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Interview with Director Jessica Leski

It is a great pleasure to welcome Jessica Leski, Director of I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story.

Jessica welcome to and thanks so much for taking the time to discuss this awesome Fangirl documentary project with us!

Patty: What does the title of this documentary signify?

Jessica: The title is a direct quote from one of the main characters in the film, Elif, a One Direction fan from Long Island, New York. It comes at a fascinating moment where she is at a backyard pizza party with friends and she starts spiraling into a 1D fantasy, imagining Niall Horan casually turning up to the party. She suddenly stops and catches herself and wails to her friends “This is not good! I used to be normal!” I loved this moment as she was both allowing herself to sink deep into her fandom fantasies, but was also aware and present enough to question her behaviour. Each of the characters in the film is struggling with what being a fan means to them and how to reconcile it with their ideas of growing up and being a woman in the world. That was something I found very interesting – the judgement and consequential shame that can come with loving a boyband and how to own it and celebrate it, rather than hide it away.

The film will hopefully lead audience members to question what is normal behaviour, and consider that they may have judged fans too quickly and too harshly.

Patty: What prompted you to create a documentary on this topic and who or what inspired you to?

Jessica: The fact that I had never liked a boyband before. When I was in high school in the late 1990s, arguably the golden era of boybands, I was actually dismissive of the entire phenomenon. The boys, their music and their fans didn’t interest me at all. But then in 2012, I was driving and heard the One Direction song “One Thing” on the radio. I remember scoffing at how simple the song was – they repeated the chorus so many times! But by the end of the song, it was stuck in my head. As soon as I got to my desk I looked up the video clip on Youtube. And I was hooked. That video clip in particular was such a magnificent introduction to boybands for me – the co-ordinated outfits, the hairstyles, the goofing around, the attempts at dancing. It was so innocent and wholesome and joyful. This led to an internet spiral into the world of One Direction. I had never been a fan of something since the internet had become such a huge part of my life. And so I was floored by how much access I could have to material – photos, articles, videos. This felt so different from being a fan when I was a teenager, carefully cutting photos out of magazines to stick into a scrapbook. It very quickly followed that I discovered how truly amazing fans of this era are. I was astounded by how talented, creative and hilarious these 1D fans were. I’d never seen fan art before, or read fan fiction or seen a twitter hashtag take off. It made me think that I may have misjudged the Backstreet Boys and Nsync fans I’d known when I was a teenager. And I started to think that I’d like to see a film that gave boyband fans a voice, away from judgment and ridicule. I didn’t feel like I’d ever seen them treated that way.

Patty: What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a creator and how does your work reflect some of these attributes?

Jessica: Ha ha, this is a great question! I think you have to be a little bit insane to be a filmmaker, or probably to be any creative person trying to make a living as an artist. Finding that balance between sanity and insanity is challenging for sure. I think what is key for me is deeply loving the projects I work on. You are stuck with them for so long and you have to constantly defend them and hype them up. It really helps if the love you feel is real, to put it mildly. You have to believe in yourself and your ideas, even if those around you are implying or even outright stating that you shouldn’t.

I also think that finding collaborators who share a common vision and drive is so important. This can be very hard to find, but so worthwhile for those moments when you feel that you’re a part of a cohesive and inspiring team. Documentary teams are very small and intimate so it’s essential to find people who have different but complimentary skills to your own.

Patty: What kind of research did you have to do for this documentary and how is this different from others you may have worked on before?

Jessica: Researching for this film was so much fun! Sometimes too fun – and the lines between work and play were easily blurred. I lost track of how many times I tried to convince Rita, the producer, that scrolling through tumblr and instagram were not just important, but absolutely critical activities. But arguably they were; we found some of our key interview subjects online!

Beyond delving into boyband history starting from The Beatles to today, I also researched a lot about the history and evolution of pop music, our physiological reactions to music and the teenage brain. We interviewed a wide range of people in the first year of making the film – musicians, psychologists, neurologists – even former boyband members! The film evolved a lot over the years we were filming, which was a very different experience for me. It was often challenging, wanting things to move along faster, but also a blessing to have had such a large amount of time to research, explore and grow with the characters.

Patty: How did you decide which Boy Bands to cover and which Fangirls to interview?

Jessica: In my very early plans and ideas for the film I wanted to cover as many boybands and as many different kinds of fans as possible. However I realized what was at the heart of this project was a desire to demystify the boyband fan, to allow audiences access to a kind of person who routinely gets judged in a negative light or simply dismissed. I decided to focus instead on a key group of fans that were smart, honest and open and had had a wide range of experiences. All that mattered to me was that their bands were different and that they were from different generations.

It’s been very rewarding to have audience members communicate how much they connect with the stories in the film, whether their particular boyband was focused on or not. Even more rewarding is when fans of entirely different things can see themselves in these women – we’ve had horror movie fans, heavy metal music fans and fantasy novel fans all feel a deep sense of connection with these stories.

Patty: Love how diverse the documentary is and that it spans multiple eras. Was this a conscious decision during the process or was this something that developed organically?

Jessica: Yes this was something that was very important to me. Because I came to boyband fandom later in life, I had a distinct feeling of having missed out on what had come before. I had so many questions for fans of different generations. I wanted to explore how being a fan may have shifted and evolved over the last 50 years and also if being a young woman had changed. I think the findings were really surprising.

