Brianna Hildebrand Discusses Coming Out at a Young Age
At Love Fan Fest 2018, Brianna Hildebrand discusses coming out at a young age. The moderator asks her what it was like for her, after which she describes her process. I thought it was interesting to show you because it was quite a journey. You can choose to watch the video below this image or read the story. Hopefully, her story will offer you support or recognition.
Brianna Hildebrand discusses coming out as bisexual
“I guess I did come out in sophomore year in high school.” For us living outside of the US, that’s around age 15-16. “Initially, I came out as bisexual. ‘This is me, living my life’ [audience laughs]. I came out, actually, online. Social media for life! I came out on Twitter. ‘What’s up, high school! I am bisexual, you know.’ [audience laughs]
Honestly, I hadn’t told my family or anyone else, aside from, you know, my friends. Then, my dad logged in on my Twitter because he was overprotective or something. And then, he saw the tweet. And I think my dad personally didn’t hold any grudges against me. He feels a certain way about it. He’s generally open and loving.”
Brianna Hildebrand discusses coming out to her family
“But he is the son of a Baptist preacher and his sister is a minister, so I had a lot of backlash from them after that. And it was really awkward and weird. [laughs]. It’s fine now though. We made up a couple of years ago, so it’s all good. But yeah, it was a hard situation. Especially with the family. Family stuff, that stuff’s hard to navigate. To just have someone related to you disapprove of who you are. That really blows.
But, you know, I got through it. And honestly, I felt so much better, even with my family disapproving who I decide to love or whatever. Just being myself. I felt like I was hiding myself before that.”
Brianna Hildebrand discusses coming out as a lesbian
“A couple of years later after sophomore year, I came out again. I was like ‘Hey, I’m a lesbian, I think, actually.’ [audience laughs]. Which is, I don’t know. I spent so much time being like ‘What am I? Am I a lesbian? Am I bisexual? Who do I like? What’s happening with me?’ I think I focused on that so much that I stopped paying attention to what I was actually feeling for people around me and how I felt about myself.
Brianna now does not subscribe to any labels
So, at this point, I don’t subscribe to any labels. I do have a girlfriend; she’s over there but like… [audience turns to her and starts cheering, she laughs]. But yeah, I guess that’s pretty much it, the journey.
I hope Brianna’s story does something for you in jour own journey. After her panel, I was able to talk to her for a few minutes. You can find the blog here and the vlog below. Please remember to subscribe to my channel if you want more queer content. As I am just starting out, I could really use your support!
Brianna Hildebrand Talks Queer Representation at Love Fan Fest 2018
At Love Fan Fest, I was able to talk to Brianna Hildebrand. We talked about Love Fan Fest, queer representation, roles she wants, one particular role she would have loved to have gotten, and hagelslag. Below, I have written down what we talked about but if you just want to see the interview for yourself, you can find the video below this image.
When I am waiting around for my interviews to begin, I start talking to Brianna’s girlfriend. I find out she has Dutch roots and soon, we start discussing pretty much every Dutch treat. I find out they both really enjoy hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles you put on your sandwich, in case you are wondering). So, I laugh and say it is very useful information for my interview with Brianna. I mean, that is really in-depth stuff, right?
The truth is, I have seen Brianna Hildebrand in Deadpool and Deadpool 2 and that is basically all I knew about her. I am really interested in finding out more about her because after all, Brianna’s character Negasonic Teenage Warhead is the first LGBT character to star in a superhero film that openly features a same-sex couple (her girlfriend is Yukio). Brianna’s panel has helped me find out more about her, so I have some questions about that during the interview.
I may have scared Brianna a bit when I started the conversation with: “So, I have some inside information from your girlfriend.” When she hears it is about hagelslag, she quickly admits she eats too much of it. I think every Dutch person does so too, so there is no reason to feel ashamed 😉
During her panel, Brianna has said that she could not think of an LGBT character that she could relate to in her teenage years. I ask her whether that was because she felt there was no queer representation available to her or because she was not looking for it.
