I am not a social person. To be honest, the only kind of social I am is socially awkward. My wife and I are pretty active socially, but honestly, sometimes I prefer my interactions to be writing-based. I’m just a lot more comfortable around people, especially strangers, with a couple of screens between us. So at FanExpo, when Sally caught sight of me and screamed, “FANDRAS!!” it was…a little overwhelming. I have a little more fandom experience under my Wonder Woman belt by now, and I can say without reservation that the very first Earper I ever met in person is one of the nicest, most generous, and funniest in this fandom. She always makes me feel welcome, whether I’m a terrified lady wearing a Fandras shirt in a different country who knows absolutely no one, or a nerd surrounded by her fandom friends at dinner.
Everyone knows about her creativity as half of the amazing Fangirls Shirts duo, but how many of you know about her fanfic writing? She talks about it a little below, so I won’t get into it too much here so as not to spoil it, but when I listened to the Tales of the Black Badge podcast and she said she wrote the Buffy fic she speaks about below, I got so excited that I stopped paying attention for a minute and almost hit a deer. And I’m not even a Xena fan!
Sally is yet another reminder that our fandom is full of talent, love, compassion, and just wonderful, amazing people.
Tell us a little bit about your non-Earper alter ego.
I’m married to an amazing woman, and we have three beautiful, hilarious, smart, and wonderful kids. Being a mom is a very big part of my identity. I love being a parent and having kids, and also enjoy being a member of my family, if that makes sense. I’m originally from Ohio and moved to the Washington, DC, area in 1999. I’m a dual citizen of the USA and Canada. My educational background is in molecular biology, and even though I don’t work in science anymore, I LOVE genetics, DNA, and scientific advancement. For my day job, I work for a company that makes software for nonprofits, and I’m a bike commuter to downtown DC, so I would like to encourage drivers to respect the bike lane. [ Editor’s note — seconded. ] I like running, playing tennis, watching women’s soccer, reading books, listening to the music of Dar Williams, watching TV (obv), and puns. I really like puns.
How did you find Wynonna Earp and the fandom?
I had been watching Emily Andras’ twitter like a hawk after she departed Lost Girl, ready to pounce like a puma when she announced whatever her next TV project would be. When she announced that it was Wynonna Earp and told us a little bit about the premise, I cackled like a hyena and said “OH, HELL YEAH. This is gonna be good.”
Is this your first fandom?
My first fandom was the Dar Wiliams fandom, which I joined in 1996 after hearing one of her songs on the radio and being totally captivated. The song was “As Cool As I Am” and everyone can listen to it here. And then there’s this visually inspiring acoustic version which features a brief cameo from me and two of my kids at 1:58.
In 1996, fandom meant being on an email listserv (anyone remember majordomo?), and subscription instructions were printed in the liner notes of Dar’s earlier CDs. People from all over the world sent emails to each other discussing Dar’s music and many other things. It was not unlike the Wynonna fandom, except our emails were a lot longer than 140 characters and there were no gifs. We would meet up once a year at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in upstate New York and would camp together, just like at cons. It was both intense and in tents (ha!). [ Editor’s note — SALLY. ] Fans would also meet up at concerts. People met, made friends, fell in love, dated, got married, and had kids as a result of the Dar fandom. I made some lifelong friends.
For TV fandoms specifically: when I was a kid, I loved Wonder Woman and used to cut out pictures of Lynda Carter from Maybelline ads in my mom’s magazines and tape them to my bedroom wall. Moving on to adulthood, I had a couple of Xena fan club kits and would read the Whoosh! website when Xena was on the air.
My first fandom in a more expansive and internet-enabled way was Buffy — specifically, The Kitten, the Witches, and the Bad Wardrobe message board which was formed after “Seeing Red.” The rules were that “Seeing Red” never happened and you weren’t allowed to mention Joss Whedon or the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That’s when I first wrote some fan fiction. including “UberCon ’05,” a non-vampire AU in which the Buffy gang are Xena fans who write Xena fan fiction, and they go to a con that’s all about Xena fan fiction. Hijinks ensue. That was all mostly before social media and Twitter.
When I started watching Lost Girl, I got REALLY into the fandom, which was helped along by Twitter. I posted a lot on the Doccubus forum and eventually joined up with some other women to start a Lost Girl fan blog, Because of Lost Girl, I also met Rebecca on Twitter, who quickly became my BFF, and together we started Fangirl Shirts.