Patty: How long did this project take and when/where will this be released?

Jessica: We started filming this project in 2013 and followed the key characters for a number of years. The film had its world premiere at Hot Docs in Toronto in 2018 and has spent the last year traveling to film festivals all around the world. It will be released onto various US digital streaming platforms from September 17th 2019 (Amazon, InDemand, DirecTV, AT & T, FlixFling, Vudu, FANDANGO, Sling/Dish).

Patty: What are you a fan of and for how long? Are Boy Bands your passion too or is it something else entirely?

Jessica: I’d say I’m a fan of boyband fans even more than the actual boybands themselves. But a large part of my heart will always belong to One Direction, as they were the catalyst for this journey and the reason I got to meet so many incredible people and work with such a wonderful team. I’m holding out for the reunion tour… I’m thinking maybe 2030? 😉

Patty: What makes you laugh?

Jessica: I am still feeling all the good feelings from watching the first season of Pen15 earlier this year. I ADORED it. I also love watching Broad City re-runs. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are absolute geniuses.

Patty: How would you describe yourself and your creative process?

Jessica: I’m both focused and easily distracted. So many things in the world fascinate me. I feel like documentary filmmaking gives me permission to sit back and observe, and that’s one of my favourite states to be in. I like to give my creative process a lot of flexibility. I find if I get too fixed on one idea or one way of doing things it closes the door to opportunities, and a great thrill about making documentaries is all the unexpected things that can happen along the way.

Patty: Anything else you would like to share?

Jessica: As mentioned previously, the film will be released on digital platforms (Amazon, iTunes, DirecTV, AT&T, FlixFing, InDemand, Vudu, FANDANGO, Sling/Dish) on Sept. 17th. Find out more about this release through the following links:

I Used To Be Normal Madman Films Page/
Rotton Tomatoes

Hansi Oppenheimer Talks About SqueeCon

It is a great pleasure to welcome back Hansi Oppenheimer to talk about her latest project, SqueeCon.

Hansi welcome back to and thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and discuss SqueeCon with us!

When and where is this event?

The event will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2018, at the Lyric Hall, 827 Whalley Avenue New Haven, CT, between 1-9pm. Tickets are just $15 online use code HH2018
They will be $20 at the door and $10 after 6pm for those who just want to briefly check out the con and participate in Nerd Karaoke. Kids under 12 are free.
Getting to the Event:

By Driving-There is free parking in the park across the street from the venue.

By Train-It is 3 miles from the Metro North New Haven Union Station stop. There is an abundance of Lyft locally since it’s a University town.

What first prompted you to create SqueeCon?

My niece is the one who found the venue and pitched a Squee! screening which the venue loved. I figured that if I had access to this big beautiful venue I should share the opportunity with the community so it became SqueeCon.
I’m hoping to make this an ongoing venture and take the Con around the country to small venues in other communities and bring Fangirls together to create a huge supportive network. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?

How will this con be different from other cons?

The inaugural edition of SqueeCon is a celebration of films, art, music, cosplay and more by women and female identifying individuals. SqueeCon is the first ever one-day event celebrating the arts by a collective of Fangirls creators and will cover the entire gamut of fandom experience. It is a fan con so no big celebrities, just a fun con where you can go and talk with the creators and guests in a very intimate, casual setting. A perfect place to network, so bring your cards!

What guests are expected to attend?

SqueeCon is pleased to welcome film-makers, nerds, geeks, writers, Fangirls, cosplayers, vendors and more to join hands in support of the community. Several eminent cosplay guests have accepted the invitation to be there, including Christine Evans, Cate Broomhead, Rowena Cosplays, Ayla Ocasio, Jacob Daniel Womack, Jenn Wotchertonks. performers Tea Time For Mad Girls, and Cat Smith. Vendors include writer L. E. Hellman, baker Melissa Robles, artist Jimmy Gatti, and Carol Ann Swan.

What activities and events will be available for attendees?

There will be screenings of Alana King’s Wayward: The Documentary, a teaser of the docu-series about women Star Wars fans, Looking for Leia and a block of short films performances, panels, there’s a bar with beer, wine, cider and soft drinks and we’re having a mixer/meetup with Nerd Karaoke from 7-9 pm. I’m still working on finding a food truck but there is a restaurant across the street.

How do you decide what programming is available?

SqueeCon’s mission is to support and promote the creative and fandom works of women and LGBTQA individuals so I reached out to friends who perform, make films and I have a page on FilmFreeway for people to submit short films for consideration. We’ve got some great films from all over the world!

How has social media helped or hindered you in this effort?

Everyone has been very supportive promoting the event. We’ve gotten shout outs on podcasts and twitter. I’ve used social media to create an audience for Squee! And this is just an extension of the project, a big one but basically the same message: I love Fangirls and want to give them the opportunity to network, broaden their audiences and party! If you know me, you know I’m usually at the bar at cons between panels having fascinating conversations with other fans, so this is just my bringing the con to the bar!

What have you learned from your fan community to help you with planning for the event?

That fangirls are the best! I’ve got a great enthusiastic team of volunteers. My attendees have been wonderful, offering to help in whatever way they could. You know, when fangrrls get together -we can do anything!

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane while creating this event?

