June 28, I flew to Barcelona to visit the second edition of Love Fan Fest. I still had warm feelings from last year, even though I encountered some problems in the beginning. In this blog post, I will tell you all about how Love Fan Fest 2019 Friday turned into Barcelona Pride 2019 Friday.
You can also watch the video I made, which you can find below this image. At the end of this blog post, you will find the other LFF videos that I have uploaded so far. The final one, a special one, will be live at 8 pm Amsterdam time (30 minutes after posting this blog post!).
Starting Love Fan Fest 2019 Friday with delays
At Schiphol Airport, I found out that my flight was delayed. The screen said it was fifteen minutes, so I was not too bummed out. After all, the delay of Las Vegas was four hours and entailed much insecurity.
steadily, the delay increased. At one point, the entire plane had boarded, and
the pilot announced that, despite announcing earlier that we would be leaving
in ten minutes, we would have to wait for another forty minutes. Nooo!
the decision was overturned, and we left ten minutes later. The delay ended up
being one hour, even though the flight takes a little over two hours. I guess I
have to get used to delays on con trips.
Arriving in Barcelona
3:30 pm, I finally arrived. It was HOT! I decided to take the bus to my
pension. At the bus stop, someone recognized me and started talking to me. It
immediately got me in a good Love Fan Fest mood! I mean, traveling to a con by
yourself is always a bit scary, so the possibility of a few familiar faces is
Love Fan Fest 2019 Friday
turned into Barcelona Pride 2019 Friday
to explore a small part of Barcelona and to get off the bus at Plaça d’Espanya.
I knew I had little time and that this area was a good spot to walk around a
Guess where I ended up? BARCELONA PRIDE! A few weeks before this visit, I did see there would be a parade on Saturday, but I hadn’t given it much thought because of LFF. I guess Love Fan Fest Friday turned into Barcelona Pride Friday 😉
parched so I needed to get some water before joining the festivities. It was
actually still quiet. No wonder, with this heat! I guess people were still working
too. But it was nice to walk around. It’s always fun to discover the vibe of
another country’s pride. I loved that they had a whole section in the general
festivities area where LGBT+ organizations had room to present themselves. Information
is priceless, after all!
Love Fan Fest 2019 Friday
ended with preparations
I could not
stay until late in the evening because I still had to eat and prepare for my
interviews. Also, I had to be at Love Fan Fest at 8 am already. For everyone else,
Love Fan Fest 2019 Friday consisted of picking up the badges and extra’s and meeting
each other already. That was not an option for people with press passes,
unfortunately. So, no time for partying at Barcelona Pride, alas!
As you may know, I visited ClexaCon London in November last year. I have been publishing the interviews of the press room but I have not had the time yet to write down everything about my experience there. So, here are all my ClexaCon London Friday adventures! Below this image, you can also find my vlog.
Flight to London
November 1, I flew to London for ClexaCon’s first international pop-up event. The official event was on Saturday and Sunday but since I know that ClexaCon always has fun activities for us before the event, I flew in a little early. That Thursday, I walked around London a bit and enjoyed the view from Tate Modern.
The next day, I wanted to vlog at the ClexaCon London Friday activities. There was a bus tour but since I have visited London more than once, I did not buy a ticket for it. Still, I wanted to see if I knew some participants and I wanted to see how excited everybody was for the event.
Well, I didn’t. I could not find the bus. I did not know the official meeting point, so I just wandered around Trafalgar Square until I saw some queer people near a bus. It turned out it was somewhere near that square. Hashtag fail.
ClexaCon London Friday activities: screening of I Can’t Think Straight
I visited the British Museum before I headed to the Prince Charles Cinema, where I Can’t Think Straight was screened. It was the movie’s tenth anniversary.
I did not want to visit the actual screening though as I had recently watched the movie. I was told I could pick up my press pass there. Unfortunately, as I expected, the press passes weren’t there. I already thought it sounded kind of random. One of the organizers told me that they had thought about it but decided not to. Oh well, I was planning on going to the badge pick-up party later that night anyway.
I was kind of nervous going to the screening if I’m honest. I knew I would see some of you there. My YouTube channel has received quite some attention after visiting Love Fan Fest, so I didn’t know how people would react. And when you’re already nervous, things seem way worse than they really are, right? I saw some familiar faces and some new ones. Sorry if I was being weird, I just felt like a lot of eyes were watching me. It was probably imaginary 😉 At that point, I wished I had not been so active on the relevant hashtags…
Badge pick-up party
I arrived at the badge pick-up party a little late. That was great though because now, I was able to pick up the press pass immediately. I did not have to wait in line for a long time. I saw some people I already knew, some people I met at the screening, and some new people.
Mandahla Rose and Nicole Pacent hung out at the party as well. I was wondering if they recognized me from ClexaCon Vegas because, you know, they meet so many people at these events. Turns out they did.
Historic moment: I met Emma. Who? She co-wrote and directed the lesbian short film The Date (get your copy!). We met online a few weeks earlier and this Friday evening, we finally met in real life. Loved talking to her! Also, she now adds her magic to my videos. See what an event like ClexaCon can do for our community?
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?
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