What is your favorite fandom memory?
This is a tough question because there are so many memories that are amazing in different ways. Meeting Emily Andras in person for the first time is a huge highlight for me. She’s awesome.
I will forever remember and be gratified by the response to Fangirl Shirts’ Peace Maker design. We designed Peace Maker after the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, wanting to help in some small way. 100% of the proceeds from Peace Maker go to Everytown for Gun Safety. To date, over $3,000 has been raised for Everytown from Peace Maker. Wynonna Earp is a show where one of the central characters, if you will, is a supernatural gun, and there’s shooting in almost every episode. The show is fiction, and real life is real life, but I think Wynonna Earp addresses the topic of gun violence with maturity and respect.
I also had such a blast at San Diego Comic-Con in 2016. Meeting the cast was so cool, and meeting other Earpers and hanging out all day and night with cool people was great. I recall being agog when we saw that Tim Rozon was wearing the Fangirl Shirts Peace Maker shirt for the publicity photos with Syfy at SDCC and for the Wynonna Earp panel.
Later I spent some time talking to Lindsey (she and Tim are each others’ spouses), and she told me he had been wondering what to wear that morning, and she had picked up the Peace Maker shirt and said “Wear this. No question.” That blew my mind! Major, major thank you, Lindsey.
I also loved attending FanExpo 2016 in Toronto, meeting Bridget Liszewski in person for the first time, realizing I was a Liszewsbian, and then seeing my very first Fandras shirt out in the wild, worn by none other than yourself, Monica, lesbiyinzer! I was so excited that I shouted “FANDRAS!!!” and I think it was startling, but luckily you still talked to me. [ Editor’s note — it was pretty startling, but also super, super cool. Additionally, #LiszewbianForLife. ]
At the Earper Meetup after FanExpo, we were surprised and gratified when Emily, Bridget, and the cast came out to the meetup to say hi. Shamier Anderson was so excited to say hi to the fans I was Periscoping for that he took the phone and talked to them for a good five minutes. His enthusiasm was infectious.
What is your favorite con memory?
These are tough questions! [ Editor’s note — at least you aren’t claiming they feel like an attack, so I’m gonna call that a win. ] There are too many to count. One memory that stands out is ClexaCon 2017. This was the very first con where Fangirl Shirts was going to have a vendor table, and Rebecca and I were nervous about how it would go. There were so many details to take care of — displaying shirts, ordering shirts to sell, getting it all to Las Vegas, and we were super worried that we would invest a ton of time and money and then nobody would care or buy anything. We’re not in this to get rich, but we’re also not in this to lose our shirts (ha!). [ Editor’s note — SALLY! ] Then on Friday, the first day that vendor tables were open, we were so busy we could barely keep up. We then breathed a sigh of relief and knew that it would be okay. All of ClexaCon was so amazing, honestly, both being a vendor and an attendee.
I also realized that some of my favorite fandom memories happened at cons, so the answers to the previous questions can double as favorite con memories also.
What is your favorite Wynonna Earp/Earper activity?
Anytime I’ve been able to go to an Earper meetup at a con, I have REALLY enjoyed meeting other fans face-to-face and talking to them. Similarly, even though I’m an early-to-bed type of East Coast person, the Whiskey & Doughnuts hangouts post-episode are always super fun when I can manage to stay awake that long. I also love talking to people about the show and convincing them to watch it, and when they come back to me later to say they watched it and loved it, it’s such a thrill.
What has Wynonna Earp come to mean to you?
The show is amazing and the community that has developed around it is also amazing. I want to talk about something that’s very personal for a moment. Wynonna’s ongoing story means a lot to me. She made some big mistakes in her younger life with cataclysmic consequences, and she ran away and avoided facing her family and her hometown for a long time afterward. But when she turned 27 and became invested with the power of the heir, it became clear to her that she had a big responsibility to fulfill, regardless of her past mistakes. And she stepped up to do it. She isn’t perfect, and she doesn’t always do everything gracefully or even well, but she is trying.
