Like a lot of us Earpers, my first interaction with @VisitPurgatory (AKA Melissa) was when she made a thank-you video for Kevin and Bonnie. I soon found out she was originally from Pittsburgh (after she correctly identified Primanti’s as our rehearsal-dinner location from a photo) and was excited to meet her at FanExpo. After getting verbally assaulted by Sally, I soon met Melissa, who was, like most Earpers, just as nice in person as she was on Twitter. She made a special point of making everyone feel welcome, which is something this socially awkward nerd appreciates.
When visiting her family this month, Melissa agreed to watch Wynonna Earp with me, despite the continual threat that everything she touched had mushroom sweat on it. (No idea what I mean? Follow both of us for a few days on Twitter, and it will come up. I promise). It was such a cool experience to watch with someone, and I just wish she could be here for the finale.
She is the best Visitors Bureau around, one of the best con-goers to con with, and one of the most supportive, generous, honest, and funniest Earpers I have ever met. Most importantly, she’s a friend I am happy to have made….even if she hates mushrooms. I’ll overlook it just this once, especially because her feelings about local chocolate Sarris rival my own.
Tell us a little bit about your non-Earper alter ego.
I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and lived there most of my life until about 10 years ago, when I decided I needed a change of scenery. I quit my job, ended a relationship, packed up my belongings, and drove across the country to the land of sun and smog, California. That was the biggest *holy crap, what have I done* moment of my life. However, I’m happy to report that it ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. I still live in SoCal, where I manage events and marketing for a software company. Favorite perk of the job is that I get to travel, and I love to travel. My friends and I have a tradition where we pick a new place to celebrate New Year’s each year. Two years ago we went to Iceland, and it remains the coolest place I’ve ever visited. Of course I can’t talk about myself without discussing my 13-year-old Yorkie, Chance. He’s a good sport when I dress up him in ridiculous outfits or drop food all over him because sometimes I eat like a 5-year-old. He is the funniest, sweetest, and most adorable dog in the whole wide world. If you disagree, I will fight you. Just kidding. Or am I? (I’m not.) [ Editor’s note — Graham also immediately went to Melissa instead of hiding, which is my true litmus test of people. You passed, VP. ]
Other random facts about me: I used to take dance lessons from the (now-jailed) Abby Lee “Dance Moms” Miller and her mother. I played Princess Jasmine in my 6th-grade musical. I have a journalism degree which I never use, but do enjoy a good Oxford comma. I can recite every word from A League of their Own. Easter candy is my favorite food group. I quote the TV show Friends on a regular basis. I volunteer with an animal rescue organization and can confirm puppy therapy is the BEST therapy.
How did you find Wynonna Earp and the fandom?
I remember hearing buzz about Wynonna Earp at WonderCon 2016, but there were a lot of conflicting panels I wanted to see and I ended up missing everything. Afterwards, I noticed some people on Twitter talking up the show, so I decided to check it out. It was okay. I liked it a moderate amount. It’s not like I created a fan account dedicated to the show and swore allegiance to Emily Andras as our unicorn savior. Oh, wait, I DID. I did do all those things.
Is this your first fandom?
Kinda. I created my personal Twitter account for Orphan Black because that show changed my life in the best way possible (and Tatiana Maslany is everything.) I was a little wary about talking to random people online and Twitter is a bit overwhelming at first. I did make a few friends in Clone Club, but now I know this was a only a warm-up for becoming an Earper. Goodness gracious, do Earpers have zero chill. The first day I started tweeting about Wynonna Earp, the Earper welcoming committee had already pulled me in and made me a believer. I know everyone says this all the time, but seriously, Earpers are the best. [ Editor’s note — Science fact. ]
What is your favorite fandom memory?
SDCC 2016, AKA that time Comic-Con officially became Wynonna Earp Con. From that point forward, was pretty special. It was my first time meeting other Earpers who I had been chatting with on Twitter. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but of course everyone I met was wonderful. In fact, the first two Earpers I ever met were Sally and Rebecca, AKA Fangirl Shirts, followed closely by Kevin and Bonnie. I like them all a great deal. All we did was Earp and have drinks at the Marriott pool bar. It was perfection. Oh, yeah, and I guess meeting the cast for the first time was pretty cool, too (it was amazing.) They are even nicer and better looking in person. How dare they.
What is your favorite con memory?