Brianna does not know: “There had to be at least one character on TV, right?” She thinks it was more because she used to read a lot and she really got into lesbian fiction. Given her response to when I say the name of Sarah Waters, I think it is safe to say she is a fan.
If she was able to pick any role, what would she like to play? During the panel, Brianna had said that she really enjoys My Fair Lady, so I bring that up. She agrees that she would definitely like to play in a musical. In fact, she reveals that she has auditioned for young Tanya in Mamma Mia 2. Since she did not get the movie part, she would love to do that musical on stage.
Love Fan Fest
Brianna says that up until this weekend, she has never been to a con that is not comic related. That is interesting! So, how is Love Fan Fest so far? What panels would she like to see? Since Love Fan Fest has started Friday night and she has not arrived until Saturday, she has not really seen that much of the con yet.
Brianna wants to see Shannon Beveridge, but Shannon has already left because her panels were on Friday and Saturday. She tells me she watched all of Shannon videos when she was in high school so she was super excited to meet her at the premiere of First Girl I Loved. She texted Shannon to meet up but alas.
Brianna Hildebrand will be in a new short film
During her panel, I heard that Brianna has a small project coming up. It is a short film for Awesomeness TV. In it, she plays a character with severe OCD, who meets a love interest.
I ask her if it was hard for her to get the OCD part down. She calls it a process: “There is something about physicality that it difficult for me. There are a few moments when she is stressing about different things. To physically stress is difficult for me, I guess [laughs]. In the face, it is easy but then you realize that your body is not doing anything. It is just a lot to think about.” She does call it a lot of fun. “When you get into the swing of things, it gets easier.”
Does she take the physical stress home with her if she is focusing on it the entire day? Fortunately, she does not: “I am not method in the sense that I will stay a character. I do like to have private moments for a character. So, I spend a lot of time giving her private moments, which is literally just me by myself acting by myself when I am alone, you know? It gets you more comfortable with the character.”
So, make sure you check out the short when it comes out. I am excited about it. Are you?
This interview with Brianna Hildebrand is the final Love Fan Fest interview I have for you. There will be some small videos added to my YouTube channel the following weeks so make sure you subscribe if you have not already. Below are some more Love Fan Fest videos. They include my interviews with Melanie Scrofano, Kat Barrell, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Natasha Negovanlis, Elise Bauman, and Gaby Christian.
Interview with Gaby Christian at Love Fan Fest 2018
At Love Fan Fest, I was able to talk to Gaby Christian for a few minutes. We talked about Love Fan Fest, traveling, and, obviously, South of Nowhere. This interview was not planned, so it was not very structured or anything. We just chatted and since I was slightly nervous, I may have rambled a bit 😉 Below, I have written down what we talked about but if you just want to see the impromptu interview for yourself, you can find the video below this image.
On her Instagram page, Gaby Christian has shown us some beautiful travel pictures before Love Fan Fest started. Therefore, I want to know what it is like for her to come to an event like Love Fan Fest after spending much time in nature. She says that Love Fan Fest has been great so far. Visiting Barcelona is rather “wild” after visiting small villages and nature. She has done some Gaudí sightseeing and gone to the beach.
I respond that I have gone to the beach as well because, in The Netherlands, summer is usually rather bad (it turned out not to be bad at all, by the way!). I ask Gaby Christian if she has ever been to The Netherlands, given the fact that she travels a lot. She tells me she actually has and as it turns out, she has spent some time in The Hague, which is where I live. That surprises me because tourists usually stick to Amsterdam (if you ever visit my country, I urge you to look beyond Amsterdam!)
Most likely… not…
Things become quite funny when Gaby asks me if I know her friend. One specific person in the country’s third biggest city? I do not… She starts laughing and tells me how she hates it when people do that to her when they find out she lives in LA: “Most likely… not…”
South of Nowhere
I ask Gaby what it is like for her to have people still come up to her and talk about South of Nowhere, even though it has been over a decade that the series was on TV. She tells me the show is fourteen years old now. I try to remember when I first watched it and I say it was probably around 2006.