Twenty years ago I felt like I had screwed up my life beyond repair, and was in a very low place. I decided to try one more thing before throwing in the towel. I went to a treatment center for alcohol abuse. I didn’t have much hope at the time and couldn’t imagine any future that seemed like it would be worth living, much less fun and joyful. As of July 19, 2017, I’m happy to say that I’ve been sober for twenty years and my life has changed for the better in ways I was unable to fathom back then. My non-Earper alter ego description above is a brief summary about how my life has changed. Like Wynonna, I don’t always do everything well or gracefully, both then and now, but I’m trying. [ Editor’s note — I’m not crying. You’re crying. Love you, Sally. ]
So while Wynonna’s story isn’t exactly the same, I identify with her. She feels like she’s broken, she has to beg everyone’s stupid forgiveness, she feels deep-seated guilt about what she did and the effect it had on her family. But she’s back in Purgatory and intends to stay, she’s going to protect Waverly with everything she’s got, she’s going to deal with the Earp curse, and she’s not going to take any crap from anyone. I’m rooting for her.
Wynonna Earp also means other important things to me — the authentic, three-dimensional portrayal of the relationship between Waverly and Nicole is validating, lovely, and emotionally resonant, personally. It also is important in the larger context of LGBTQ representation on TV. I’m glad Emily Andras is in charge of it, and that it’s being portrayed by two such wonderful actors who are taking such care to play it authentically and to understand the community that they’re representing. Listening to Kat and Dominique describe that on the Tales of the Black Badge podcast, they’re so respectful and genuine and just wow. Right? [ Editor’s note — well said, Sally. Would you like to take over this website, maybe? ]
Finally, the Wynonna pregnancy storyline — I’m here for it. If there’s anyone who can write an ass-kicking pregnant superhero, it’s Emily and her amazing writing team, and I feel like we viewers will get to see some brand-new storytelling ground being broken in novel ways with the character they’ve built so far. I’m also excited about what it means for women in the workplace. The supportive way that Emily, IDW, and Syfy reacted to the news Melanie shared with them about her pregnancy is awesome. Reading the interviews written by Mo Ryan and Bridget Liszewski after episode 205 gave me so much awe, appreciation, and enthusiasm for this team of people who make this show.
Are there any pictures you’d like to share of your Wynonna Earp experience?
Yes! Here are eight zillion. [ Editor’s note — this is an exaggeration, but honestly, not much of one. ]
Dolls or Doc?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you Fandras?
6 + 1 + 14 + 4 + 1 + 19
Describe why Fandras is a thing in 7 words or less.
200+ shirts and counting can’t be wrong.
What is your favorite Earp sisters moment?
To date, it’s the closing scene from 206, when Wynonna is crying on the floor and Waverly is there for her. Ask me again once Season 2 is over, because I’m sure there’s more to come.
How have you Earped your life?
When I meet new people, I ask them what TV shows they watch, nod politely, and then tell them to watch Wynonna Earp. I can’t fit any more T-shirts into my T-shirt drawer.
How are you most like Gus McCready?
Like Gus, I have a deep love of family. I think I can buckle down and get things done when the situation calls for it. I have been known to make a casserole or two for the birth of a baby or a funeral.
What would happen if you touched the goo?
I want to say that I would be able to resist it as much as possible like Waverly, but I also fear that, like Wynonna, the siren song of someone or something else taking the reins of my life for a while might be too seductive. I just hope my head wouldn’t explode like Lucado’s. Why did Lucado’s head explode, by the way?
Which Fangirls shirt would Chrissy Nedley be most likely to wear?
Chrissy would likely choose a Flowy Tank Top to wear during the summertime, and a flowy long-sleeved shirt for the colder months. She might wear a Purgatory Sheriff’s Department softball team shirt to cheer her dad on at the games. When she gets a little more woke, I think she’d love to wear the Feminist Killjoy design, both for the message and because she started watching Killjoys and really, REALLY loves Dutch. It’s also possible that Chrissy was so inspired by Wonder Woman that she wanted to join the Themyscira Equestrian Team. Or maybe she’s secretly a nerd and a closet Doctor Who fan, and is so thrilled about the 13th Doctor that she would wear A Woman’s Place Is In The TARDIS. Because of hometown Purgatory Pride, I suspect she also would wear I Got My Beaver Buzzed At Shorty’s and Pussy Willows when she’s feeling a little sassy. Really, there are so many possibilities! Do you think Chrissy is on Team Fandras? I’ll bet she’s a Fandras.
Thanks, Sally, for such lovely answers to the questions. I’ll see everyone on Thursday for part 2 of the Fangirl Shirts EarperView series!