One day at a time. I just deal with what I need to get done and try not to get ahead of myself. There’s enough small practical details to keep me busy every day. I’ve been working in Events (Box Office or Film Festivals) since 2009 and attend a lot of cons, so I have a pretty good handle on what we need to do. The contracts and venue rental aspect is new but I was lucky to find such a fabulous venue with a very fandom supportive owner (she’s a Whovian!)

What kind of research did you have to do before you created this event?

I’ve had to go through dozens of film submission and figure out a screening block that makes sense. I’m still working on scheduling. I had to look for someone to handle Nerd Karaoke, but again I got lucky with my friend James Hinsey who offered to bring the gear and manage the tech aspects. I had to check the venue for a/v specs and figure out how to set up panels, screenings and performances as smoothly as possible. I’m lucky to have a niece with years of experience as a Stage Manager who walked me through the venue.

Is there anything else you would like to share about SqueeCon not already mentioned?

Please come and bring your friends! It’s going to be a blast.

How can readers of find out more about the event?

For more information, please visit: or one of the following links:

SqueeCon on FaceBook
SqueeCon Event page
SqueeCon Twitter

Submit films

Buy Tickets

For vendors SqueeCon offers a great opportunity to deliver their content to their core audience. Applications are welcome for small tables ($25) and large tables ($50). Write to: before November 25.

Advertisers can book space in the program themed around Riot Grrl fanzines of the 90s in the following sizes and price levels: Full page ($40) for 8.5 X 11, Half page ($20) for 5.5 x 8.5, and Quarter page ($15) for 5.5 x 4.25, in Color or B&W and PDF format.

For ads and more information, please email:

Media Contact: Hansi Oppenheimer

Company Name: Troubled Girl Productions

Interview with an Artist: Christine

Today, it is my pleasure to interview Christine Flanigan, who is an artist, mother and of course a Fangirl. In addition, she is personal friend of my husband and myself.

She sells her artwork at local events and on her website, designed by my hubby, at

Welcome Christine to the Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl and for taking the time to answer these questions!

What first prompt you to become an artist?

Not being able to work because of an illness. I have always been an creative person with a good eye for color including which colors and patterns look good together.

What is your favorite piece and why?

The pieces I like the most are the ones with my favorite colors in. I like blues and greens and purples some pinks too.

What is your least favorite piece and why?

I have a funny way to answer this question…

I have a few pieces that I did not like just because it did not turn out the way I pictured it in my head, like my boxes, I plan what I wire wrap, but when I am done it is always turns out different.

However, those are the ones that everyone else ended up liking the best. So I guess all my pieces are made for someone and it is just waiting to be found by that person.

Who inspired and encourage you to continue to work as an artist?

I love watching YouTube, they are so many people out there that are so gifted. That is who inspired me and teaches me.

How do you decide on which median to create your work in? Is it something that you choose to do at first or does it come to you later?

Fell in love with stones! Always love picking them up at the beach, or on a playground. So I guess the first median for me would be with stones. Learning how to string them is fun, learning how to wrap them is very challenging.

The new median I like to work with now is resin and paints. I love how when it is harden your painting is set for life. The resin painting always turns out different no matter what I plan, and you know I think that why I like that median the best.

How has social media helped or hindered you?

Oh yes! Social media help me out a lot. The different sites give me not only some great ideas, but the right way to go. However, I don’t want anyone to think that what ideas I come up with are only from others on social media. A lot times, I find a different way to make things that is easier for me to do. For example, I hate to make earrings because they both have to be the same. However, I pride myself on how each earring is different.

What kind of research do you have to do before you create a particular art piece?

Everything I make I have teach myself how to do. I go to the internet for help! I look and YouTube and Pinterest for ideas.

What makes you laugh?

What makes me laugh?, umm let me think, my dog and my cat, they sometimes do some really funny things. My kids are so funny sometimes. Being with friends and playing a good board game.

What makes you cry?

A very sad show or reading a sad story. Really it doesn’t take me very long to cry at anything. Plus I am a cryer when I get very mad too, which is what I hate the most about myself.

Thanks Christine for the interview! You can find more about Christine and her artwork at She will also be at several events in 2018 including PenguinCon!

Interview with a Fangirl: Annalise

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, Annalise Ophelian, who is an award-winning documentary filmmaker (MAJOR!, Diagnosing Difference), queer psychotherapist, and Chihuahua fetishist.

Annalise with Boba Fett in Orlando at the DisneyWord Galactic Nights event.

I first became aware of Annalise through the interview she gave on Episode 44 of the Fangirls Going Rogue podcast and I was able to briefly meet her in person last month at Star Wars Celebration Orlando.

Welcome Annalise to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time to answer these questions about being a Fangirl.

When do you realize you were a Fangirl?

I probably only started using this term a few years ago, like around 2015 when I attended my first Star Wars Celebration. But my Star Wars fandom started when I was 4, in 1977 after seeing A New Hope in the theater. The following summer, it played at the theater near my house in Fort Collins, CO at the 10 cent matinee, and I went every single week. I was Princess Leia for Halloween, had action figures, read along to the children’s books with cassettes with my younger brother. In the early 1990s, when there were only the EU books and comics and not much else for Star Wars fans, I became a huge Star Trek: TNG fan, that franchise started me going to conventions, which I’ve continued attending throughout my adult life, and also collecting trading cards and such. So geek fandom has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.

How has social media helped or hindered you?