She indicates that they shot the series from 2004-2008 so that 2006 is possible. She asks me whether it was on TV or something. I cannot remember where I watched it; I know it was not on Dutch TV but I remember searching for any lesbian storyline and finding SON. When I think about it now, it must have been when I was studying in the States (late 2005) or when I visited again shortly after. So, it might have been on TV after all…
Anyway, Gaby explains that more people find their way to the show now because it was on a small network back then and it is now digitalized. That makes sense! Also, that is kind of funny, to have a few years pass and then people rediscovering you.
As you may know, I have rewatched South of Nowhere right before Love Fan Fest (because why not?):
When I binge-watched the show, I noticed that so many things were happening at the same time: Spencer’s coming-out, the high school shooting, Clay finding out what it means to be black (including in a white family), Chelsea’s teenage pregnancy, Glen’s addiction to painkillers, marriage problems, and so on and so on… I noticed that, unfortunately, all these things are still relevant today. Maybe they are even more relevant given the political climate we are in? I ask her if she feels that way too.
What Gaby thinks made the show so special is how simple and real everything was. Now, with CGI and all the technology, everything is enhanced and sensationalized but, in that time, the show felt gritty and real to her. She feels its simplicity was beautiful and she is not interested in the glitz and glam. Even the romantic moments between Spencer and Ashley were relatable. An example she mentions is La La Land, where everything is perfect; in real life, things are “not perfect, ever.”
LA high school
This makes me think of another question I have. Growing up in the Netherlands and going to a particularly nerdy high school, I was always wondering whether things I saw on TV were actually the ways things happened in the USA. Yes, some of the things I saw on TV happened in my environment as well but not everything and certainly not to the same extent. So, I ask Gaby whether the high school in SON is a clear representation of a high school in LA.
She thinks so. Similar things would happen at her high school. She does say LA has the added bonus of wealth and celebrity parents, like Ashley’s dad being a rockstar. That certainly makes things more entertaining but probably not so relatable.
Gaby Christian without Mandy Musgrave
Speaking of Ashley, Mandy Musgrave could not come to Love Fan Fest. She was supposed to come but she had to cancel. My heart broke a little when I heard the news (but I am fine now, you guys, thanks!)
I am curious to find out whether Gaby misses her on an event like this. After all, it focuses on a couple they brought to life together. Gaby starts laughing and admits it is weird being at Love Fan Fest without her. She thinks Mandy is great at this stuff, being the extrovert. Gaby claims she is the introvert who usually just cheers Mandy on. Thankfully, she has found a pseudo-partner-in-crime in Rhiannon Fish. Well, Gaby, I can tell you that you are great at panels and interviews all by yourself too!
Still, I would not mind seeing both Gaby Christian and Mandy Musgrave on a panel, amirite?
Love Fan Fest 2018 Sunday: Interviews and Closing Ceremony
I spent Love Fan Fest 2018 Sunday up in the relax room of the guests, interviewing them on the gorgeous balcony. As a result, I missed most of the panels but I had a blast just chatting casually with everyone. I have to confess that I did ask myself a few times: “Is this my job?!” At the same time, I experienced so many feelings that I got really emotional, so Love Fan Fest 2018 Sunday was definitely a rollercoaster ride for me. Oh, and how cool was that closing ceremony?
I have seen the first and second movie of Deadpool but other than that, I did not really know much about Brianna. That is another thing that is so great about these cons. By listening to someone’s panel, you can figure out what kind of a person one is (on a certain level of course) and what one’s work means to others. I thought it was a really relaxed panel to get the day started. Some of her stories even gave me inspiration for questions for our chat later that day. You will see this interview appear on my YouTube Channel in a few weeks so make sure you subscribe!
