September 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
YOU GUYS. I want to introduce you to one of my favorite people, and like a true fangirl, it’s someone I’ve never even met.
I was introduced to Cami through the Battlestar Galactica fandom (more specifically the Mary McDonnell hair division). Her kindness, enthusiasm, and artistic talents spoke to me. They said, “Squee!” Also, “This is someone you need to know.”
So when it came time for me to find an artist for The Fangirl Life, I knew that she was my constant for the book. Eventually, you’ll get a sneak peak of her 20 fantastic line drawings for it! But for now, I want to introduce her BAMFy self to readers.
K: What was the first thing you ever fangirled about?
C: It was probably Sailor Moon. But madness started with X-Files. I’m still going strong, because there’s no cure. Once a phile, always a phile, even 20 years later! I’m sooooo excited for the revival and all the new people getting to know M&S. My little fangirl heart cannot contain such great joy!
K: Well, extra thanks for taking my emotional Twitter DMs while I’m watching it for the first time. How did you get started doing fanart? What makes a good request that you want to draw for someone?
C: I’ve drawn since forever. My kindergarten teachers still had my drawings on the walls years after I left. At first it was mostly Disney style. Then in elementary and middle school I started drawing images of Sailor Moon and Rayearth or other mangas, and portraits of favorite actors and actresses for my friends. That’s basically how it started.
It’s hard to draw when your heart isn’t in it, so I tend to stick with the muse. An appealing project is something I can play with, where I can express my own ideas, when it’s not just about bringing to life someone else’s visual idea, but expanding on it.
K: And BAMF bless you for expanding on my crazy ideas in the book. Any other fan artists that you admire online?
K: Tell us about a new BAMF that you’ve been crying about.
C: I’m in the middle of an Agents of Shields binge watch, and right now I’m crying about Melinda May and her deadly kicks quite a lot from my comfy chair, eating chips in the dim light of my room, petting kitteh like a villain (or not, because it’s too hot to live right now). I’m probably never gonna start any kung-fu course over this, but watch me walk out in boots and a leather jacket (in November, when the temperature is acceptable!) because YES!
Otherwise you can always find me crying over Abby Griffin and Laura Roslin (for different reasons mostly but they both have unicorn hair).
K: Does your cat have a favorite TV show?
C: Kitteh watches me watch tv and that’s apparently entertaining enough.
K: Tell me about the strangest couple you’ve ever shipped.
C: I don’t even know how it happened. It was probably a (really good) fanfic I read, but Harrison and Nicole from Popular?!!! She’s my fav, being the villain of course, and they had a few touching moments when she donated bone marrow for him and he told her he was her family (since she was adopted and never felt like she belonged), and it could have been great! The devil and the good guy balancing each other out. . .alas.
K: Favorite genre of fanfic?
C: Flufffff!! Fluff is the hardest kind of fanfic to find without it feeling OOC or too cheesy for that BAMFy lady, so that’s where you know they’re good. It’s easier to concoct a tear-jerking plot than keeping your readers smiling like idiots at their screens for several thousand words!
K: You’re captured by ninjas and can choose 3 characters from fiction to team together to save you. Whom do you pick and why?
C: MELINDA MAY!!! And Sydney Bristow for obvious reasons. Then I think maybe Carol Peletier, because she would bring cookies too! I love cookies!
K: Carol is great with exploding diversions and cookies for sure. Okay, last question. Can you teach us any Italian fangirl words?
C: #stommale (for when you’re emotionally compromised)
#muoro (incorrect term to describe the act of dying)
#ansia (emotionally compromising state)
#novabbèciaoeh (for that time you can’t)
#ciaone (for that time you can’t even)
#maancheno (but what about no)
#vino! (alcoholic drink needed)
Thanks Cami! Cue me shouting, “Stommale!” for the rest of the week.
February 4, 2015 § 1 Comment
A few months back I stumbled across a tumblr page and said to myself, “I need to know this human.” Every fangirl loves television, but very few are courageous enough to make the leap into the industry. Lauren is a lady whose unabashed admiration for BAMFs and A+ TV has translated into a burgeoning career for her 23-year-old self, and she was kind enough to let me interview her for the fangirl spotlight.
K: How did you become a fangirl?
K: Yeah folks, keep it classy. So no pressure, but what is the best episode of television your eyeballs have ever watched?