I’m so grateful for social media, especially as a woman who loves geeky things, I did not find community until the advent of social media. And I can’t image how Looking for Leia would even be possible without social media, because women’s fandom is so vibrant on-line, particularly in the arenas of podcasting, instagram, and blogging. I’m able to connect to a much broader group of women across geographic locations, and I think it’s also served to help broadcast women’s fandom in a much more accessible way. Women don’t need a publishing contract or a corporate sponsor to create and disseminate art and commentary about their fandom, it proletarianizes media and digital access.

When did you first see Star Wars or other favorite fandom, such as Star Trek, Lord of The Rings, etc. and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?

Summer of 1977, right after I turned 4, was the first time I saw Star Wars, and the following summer I saw it 10 times in the theater. Star Wars was definitely love at first viewing, I’ve talked with my mother about it and she’s said “Yeah, we offered you other summer activities, but all you wanted to do was see Star Wars.” And space fantasy is my favorite genre, I never got into Tolkien or D&D. I did love ST:TNG, but I was more in love with the social allegory than the sci fi aspect, although having said that I did have technical manuals for the Enterprise D, so that’s something.

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

I feel like Star Wars fans are some of the kindest fans I’ve ever met. I’ve been to three Celebrations, and at every one there’s this joy in attending and knowing that every human around you will happily engage in a conversation about Star Wars. The sort of posturing or “geek cred” thing I associate with Reddit or other forms of (predominantly male) fandom doesn’t come across to me so much in Star Wars fan community, and working on Looking for Leia I’ve been really moved by how women’s fandom shows up in their lives. Female Star Wars fans are hard core! I’m talking levels of geekdom preserved for sitcoms, we’re a deeply passionate, committed group. I’m queer-identified and I came out in 1987, so I’ve been an active member of LGBT community for quite sometime, and I’ve always relied on that community for mirroring and support and safety. But when I attended my first Star Wars Celebration, I felt more at home and among my people than I ever had before. I felt like I could show up fully, like I was understood and understood others, there was this comradery and this language, both spoken and unspoken, and it was just blissful. I remember coming home from Anaheim and having this sort of culture shock, it was jarring not to be sitting on a floor talking with people about Star Wars for seven hours a day. I also think Star Wars fans are unique in the way we can love a thing and also have multiple critiques of it and these things don’t cancel each other out. There’s a nice duality there, it’s very both/and: I love this thing; and I hate this thing; This is my favorite part; and this is the part I want to be done better.

I also love how so much of the Star Wars universe is fan created. Characters who are unnamed on film and have no lines get back stories and complex relationships in fandom, and this fandom informs canon and vice versa. So the creativity and love of story that Star Wars fans have is deeply inspiring to me, especially because I’m not a fiction writer or a narrative filmmaker, as a documentarian my work is about observation and consolidation more than creating something entirely new. So that sort of creativity is inspiring.

What else do you Fangirl about?

I’m a huge Disney fan, lifelong Disney fan, I live in Northern California but generally have an annual pass and make it to Anaheim several times a year. Next year for my 45th birthday, I’d like to go to Disneyland in Shanghai and Tokyo, and then I’ll have been to every Disney park in the world, and my mother and I have taken two Star Wars Day at Sea Disney cruises and are booked for our third next spring. I was really happy when Disney acquired Lucasfilm, I felt like these folks know how to take care of my childhood, and they’ve certainly proven that to be true. And I love that my two major fandoms now live in the same place, and I can wear head to toe Star Wars gear and be perfectly dressed for the parks! I joke with my partner that I’m basically a teenage boy, I only want to see Marvel and Star Wars movies, basically anything with super heroes or explosions in space, and I love sci fi and fantasy TV shows, and I never pass a comic store without going in. Because of “Looking for Leia” I’d say my Star Wars fandom, which is usually pretty central, is definitely occupying all of my bandwidth right now!

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

I think it’s funny how we gender things. Like droids, why do droids have gender? We assign qualities to gendered fandom that I think are arbitrary. Princesses are for everyone, and warriors are for everyone, and these can be two different categories or one category. Having said that, I love seeing how women show up in fandom, because one thing that is true of geeks is that we are often drawn to these stories of outsiders struggling to find their way in the world because they mirror our own struggles, our own sense of alienation and dreams of belonging and comradeship and heroism. Right now, my favorite thing in the world is how women have taken Claudia Gray’s concept of “Huttslayer” Leia from “Bloodline” and completely redefined the cosplay and character associated with “Slave Leia,” totally upending the male gaze and reclaiming the agency and self-determination of that character. To use a phrase I heard repeatedly when asking women about female characters in Star Wars, that’s badass.

What cool Fangirl related project or projects are you working on that you would like to share?

I am currently working on “Looking for Leia,” a documentary about Star Wars fangirls. Those that want to learn more or Fangirls interested in Getting Involved can visit or!

Thanks again Annalise for answering these questions and letting us to get to know you and your fandom better.

Interview with a Fangirl: Hansi

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

Today, it is a great pleasure to interview fellow Fangirl, Hansi.

I became aware of Hansi through her interactions with fellow Fangirls via Facebook and Twitter while she when she first started working on Squee!

Welcome Hansi to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl. It is an honor that you took the time to answer these questions about being a Fangirl.

When do you realize you were a Fangirl?

My Post Producer, Chinisha Scott cosplaying as our logo Troubled Girl and myself at NYCC.