Love Fan Fest 2018 Sunday meant many, many interviews
After Brianna’s panel, I was brought to the relax room of the guests again, like the evening before when I talked to Shannon Beveridge. This time, we were brought to the gorgeous balcony with a nice green view and a lot of sun. While I was checking my camera and mics, Dom sat down one table down for a quick tanning session. At a moment like that, I just think: “How great is my life right now?”
I was waiting for my chat with Brianna but Gaby Christian was standing right by my table. I had not been able to talk to her yet and I really wanted to. So, I asked if she wanted to talk to me for a bit. She did not have any plans until noon so she agreed, which made me really happy and nervous at the same time. Impromptu interview happening in 3,2,1, go!
I simply focused on some of the things that came to mind when I watched South of Nowhere again. I knew that she had been in Spain for a while already and walked the Camino de Santiago, so I asked her about that. Surprisingly, she had visited the city in which I live, The Hague, too! So, we talked a bit about that. All in all, it was simply a fun conversation. We had to stop suddenly so the ending was slightly abrupt but I was simply very happy that I was able to talk to her for a few minutes.
When I was waiting for my interview with Brianna, right before Gaby agreed to talk to me, I was having a great time with Brianna’s girlfriend, whose mother is Dutch. We ended up discussing hagelslag, which is chocolate sprinkles we put on sandwiches. I may have scared Brianna a bit when I started the interview with “So, I have some inside information from your girlfriend.” I quickly told her it was about her hagelslag habits though😉
Interviewing Kat and Dom
At noon, we (LGBT Fans Deserve Better, WayHaughties, and I) were scheduled to talk to Kat and Dom. A big table in the middle of the balcony was arranged for us. We made sure the cameras, microphones, and voice recorders were ready. I started to feel nervous again but when they arrived, they were so chill that I quickly felt relaxed again. After all, the first thing they said was that on the second day of a con, they always feel more relaxed. Well, then I should be relaxed too 😊
I wanted to know how they experienced LFF. After all, they have visited so many cons in very different places and the questions asked on the panels were asked by fans instead of a moderator. They were both truly in love with LFF, I noticed. That made me happy because I felt some questions asked were not always that respectful. The language barrier may have been the problem, though. It was good to see how enthusiastic they were, which was confirmed at the end of Love Fan Fest 2018 Sunday when they were announced as the first confirmed guests for LFF 2019.
Another interesting thing I noticed was that when Dom started talking about a conversation she had had with her agent about the specific projects she would like to take on, Kat was in awe. I wanted to know whether they learn from each other in that respect, so I asked Kat whether she felt she could have a conversation like that too. She indicated that it felt scary to her so I just wanted her to know that I think she can. I mean, her fan base is not going to go anywhere anytime soon…
Love Fan Fest 2018 Sunday: interview with Kat and Dom
Interviewing Natasha and Elise
At 1 pm, we were able to talk to Natasha and Elise. They had a little less time to talk to us than Kat and Dom did, so we quickly started. It was pretty amazing because they were asked one question about queer representation and they just started talking and talking. It was beautiful to watch and they made some valid points about opening up the pool for actors who are interested in playing queer characters as opposed to always asking the same people and about roles representing non-binary and trans people.
I noticed we only had a little bit of time left so I wanted to ask at least one question before they had to go. Ever since they had won a CSA Fan Choice Award, I was wondering what kind of influence that award had on their career. I remember Natasha introducing herself in her acceptance speech because most actors present in the audience were on TV or in films rather than on the web. As I am not from Canada, I was wondering how that might have influenced their networking opportunities or opportunities regarding projects.
I was surprised when they told me they had noticed zero effect on their career. It made me feel sad for them at first. Then, Natasha explained a part of Canadian culture to me and how the award meant much to her personally and that it gave her inspiration to continue doing what she does.
