Hello lovelies! I really hope you are enjoying this series so far, I have so many more tutorials and interviews to come.
Our first interview is with The Collectress, a woman who I actually get to work with every month over on her blog, The Collective. She is so hard-working and I swear to Thor, I always smile when I get an email from her in my inbox. It means there is fun work to be done and it’s excellent having The Collectress alongside me. Head on over to The Collective for fanfic recommendations, a podcast about Hannibal, and makeup tutorials from yours truly. Now, on with the interview!
Tell the readers a bit about yourself.
A bit about me? I’m a co-owner/admin/fanfic expert of The Collective Blog, which endeavors to promote all the things we love: television, comics, conventions, fashion, etc. When I’m not blogging, you can find me writing transformative works of fiction (affectionately known as fanfic), constructing cosplay outfits, or training to outrun the zombies during the inevitable apocalypse (three words: shark bite suit). Not to brag, but I also have multiple graduate degrees that I’m not using and a wealth of useless knowledge about British Renaissance literature.
What do you think is the greatest strength you have, and how do you bring that out in the work you do?
Oh gosh, I had to ask my Collective cohorts about this one. My blog spouse says that I have an uncanny ability to find good fanfic…which is very useful because I do weekly fanfic recs. My flatmate says I’m open-minded and creative, and yeah, I definitely have a passion for equality and letting unique voices be heard. It’s important that inclusive environments exist for fandoms, so I do my best to ensure that The Collective Blog is a welcoming space for people who share our passions.
What do you “geek out” over?
First and foremost, Tolkien. My father read The Hobbit to me when I was six, and I’ve been
in love with Middle-earth ever since. Books, films, costumes, tattoos, props–all I’m missing is the tour of New Zealand!
Aside from the quotidian fangirl fest over Supernatural, Cate Blanchett, and scifi, I am also a big grammar nerd. If you see me in a bookstore, I guarantee I’ll be swooning over the latest edition of “Eats, Shoots & Leaves.”
How do you express your femininity on a daily basis?
My walk is the most feminine thing about me. I don’t regularly put on makeup or do my hair, and though I love cute clothes as much as the next girl, for me, femininity is all about attitude. So when I walk, I sashay. Usually to the beat of “These boots were made for walkin.”
Do you find you are treated differently when you act more feminine? As if you can’t be strong and powerful?
Yes. I have two brothers, and my father is a real, honest to god, cowboy. I noticed at a young age that when I liked “girly” things, my father would treat me like I was breakable, like I was a fragile porcelain doll. I didn’t like being treated differently from my brothers, so I started liking what they liked so I would be treated as an equal. Even now that I’m in my late twenties, it’s a difficult habit to break–I instinctively try to act more “manly” to gain a man’s respect. The difference is that now I remind myself that masculinity is not synonymous with strength–I can be myself: feminine and nerdy and strong.
Who are your biggest female role models? How have they helped shape who you are today?
Firstly, I’ve got to say my mom. She raised three children by herself for almost a decade, and that’s incredible. She’s the badass woman I wish I were.
Secondly, Angelina Jolie, because she is a beautiful and talented actress who has used her fame for so much more than staying as front page news. She cares about making a difference in the world, and she isn’t afraid to speak out about things that are important to her. I really admire her work with the United Nations, and I wish that more people would aspire to be like her.
And finally, Hatshepsut. She was the first woman pharaoh to rule ancient Egypt. I did a report on her when I was fourteen years old, and right then I decided that if she could take over a country, I could be a rock star. Sadly, rock stardom didn’t work out, but I still think of Hatshepsut’s long and peaceful reign of an ancient powerful civilization whenever someone tells me a woman can’t do something.
How do you deal with people you can’t like things “because you are a girl”? Have you encountered this?
I’m not very good at being polite when someone tells me “You can’t do this.” I remember my mother once bought me an angel costume for Halloween, even though I had insisted I wanted to be Darth Vader. I’ve never understood the gender designation of clothes, and at eight years old, my mother couldn’t explain to me why it was important to “look like a girl.” She eventually gave up. She painted a broomstick red, made me a cape out of a black trash bag and called me “Lord Vader.” Point of the story: you tell me I can’t do something, and I will do it anyway just to prove you wrong.
What advice would you give to young women who are afraid to express who feel like they can’t be a strong female?
As historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich says, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” If your identity as a strong woman makes someone uncomfortable, just smile and say “too bad.”
How awesome is she?! Another HUGE thank you to The Collectress for answering these questions! Also, go check out The Collective and show everyone there some love!
Till next time,