Chinisha Scott cosplaying as our logo Troubled Girl and myself at NYCC.

I think I’ve always been a Fangirl, I remember getting a autographed Adam West Batman photo as a little kid but BTVS was the first TV fandom where I had to collect all the DVD sets, action figures, trading cards and trade paperbacks. It was the fandom that first led me to the message boards and I discovered I had a NEED to have that show and everything about that world as a part of my life.

Cecilia Tan describes that need to interact with a media property really well in our pilot episode. That need is not just about the media -it’s also about you -its a reciprocal thing, it speaks to a need you have and helps you become who you are.

How has social media helped or hindered you?

Social media has been a huge help. I’ve made so many close IRL friends via social media. There’s a great community of fans around all of the shows I love; Supernatural, Preacher, Penny Dreadful, Whedonverse, AHS, TWD. We are always in contact discussing our shows, or planning meet ups, organizing for activism or supporting each other’s projects or just being there for each other emotionally.

Initially, I planned on making Squee! a feature documentary but I think thats almost an outdated medium, especially for fandom. We realized that releasing it as a web series was a much more direct way of reaching our audience.

I wish I had thought of it sooner. I’ve been shooting since 2012 so we could have been a few years into the series now. It also really gives us the freedom to make short episodes on all different topics within fandom and get immediate feedback. You know, most no budget indie documentaries take many, many years to shoot, post produce and then start screening so it takes years before you can get any kind of feedback. We’re currently working on a series of shorts about fan works starting with cosplay, then fanfic, crafting, etc.

When did you first see ‪Star Wars‬ or other favorite fandom, such as ‪Star Trek‬, Lord of The Rings, etc. and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?

I fell into Buffy The Vampire Slayer because I was working as a satellite feed operator at a post house and they ran the feed for whatever Buffy was on -UPN or WB at the time so I saw it every week while I was working and somewhere along the line I remember thinking “Wait, what is going on here?” And I was hooked. It was already the start of the 5th season so I had to go back and start at the beginning of the series and watch them in order. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched them. For years whenever I was having a hard time in my life, I’d hibernate and watch a Buffy mini-marathon and cry my eyes out and then come out feeling better and stronger. That’s what Buffy gave me. And I’ve loved Joss Whedon ever since. In fact, I passed him on the street a few years ago in NYC. It wouldn’t have been appropriate to stop him but I did catch his eye and said “Joss, I love you!” and without missing a beat he said “I love you too. Huge squee moment!

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

I’ve made so many wonderful friends all over the world. I’ve gotten huge support for my Squee project. I’ve learned so much and been empowered and accepted. Fandom is an amazing community, but as my co-creator Lynn Zubernis says, it’s not perfect, we’re still human and there are shipping wars and rivalries but for the most part it’s the most welcoming community I’ve ever experienced.

What else do you Fangirl about?

I’m a huge horror geek, I’m an acafan and love meta, there are tons of shows, Archer, Bob’s Burgers, Sherlock, X-Files, Hannibal, and lots of creators; Bryan Fuller, Whedon, Tarantino, Coen Brothers, B-movies, podcasts. I’m a huge pop culture Fangirl. There are just so many things!

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

That being a Fangirl is one of the best things you can be. It’s empowering to be able to say I love these things. It makes you want to create. You take that passion and use to it for whatever, writing fanfic, crafting, interviewing, podcasting, research, memes-whatever. Fangirling is all about love and that’s a positive and beautiful thing.

Please share more about #TeamSquee and the Fangirl Web series, Squee! 

Presenting our panel at Emerald City Comic Con with (from Left) Tea-bery Blue, Myself, Julie Hegner from On Wednesdays We Wear Capes, Jessica Mason, contributing writer to The Mary Sue, my co-creator Lynn Zubernis author of Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls.

Presenting our panel at Emerald City Comic Con with (from Left) Tea-bery Blue, Myself, Julie Hegner from On Wednesdays We Wear Capes, Jessica Mason, contributing writer to The Mary Sue, my co-creator Lynn Zubernis author of Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls.

#TeamSquee is my crew and we are:

Hansi Oppenheimer (Producer/Director): I’m most well known as the Creator of the feature documentary Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements. The film is the history of the band as told by their fans. Prior to that I made a short documentary about love spells called Riding The Broom that was picked up by Universal’s online site, Hypnotic.

Dr. Lynn Zubernis (Co-Writer & Co-Producer): Lynn is well known in the Supernatural fan community for her excellent books on fandom and her coverage of conventions.

Chinisha Scott (Post Producer and Editor): Chinisha is a filmmaker and educator. She leads the Young Women of Cinema Program at DCTV in New York– a program that assists young women to digest and understand the gravity of representation in the media, as the participants create their own original projects.

Devon Halley (Bonus Episode Editor) A professional editor, he works at He helped me on the original presentation we did to get Color Me Obsessed made.

We’ve also had invaluable assistance along the way from the hundreds of fangirls who we have interviewed, helped us to transcribe hours & hours of footage, given us feedback on rough cuts, cosplayed as our logo Troubled Girl, bought t-shirts and mugs, and helped spread the word. Gingerhouse created our logo cosplay costume based on an original drawing by artist Jane Russell.

Where can other Fangirls learn more about Squee?

Episodes of Squee are available on Youtube at no cost and more episodes will be posted here when they are available.

