Interview with Fangirls: Johna and Maria

I am continuing with my series of interviews with Fangirls that I have met through social media!

Today, it is my pleasure to interview two fangirls! Johnamarie and her Mom, Maria who are not only fangirls, but also have their own podcast together, Rebels Chat! I met these awesome fangirls first through Twitter and of course through I was estatic to meet them in person at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim and am thrilled that they both agreed to this interview!

Welcome Johna and Maria to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions!

When did you begin to realize you were a Fangirl?

Johna: I knew I was a fangirl the moment I started searching the Web in my early teen years for fan fiction based on some of my favorite television shows and movies. I remember being obsessed with Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. I used to make fan-made music videos and write my own fan fiction, and my first GeoCities website was dedicated to the Stargate universe. I like to think I was a fangirl long before that, but I didn’t start acting on my fangirl interests until those early teen years in junior high and high school.

Maria: I think I’ve always known that I’m a fangirl. The terminology was not there when I was a young girl, but the sentiments and the ideas behind it were normal for me. It wasn’t until my daughter’s generation came around and gave it a name that I chose to adopt it.

How has social media helped or hindered you?

Johna: Social media has been a great tool to reach out to a wider audience and make new friends. It’s a great space to interact with a variety of people, but it also has its downside. There’s an ugly side to all fandoms and places like Twitter and Tumblr tend to generate a lot of negative attitudes. It’s easy to write something down that you would normally not say in person to someone else. People feel a sense of power in that and feel the compulsion to say/write anything without consideration. Despite that, social media has a light side in that it brings people together, and oftentimes, there’s a sense of solidarity and those are the moments I enjoy the most.

Maria: Social media has helped me because it has enhanced the relationship with my daughter and the way I communicate with young people her age. I know what they’re talking about because it’s accessible to me, so rather than seeing it as a hindering point, like most parents, I see it as a tool to communicate.

When did you first see Star Wars and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?

Johna: According to my mom, the first time I saw Star Wars was in the theater as a baby. It must have been in a local re-run theater, since I was born in 1986. My clearest memory of seeing Star Wars, though, was on a Sunday afternoon. It was playing on WB11, and I remember sitting on the floor in front of the television and falling in love with it right from the start.

Maria: I saw Star Wars for the first time during the late 70s or early 80s in Puerto Rico, and I loved it right away. It was different. It was space–the final frontier!

What have you learned from the Star Wars or other fan community that has had a positive impact on your life?

Johna: Through interacting with others in the fandom, I’ve learned to be more positive. As mentioned before, there’s a lot of negativity and cyber bullying, so I try to live life with a more positive outlook and support others along the way. Life is already hard enough, right? So spreading more cheer not only makes others feel good, but it makes me feel heaps better at the end of the day.

Maria: I’ve learned to be open to the differences out there. Normally, we tend to stay within our own idea or concept of how things should be. This whole community and the way my daughter’s generation expresses their fandom has helped me become more open and accepting, and even though I wouldn’t do podcasting on my own, I understand why other people are doing whatever it is they’re doing–whether it’s creating costumes or listening to other fans, like in Rebels Chat.

What else do you Fangirl about?

Johna: Before Star Wars took over my life, I was (and I still am) a big fan of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. The Stargate franchise played a significant role in my life–I don’t know where I’d be without it. I’m also a huge fan of Tron, Tron: Legacy, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Star Trek, and much more.

Maria: I’ve always loved music. I’ve always felt music expresses a myriad of emotions and it’s an outlet to just let go in a moment of rage, sadness, or happiness. You just let go and express yourself. I also fangirl about Doctor Who because I just love that show. Who doesn’t?! This is a man who has lived longer than any other creature in the universe and has experienced it not only through his first life but through the eyes of all those other personalities that he has adopted during each regeneration. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Anything else you want to say to others about being a Fangirl?

Johna: Being a fangirl is a lot of fun, so don’t shy away from embracing that part of yourself. As fangirls, it’s important that we support each other and continue to grow as a community. I love being a fangirl and I do my best every day to encourage fellow fangirls and make them feel included.

Maria: Don’t be afraid to express yourself, but always be mindful of those who are different. Accept that not everybody is going to be accepting of you because that is a fact, but don’t let it stop you.

What inspired you to start Rebels Chat?

Johna: I created Rebels Chat with two reasons in mind. First, I wanted another outlet to talk about my deep love for Rebels, and second, I wanted to spend more time with my mom. We both work during the weekdays and she normally spends her weekends elsewhere, so this one allocated block of time is our way to sit down, talk, and laugh.

Maria: I thought it would be a great opportunity to spend time with my daughter. I talked about this before in the podcast, but children tend to go off in their own ways once they reach adulthood, so Rebels Chat is a way to hold onto that relationship with my daughter and enjoy what she enjoys.

How do you decide what topics to discuss?

Johna: I spend hours writing our show notes! They’re usually 2-3 pages long and they normally contain observations, theories, and highlights of the latest Star Wars Rebels episode in addition to the script we follow along throughout the recording.

How much time do you spend recording and editing?

Johna: During the first season, we watched the new episodes on Monday nights. We would then re-watch the episode on Wednesday nights prior to recording. The recording process would last about an hour or an hour and a half. I would then go straight into editing and that takes about three or four hours. I’m very meticulous when it comes to cleaning up the audio and making sure listeners of the show have a fun and entertaining episode.

If you can have any Fangirl or guest on your podcast, who would that be?

Johna: I’d love to have so many people from the fan community join us as guests! I’m slowly but surely getting the hang of recording audio from multiple people. That’s the reason why I haven’t had guests in the first place! I’ve been meaning to set up something with Vanessa Marshall. She’s such a wonderful supporter of the fans! It’d also be my dream to have Dave Filoni and my mom have a deep conversation about Ezra and the team, but I definitely want to have Sal Perales from the Rogue Rebels in the show in the near future because he’s Rebels Chat’s number one fan and I love his enthusiasm and passion for Star Wars!

Maria: Matt Smith from Doctor Who, so he can talk about Star Wars Rebels with me!

Thank you Johna and Maria again for agreeing to the interview and letting us get to know you both of you!


About Patty Hammond

I am a self proclaimed fangirl who is disguised as a mild mannered data analyst for a consulting firm. You can find me on Twitter as @pattybones2 or @Everyday_Fangrl

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