L: I am weeping. This question is worse than a parent having to pick a favorite child. Comparing 30 Rock to House of Cards would be like comparing apples to cardigans. I will argue that The West Wing’s “Two Cathedrals” has some of the most remarkable monologues I have ever seen. Orphan Black’s cinematography in the second season cannot be beat. The Good Wife’s “Hitting the Fan” just kills it in acting, pacing, plot, and score. Parks and Recreation has me cackling like an idiot each and every week because I find it so funny. The other night I watched episode 201 of House of Cards and almost literally lost my mind over what had happened in the episode. Can I plead the fifth for this?
L: As a writer, I try to remain cryptic when it comes to sharing pilot ideas, but I will say that I aspire to write a show about family. I come from a crazy, wonderful, dramatic, and hilarious family who have provided me with two decades worth of material. I also would love to create a TV show that passes the Bechdel Test. I love strong badass women and it would be a dream to create a show with lots of strong and diverse Lady BAMFs that will inspire people.
L: I have definitely sat on my couch passively watching exercise videos before without actually partaking in the fitness. Once while at a bar in New York with my colleagues from NBC, a perfectly nice boy asked if he could buy me a drink. The thing is, I already had a drink. I politely declined. Meanwhile, I was starving and wished he would’ve offered to buy me food instead. The third being that I interned in Studio 8H, the SNL studio, while in college. I would say that’s pretty Liz Lemon, yeah?
K: Any wisdom for a fangirl who’s not sure she’s got what it takes to translate her fangirl passions into a career?
L: For me, I gain inspiration from Lady BAMFs — specifically ones that work in my field. I look at Tina Fey, Shonda Rhimes, Amy Poehler, Emily Mortimer, and dozens other women making waves in the entertainment industry and think about their positive attributes that allow them to succeed. They’re passionate, wicked smart, have remarkable amounts of perseverance, and are unafraid to create content and put it out into the world. I find myself constantly thinking “what would ______ do in this situation?” and try to push myself to be half as good as these remarkable women.
My advice for the younger fangirl trying to turn her passions into a career is to find the people that inspire them. Find people they can connect to who make them want to be better and do better. Fangirls are passionate for a reason. It’s just a matter of taking that energy and excitement and channeling it in a productive way. Sometimes having that role model can ground a person, put their goal into perspective, and then set them on the right track.
K: God I feel like we’re in fangirl church right now. What are you doing twenty years from now? What fictional characters will you still be crying over?
What am I doing twenty years from now? I will be the Executive Producer of a 30 Rock reboot, probably, because the only person Tina Fey would trust with that kind of content and commitment is just another awkward brunette from Philly who isn’t afraid to shotgun a pizza or binge-watch Star Wars. On the weekends I will spend my time watching TV on some futuristic streaming service that plays directly out of my eyeballs.
December 17, 2014 § 1 Comment
Fandom can sometimes seem like an island of misfit toys or a circus of personalities, but occasionally you stumble across people who are really something special. If you’re in the American Horror Story fandom, or are a Glee vet like myself, then you probably know the two young women I interviewed for our first Fangirl Spotlight.
Deborah and Jessica are two friends who’ve got both the pluck and the talent to go far. Even actress Sarah Paulson couldn’t help but notice their hilarious AHS-viewing videos, and in a moment that usually only happens in fangirl dreams, she befriended her two fans. I was eager to talk to them about their experiences and what motivates them.
Kathleen: How did you first become a fangirl?
Jess: I’ve been a fangirl since I came out of the womb. My parents would sit me in front of the TV and I’d willingly watch the same episode of Barney over and over and over again. From Sailor Moon to Full House to Lizzie McGuire, there’s never been a time when I wasn’t completely obsessed with TV. I will say, though, that I don’t think I was ever truly part of a fandom until I joined Tumblr, which was only about 4 years ago. My main fandom then was Glee; now it’s American Horror Story. I’m a glutton for punishment, obviously (re: Ryan Murphy).
Deb: My earliest memory of fangirling and fandom experience was Glee. Yes, I was a Gleek. When I first started watching I slowly became interested in searching about the show on the internet, which is how I discovered Tumblr, the Motherland of Fandoms. I realized I wasn’t the only one having these newly discovered “feels” over fictional characters and began interacting with people. I made lifelong friends and had not so horrible teen years. I still love Glee. It changed my life. You never forget your first.
J & D: Christian Mingle.
K: What are some of the factors that determine the women in real life and fiction you admire?
D: I love women who have been through hell and back and sort of say, “screw you” to their situation and rise above it. Women who are flawed and learn to embrace their flaws and use them to their advantage. Women who don’t need men to survive. Women who don’t need to put down other women to survive. Basically, all the characteristics of Lana Winters from American Horror Story: Asylum. Lana Winters was such a breath of fresh air from the usual stereotypical female characters that are on television.