We’re currently touring at conventions screening Squee and presenting panels about being a Fangirl. Our next appearance is at in Marlborough Mass ‪on Saturday 4/8 11am-12pm‬. You can also find out more by visiting our Patreon support page, Twitter @troubledgirl, Facebook/ and Tumblr.

Thank you again so much Hansi I really appreciate it! Also good luck with your Fangirl project Squee!

Interview with a Fangirl: Catherine

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

Today, it is my pleasure to interview designer and fangirl, Catherine! I met through Star Wars Twitter community and also through the her high end fashion pieces through other Fangirls like Amy Radcliffe.

Welcome Catherine 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?

I remember being obsessed with X-Men when I was probably 6 or 7. I watched the cartoon, and I loved Rogue and wanted to be her so bad. But I think it was Cardcaptor Sakura when I was 13 when my fangirl really kicked in. I should say, it was Card Captors that hooked me, but then I went online to find out more about the show and discovered that it was originally from Japan, and was even bigger than the English Dubbed version with longer episodes, relationships, stories, and more that all got cut and edited for the American audience. I found a girl online who traded me the entire series on VHS for some of my beanie babies. While I waited for them in the mail, I dove into fanfic, fanart, printing every CLAMP art piece on my dot matrix printer, and tracing and redrawing them in every notebook. That was the start of my fangirl life.

How has social media helped or hindered you?

Social media is amazing and terrible, as we all know. It’s been so fantastic to reach potential customers, fellow fans, lost friends, and new things. I’ve been able to really grow my business through Instagram, which is just completely mind blowing. I also get to see what people really respond to, so I can delve deeper into that style or piece. I posted some pieces inspired by Rey from Force Awakens, and they blew up! So I started doing more Rey inspired fashion, because there’s just nothing for her and fans are hungry for anything they can wear to channel her. So I’ve been able to use social media to really harness that awareness. But it’s also a huge distraction, I can dive head first into Tumblr or Instagram and be lost for hours. I try to limit the time I spend on social media, as I need to actually sew and get things done in order to have more to post about. And I get so many messages all the time, so it’s overwhelming at time to handle it all. But it’s so worth it!

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

I remember being at a pool party and watching Return of the Jedi when I was like 8 or 9. I think we watched the others in the trilogy that day, too. The prequels hadn’t come out, yet, but I know I loved the movies. I then found out about the books, which I gobbled up over the years. And when the prequels came out I loved them (though, to be fair, I was a young teenager and just wanted to see more of Amidala’s costumes and Obi-Wan’s general sexiness). I loved Star Wars from the beginning. It was a galaxy and universe that I loved diving into and just living in. I loved Tahiri, and would walk around barefoot thinking I could be her if I just refused to wear shoes. I really loved the EU…

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

Oh, god, I learned so much from the different fandoms I’ve been involved with. From Star Wars I learned video and photo editing, as I loved thinking I could submit to TheForce.Net’s video contest and trying out film techniques back when I was a teenager. I wrote a lot of Pokemon fanfiction back in the day, and I had a few beta writers who helped me understand grammar and vocabulary (I remember I didn’t know that Course and Coarse had different meanings. It took a reviewer comment to help me understand that), which was a huge boost in high school because when we had to write things in English class I felt like I had a better understanding of the English language. I still wrote some garbage essays, but at least I had confidence!

I developed my art skills because of Deviant Art and Livejournal. I joined with one of those 50 art pieces with 50 prompts contests while in college, and while I never completed it, I did a dozen pieces and felt really great with the sketches. I played in digital media and with new programs like Art Rage. It helped me learn more about my art. And my sewing was developed from RenFaire, so the history fan community.

What else do you Fangirl about?

Anything. Everything. When I like a fandom I fangirl instantly. So some of my favorite things: Harry Potter (obsessed. I have a tattoo on my arm, I ship so many different people, I have billions of theories and can talk for days about them, I’m completely obsessed), The West Wing (while not super geeky, this is one of the shows I’m still incredibly in love with and still read fanfiction around it), Firefly (I drew so many sketches around the characters. I want so badly for more episodes or movies), Buffy (duh. Spuffy for life), Star Trek (There’s not much fanfic for it, but I love the idea of Picard/Janeway. I want them to be happy…), Marvel Universe, Legend of Zelda, Sandman… I mean, there are so many fandoms that I just 100% fangirl over. Oh, Sabriel! The Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix. When I find out someone else is into this book series, I lose my MIND and start immediately talking about the Charter and the Abhorsen and how I want Mogget and Touchstone and all the amazing things Garth Nix created to be real. I want my own set of bells. This is stuff that only fans of the books will understand, but there are fans out there!

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

It’s a way of life. You’re a passionate person if you’re a fangirl (or fanboy), and you just love to live in the worlds created by others. I love to go into those worlds through books, fanfiction, games, movies, shows, and more. But I also really love contributing to those worlds with my own work and art. The communities we’ve built around our fandoms are really phenomenal. I think we’re all so lucky to be in the world at this time, where we can easily connect to one another and get to fangirl together over our shared loves. 🙂

Thanks again Catherine for answering these questions and letting us to get to know you and your fandom better.