Love Fan Fest 2018 Sunday: interview with Natasha and Elise
We were scheduled for an interview with Melanie at 3 pm, right after her panel. So, I had some time to visit her panel. It was pretty touching when she came on stage because she thought that nobody would come. She figured there would only be ten people because she had already had a panel the day before. Seeing everybody present made her emotional, to which everybody responded with a big applause. Are you kidding me? Of course, everybody is going to be there!
It is not even her humor that I like about her so much; it is the way she talks with her hands and pays so much attention to every detail in her stories. One moment I particularly liked was when a mother came to the microphone with her little daughter. She had a big, important question: who is Melanie’s favorite Disney princess? I love how children put things in perspective for you, lol. In the end, what truly matters?
Love Fan Fest 2018 Sunday also marked the day Melanie used her panel to reveal a few things about Kat and Dom. I am pretty sure Kat and Dom did not necessarily want those things to be revealed. You could tell she knew she was digging a hole for herself on stage and she just kept digging and digging. It made me cry-laugh. At the same time, I just wish I was present at the moment the three of them saw each other again after finding out what Melanie had told on stage.
Ten minutes after her panel, we sat down for our interview. It started with another hilarious anecdote by Melanie, so we were already laughing when the interview started. I just had to ask her about what had just happened on stage but I started laughing before I could ask the question. I finally managed to ask whether she had talked to Kat or Dom right in between the panel and now. “What did you do?!” she replied. To clarify, I did not do anything but I guessed Twitter had already brought the news to Kat and Dom. She dreaded that conversation for sure!
You can find the interview here:
Love Fan Fest 2018 Sunday: interview with Melanie
After the interview with Melanie, I was having all kinds of feelings so I decided to chill for a bit. There were no more panels, just people in line waiting for their autographs. I met a few new people while sitting in the shade and walking around for about two hours. I love how easy it is to talk to people at cons!
My press buddies and I discussed whether we should go out for dinner or stay for the closing ceremony. We were not exactly sure what the closing ceremony would entail. We decided to stay. Boy, were we glad! What an amazing (unplanned) party that was!
The audience had to wait as the guests were coming a bit later than planned. People started taking photos on stage with all their friends. Then, the DJ decided he did not care what music he was playing, so all the requests were being granted. Hence, music from Wynonna Earp and Carmilla started playing loudly and more and more people started dancing on stage and in front of the stage. I felt the floors go up and down with all the jumping around. What a spontaneous party!
At the end of Love Fan Fest 2018 Sunday, it was announced that LFF will be held again next year. In addition, they announced that the first confirmed guests are Kat and Dom. The crowd obviously went wild. They then entered the room with Rhiannon and Gaby, which only led to more noise.
Together, we watched the first part of the Love Fan Fest aftermovie, which led to a few tears being shed. The four of them said a few words of appreciation and there was a very intense group feeling. It was truly special. You see, you do not have to be a big con to have a big impact; at this smaller con, you could almost touch the sense of community. Rhiannon, Dom, Kat, and Gaby were right when they said they will always carry this feeling with them and it is exactly how every audience member felt too.
That marked the beginning of my post-con blues. Wow, they are real. Until ClexaCon, I had never heard of them but man, they do exist. They were enhanced by a certain situation that occurred right after LFF. With some of my new friends, we went out for dinner in the only place close to the hotel. Our starving stomachs did not want to take us any further.
The seats outside were taken so we went inside. A soccer match was playing loudly on the TV. It was a small and shabby restaurant with about four or five tables. I entered the place first and all eyes went to the door because everybody was facing our direction as that was close to where the TV was hanging. Nobody said anything and they just stared at us. We sensed we were not welcome at all but we just had to eat.