Every time I go to a con, I think, “BEST CON EVER!” But really though, SDCC 2017 was mother-Earping perfect. In addition to the fan party this year, there was also a fan viewing/live tweet party to watch episode 207. Right before the viewing, Jen (
@UtahJen) and I were walking through the hotel lobby to catch our Uber when we ran into Tim, Emily, and Melanie. We chatted a bit, I told them we were heading out to watch the episode with other Earpers, and each one told us to have fun/claimed they didn’t know what they were doing. Plot twist: They all LIED TO MY FACE, guys. I arrive at the viewing and who do I see walk in? Them! Jerks! (Just kidding. I heart you all dearly and it was the best night of my life.) It was completely surreal to hear all the commentary from the cast around us while we watched them on the screen. I particularly enjoyed hearing Dominique behind me talking in her British accent while Waverly talked in her Waverly accent. Earpception. I missed a lot of what happened in the episode because I was so distracted by everything/was trying to take it all in so I could remember it forever. What a night. Once again, this speaks volumes about the type of cast we have here. They’re all beyond delightful. The absolute best. Huge shout out to Kevin & Allison for always taking care of us and making this possible! And to @nedleysoffice for taking the best candid photos ever.
What is your favorite Wynonna Earp/Earper activity?
Always looking forward to Fridays. Thinking about live tweets and the new episode help to get me through the week. Earpers are hilarious and I’m always guessing who will have the most inappropriate tweet of the night—Melanie or Emily. It’s a fun game. [ Editor’s note — both, at the same time. ]
What has Wynonna Earp come to mean to you?
The real question is what doesn’t Wynonna Earp mean to me? It started out as “just a show” but has turned into a lifestyle. It’s where I feel safest and most confident. It’s where I laugh the most. It’s where I found my tribe. [ Editor’s note — this is the correct answer to this question. ]
Are there any pictures you’d like to share of your Wynonna Earp experience?
Why, yes, thank you for asking.
[ Editor’s note — love how you snuck a pic of Chance in there, VP. ]
Dolls or Doc?
This is a cruel question and I refuse to answer it (I like them both equally, okay?)
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you Fandras?
Describe why Fandras is a thing in 7 words or less.
Some heroes wear capes; others eat cheese.
What is your favorite Earp sisters moment?
They’re all so good, but the one that immediately comes to mind is 206 when Waverly is comforting Wynonna and then Wynonna reads that note and then the tears and…excuse me while I grab some tissues.
How have you Earped your life?
There’s a really rad writer human named Kel (
@Keljay ) who put together a group chat of totally awesome chicks (not Deb*) who were planning to go to ClexaCon. I had never met any of these ladies before, but immediately liked them (except Deb*). Cool, kind, and hilarious, what’s not to like? We ended up talking almost every day and formed a bond over this amazing show and other important things like Buzzfeed quizzes, otters, and Pedialyte. I am very grateful to call them my friends (except Deb*) and am looking forward to continuing to spread the good word of Wynonna Earp with them for many seasons. *I’m really kidding about Deb. I do actually like her, but let’s keep that between us.
What’s the Earpiest thing you’ve ever done?
I mean if you look into my closet you’ll see a million and one Fangirl Shirts. That’s pretty Earpy. But, I think the Earpiest thing would be creating a Twitter account dedicated to tweeting about all things Earp. This account has morphed into more than I ever could have imagined and has brought about so many good things.
* pats self on back * [ Editor’s note — *pats VP on back* ]
How are you most like Randy Nedley?
We both consider “hoo-ha” a swear word.
Someone has entered the Purgatory Visitors Bureau. Describe the perfect one-hour tour.
The tour will start out at the local pancake house, “Murder Your Pancakes,” where, despite the rumors, they do not offer pancake refills. Next, we will take a tour of the whiskey distillery, “Frisky Whiskey,” followed by a tour of “Sometimes We Get Donuts,” the local donutery (I doubt that’s a word, but I’m not changing it). After everyone is full and drunk, we’ll go visit the well where Doc was kept (only 5 drunk tourists have ever fallen in) and then go to Bobo’s trailer park where everyone can stand on a car and shoot a gun into the air. After a short siesta at our least-murdery hotel in town, “Safe and Sound (For the Most Part)“ we’ll go visit the unicorn nursery. Naturally, the tour will end at Shorty’s. with take-out from Mama Olive’s and some peach champagne. I know this seems like a lot to fit in an hour, but an hour in Purgatory is not like an hour anywhere else. Or something like that.
Here’s where you can find Melissa:
@VisitPurgatory (fandom Twitter)
@SoCoStrawDog (personal Twitter)