Catherine Elhoffer founded a geek fashion company, Elhoffer Design, to create higher-end apparel for high quality geeks. The geek fashion world is saturated with clothing, but there are still gaps in the market that she hopes to fill by designing and sewing pieces that flatter the body, pull from modern and historical fashion trends, and help the geeks of the world to be both stylish and chic (and maybe to fit in amongst the muggles). She prefers a subtle geek nod in her designs, using silhouette, color, texture, and lines to tell the geek story. Catherine hand-makes everything in her Los Angeles home, taking custom orders for all fangirls, and sometimes pulling in other sewers to help her create even more pieces. Every now and then she can be lured into the menswear world as well, often with cookies.


Interview with Artist Roy Stanton

Today, it is my pleasure to interview actor and artist Roy Stanton. I became aware of Roy Stanton and his awesome artistic work through the Star Wars fan community. I am honored that Roy agreed to answer these interview questions about himself and his work as an artist.


Welcome Roy to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to let us get to know you better! 

Thanks so much for asking me to do the interview. 😀

What first prompted you to become an artist?

I think my interest in comics, which started when I was very young, got me into the idea of being an artist. In fact, a comic artist was an early ambition of mine, and I still toy around with the idea.

What is your favorite piece and why?

I don’t think I have a favorite piece; it’s more a type I like, as in “figure art” as opposed to landscape or abstraction. I do tend to favor comic art and art from monster magazines, also.

What is you least favorite piece and why?

Again, not so much a single piece that’s a least favorite, but if I had to choose a type I disliked the most, it would be conceptual art. Don’t get me started…

Who inspires and encourages you to continue to work as an artist?

Actually, a couple of comic artists, Adam Hughes and Frank Cho, are very much an inspiration, as well as Basil Gogos.

What are you a fan of and for how long? How does your fandom inspire your artwork?

Wow, that covers a lot of territory… Comics, as I mentioned are a big part of it, as well as science fiction, fantasy, film and television dealing with that genre (so Star Trek, Star Wars and the various shows inspired by them). I’ve been a sci-fi fan long enough to still use the term “sci-fi” and think it’s cool. As for inspiration, I’ll just say that doing work in the sci-fi or fantasy genre is exactly the kind of work I’d be happy doing for the rest of my life.

How do you decide on which medium to create your works in? Is it something that you choose to do at first or does it come to you later?

No special process to decide, actually. I’m really kind of an anarchist when it comes to media; it’s just whatever I feel like working in at the time. I might be that I’ve been inspired by someone else’s work, or I simply “see” the subject I want to depict in a certain media.

How has social media helped or hindered you?

Well, it’s helped a LOT in terms of getting my work SEEN; that’s the most important facet of social media, I think: the creation of a digital meeting place, unbounded by geography or time. Anyone who’s connected can see my work anytime, no matter where they are.

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

I think seeing the intensity of people’s passion for Star Wars, and how that’s inspired them to great creative heights has had the most significant and positive impact on my life. It’s amazing to see the things Star Wars fans have created, whether it’s visual art, costuming, props, or film. Truly inspiring.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as an artist and how does your work reflect some of these attributes?

Ah, well, I think you HAVE to be true to the things that really move you as an artist, and focus your energy on them. There’s that constant notion of “do I do my art for me, or do I do my art to make a living?” And ultimately, even if you do end up doing art to make a living, if it’s NOT the type of work you really like to produce, I think you have to spend some time doing what you really want, just to remind yourself of why you do art in the first place. It’s why I always come back to sci-fi, monsters and superheroes in my work.

What kind of research did you have to do before you create an artistic piece?

Depends on the piece. If it’s a specific character, I want to get the details right, of course, so I’ll spend a lot of time looking at reference pics to make sure I’ve got all that down. In terms of pose, I have a few resource books I turn to for inspiration or reference there, as well. Sometimes, though, I just like to go in without any prep work. Just look at the image in my head and try to translate it directly to the paper or canvas.

What makes you laugh?

Oh, wow, uh, a LOT of things. I’m basically a pretty happy person, and I LIKE to laugh, so… it doesn’t take much. 🙂

What makes you cry?

A broken heart. Truly. Whether it’s mine or someone else’s. It could be a movie, T.V., real life… I tear up easy when that’s on the line.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Just that I’m glad I live in a time where there is so much creativity out there in the world. I would hope everyone who feels even a tiny bit of inspiration would follow through with it and explore it. Involvement with the arts is, I think, essential to the basic needs of the human spirit. And we can all find ways to create.

Roy thank you again for stopping by and letting us get to know more about you and your artistic approach.

To learn more about Roy and his artwork you can check out The Art of Roy Stanton Facebook page.

SWCA Recap: Ralph McQuarrie: Star Wars Art

From the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim App

Ralph McQuarrie: Star Wars Art

Lucasfilm executive editor J.W. Rinzler, Abrams senior editor Eric Klopfer and authors Brandon Alinger, David Mandel and Wade Lageose discuss the seminal Star Wars artist and the upcoming book on his work. The new Abrams publication, set for release in Spring 2016, will be the most comprehensive volume of Ralph McQuarrie’s extensive Star Wars work ever assembled. McQuarrie’s long history with Lucasfilm will be covered in the discussion, from his early days working directly with George Lucas through the publications he worked on in the mid-90s. The team will talk about the process of creating the coffee-table book and show many highlight artworks in this exclusive preview. Track: Art, Classic Trilogy

Overall, it was a very good presentation. It gave me a further appreciation of Ralph McQuarrie and his work on the Star Wars films and related projects. It also gave me a deeper understanding of what Ralph went through during the making of these films and just how much work really went into making these beautiful pieces.