The only table available was right under the TV. They just kept staring at us in silence until we sat down. The waiter threw a menu at us and barely helped us at all. It was pretty intense. Nothing happened but the sensation of being watched that closely already made me think: “I have just met these people but I would not want to be here with anybody else. If this means a fight will start, I would be happy to defend each and every one of them.” I do not think I have ever experienced this before. It just blew my mind. So what if some of us have short hair? Geez…
It actually had the opposite effect. I feel we bonded even more at that table. Thanks, buddies! I did make me sad though. It also reminded me of why we continue to need these cons and pride and other LGBTQIA events. We need to show our diversity over and over again until we no longer stand out. So, see you at Love Fan Fest 2019?
Hollstein at Love Fan Fest 2018 (+WayHaught, Gaby Christian, and Shannon Beveridge)
I meant to publish this blog post a few weeks ago but I had to change my LFF content schedule somewhat due to unforeseen reasons and publish my interviews with Kat and Dom, Melanie, Elise and Natasha, and Shannon earlier. I prefer posting things in chronological order but alas. So, a few weeks later than planned, this post will be about Hollstein at Love Fan Fest 2018 and other panels later that Saturday, such as WayHaught, Gaby Christian, and Shannon Beveridge. I may also have been kicked out by security somewhere. Yes. It is not always easy to blog and vlog for you, dear readers! First things first, let’s delve into the panel of Hollstein at Love Fan Fest 2018.
Hollstein at Love Fan Fest 2018
The first morning of Love Fan Fest was all about Wynonna Earp for me but around noon, there was another treat: Hollstein at Love Fan Fest 2018. I loved how Elise and Natasha clearly showed their respect and support for one another. It seemed that despite all these interviews and conventions together, they still hear new things about each other. For instance, Elise was talking about her projects behind the camera and how she was glad that it offered her a certain degree of freedom. Natasha replied with “That’s awesome!” and indicated that the audience should applaud for her more loudly.
I was also seriously impressed with the creativity of the questions, some of which led to hilarious answers and situations. For example, one question was whether Elise and Natasha could show how Laura and Carmilla would experience this visit to Barcelona. I was laughing so hard during Elise’s answer that I only recorded Natasha’s answer. I nearly missed Elise’s response to Natasha turning into Carmilla but I managed to record some of it. These moments are the reason I fell in love with (LGBTQ) cons 😀
The panels of Hollstein at Love Fan Fest 2018
Exclusive interview with Hollstein at Love Fan Fest 2018
After their panel, Elise and Natasha went to the big autograph room. At ClexaCon, I loved filming that. After all, how beautiful is it to watch fans finally meet their idols? I walked to the staff member at the door and explained that I was press and that I wanted to film inside. I was allowed in, recorded a small video of me explaining what was going on in that room, and then I walked to the lines of people waiting for Natasha and Elise.
When I started filming there, a staff member walked up to me and said that I could not film. I explained to her that I was press. She said “oh, sorry” and left. A minute later, security came up to me and said something in Spanish. As I did not understand, he decisively said “no press.” Yup, I got kicked out.
During Love Fan Fest, whenever Kat and Dom were on stage, there seemed to be at least some talk about a possible marriage between Waverly and Nicole. The fans obviously want to see something happen in that respect.
That did not seem to be enough. We were surprised by a beautiful proposal on stage. I do not know the names of these two lovely ladies but the look in the eyes of the one proposing was so very intense (the other one had her back turned to me so I could not see her eyes). It was as if they were completely alone, not on a stage with Kat and Dom right by their side and 400 other women in the room. Whoo!
After a short break walking around and having some food, I went back to the main hall. I have been receiving a few comments under my vlogs about how optimistic I continued to be even though this whole press thing was kind of hard. However, I can tell you that this was the moment when I was in low spirits. I was asking myself whether the trip was worth it. Therefore, I gave myself an option: am I going to be sad because of the way things are (not) going or am I going to do something about it? I decided to do the latter.
You see, our press contact was not responding and I realized the country code was not saved correctly in my phone. Once I had fixed that, I contacted her again. I asked her whether we could somehow get permission to shoot some photos and videos in the autograph room. When I was waiting for Gaby Christian’s panel to start, I heard we were granted permission for ten minutes right after Gaby’s panel, when Kat and Dom would start signing. How awesome was that?! That is when things started to go better and I was able to get better footage for you!