J: I’d say it starts in fiction first. For me, the character always comes before the lady love. I like my female characters strong, smart, quick-witted, funny when the situation calls for it, and not afraid to put anyone in their place. See: Lana Winters, Juliet Burke, Addison Montgomery, Olivia Pope, Robin Scherbatsky, Annie Edison. Now, when I love, I love hard. I can admit to this. But for me to really admire the actress behind the character, I generally hold them to the same standards as their fictional counterparts. The biggest thing for me, though, is their humour. They’ve gotta be really effing funny.
K: I’m a huge fan of your antics. Where do you think all that creative energy comes from?
D: I don’t know about Jessica, but I definitely feed off of her energy. When she gets excited about something she tells me immediately IN ALL CAPS and then I start typing in all caps and then we’re basically screaming and then next thing we know we’re screaming in front of cameras and that’s how “the magic” happens. We just get this crazy energy and we constantly are bouncing ideas back and forth like a ball and it gets bigger and bigger with each pass. I’m always happiest when creating with Jess. I couldn’t imagine doing any of what we do without her, because I just couldn’t. It wouldn’t work without her. It’s like a marriage of creativity. She’s my creative wife.
K: Describe a moment where you felt the biggest fangirl high ever.
J: I think the biggest fangirl high for me would be the first time we saw Sarah Paulson as Sally in Talley’s Folly. We were front row, seeing her acting magic performed in our faces. It’s so amazing to have that kind of experience translate from TV to a stage right in front of you, and not every actor can master both forms of performance, but that was when I fully understood how talented Sarah truly is. That was also the first night that we got to hang out with her, which was beyond anything Deborah and I could have hoped for.
K: You guys have gotten to meet quite a few celebrities. What’s the best advice one of them ever gave you?
D: Last year, I auditioned for a local theater company and it was my first real audition ever. I was so nervous and unsure about myself so I reached out to Sarah Paulson. She gave me advice on my monologue and technique and made me feel more confident in myself. I went into that audition replaying her advice in my head and kept looking around and thinking “If Emmy AND Golden Globe nominated Sarah Paulson thinks I can do this, then I can do it dammit!” It was the only thing keeping me from vomiting or fainting. I got callbacks for 5 different productions.
J: The best advice a celebrity has ever given us isn’t really advice so much as it is encouragement, I guess? A reporter was interviewing Sarah and mentioned her twitter fans, specifically the “two girls who made the funny reaction videos.” Though she didn’t know if it would make it into the article, she said that she just wanted us to know that people see our brilliance. That kind of affirmation from someone you look up to not only as an actor but as a person is such an incredible feeling. I really think it aimed our sights even higher.
K: What advice do you have for a teenager who’s just started crying about a fictional character?
D: I remember my mother saying constantly to me, “Deborah, it’s just a TV show.” when I would be wailing in the corner of the couch because my OTP made eye contact. I used to get so upset and felt like I the biggest weirdo because nobody else around me was doing that. Reach out to people, get creative, use that energy to create things, don’t hold back your fangirl feelings. Never plug up or be ashamed of your feels. You’re a rare magical species, like a unicorn. Everyone else is boring as hell.
J: Embrace it. Don’t ever let anyone belittle your feelings and don’t ever feel like you need to hide who you are. There are going to be so many people who don’t understand you but if you find the right crowd on social media, you’ll have a fantastic support system. Just have fun! And also don’t call the actress “mom” unless she’s explicitly given you permission to do so because it’s very uncomfortable for everyone.
K: What do you want to be doing ten years from now?
J: Ten years from now, I hope to be a well-established, successful actress and I would love to be starring in something alongside Deborah. Maybe a TV show? Or a movie? Or how about both? Does someone just want to cast us in their project right now and give me everything I want? A book deal while we’re at it? I just need my comedy wife with me every step of the way. Basically, ten years from now, I want Deborah and I to be the next Tina and Amy.
D: Anything that makes me happy, really. Whether that be making people laugh, singing, writing, or producing, I’m not 100% sure yet, but I do know that as long as I’m still fangirling and keeping a two year long record of talking to Jessica every single day for another ten years, I know I’ll be content.
Thanks guys! You’re an inspiration to us all. Keep being your unicorn selves and keep on BAMFing. You can follow Deborah and Jessica on twitter, or check out their YouTube channel. And if you have a fandom friend who’s doing amazing things that you’d like to nominate for the fangirl spotlight, shoot me an email at email@example.com.