I am not going to give you a detailed account of what was discussed during this panel because this has already been done by Adam Kautzer. Instead I am going to give you a few of the pieces shown during the panel and my impressions of what was revealed or what I learned from these pieces.

Cover Reveal for the Ralph McQuarrie: Art of Star Wars

Some may think that the cover art is not appropriate because it is from one of the ‘Legends’ books instead of from the films. However, I really like the cover choice for this book. For me, this cover evokes both Star Wars and the art of Ralph McQuarrie without reusing artwork that has been used on the cover of other reference books.

Ralph’s famous painting with R2-D2 and C3PO that was used to sell Star Wars to the studio execs.

When searching through the LucasFilm archives, it was discovered that Ralph had two versions of this famous piece, each with different ‘facial’ features for C3PO. This was an interesting fact to me because I never realized that small details like facial feature could change the whole feel of a character. I wonder if this was a result of feedback from George Lucas or if one day he felt the character would be better with the other facial features?

LucasFilm is moving card

This was an interesting item for me to learn about because I did not realize that Ralph created this piece. In addition, based on what was shown in the panel, this was sketched out first and notes made on the sketch with changes. This tells me that even for small projects, like this one, Ralph put a lot of thought and care into what he was going to do before he put paint on the canvas.

The Emperor’s Throne Room in an underground cavern

I first heard about this piece of Ralph McQuarrie Star Wars Art from Paul Bateman, who apprenticed with Ralph. I was very happy to see to piece included in the presentation.  

Rancor Pit

Ralph created this with so much detail, especially the teeth and claws of the Rancor.  I just find this piece fascinating because it feels like this dangerous creature will just burst out from the canvas and tear everyone and everything apart.

I am looking forward to all of the other artwork, stories and anything else that will be revealed when this book comes out in 2016.

SWCA Recap: Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim included the season 2 premiere of Star Wars Rebels. 


As I mentioned in a previous post, I received a special media pass to the Star Wars Rebels Panel, Season 2 Press Conference, which can be heard via Skywalking Through Neverland, and of course the premiere episodes.  Unfortunately, I was not able to make the Red Carpet Event to interview the creators and stars of the show.  However, Fangirl’s Going Rogue does have some great interviews from this event.  

Fortunately, I was able to make the ‘Bonus’ Star Wars Rebels: Past, Present and Future Panel on Sunday Morning hosted by David W Collins with Dave Filoni, Carrie Beck and Henry Gilroy. has a great recap of this panel and includes the concept art shown during the panel.

Here are my hopefully spoiler free thoughts on what I learned between all these panels and the Season 2 premiere:

1) Star Wars Rebels is going to continue to include humor, adventure, action and danger with a whole lot of character growth.  This combination works for me and what I have seen so far confirms this.

2) Darth Vader is defiantly going to be a force to be reckoned with as seen in the Season 2 trailer.

No further comments on my part are necessary.

3) There are not only some awesome female characters, Hera, Sabine and now Ahsoka, in the show, but there are some awesome women behind the scenes as well. did an awesome interview with Athena Portello and Liz Marshall.

4) I am very happy to see the return of some of my favorite Star Wars The Clone Wars characters including Ahsoka, Rex, Wolffe and of course my husband’s favorite, Hondo!

 5) The artwork for the Star Wars Rebels may appear to be more cartoonish than Star Wars The Clone Wars to many people.  However, in my opinion, the artistic influence of Ralph McQuarrie and Miazaki, gives the show just what it needs to be a unique.  For instance, the vehicle shown below does not feel ‘cartoonish’ to me.

When the season 2 premieres June 20 on DisneyXD, then I will have a more indepth review of the episodes I saw and of course what this could mean to the future.

So are you looking forward to Star Wars Rebels season 2?

SWCA Recap: Chris Alexander

During Star Wars Celebration, it was my pleasure to have a brief conversation with origami artist Chris Alexander. Chris is the author of Star Wars Origami, which teaches both Adults and Children how to fold paper using the origami techniques to create 36 different Star Wars characters and vehicles.

When I talked to Chris, he impressed me not only my his knowledge and skill with the art of origami, but I was impressed on how personable he was. He is an everyday fanboy who has an interest in many fandoms, especially Star Wars.  Chris is also a supporter of everyday Fangirls, especially his Mom, who attended Star Wars Celebration with him as Salacious Crumb!  


Chris and his Mom during the Skywalking Through Neverland live podcast from Star Wars Celebration!

During this brief conversation, Chris explained it took him over a decade and a half to convince anyone in Star Wars publishing that a book about the art of Star Wars origami would sell.  However, the effort he made was worth it.  Not only did his book Star Wars Origami sell, it also became a New York Times bestseller. 

Just after the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim debriefing with Skywalking Through Neverland, Chris showed us his latest Star Wars origami piece, Rey and her speeder from The Force Awakens. 

To learn more about Chris Alexander and the art of Star Wars Origami check out the following:

Interview with Chris Alexander on Episode 4 of Skywalking Through Neverland 

Origami demo with Chris Alexander

So have you tried the art of origami? 

If so, did you try to create any of these Star Wars origami pieces?

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