Gaby Christian’s panel
Even more awesome was that many visitors were waiting in line for autographs. That meant we could sit on the front row of Gaby Christian’s panel rather than on the floor. It was fun hearing Gaby talk about South of Nowhere and what it was like to take on that role fourteen years ago. To refresh my memory, I had rewatched the whole show two weeks prior. Can I just say she has a very pleasant voice to listen to?
Rhiannon Fish was also on the panel but honestly, I do not know any of her work so I was focused more on Gaby. They brought a friend, Mike Manning, who was Gaby’s fake husband in SHE4ME’s video, he told us. I wish I had realized it sooner but I also saw him on The Real World: D.C., in which he was struggling with his religion and his bisexuality as he had only recently come out. Powerful stuff!
I liked the mix of the panel; it allowed for a diverse Q&A.
Autographs by Kat and Dom
Right after the panel, my press buddies and I went to the autograph room. A long line had formed as many guests were signing at the same time. I showed the staff member at the door my texts, saying we now had permission to be inside for ten minutes. After a debate with other staff members, we were allowed to enter the room to wait for our press contact.
Inside the room, security came back to me immediately as well as some other staff members. We showed my texts and everybody clearly watched us until our contact arrived. She first had to make a few extra phone calls. Then, we were granted permission to shoot videos and take photos for ten minutes. Dear readers, this footage cost me quite some sweat so please enjoy it thoroughly 😉. Also, please do not share it (edited or unedited) without a direct link to my website and social media account.
Shannon Beveridge’s panel
Because of this opportunity, I missed the first part of Shannon Beveridge’s panel. I have not actively followed her over the years but I have seen some videos of her on YouTube. So, I really wanted to hear what she had to say and what the visitors wanted to ask her. I thought it was funny that she was clearly more comfortable in her videos that on the big stage. Every now and then, a question made her shy. She was asked what she first notices in a woman, for instance. Lol, imagine having to answer that in a big room full of people :p
She has such a big platform with over 600k followers on YouTube. I am just starting out with YouTube and I find it really interesting to see what you can achieve with it. The past three weeks, my videos have been gaining traction. As a result, I have been getting quite a few private messages about how much these videos mean to people. Can you imagine how much you can help people if you have that many followers? Also, can you imagine how much pressure that adds to your work? That (im)balance continues to fascinate me!
Interview with Shannon
After the panel, at the end of the program, I saw our press contact. I asked her if there were going to be any media opportunities or whether this was it for us today. She asked whether we wanted to talk to Shannon Beveridge. Eh, YES!
So, you can read what it was like to meet Shannon Beveridge and watch my interview below. Please do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and share the video if you like it! I promise you there is more to come. I do not want to give it away entirely but I may also have an interview with someone already mentioned in this blog post!
So, was Hollstein at Love Fan Fest 2018 your favorite or were you there for someone else? Let me know in the comment section!
Shannon Beveridge Talks YouTube and LGBT Representation at Love Fan Fest 2018
At Love Fan Fest, I was allowed to talk to Shannon Beveridge for a while, who is the genius behind YouTube channel nowthisisliving. I really appreciated this moment as I have just started my own YouTube channel. Being able to talk to somebody with over 600k subscribers is a chance you hardly ever get. What can you do with such a platform? What does such a platform mean to others? Also, what does she WANT to do with it?
In this blog and vlog, you will find out more about Shannon Beveridge, whom I think is very talented, caring, and chill. She talked about characters she felt attached to as a teenager, YouTube censorship regarding LGBTQIA topics, and visiting conventions.
Below, you will find a video of the entire interview. I was not the only press member present during this conversation so you will sometimes hear LGBT Fans Deserve Better. If you liked the video, would you give it a thumbs up, share it with your friends, and subscribe to my channel? That would help so much. Thank you!
