Interview with a Fangirl: Laurel
I am continuing with my series of interviews with Fangirls that I have met through social media!
Today, it is my pleasure to interview fellow fangirl, Laurel A. Rockefeller!
I first became aware of Laurel through another Fangirl, Sarah Cole.
Welcome Laurel to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time to answer these questions about being a Fangirl.
When did you begin to realize you were a Fangirl?
I think the original Star Wars was the first film I really consciously realized I was a fan of. I turned six in 1977 and I remember being so proud that I could read the title “Star Wars.” But I actually was a Star Trek fan even before then, making a point to watch reruns of Star Trek whenever they came on. So I suppose you can call me a lifelong Trekkie.
How has social media helped or hindered you?
I refuse to pay for cable given I watch so little television in general, so I would say that social media is really how I find entertainment news. I do confess to being influenced by fan blogs that I read. It’s actually one of the reasons I refuse to watch Star Wars The Force Awakens; I read a blog post about the Star Trek reboot and key areas where JJ Abrams changed Star Trek from the Star Trek I grew up loving. And quite honestly, that article was spot-on and really made me think. As I said before, something I really love about Star Trek is the way it explores social issues and makes you think. And I love Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future. That’s all absent in the Star Trek reboot which makes me feel I would also not like the new Star Wars films. I am a huge fan of the original Battlestar Galactica and absolutely refuse to watch the reboot, as popular as it is, out of loyalty to what made me a Galactica fangirl as a child.
When did you first see Star Wars and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?
October 26, 1977! Yes, I remember the date because I was in kindergarten at the time and it was only the second film I’d ever seen in my life (the first was the original Benji which I saw with about a dozen members of my extended family in a little theatre in rural Nebraska). This was STAR WARS — not “A New Hope” and I did love it right away — though probably not as much as Battlestar Galactica when that came out about a year later. My favourite shirt in first grade was my Battlestar Galactica shirt.
This love of Galactica was probably also influenced by the fact that my parents forbade my brother and I from seeing “The Empire Strikes Back” when it came out; instead we had to read the novelization (not easy for a second grader). The novel of course puts a greater focus on the Anakin Skywalker part of Darth Vader than the film does so I never really saw Darth Vader as a truly bad guy; that was the Emperor. That also may be why I prefer “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” over “The Empire Strikes Back.” For me, Star Wars is all about Anakin Skywalker and his relationships with those he loves.
What have you learned from the Star Wars fan community or other fan communities that has had a positive impact on your life?
I’m not actually involved in the Star Wars fan community — not for many years. Back in the 1980s I was but that stopped once Star Trek the Next Generation aired. And yes, I like Wesley Crusher!
Now that I am a fan of Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch, I do find those fan communities are great distributing news of interest to me so I can find more great films and programmes of interest to me.
What else do you Fangirl about?
Benedict Cumberbatch and Sherlock lately. I saw “The Imitation Game” six times last winter and really became a fan of him. So it’s my passion for history and work as a historian that brought me to love Cumberbatch’s work and subsequently discover Sherlock. Smart writing that is witty and fantastic performances by both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Give me something smart, thought provoking, and really well performed and I will watch it, even when it comes from a genre I might not normally like (just keep the sex and violence to a minimum please).
Another fangirl: Pride and Prejudice, especially the 1995 BBC production starring Collin Firth. It’s easy to tell I love P&P because there are copious dance scenes across the Peers of Beinan series. I am a former medieval re-enactor and I absolutely love English country dancing.
Anything else you want to say to others about being a Fangirl?
Always be willing to move outside of your comfort zone, especially when it comes to genres. As a rule I do not like the crime and mystery genre which is why despite all the rave reviews of “Sherlock” I never noticed the series until Benedict Cumberbatch’s work on a biographical film about someone I knew about from university (Alan Turing was one of the founders of cognitive psychology, not just computer science) led me to look into what else he has performed in.
Don’t make that mistake. Explore. Try something different. You never know what your next fangirl will be about until you push your comfort zone a little.
Thanks again Laurel for answering these questions and letting us to get to know you and your fandom better.