February 11, 2015 § 4 Comments
Hi. I have a problem with what career should I choose as a Fangirl. Can you help me?
Hai Amalia. Let me be your fangirl guidance counselor. Like Emma Pillsbury, I too have career advice and an unreasonable amount of enamel flower brooches.
Fangirls make great employees. I’ve been saying this for years on social media while I avoid my work. Our skills include:
- Googling. You cannot hide. We will find your email address and everything about you and encrypt our IP address. I’m not in Wales. Or am I? Muhahaha.
- Staying current. We know everything that happens the moment it happens. God Facebook, that was 3 weeks ago.
- Memorization. You want to know what happened in episode 3×13? Take a seat son.
- Crisis management. I made it through work today after a Good Wife promo was released with Diane Lockhart wearing a camo hoodie and a tiny fur hat. Look me in the eye and tell me that’s not a skill.
- 100% dedication. We will ride a sinking ship into the depths of an ocean canyon. We will stick with a show 7 seasons after a shark sails over the entire plot. Our loyalty rivals Hufflepuffdom.
Who wouldn’t want these skills in a future employee? Who needs social skills or basic time management when you have 100% DEDICATION, Amalia.
But let’s get serious. The reality is that a fangirl can be anything she wants. If her passion for a screencap is unrivaled, then imagine how far her dedication to a real cause will go? Here are a few tips you should take away.
1. Fictional jobs are not real life jobs. Surgeons are not having sex in the break room like they do on Grey’s Anatomy. Crime scene investigators are not flying around in helicopters. Professors aren’t flipping their chairs backwards to give impromptu library lectures in tweeds. Vampire slayers are not . . . well they probably are. Fiction can be a great starting point for brainstorming career ideas, but you’ve got to throw yourself into a real world environment first to see if you like it.
2. Practice getting rejected. Amalia, if you want to be successful, you have to become immune to the word “No.” Fear of rejection or failure should never be a reason not try something new or ask for an opportunity. I get many “No’s” from editors every week, and it keeps my skin thick. Your favorite character has probably failed at many tasks, so use him or her for inspiration in your journey. The sooner you can get comfortable with rejection, the faster you’ll progress in your career.
3. Find a real life BAMF. Fictional people are easy to summon for career courage. What would Laura Roslin do? is a question I ask myself daily. But I also have had mentors with skin who can give good advice and encourage me along the way. Find someone in a career you might like and ask them to be your mentor. You’ll be surprised how willing people are to share the knowledge they wished they had when they were your age.
Above all, Amalia, remember that you can change your career whenever you want. Sure you might have to keep the same day job to pay the rent, but as fangirls, our passions are constantly changing. So why should our hopes and dreams be any different? I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m having a hell of a time figuring it out.
Finally, I’ll leave you with the immortal words of Diane Lockhart, because they work way better than mine.
When the door you’ve been knocking at finally swings open, you don’t ask why. You run through.
December 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
I have this TV show that I watch constantly, and it’s slipped into my daily schedule to watch 2-3 episodes of it. And when I don’t watch it, I keep on thinking about it and it’s just basically taken over my life. For some reason I keep on feeling really down and confused and I just really don’t know what to do with my life.
Oh Supremeoven (is this a AHS: Coven reference or do you just really like baking?), I hear you. I’ve had a few shows aim to take over my life. LOST. The Good Wife. Battlestar Galactica. I’d say that Glee was the one that really hit the hardest though. I made a lot of amazing friends and found a lot of amazing clothes, but the amount of time I spent rewatching season 1 was, let’s say, problematic.
I think we get sucked into television shows at vulnerable times in our lives. Right before I started obsessing, I went through a bad breakup. The day after it happened, I packed up my car, gave away all my furniture to the lovely Latino family next door, and drove the 800 miles home to restart my life. And this wonderfully dumb TV show was waiting for me on the other end. Sure it got me through the rough patch, but at what cost?
One of my therapist mentors shared these very wise words with me once, and I want to pass them along to you. “The infant’s always there, but that doesn’t mean she has to steer.” What that means is that in each of us, there’s a mature side, and an immature side. The immature side of us is the part that wants to be taken care of, to be nurtured and loved unconditionally at all times. When we consistently use an obsession to get us through the day, we’re letting the infant steer. And this will inevitably make us feel depressed and feed our addiction.
Sitting with the uncomfortableness of not knowing what you’re going to do with your life is letting the adult steer. It means saying, “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I’m gonna be brave and try something different.” Supreme, a TV show can entertain you, distract you, and inspire you. But it can’t take care of you. Only you can do that. That might look like talking to a counselor, replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones, or taking the time to write down your values, dreams, and goals for life. It doesn’t look like watching your favorite episode for the 27th time.
So be kind to yourself! You’re in the driver’s seat, and only you can decide where you’d like to go next.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.