A chill environment
The other press members and I were brought upstairs to the relaxing room of the guests. There, Shannon was chilling on a couch and jumped up the moment she was asked whether an interview would be okay: “Let’s do this!” I loved the enthusiasm! We decided to all sit at one big table so it would not be a separate interview per media outlet but a joint conversation. That felt very organic to me (but the lighting in the video is a bit off).
An interesting topic to me, which was also addressed rather quickly by LGBT Fans Deserve Better, was how YouTube’s rules regarding LGBTQIA content have affected her the past two years or so. After all, it is increasingly harder for us in the LGBT community to start or maintain a YouTube channel. The horror stories that I have heard from multiple YouTubers made me worry about starting my own channel. Would it even matter?
Maybe you need some background information to understand that question. I have a simplified version for you. If you put the words lesbian, LGBTQ or something similar in a video title, the video will often immediately be considered not advertisement-friendly. If videos are demonetized, YouTube is not making money off them either so the videos are not shown in suggested videos. That means viewers will not organically find your videos; they will actively have to search for them. If you do not put those words in your title, how is the audience that actively looks for these videos going to see your video? It is simply not a fair system.
Shannon admitted it was getting more difficult to get content to reach the people who need it the most. She gave a very elaborate explanation of how quickly videos become demonetized and what the effects are of that. First of all, creators do not get paid for their work and without resources, it is harder to make this content. Still, she feels she wants to make videos because they mean something to her viewers. However, if her video gets flagged, it takes about 24 hours to be reviewed. That is also the period you see the biggest jumps in views. As a result, it is hard to get in the suggested videos list after the review, gain a good spot in search results, etcetera.
Another issue she talked about is YouTube’s Restricted Mode. LGBT content often ends up being blocked in the restricted mode. Who uses restricted mode? Public schools, public libraries, and conservative parents do, she said. So, when you cannot watch those videos at home and you cannot go to your library or school, where can you watch this content safely? Man, I remember what it was like not knowing of any representation. I do not wish that upon anyone else!
Practical tips from Shannon Beveridge
I wanted to know whether Shannon had any practical tips for me. After all, our community will not be getting answers from YouTube itself anytime soon. For instance, would she advise me to put lesbian, LGBTQ or something similar in the video title or not? What does she normally do?
Shannon said that she usually does not put these words in the title. She wants to make her channel about more than just lesbian or LGBTQ topics even though it is a big part of her channel and many of her followers are queer.
However, if she does talk about it, she does put the word lesbian or something similar in the title. One example is ‘Lesbian interviews ex-boyfriend’. She told me to put the words in the title because I am specifically targeting that audience and they will search for it. Also, ‘Lesbian interviews ex-boyfriend’ did not get flagged. She called YouTube’s policy a crapshoot; you never know what will happen.
See, that is exactly what I needed: advice from someone with experience who has seen the changes herself.
Type of content
Shannon Beveridge was asked whether she sometimes feels pressured to make content that she did not want to create. She told us that she feels much freedom. However, she also feels that her viewers want her to release four videos a month and that she does not know how to give that to them. She sometimes asks herself what is left to give as “you already know all of my soul.”
I sensed she was at a point where she was wondering what the next step would be for her channel. Coincidentally, she posted a video about two weeks ago, which completely differs from her other videos. It is about her trip to Spain, Love Fan Fest and other parts of Europe. It looks very creative and it has a different vibe, right? I would not mind seeing more of this!
Shannon Beveridge at Love Fan Fest
I hope you liked this description of the interview at Love Fan Fest. I thought it would be more fun than simply publishing a page stating the answers and questions. Next week, I’ll go back to the chronological order of my Love Fan Fest experiences. Last week, something happened that made me move away from the content schedule I had originally planned for you. As a result, I had no more time to add a blog to the videos I posted online. Sorry about that! Anyway, here they are and I hope to see you back as subscribers on my YouTube channel if you have not subscribed already!
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