Cypress High School, 12th grade